Ask A Lesbian: 14

Originally posted on Thought Catalog April 11, 2013

Hi, friends! Sorry for the incredibly long hiatus. It turns out graduate school, jobs, family, and life overall become a hindrance when I just wanna write about lesbian stuff all the time. But, I digress. I am back, I am sorry for being gone for so long, and I promise I’ll never leave you sweet baby angels ever again. Mama’s here. Let’s get to the questions, shall we?

Hey. The equal-signs-for-equality. I have one up as my Facebook profile photo because I believe in equality, but my friend told me I was stupid because it’s not making a change, and told me to ask the LGBTQ community. Thoughts? Am I just a straight person jumping on the wrong bandwagon?

Okay. This has been a personal internal debate. I personally agree with our dear friend Nico on all accounts: marriage equality is important, but it’s not for everyone. And the “equality sign” does have a few issues.

I get a lot of weird looks and comments from people when they find out I don’t want to get married as a lesbian to my girlfriend. “Don’t you want equal rights?” “You know you’re in the minority, right?” Yes, I want equal rights, and no, I’m not in a minority. Why wouldn’t I want to be equal, always? And as we start to experience life and we move further into the marriage debate, the more I realize that entering into a heteronormative partnership that society tells me is equal, right, and normal, the less I want it.

My girlfriend and I have talked about following suit with friends of ours – if we ever get to the point of wanting to be partnered, we can do so. We can have a civil union which grants us rights we will need to be in the hospital together and if we have children, it protects them. We can have a huge party that everyone who has loved and supported us can come to. We can drink wine and dance and eat all of our favorite foods. That’s enough for me. I don’t need society telling me that my relationship needs to be validated with a ring, a paper, and a third party telling me its okay. If I see myself and my love as equals, then marriage just isn’t the right path for me. And that’s okay.

But what about my support for others who want that? I’m not here to tell anyone that they can or can’t get married. Nobody should tell anyone that, actually, yet here we are. And I believe the equality symbols raised some pretty important awareness. Sadly, I don’t think it was researched awareness. The equality sign is a symbol of the Human Rights Council. The HRC is a leader in LGBTQ marriage issues, and they’re on par with celebrity endorsements and support with the likes of GLAAD. They have a big voice in this marriage equality battle that’s being forged. Yet, when there was a photo opportunity on March 27 in Washington, D.C., for the anti-DOMA/Prop 8 rally, a transgender group was not only asked to leave the stage, but told that marriage was not a transgender issue.

Really?

Now, ignorant me, I didn’t know this until I did a bit of research about the event. The HRC wasn’t going to address it, but lo and behold, the magic of the internet abound, those Facebook photos of equal signs turned into the greater-than symbols, to pink T’s, to …lots of things. It brought the issue up, and it forced the HRC to apologize. Thought I don’t think they meant it, this is where I believe the equal sign photos did matter two-fold. In one vein, we raised awareness, and people who felt otherwise uncompelled or awkward in small towns or Catholic families when they wanted to bring up the issue took a stand by changing their photo to something they saw as important. Secondly, those who are deep in the issue and consider it daily, myself included, learned  a bit about what equality is, who it is for, and why we’re even debating it in the first place. So, I’d say that for the most part, people fit into those two spots.

That, or you’re one of those real sweethearts who had an equal sign with a line through it, because marriage is God’s gift to one man and one woman. Thanks. We’ll keep fighting, and you’ll keep being hateful, but we’ll win in the end. Sorry. Xo.

What do I do if I’m in an open relationship but I start to dig one of the girls I’ve been hooking up with?

Ahh, the age-old question. Now, for me personally, this is one of the many reasons I am not in one of these bad girls. I don’t have the time to juggle what I’m tossing around currently, and throwing another lady into the mix would prove disastrous. But, I commend you! You took a plunge, sister. Cheers.

First things first, what was the discussion you had with your lady before beginning the open part of your relationship? If you’re anything like me, you wrote these “guidelines” down. If not, just revisit them in your head. What was protocol for this sitch? Hopefully it wasn’t “Oh, that’ll never happen, haha, moving on!” That leaves things a bit more ambiguous.

