I’ve heard you should write about what you know

Here’s what I know.

I know how to be single.

I know how NOT to be single, which curiously, is not the same thing as knowing how to be in a relationship.

I know that in gay years I’m 375 years old and I’m on the 6th or 7th incarnation of myself.

I’ve got a long way to go.

Yes, I keep coming back as me…a nuanced version.

Like the new and improved Iphone tadaaahh!

Or sometimes like the New Windows that has to be sent back for glitches that can’t be fixed, not this time around. Live with the glitches.

I know that each new me looks a little different; smells a little different, depending on who’s touched me, or held me in their arms.

I know that I’ll pick up a new word, forget an old song

and not be able to place why I hate peas now, when I used to love them.

I know that I know that I know that I know how to be single now.

I’m not afraid to admit that I like it…

Especially when my clothes pile high in the corner of my room and there is no sign of me lifting a finger to fix it

I like single when I can go to bed at 8 pm or 8 am and no one will frown at me in disapproval.

I like it when I sing too loud or want to stay silent for days.

I like single because it CAN be all about me

Or it can be all about giving         all         of          me           for something I love.

I know I hate single because I have to fold the sheets alone.

I hate single ’cause there’s no one to help with the dogs.

I know  how    to    be     single though.

Now, this time around

and I’m good at it.

I know how to be the only single person in the room and still have fun.

I can go to a new restaurant sans company and leave full and proud of myself.

I can challenge myself to do something I’ve never done before but always wanted to try

and be my biggest fan when I succeed.

I can fall flat on my face

lose my mind just a little

and see

that I am good enough anyway.

So I hear you think I’m Gay…

So I hear you think I’m gay?

I had just stepped down from the karaoke stage, beaming with self importance and knowing the bar tab prize at the end of the night was mine. (I was underage) I high-fived some fans on the way back to my vodka sour when a man stepped in front of me. I glanced at my vodka drink, just over an arms length away, and willed him to step aside.

He didn’t. Instead, he offered to buy me another drink. I hesitated, knowing my acceptance could lead to an evening of uncomfortable conversation and awkward silence.

I pictured him standing in the bar alone, wondering why I had never returned from the bathroom. I said “yes.”  He smiled. I immediately regretted my reply.

Oddly enough, he didn’t turn and walk the ten steps to the bar to get me a drink of his choosing, nor did he ask my preference. Instead, he posed a question I haven’t forgotten, one that sent my life spinning in the direction it still follows.

“So,” he said. “Before i get you a drink, I need to ask you a question.”

“Ask away”, I replied, not really caring that my annoyance showed through my fake smile.

“Are you gay?” he said.

My brain snapped to attention.

“Excuse me?” I replied. “What kind of question is that?”

I mentally placed an invisible mirror in front of me, scrutinizing my choice of outfits. Red and white striped shirt that showed off my teen-aged midriff, jeans, black boots…hmm Nine West’s version of combat boots, maybe that was it. It couldn’t have been my perfectly applied make up, my long straight Indian hair. Lesbians didn’t look like me. Did they?

“The reason I ask”, he said, interrupting my self scrutiny, “is because my ex wife left me for a woman. I’m extra careful now.”

I looked at him, really looked at him for the first time.

He was in his twenties(I guessed). He had a premature receding hairline he was obviously sensitive to (He had combed his hair forward to minimize its impact on his ego). He was Caucasian, blue eyes, not at all unattractive, but for his belly that pooched out over his khaki Dickies, and perhaps the fact that he was not only wearing khaki Dickies, but that his plain, brown, boring loafers peeked out from under those Dickies. I was too young to know if I had a type, but there, in that moment, I was sure that this man in front of me, was not it.

“Oh”, he said, interrupting my thoughts. “I also asked you cause my sister said you’re gay.”

I looked up at him, and could only ask, “Who’s your sister?”

He pointed to the bar where a woman sat at a stool with her back to us. From where I stood I could see her flannel shirt, (no joke) her tight jeans, and her REAL combat boots. I laughed. “Does she know she’s gay?”, I smarted.

“She’s not gay,” he replied.  I immediately thought of his mystery ex wife. He was not a good judge I would say.

I excused myself, forgetting that I still had not received the drink, remembering I had never answered his question. Drinks with conditions didn’t seem worth the trouble.

I walked up to the bar and planted myself next to her, deliberately staring at her profile, knowing she could no doubt feel my presence. If I kept staring, she would turn soon enough.

When she did, just a few seconds later, straw in mouth and in mid drink, I said, “So I hear you think I’m gay?”

She giggled, a reaction I didn’t expect, given her combat boots and brown flannel shirt.  I immediately softened, and smiled, felt flutters in my tummy I didn’t expect.

We closed the bar down, talking about everything and anything. I sent my confused friends home. We continued our conversation outside, long after the bar staff had turned off the last light and dumped out the last box of clanging bottles in the nearby dumpster.

I had my first kiss that night. Not my first kiss ever. I had kissed a guy, but this was my first real kiss, the first kiss teens dream about, with imaginary magic fairy dust floating in the air around you. I thought of her brother’s earlier question, and smiled as we kissed one more time before finally sitting in our own cars and driving away. I answered his question under my breath, “Yes, I guess I am.”

17 years later…We are friends. 🙂