I’ve been noticing a pattern on this blog. In fact, I thought about it all through the weekend as I hunkered down with my loved ones and our respective dogs during Hurricane Irene. It seems like many of you are crushing on women that you either:
1. Never ask out
2. Never talk to
Now ladies, this worries me. How can the world produce happy lesbian couples when we are too scared to talk to each other? Don’t give me the “I’m scared of rejection” crap. Rejection happens to everyone. I’ve been rejected tons of times. When I was young and single, I approached people all the time. I had to, otherwise I would have never met anyone. Most of the time it paid off and sometimes I had to deal with the bitter sting of rejection. One of the great powers of the human brain is that we can block out memories that make us unhappy. I can report that the memories of being rejected are hazy and the memories of a night gone right last for MUCH longer. Plus you get bragging rights. If you don’t talk to the hot girl with the lip ring, you can’t say to your friends “Remember the time I banged that chick with the lip ring?”
Now, I realize as someone who is already married maybe you’re all like, “What does she know? She doesn’t have to deal with this kind of stuff anymore!” And you are right, I know very little. Barely anything in fact. However, I do have a story. A horrible, awful, embarrassing story. And I’m going to share it with you, because yours can’t be worse.
I went to a small school within a large university for college. So while my University had tens of thousands of students, my freshman class within my major only had about 150 people in it. We all had the same classes freshman year and continued on to basically fulfill the core of our coursework together over the next four years. When I entered college, I did so with a long distance boyfriend. I didn’t know I was gay but my boyfriend at the time had an inkling. When your boyfriend repeatedly asks you if you are gay, it might be an issue but that’s another story for another time.
Anyway so I walk into my first class on the first day of classes and you guys…a lesbian walked into class. A Canadian, ice-hockey playing, boi, to be exact. My heart started racing and I felt dizzy…and confused. I also lost any ability to speak. You know like words? She sat in front of me to the right, so I could sneak glances at her. I walked out of class that day completely freaked the eff out. As in…what the hell was that?
It wasn’t a one time thing. I lost the ability to speak every time I saw this girl and she was in 3 of my 5 classes…like for the next four years. She actually tried to talk to me a few times, as constant exposure to someone will prompt a sane person to do. I have no idea what I said back, but I think it was all one word answers. For example:
“Hi, where are you from?”
“Hey do you know if that AFL-CIO guy is guest lecturing in class later?”
“Are you going to the Dar Williams Concert?”
I wouldn’t be surprised if she thought I was a huge jerk. Even after I came out, I always had a reason not to talk to her. Like “I’m in a relationship now” or “My ex is sitting right there.” (Dating in a small school is hard) While both of these are valid reasons, they were excuses. I could have found the time to talk to her if I had wanted too. Whether I was dating men or women, I was usually the aggressor. I dated other classmates, women I met at parties. I would just walk up to people, talk to them, get their number, ask them to dinner. Boom. There you got yourself a date. If they say no, just find someone else. That’s not to dismiss everyone’s fears about dating and rejection, it was never a process that intimidated me…but when Ice Hockey Chick walked by I blushed. Like turned beet red.
To this day I don’t know exactly why I was so afraid to talk to her. But I do know it’s root cause is a fear that goes deeper than rejection. When we put ourselves out there to another person, we are risking everything and asking the other person to do the same. Maybe I was afraid to talk to her because I was worried she would kill my romantic fantasy of her. She was the epitome of the strong, outspoken, athletic lesbian. She raised her hand in class and gave the long winded, liberal speeches in that I thought but never said out loud. Maybe I was scared to talk to her because I didn’t want to see her imperfections, the chinks in her armor. Maybe I didn’t want to see the things that made her vulnerable because I needed her to stay on her pedestal.
I’m not writing this as a “road not travelled” piece. I don’t regret not dating this girl, my life is going the way it’s supposed to go. But if you put every girl on a pedestal, if you let that fear run your life and the threat of rejection dictate your choices, you are going to miss out on someone amazing. So speak up.