Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Queerem Theorem

[via ahmet.erdem]

Sluts! Good morning.

The other night, I was walking back from drinks with Erin, a friend from Chicago.

As we all headed towards her car, she sniffed the air and said, “Doesn’t it just smell like the end of summer? Cut grass, leftover bonfire smoke, hot cement, night wind.”

She sighed happily.
Clearly, Erin was ready for fall. She had packed her summer full.

She had lived.

[via okaycaceface]

I acted like I was also sniffing the air appreciatively. Inside, though, I was panicking.

The end of summer? The END of summer?

[via popmyeyes]

Bitch no.

Here is a list of all the things I have not done yet this summer:

  • Swum in one of the 10,000 goddamn lakes in Minnesota
  • Been on someone’s boat
  • Skinnydipped a single time
  • Sat astride a bike
  • Chased the ice cream truck while screaming and leaking quarters
  • Made out sweatily with a stranger on a queer bar patio
  • Waved a sparkler
  • Been bored out of my mind
  • Skipped work even once
  • Gone on a trip that spanned more than 3 days
  • Read a book in a hammock under a tree
  • Watched a terrible summer release movie about the origins of a superhero or some shit
  • Eaten a ripe peach (the fruit u pervert)
  • Put Sun-In in my hair in an attempt to turn it white (this is my annual summer goal)
  • Worn a bikini top under my clothes just in case impromptu swimming happened
  • Injured myself lavishly due to being barefoot on an inappropriate surface

Obviously, I have some catching up to do.

[the absolutely perfect park near my house]

When I realized that Erin was right, that summer was officially close to done, I made up my mind to cram as much summer into the next few weeks as possible.

I mean, I had plans.
I was going to buy a damn kayak this summer.
What the fuck.

The sad truth is: I’ve just been working, y’allfags.

Working a 40-hour-a-week corporate copywriting job and then freelancing at night, a lot, when I get home. I’m on this new kick where I’m trying hard to pay off all my credit card debt and my car loan and my student loans as fast as I can—I’m suddenly incredibly, unbelievably tired of working in offices so I can continue to make minimum payments on my debt loads each month.

I’m pulling the plug, ya know?
I want out. I want freedom.

I want to write what I want to write, and maybe get paid for it someday, and to not spend my only life wearing cardigans in freezing grey office buildings to cover up the fact that I’m not wearing a bra, smiling thinly when someone wishes me a “Happy Tuesday!” in the kitchen at 8 a.m.

[via poppylissiman]

I’m ready.

That means I’ve been funneling all my paychecks towards my debt so hard that I constantly cut it too close and do things like get my debit card rejected when buying $24 worth of groceries at the co-op. (That was yesterday; I acted like I used the wrong card and it was NBD, but a dewy sheen of stress-sweat broke out along my hairline.)

But! No matter.
It’s time for a little fun, I think.

Time to cut loose; make some irresponsible decisions before summer completely passes me by.

Let me just fire up my Tinder.

[via doyouconsideryourselffeminist]

Actually, a lot of my life feels like irresponsible decisions, and I’m becoming more and more OK with that.

On August 4, I celebrated my one year anniversary of moving to Minneapolis.

I’m really proud I made the decision to put my happiness and well-being first.

I’m also still so overjoyed to be in this beautiful lil’ green city that I cannot even drive past the skyline at any time of day or night without murmuring, “Aw, look at her” in a weird, fond voice, as if I were looking at my grandma dressed up for her 90th birthday party.  

From an outsider’s perspective, though, I had hit a new low when I moved.

I was a 33-year-old single dyke who owned exactly two rabbits, one broken scooter, and several black trash bags of clothes. I was leaving a relationship of four years and leaving a stable job that paid me slightly more than enough to live. I had mountains of debt, no insurance, and no new job lined up. I also had no savings—I had to put the U-Haul on my last, non-maxed-out credit card (praying it wouldn’t put me over the limit.)

Btw, if you’ve only ever rented a U-Haul to move within your own city, and it was like $90, you will not be ready for the shock of how much it costs to take a U-Haul over a single state line. $870, homos.

[View from the U-Haul, August 4, 2016]

In Minneapolis, at first, I was an emotional wreck, crying at the smallest things.
I cried when I got caught in a downpour at night and locked myself out of the house—Seven was asleep inside, but I didn’t know her well yet, and I was afraid to wake her up.
So I sat on the porch, soaking wet, and sobbed.

I cried when I realized I had bought a new mattress for myself and was only sleeping on one side, automatically leaving room for my ex.

I cried in the middle of the afternoon in an Uber when Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” came on.
I don’t want to talk about it.

Things got better slowly, and then they got better so rapidly I couldn’t even keep up.

Suddenly I was dating wonderful people steadily, and not-hating my new job, and being paid the honest-to-god going rate for a senior copywriter, and having great sex. I was hanging out on blankets at the lake, and taking my dog roommates for romps at the park, and throwing femme parties with Tawnya, and ordering cold press at coffee shops, and having baristas immediately know what the fuck cold press was, because I was in Minneapolis, dammit, and in Minneapolis, things are called by their proper names.

Now being unhappy feels like a hazy memory.
I'm gonna do my best to keep it that way.

I’m 34, and only just starting to feel like I’m actually getting my life together.

That feeling especially includes dating.

I’ve learned, um, quite a lot about relationships in the last few years, particularly about what I can and cannot handle in a relationship, and I don’t think I could have learned it any other way than living through each and every scenario that is, and is not, whooooaaa nelly, OK with me.

