Last weekend was rough, guys. This business of making queer friends is not easy, and even my baller behavior this weekend that resulted in a few platonic phone numbers and future hangouts with like-minded people is still in its awkward duckling stages, at best. I’m going to write this story in two parts.
Part One: Last Weekend (Failure)
I really, really wanted to have a great story for you all.
I really wanted to sit down last Sunday night and write about how amazing the meetup event was, how I made some new friends, how I talked to a cute girl or two. I wanted to be so proud of myself for going.
But here, instead, is what happened.
Rose (remember her? my ex-roommate? quasi “best friend”? my first and only?) texted me Saturday night.I hadn’t heard from her in a month. “Hey! Want to hang out tonight?”
Um, sure. It isn’t like I was going to do anything better…
Now, before you go there, no, this is not the story of another failed sexual encounter. In fact, we’ve almost gotten to a place where we can joke about the past. She brought her boyfriend (whom I have mixed feelings about) and they both ended up spending the night on my living room floor, because at 2:30 in the morning we were so sloshed on gin and other things that biking home to the other side of the city didn’t seem like a safe option for them.
Somewhere amid the exchange of gin, wine, vodka, (was there rum involved? I don’t remember) – whiskey! Yes. I remember whiskey. At some point the question was asked, So Jenny, you think you’re a lesbian now…what type of girls do you like?
Well then. Easy question. I swiped the screen open on my phone, and a magnificent glamour shot of Tegan and Sara appeared.
Rose’s boyfriend gasped in low, reverent astonishment. “You listen to them too?” he said. “Oh my god, “Walking With a Ghost” is my favorite!”
The shock I experienced could not be described in words. This total bro was a Tegan and Sara fan. I officially couldn’t hate him anymore.
Of course, there was also the talk of “when you go back to men” and “you should present yourself as bisexual, don’t limit yourself” and, worse, “do you like eating clams? because that’s what it’s like…” But whatever. We drank it off and then discussed the punk band that we’re apparently going to form, until we get good enough to tour with Tegan and Sara (OK, that part was my addition).
In the morning, we were so hung over that Starbucks was the only option worth mentioning, and while we sipped our hot lattes against the cold bright wind, I lifted my eyes to the little pub across the street and contemplated aloud my nervousness for the event later that day.
“What time is it at?” asked Rose.
“2:00,” I said. “It’s only 11. I’ve got plenty of time.”
Back in my apartment, Rose rummaged through the contents of my coffee table and picked up a copy of Out 100 from last year, the one featuring Ellen Page on the cover, and remarked how revolting it is when celebrities come out and “act like they’ve had such hard lives because of being gay, or transgender, or whatever. I mean, there are people with real problems.”
My breakfast threatened to come back up my throat.
Her boyfriend joined in. Together, this straight couple explained to me what it means to be gay, what it means to come out, why celebrities like Ellen Page are the scum of the earth for suggesting that their personal lives have been difficult because of their non-heteronormativity – “I mean, they have the approval of the entire world, why does their parents’ opinion matter?”
I was too stunned and too hung over to argue. I stood in the corner and scrolled through several hundred Tegan and Sara photos and tried to think of ideas for memes while they badgered on.
(Since then I have read Rebecca Solnit’s delicious little book Men Explain Things to Me, and I would very much like to add a chapter on how Straight People Explain Things as well.)
At 12:45, they were done Explaining Things. “All right!” said Rose. “We should probably start heading home. Let me know how that event goes! Good luck!”
Like a good host, I walked them to the gate and thanked them for coming. When I went inside, I checked the event reminder on my phone to make sure I still had that hour and 15 minutes. Should I take another shower? Yes. Should I wash my hair? Maybe. I’ve got to look perfect for this.
The numbers on the invite glared at me accusingly. Something in my brain had gone horribly wrong. It was at 12:00, not 2:00. I would be walking in 45 minutes late!
Someone cooler than me would have run over there, proclaimed a grand late entrance and walked out with 5 new friends.
I sank into the couch and sat in my dark apartment beating myself up over wasting an entire weekend and god only knows when they would have another event like this one and I’ll never make friends and why would anyone want to hang out with me anyway and I suck at life.
Social anxiety has become a very real thing for me. I don’t know exactly what I am so afraid of – no, that’s a lie. I can define precisely what I am afraid of. I’m afraid of walking in and not finding the group, of wandering stupidly around some restaurant or bar looking for one of about 16 groups of lesbians. I’m afraid of sitting down with the wrong group of people. Or, even if I find the right group, of that group already being so engrossed in conversation that they cannot be bothered to talk to me (much the way my coworkers sometimes are when I walk into the lunchroom, or the office in the morning, or whatever). Of not finding connection right away, of awkward moments, of needing to get the fuck out of there but not being able to because I have to figure out how to pay my portion of the bill, and of not having correct change. Of being checked out, of not being checked out. I’m so afraid of all these things sometimes living alone now that I sometimes have anxiety attacks and cry before attempting to go out. Sometimes even after, even if it went well, because the hype was too much and I’m still stressed out. #confessiontime #thatsnotbeingaballer
Anyway, last weekend I did not drink myself to sleep at 1:00 in the afternoon like I wanted to. I got up, went to the beach, read some feminist books, came home and ate Indian food. I managed to make a good day out of it. But it still sucked.
I suppose, to be perfectly honest, I am operating under the hope that life will happen to me like a season of The L Word – that I’m going to be adopted by this posse of ridiculously attractive lesbian friends who meets at a coffee shop before work every morning, parties together on weekends, and goes out to conquer the world of women together.
Um…yeah. Life doesn’t happen that way.
But it hasn’t been all bad…this weekend was far better. Stay tuned. 😀