Coming out is such an intensely personal decision, since being queer is somewhat of a seemingly mutable way of being different. ("Passing" as straight is easier for some than others, and it is often tied to gender presentation.) I thought in honor of the occasion, and the fact that I told this story to my friends Jenna and Rick at my Epic High Holiday Shabbat dinner on Friday, I would share it here!
Yesterday the fabulous Vagina Jenkins posted a Facebook Status that said the following:
“Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowbois!”
My response was “I disagree. The cowbois raised today will be cougar fodder for you and me when we’re 50, Vagina Jenkins.”
Vag: “Hmmmm, true! I revise my previous statement to say ‘Mamas, do let your babies grow up to be cowbois, as long as they keep it packin’ and know how to treat a lady…'”
Bevin: “How about ‘Mamas, do let your babies grow up to be feminist cowbois with good hair, appropriate equipment and manners.'”
Vag: “Yeh, but now it sounds like it might be offbeat….BB you are an amazing woman…you know that?”
Bevin: “I do know that, but I never ever tire of hearing it. Especially during my currently highly jaded and annoyed attitude towards my romantic life. This is when I turn to my art and just do shit so that the tiny queers coming up now know how to love themselves, treat a grown ass woman and be good ethical humans. Even if things aren’t going well for me now they can go well for a sassy 30 year old queer fat femme in 2019.”
I’ve had a hard time articulating a way in which I can turn my latest rage into productivity. In the absence of some flowery prose, I will tell you what is giving me the rage lately:
People who don’t know how to break things off with someone properly and/or who cannot gracefully turn down a date.
First, I will give you a list of real life examples from my life and my friends lives in the last couple of months to illustrate why my rage is at a boil.
Example A: You go out with a girl on two proper marathon* dates with a total of 3 hook ups that involved going all the way. You break up with her via picture text message. A picture text from a popular nighttime drama set that films in New York City.
“[This show] is filming by my work again, it made me think of you. Also you’re awesome but I don’t want to go out with you anymore can we be friends?”
Example B: You get a cutesy email from a Femme asking you out on a casual date because you have been flirting for a month and she’s trying to cut to the chase. You respond with a five paragraph emotional dump going on some long tangents about your private emotional business, including some massively hurtful assumptions about the Femme’s relationship to food, along with about four excuses as to why you can’t go out with her including that you’re not really interested in dating anyone anyway. Follow that up with going on a date with her roommate 2 weeks later. Just for good “I was lying about that stuff anyway” measure.
Example C: You’ve been dating a girl about six months. You publicly claim to be very chivalrous, but instead of breaking up with her in person, you call her on the phone. While she’s at brunch with her friends. Break up with her then.
Example D: I was just reminded of this tonight, so I’m just going to reiterate it here. Get the full story on Episode 2 of FemmeCast. But how about you’re engaged to be married to a Femme, due to your made up depression (to conveniently explain away your affair with her friend) you’ve decided you need some space to sort your emotional mess out so you move away to a place with no lease so you can move back in with your fiance again. Oh, and she’s moved to another place that she can afford on her own but has made all of these accommodations because you are supposed to move back in with her in a couple of months. So you take her out of your top friends on myspace and the same day dump her in an email.
Listen up, people. This goes for Femmes and non-Femmes alike, even though all the above examples were butch identified women or transguys. There are, unfortunately, a million more examples every queer who has ever dated can come up with just plain rude and ridiculous behavior. Scoundrels and bad manners come in all gender presentations, and while curing scoundrelhood is beyond the scope of this blog post, I am going to teach you bad manners queers a little something.
A little something about acting right.
When a potential suitor complimented another girl’s cleavage on my facebook page, Alysia Angel gave me the term “That’s just no home training!” I’ve found that phrase really apt and helpful in the last few months.
Look, everyone makes mistakes and everyone screws up, especially with regards to other people’s feelings. But it doesn’t take more than a moment’s consideration to figure out how to best handle a sticky situation where someone wants something from you, romantically, that you can’t or won’t give. Mostly, it just takes courage.
The easy way out is to text a girl instead of having a conversation with her about how you don’t want to see her anymore. But seriously? If you live in the same metropolitan area as someone, you need to go see them and break up with them. If you’ve had more than one date with a girl that involves sex, same deal. Meet over coffee. Yeah, it’s awkward. Nobody ever died of awkward.**
And sometimes it feels like in New York City everyone has to have a long distance relationship because interborough travel can take up to 2 hours. But seriously? Your girl is at brunch and you can’t just hustle your ass to meet her afterwards if your breaking up with her is so ridiculously urgent?
Chivalry does not end during the courtship phase. It goes all throughout the relationship and on into the break-up.
And as for how to decline a date invite graciously? A simple “No thank you, I don’t feel that chemistry between us” will suffice. Nothing you can do about lack of chemistry. It’s inarguable. Way better than some bullshit “I’m not over my ex” or “I just don’t feel like dating right now” because that only makes you look like an asshole when you start hitting on her friends on OK Cupid.
And for crying out loud, please don’t go into WHY you don’t feel like chemistry is there. I don’t want to hear some convoluted story about why you don’t like fat girls or why you don’t like people who love themselves or why you’re threatened by a girl with an advanced degree or a high IQ. No chemistry is fine. I’ll just assume you don’t like femmes or tall people or glitter or whatever I need to in order to preserve my pride.
In defense of the majority of people I have dated or tried to date will say I have been party to plenty of graceful “no, thank you’s”. My ex, Seth, drove all the way up from Philly to break up with me. We’d been together for three years and at the time I didn’t stop to think about what a class act that was, but it was. It was really classy to make that 90 minute drive. And I’ve had a few date declines that even involved semi-colons and nice words about how hot I am. Semi-colons are my favorite punctuation. A good date decline is awesome and makes me feel really good about having those people in my life as friends.
Someone told me tonight “It’s cowardly to break up with your fiance in an email.” Yes. Yes it is. So I just implore all of you out there reading to cowboi up and don’t be a coward. Do the right thing and just be the best version of yourself when you’re delivering news someone doesn’t want to hear. Respect her and respect yourself. Take a couple of breaths before you respond to hysterics with more hysterics and use your “I” statements.
Keep in mind when you’re breaking things off with someone you’ve had the luxury of thinking about it a long time before she has, and give her the chance to catch up by being clear-headed yourself.
There are lots of hot people out there who read my blog, I know because some of you are my friends on Facebook. (Damn, you’re looking good.) Anyway, you all need to do right by each other so that we can have a little more peace in the queer community and a little less rage.
Oh, and by the way? Girls talk. Do wrong by one and a network of 10, 20, maybe more girls will hear about it. It is the blessing and the curse of our community.
Since I know there are plenty of you out there who are all “But Bevin, I have this oh so complicated situation and I can’t do anything but this douche move*** in this instance” I challenge to by saying NO! There is still a classy way out of it. Email me and I’ll help. My service to the community or whatever. Femmecast at gmail dot com. I’ll get the Gay Dr. Phil, one of my very favorite cowbois, to help me out.
*Marathon is 6 hours or more. Basically when you go out for a solid part of a day.
**Rachael gave me that one. It’s my motto.
***The show Greek on hulu.com is better than Gossip Girl.