Everyone learns about this stuff differently, but for me, it’s taken far, far longer that I would have ever suspected to learn even the basics about what I need in partnerships.

My friend Steffany has a theory I like a lot about queer dating and relationships.

She posits that since we were all raised in a heteronormative world, pretty much only seeing heteronormative role models (unless we were luckyasses raised by queers), and only observing heteronormative relationship dynamics represented in all forms of media, many of us queers are… possibly! maybe! a little behind when dealing with our romantic relationships.

Her theory: since most of us were brought up believing that we would function entirely in straight society, and maybe weren’t even aware we were queer until perhaps puberty or far later, it’s possible that many of us queers have been stalled in how we operate within relationships by up to a decade.

And ooooh.

Entertain this idea with me!

[via scariest_bug_ever]

Puberty happens for most humans at around age 11-13.
There are so many feelings during puberty! And you felt them all so intensely! Remember that shit?

And then, when lots of us come out at whatever age we come out at, we go through a babydyke or babyqueer phase—a second puberty.

[via autostraddle]

That second puberty offers lots of excitement—everything is so new! let’s cover ourselves in rainbows, OMG YOU’RE GAY? I’M GAY TOO!!!!—and lots of really intense feelings. There are first loves all over again, and there's tons of drama.

Our second puberty—realizing we’re queer and can fuck and be in love with other queers—often happens years and years after our first puberty.

[via antonzhuman]

That’s a lot of time to spend not-practicing relationships with other queers.

Most of us still operated 100% in Heteroland until we came out.

We missed a helluva lot of opportunities to practice being in gayass relationships in our formative years.

[via ship]

For me, it was about 10 years.
That's 10 years of queer relationship practice I didn’t get, or think about, at all.

So wait: Using this theory, if I’m 34, that means I’m actually only 24 when it comes to dating, and maybe that’s why I’m only now starting to put it all together.

[via manicpixiememequeen]

Oh I like this theory.

You’re 26?
Dahling, you’re only 16 in Queer Dating Years (QDY hehehe).

You have so much time to learn.

[via ashlyncoco]

As you might imagine, I find this idea extremely comforting.

I think Steffany’s theory could possibly explain a lot about queer relationships in general—why we get so obsessed with our first queer loves, why we have so much drama, and why we have such intense bonding and then outrageous breakups.

We’re all still learning! We’re all catching up, cementing in the lessons we didn’t learn the first time around, when being straight was the only option we’d ever seen!

It’s also entirely possible that I’m just using it to soothe myself into believing I’m not a total fuckup.

Goddamn, though, this idea is cute to me.

What do y’allfags think?


  1. Second puberty makes perfect sense. I'm glad mine is over!

    On another note, I really hope that in your writing goals you have "advice book author." Your column was so helpful to me when I came out. You have most of the things needed for a book proposal for agents and queer publishing houses already (a back catolog of work, an audience, awards for your blog, oh- and you've been published in the NYT!).

    If you write it, us gays will buy it.

  2. I have a similar theory cakes "gay age" this also explains why there can be such large age differences in queer couples. I started dating girls when I was 14 and my wife didn't start dating girls until she was 20. She is 6 years older than me but our gay age is the same because we've been out the same length of time.

    There's still a lot of MN summer left, enjoy!

  3. Ummmmm YES TO ALL OF THIS. You have it on point. I really want QDY to become a thing.
    That way, when meeting cute girls, I can say "Hey! I'm so and so...my QDY is a a fourth grader, still wanna date me?" And hopefully not scare them away :P

  4. Yep, and the revelations keep coming.
    I'm 44, and lately I've been wondering why breakups and dating disappointments are still so painful to me. I have become AN OLD. Shouldn't I be tough???
    Then I was listening to the podcast Nancy, and a lesbian told her mom who refused to talk about her sexual identity that it hurt her feelings that recently she liked a girl that didn't like her back, and she couldn't just tell her mom "here's why I'm sad" and be comforted about it.
    And I realized that's a thing straight girls normally have. They can tell mom about a guy they crushed on who didn't like them, and mom will eat ice cream with them and hug them and talk about how it's ok and she'll find a better guy.
    And I never had that.
    By the time my mom was comfortable enough with my orientation that we could have talked about that, I felt like I was too old to be crying about a crush not liking me.
    The last time a crush didn't crush back on me, my mom asked what happened and I was the one stiffly saying "let's talk about something else" because never having had this made me uncomfortable with discussing it.
    Sooooo yeah it's a mess, and very hard to get to the point of knowing what you need in a relationship, what you need to avoid, who you need around you to cope with the bad stuff when it doesn't go right, etc. Because nothing about hetero world prepared us for this.

  5. I understand ya, I feel ya, I flirt with ya and I feel ya in more or less in that order

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  8. Well, it is a good theory. I like it.

    I also believe that when AIDS happened ( I was out at 15 and there for it. Voice of experience here...) We lost 3 generations of the gay men who guided and raised baby mo's. All that mentoring was lost. Now, staring down the Shotgun barrel of 50, I recently realized that I am the last of the baby dykes that were raised by them. We are a culture that has had to raise itself. It makes shit more difficult. Not impossible but, a bit a little rougher. Lucky for us you can look around and your aunt dyke or uncle fag is still here, quietly lingering in a corner just waiting to help. Just ask... :)

  9. I had two friends who did exactky what you describe. They married when it became legal in their state. I witnessed the first of it. It was exhausting.