This month, Details totally lost me as a reader with an article called “The Lure of Dating an Ex-Lesbian.” The author, Ian Daly, talks about women who date women and then hitch up with men. He eloquently calls these gals “refugees from the isle of Lesbos … hasbians.” Interestingly, Daly’s research seems to prove the opposite of what his title implies. That is, that dating a “hasbian” is terrifying. He depicts dudes who date them as scared little school boys, afraid of their penises and scared that their clumsy fingers could never navigate the female anatomy as expertly as the women they’ve seen in lesbian pornos. Later, Daly obnoxiously writes that men who are in touch with their “feminine side” are more likely to date women who are “former homosexuals.”
I’ll save you the anguish of discussing Daly’s assertion that once motorcycle-riding, tattoo-covered lesbians “soften up,” they head straight for the penis. What I really want to talk about is Daly’s assumption that sexual orientation is super rigid.
It’s not just this guy who thinks that, but, well, pretty much everyone. No one seems to be able to wrap their head around the fact that some people’s orientation changes. I think being forced to identify as either straight, gay or bisexual is a major problem that people who are coming out face. When I was younger, I was straight. I dated and slept with men and liked it. A lot. Later, I got super confused and started defining my sexuality in terms of percentages. I’d say, “I’m 70 percent into girls and 30 percent into guys.” I know that sounds ridiculous, but it was my own feeble attempt to stay within the rigid confines of sexual identity while trying to understand myself.
Now, I’m a lesbian. That’s the way I want to identify and it isn’t anyone’s business but mine to question it. I’m pretty positive I’ll still be a lesbian tomorrow and the day after and, most likely, in years to come. But who knows? I think it’s ignorant to rule out the possibility that someday I’ll meet an amazing guy and fall totally and completely in love with him. Does this mean I’m straight or bi? No. Remember: I told you I’m a lesbian. At this point in my life, I want to be with a man about as much as I want to run a marathon with a hangover. That is, not at all. But things change. In straight relationships, engagements get called off, people fall out of love, divorce happens. There’s no reason sexual orientation has to be steady forever.
This whole team mindset is a big problem because it gives rise to the whole us-versus-them attitude. I realized early on in my lesbian dating career that saying I’ve dated men in the past was not something I should ever mention on a first date. It’s sort of like being a traitor. I know more than a few women who only date lesbians because they don’t want their partner leaving them for a man. Why is being left for a man worse than being left for a woman? Because it’s the other team. The bad guys. Roar!
And what’s this business with “reverting back”? Women who go from women to men or vice versa are always described as doing this reverting thing. Getting back with your abusive, drug-addicted ex is reverting. Getting with a dude then going steady with a woman is not. There is no backwards or forwards when it comes to finding someone whom you are compatible with, unless the relationship or the person is bad for you. Not to sound corny, but finding love is like a journey, regardless of your sexual orientation. I’d say it’s pretty nonlinear.
I think if people thought less about gender when trying to find love, everything would be a lot simpler. Obviously, some people are totally straight and some are totally gay and that’s great. But rather then getting caught up in some kind of identity-crisis limbo, wouldn’t it be cool if we could all just love who we love without being judged for our past? Men don’t need to worry if their girlfriend used to dig chicks because, dude, she’s with you now. And my girlfriend doesn’t need to worry about me leaving her for a guy any more than she needs to worry about me leaving her for a woman. In other words, she doesn’t need to worry at all. My sexual orientation does not dictate whether I’m going to cheat or if I’ll still love you in five years. The way I feel about you does.