Sex makes me uncomfortable. Wait…that’s not right.
Talking about sex makes me uncomfortable. There. That’s better.
“So, why write a blog post about it, Cox?” you’re probably thinking to yourself. And, yes, I’m aware that I’ve already written the word “sex” and my last name is Cox. It’s unfortunate, but it’s real.
OK…so the reason for this post…and this isn’t the “news” part of it, but it needs to be stated just in case you didn’t know: (PS peep my hair. There’s a clue.) I’m gay. And when people figure out that you’re gay, they immediately start thinking about sex. How do they do it? What’s gay sex look like? Can they even have sex?
Disclaimer: I know that not ALL people immediately begin thinking about sex when they find out you’re gay, but a lot do.
So, one of my neighbors is an…umm…older woman who has both insulted and complimented me on more than one occasion. For example, this exchange actually happened while my house was undergoing renovations:
Her: You have done so much to your house. I envy your energy. Now, tell me, is it just innate that your people know how to fix stuff up? You’re all just so handy.
Her: Aren’t you gay?
Me: Umm…yes. And gay girls are pulled aside in 5th grade and taken to shop classes, while gay boys go to theatre camp.
Her: Well, now, you’re just pulling my leg.
Me: Yes, ma’am.
This was followed up later in the day with me in a dress heading out to a party, and her completely flabbergasted that “my people” are handy AND wear dresses.
Which brings me to the conversation I had with her on Thursday morning.
My lady neighbor caught me as I was getting in my car, presumably to leave my house to go somewhere. It was at this time that she decided she’d like to talk to me about my “people.”
The conversation went as such:
Her: Can I ask you a question?
I immediately think, “Well you just did. You mean another question?” But I respond with, “Of course.”
Her: Have you always known you were gay?
Me: Well, good morning to you, too.
Her: I’m sorry. Good Morning. (slight pause) Have you always know you were gay?
Her: Do you think my daughter is gay?
To be clear, I’ve spoken to her adult daughter that lives with her exactly one time. I think I waved at her from across our two lawns, and she said, “Hi.” I shouted “Hi” back. The end.
Me: Umm…I don’t know.
Her: You can’t tell?
Me: No. She hasn’t filled out a membership application yet, and I am the Membership Chair, so I would definitely know.
Her: (completely deadpan) You’re making a joke.
Her: This isn’t a joking matter.
I study her for a moment.
Me: Oh. You’re serious. You think your daughter is gay?
She begins to cry. On my front lawn. With my car on. I get out of my front seat.
Me: Do you want to come inside for some coffee?
She is hesitant. She wants my advice, but she’s nervous to be alone with me in my house, I guess. In the open air, I’m not nearly as contagious.
Me: How ‘bout we have some coffee on my back patio?
Her: That would be delightful.
I love when people use that word to describe stuff.
She heads through my gate into my backyard. I kill the engine on my car and walk inside. I fix two mugs of coffee and meet her in the back. It’s slightly chilly.
I won’t bore you with the entire conversation, but basically her daughter’s lack of dates with men and insistence on hanging out with her girl friends have led her to believe that she is a lesbian.
Her: What am I going to do?
She asks this legitimately, as though I will commiserate.
Me: I don’t know what you mean.
Her: Isn’t it hard?
While she asks this in all seriousness, I can’t help but think, “That’s what she said.” Or, in this case, perhaps, “That’s not what she said.”
Her: Your life. Aren’t people mean to you?
Well, now we’re getting somewhere.
Me: Yes. Sometimes.
Her: And what about the love of a man?
Me: Umm…well, that’s the thing about lesbians…
Her: No. I know. But you can’t be taken care of in your house or in your bed.
Me: We’re not actually going to talk about sex are we?
Her: Well, I want grandchildren. I want my daughter to feel loved…taken care of.
Me: Right. Umm…
I’m horrifically uncomfortable. I’m sweating. And it’s cold.
Her: Can you even be satisfied?
I can’t answer these questions.
Her: Can you even have sex?
This isn’t happening.
Her: What do two women do in bed?
Make a joke. Make a fucking joke. Get out of this!
Me: Well, sex between lesbians always starts with brushing each other’s hair. Which is hard for me ‘cause my hair is short, and I use a lot of product.
There’s an uncomfortable silence. Then she starts to chuckle.
Her: You’re messing with me.
Me: I am.
We laughed together for a minute.
Her: What am I supposed to do?
Me: You’re not going to start having lesbian sex are you?
Me: Well, then I don’t know what you mean.
Her: What if she’s gay?
Me: What if she is?
That stumped her. She sat there, looking out over my backyard.
Her: Her life will be hard.
Me: Some parts…yes. Other parts? Not so much.
Her: Isn’t your life hard?
Me: Meh. I live in a great house. I drive a decent car. I own my own business. I have many people who love me.
Her: How can I let her know it’s ok to tell me?
Me: Tell her that. Let her know it’s ok to tell you.
Her: Then, what if she is?
Me: What if she is?
Her: I guess it doesn’t matter.
Me: That’s the best possible answer.
Her: But what if she’s not?
Me: What if she’s not?
Her: I guess it doesn’t matter.
There was more, but I was struck with how it ended.
Her: You don’t know me at all. And yet…here you are, talking to me.
Me: My people are good listeners. I mean, why do you think we’re so good with talk shows – Ellen? Rosie? Oprah?
Her: Oprah is gay?!?
Me: While debatable…no. I just needed a third. Comedy happens in threes.
We stand. She hugs me. Oh, also…I’m not a hugger.
Her: Thank you. I think I’m ready to talk to her.
She was teary.
Me: Absolutely not a problem. Remember, if she is gay…nothing for her has changed. She is no different than she was yesterday. You just know more about her.
She took my face in her hand. She would clearly catch “the gay” now.
Her: You are a good person.
She walked home.
I was late going home that night and kept my fingers crossed that she didn’t walk her twenty-year-old daughter over to my house with a hairbrush in tow. But I didn’t see her.
She did, however, catch me Friday evening as I was (again) leaving. She waits for that, I’m sure. “Oh…she looks like she’s going somewhere. This is the perfect time for a chat.”
She explained that she waited for her daughter to come home, then sat her down, told her she loved her, and asked her if she had anything to tell her. She said that her daughter got really quiet, and she readied herself for the news.
Apparently, her daughter has been seeing a guy for quite some time. It’s “real love…maybe her first.” She’s not ready to introduce him to her mom and knew that would bother her, so that’s why she hasn’t told her.
“She’s not gay!”
She seemed genuinely happy. She nearly shouted it. She hugged me.
Me: Umm…I’m happy for you…?
Her: I didn’t tell her I thought she might be gay.
Me: That’s probably for the best.
Her: It would have really been OK if she was. I mean that.
Me: That’s good to know.
Her: Mija, I want you to know that I think you would make a fantastic mother. We’ll have to find a man that’s worthy enough to give you his sperm.
And, really, there’s not much more to say about that.