It’s been a long time since I have heard about a relationship starting with a date. You know, like Meg Ryan movies, where you meet someone, ask them out for coffee, fake an orgasm to prove a point, then years later fall in love. Or even just being introduced to a cute girl, going to the movies, and building some chemistry before beginning a tongue led exploration of her tonsils. The pattern that seems to prevail amongst my generation is get the shift on a night out, text, shift some more, text, start seeing each other, and finally, go on a date. There are times when I mourn this lack of romance in our culture, but who am I to judge to what we Irish do best: the bar scene.
Get out of jail free
When I was younger, in a club, and one of the group would become the subject of some unwanted male attention, the lesbian excuse was our get out of jail free card. At the age of seventeen, telling a guy you were into girls and grinding up against your friend really does make their advances disappear into the night. Cut to age twenty when it’s an entirely different story. A guy I know recently went on an angry rant about girls using the lesbian excuse to reject guys on a night out. I make an effort, he fumed, and they don’t even have the decency to be honest. As far as I can tell, this is a resounding feeling amongst men, and thus, the lesbian excuse doesn’t work anymore. You say you like chicks, but some guys will keep pushing. Why do girls pretend to be gay when they don’t want to deal with men? And why do men not believe them anymore? Is it really so difficult to say no when you feel the pressure of an unwanted arm sliding around your waist?
Let’s start with pretending to be gay. (I’m not going to get into the Katy Perry style drunken experimentation that some girls engage in. Each to their own, I’m not here to judge.) A part of me wants to do a full feminist dissection of the concept, suggesting that there is a lack of respect for a woman’s self, apprehension about making one’s own choices, and fear of getting into a situation which may put them in danger. Any of these things could be true, but I still think there is another reason in the majority of cases. Awkwardness. Which is easier: dealing with the continuous come-ons of someone you have no interest in and having to dole out some cruel honesty or saying you love the ladies, and for that reason there is no chance it is ever going to happen? I would tend to plump for the latter.
Fiction of femmes
In spite of whether they are telling the truth or not, what is it that makes men scoff in disbelief? Maybe it’s because the girls they are approaching are wearing heels and dresses; god forbid a lesbian ever look feminine. Perhaps some guys still think that they are the cure to all homosexual tendencies a woman might possess and that all that this one needs is a good ride to turn her back to the straight and narrow. It could be that they have just figured out the game by now, and like my friend, feel disrespected when lied to.
The funny thing is that if a guy ever said that they were gay, any girl would back off straight away. Is this because Irish society increasingly acknowledges that gay men won’t be “cured” by a good dose of heterosexual intercourse or because the word of the logical minded man is taken as fact? The media continues to perpetuate the opinion that all female sexuality is fluid whereas everything is black and white with men. When a gay man kisses a woman, he can still identify as homosexual without question. If a gay woman ever did the same with a man, she must be at least bisexual, and therefore full of lies. For some reason, the myth persists that everyone has the potential to end up with a man.
It used to bother me a lot more before – I felt that if the lesbian excuse didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have to explain myself to gay and straight communities alike as to why I was engaging with both genders. Nowadays, I care a lot less about rationalising my right to be here. Girls will probably still pretend to be queer for years to come. My hope is that one day there will be enough respect for LBT women, and women in general, that they don’t have to.