But, let’s say that was in fact what rules were laid out. Now what? It has happened, and here you are. Okay. Deep breaths. Say it with me. “Shit. Happens.”

This might have been way out of left field. This might have been something you could have sensed coming, I’m not sure. This might have been a friend you’ve known for a while, or this might have been a random lady hookup, via the guidelines of your relationship. But now, this, this is the hard part. What next?

I would say that since you’re in an open relationship, you may have disclosed this with said new girl if you’re starting to get a cavity (remember that line from Clueless? Let’s bring it back!) If this is the case, I would go ahead and bring it up with my girlfriend. A – I’m a terrible liar, and B – the lines of communication are supposed to be open, open, open in any type of relationship. Imagine being in your lady’s shoes. Would you want to be kept in the dark? This isn’t amateur hour, we’re talking big leagues. It’s time to take some responsibility for your feelings. And if you’re feeling thunder both down under and in your heart, own that. That’s okay. But don’t ignore it. Deal with it, for your sake, for your love’s sake, and for the new girl’s as well.

Why does the stereotype of U-Hauling feel so damn true?

Oh. Well.

Because it is.

For those who don’t understand the question, let me tell ya. There’s this joke, right? “What does a lesbian bring on the second date?” “A U-Haul!” Laughter ensues. It then becomes a part of queernacular – “They hooked up two weeks ago, and I shit you not, they U-Hauled this weekend!” “I don’t know. Things were cool. I thought we were taking it slow. Then we U-Hauled.” “She got in a fight with her roommates, and next thing you know, U-Haul at the front door.” And I have to say, it wouldn’t be part of the conversation if it weren’t, in fact, true.

Krista over at Effing Dykes actually just wrote on this subject, so I’m glad you decided to ask, dear friend of mine.  It’s springtime, right? And spring cleaning happens, and you become a little more…well, frisky. Staying at your girlfriend’s place is just more convenient, right? And her bed is just like clouds! And she doesn’t have roommates, so you can fuck all over the house! And and and and!

I’m sorry, but I’m going to agree with Krista on this. Cool your jets, sister. It’s the sunshine talking. If you haven’t been together for somewhere around a year (and this does not mean seven months because that’s closer in Price-is-Right terms to the 12-month mark), at least take the time to really think about it. Yes, schlepping your shit across the city might get annoying, but at least it’s nice out and you aren’t getting snow in your boots, right? If you do stay at your girl’s place a majority of the week, that’s cool. But having your own retreat space at the beginning of the relationship is so important. You’ll come to a point where you’ll need what my girlfriend calls “wombat time,” or time to yourself because you’ve just spend the past 72 hours eating, sleeping, sexing, dishwashing, working alongside of, and breathing with your lover

It’s okay to clear out a little space in the dresser for your love, even a toothbrush spot. But the whole “let’s move in together!” should be a conversation saved for a seriously stable relationship. It also helps to not burn bridges on the way – breaking a lease with your roomies because you want to be able to sleep next to your lady every night but having that fall apart with nowhere to go back to is horrible for all parties. Don’t be that jerk.

Now, I’m not saying that moving in together early doesn’t work. It does for some! But there’s a whole lotta stuff that comes with relationships, and I’d say this: if you’re not comfortable doing something personal in front of your love (farting. Let’s say farting), maybe think about if you’re ready to live with them. What if they catch you picking your nose? What if you laugh so hard you pee a little? What if you’re pooping with the door open because you think you’re home alone? Are you going to die with embarrassment if they catch you? Think about the things you do alone, and question if you’re ready, really ready, to do that in front of the person you have sex with. That might seem a bit graphic or silly, but it’s true. Those things become exposed when you are together in those 650-square-feet-of-fun. And if you’re ready for that, you’re ready. If you’ve got spring fever, just live out to the end of your lease and have the discussion after. Good luck!

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