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Friday, October 5, 2012

159

Rejection, Bigotry, and Vanilla With Sprinkles

1. I know this is going to sound pathetic and ridiculous, but that's exactly why I can't talk to my friends about it, so I was hoping you could help somehow. I was having a sort of long-distancey thing with this girl — we saw each other only a couple of times in person, but through calls, emails, and text we developed a pretty intense emotional connection and spent a lot of time talking about how hot we were for each other and describing in graphic detail the things we'd like to do to each other if we only had a chance. Then when we finally did meet up again, she suddenly broke it off — and we never actually did have sex.

So now I'm wrestling not only with these horrible why-didn't-she-want-me-when-she-could-actually-have-me feelings, but also this feeling like the whole thing didn't count because we never got naked together, so the fact that it's been months and I'm still not over it must mean I'm crazy — it seems like by everyone's definition in the world, we were never anything to begin with. Also, how is it that even though I've been with my share of awesome girls in my life, this one rejection has almost completely derailed my swagger? I'm having such a hard time thinking of myself as desirable when someone who seemed crazy about me for so long could decide she's okay with never knowing what it's like to actually get with me — not even once.

Oh, girl, your letter is bringing back some FEELINGS. I had, in my youth, a phase that seemed to last several thousand years but was probably only a few months, when every person who expressed sexual or romantic interest in me lived at minimum five hundred miles away. My most attractive quality, at this point in my life, was apparently the sheer fact that I was somewhere else. Obviously, the culmination of this horrible period was that I was actually in the same city as a girl I'd been flirting with forever, and I asked her to come back to my hotel room, and she was like “Nah, I'm good,” and I completely lost my mind because I was obviously a miserable hideous troll who would never again know love or the touch of another human body.

Ugh. It sucked. Why are we talking about this again? Oh, right: because I want to emphasize to you that this sort of thing happens all the time. It happened to me, and I'm demonstrably awesome! It happened to you, and you sound rad! Being blown off sucks, but it doesn't mean you are terrible or unattractive – it just means that shit didn't work out. You haven't failed as a person just because you failed to bang this girl. It's important to remember that, on most occasions when two people are sexing or trying to sex each other, shit is not going to work out. 

Shit is especially unlikely to work out when a relationship develops over long distance (I know this is not universally true, but it's my party and I'll generalize if I want to). You're far away, and you're calling and texting and writing and emailing, but that's just words, or a voice, it's not an actual warm specific person in your bed. There are things about her that you can't remember, or you never knew, and even if you don't mean to you start to make things up. You're picturing her face when you have phone sex, but maybe you've inadvertently changed the shape of her mouth or the length of her nose or the extent to which she does or does not hog all the covers, and when you finally see her again in person there are things that are subtly, unexpectedly off, because the girl you were dating was part real and part invented in your head. Sometimes it's easy to revise your mental image accordingly; sometimes it's not; sometimes you realize that the imaginary composite cyborg chick in your head is the one you were actually attracted to all along, and you have no spark with the real deal.

It sounds like this might be what happened with you and your lady. Or maybe, depending on how closely your life parallels mine, she had a girlfriend she wasn't telling you about the whole time, in which case she is awful and thank God you don't have to deal with her anymore. Either way, shit didn't work out. Be heartbroken about it a little while longer if you need to – you had a real relationship, even if you never saw her naked, and you're entitled to a real mourning period. But eventually you'll be able to dust yourself off, get back out there, and meet someone else, who will proceed to crush your heart in a whole new exciting way.

2. So, I am a young teacher looking for her first full-time job. I am also a queer lady. Currently, I live in a small town in Texas (I know, I know) with my mother to save money while I look for a job. Because I don't want to STAY in Texas, I have not gone through the trouble of getting certified to teach public school — which means that most of the places I am applying are private (read: religious) schools.

I am a devout Catholic, and I have no trouble reconciling my queer identity with my faith. It hurts me that the Church doesn't feel the same way, but I was coping fairly well until I started applying and substitute teaching for Catholic schools. I don't like feeling closeted at work, but I have very little doubt that it would be a major issue with my prospective employers if they knew. No one has a right to know about my sex life, of course, but I feel uncomfortable — like I am lying or, worse, hiding a major part of who I am. Or at least setting myself up for drama later — after all, we're not a protected group in Texas, so they could fire me without other excuses.

It's hard to say "I don't want to work for people who couldn't accept me anyway" when I can't really see any other opportunities on the horizon — at least for awhile.

Basically, I am hoping that you can say something that will help me feel better about either choice — staying silent or coming out publicly. So far I have avoided doing so in my hometown except to close family friends out of respect for the fact that my mother is still struggling to accept my queerness but trying very hard. 

What I'd like to do, actually, is help you to feel better about both choices, so you can decide what to do with a clear conscience and a light heart. It is, of course, monstrously stupid and unfair that you can't be open about being queer at work for fear of being fired. However, it's also something that you are unlikely to change single-handed in the next couple weeks. You never have to feel ashamed of prioritizing your own health, safety, or ability to make a living over The Cause – we don't need you putting yourself out of work in the name of ideological consistency. A girl's got to eat before she can fight the power. So if you need to stay in the closet to get (and keep) a job, do so with my blessing.

However, for the good of your long-term mental health, you also need to take steps to make sure you won't be in there forever. By which I mean: start saving money, go back to college if necessary, get yourself certified to teach somewhere other than at a Catholic school, and look for jobs with more tolerant and open-minded institutions. It's one thing to need to hide your queerness for a few years while you get on your feet; it's another to do it indefinitely. The latter will make you miserable. Also, obviously you should move, but you already know that and I assume you're working on it.

Finally, if being closeted becomes intolerable, please feel free to come out at any time. As long as you have a place to live and aren't going to starve, I fully support taking a “fuck y'all if you don't like it” approach to disclosing your orientation. Every time someone comes out, a gay angel gets its wings. But it's fine to wait until you're certain of your financial stability first.

3. So I'm completely in love with my boyfriend. I couldn't dream up a better man for me. He's bisexual, and we've talked about it at great length. We're totally open and not-weird about it, which is wonderful. For me, the fact that he's bisexual and has had boyfriends in the past is not an issue. But it does present a snag: how do I tell my crazy, conservative Christian mom that my boyfriend is bisexual?

My mom controls the household. My dad is cool and liberal, and I suspect he'd be okay with it. But NOT my mom, and she will influence my dad. She and I have had MAJOR issues since I can remember, and we basically only get along when I'm living 300 miles away. (Hence why parents have not yet met boyfriend.) My brother has basically cut off most communication with my mother, and my sister lives across the country and calls maybe once a month. (Read: none of us can stand our crazypants mother.) But, cutting off from my parents is not an option, just to clarify. I need my family.

I KNOW my opinion of my boyfriend is the ONLY one that matters. In my heart, I know that my man makes me happy and feel like butterflies and sugar and sparkles and warm fuzzies. He might be The One. But I've always held my parents' opinion in very high regard. How do I tell them? Do I never tell them? Many of my friends have suggested this, saying, "It's not your parents' business!" but my boyfriend has said that he will probably eventually want them to know. I've tried to ask my boyfriend what he thinks I should do, and all he really says is he doesn't know what to do but that everything will work out. (Sweet, but not helpful.)

As an aside, I think they might be able to tell he's not 100% straight just from meeting him. I have no idea how I would respond if my mom asked, "Is he gay?" I'm not sure if I should wait until they meet him and, of course, love him ... or if I should wait until mom brings it up ... or I JUST DON'T KNOW. All I want is for everyone to love him and be happy for me. How do I do that with a crazy mom who will PROBABLY not approve?

I'm overwhelmed. I'll be bringing him home to meet the parents in the next few months. HELP!

So, here's what I'm baffled by: “I've always held my parents' opinion in very high regard.” Wait, what? And also, why?

I understand not wanting to cut ties with your parents, no matter how nuts they make you – family is family, and I would never tell you to write off your mother entirely. (Just kidding! You totally should, because she sounds awful. But you probably won't, so...) What I don't understand is why, since you have described her as “crazy” several times in the course of this fairly short letter, and since it seems likely that she is also a raging homophobe, you feel obligated to give one tenth of a damn about what she thinks.

It's not fair to demand that your man closet himself for the sake of maintaining peace in your family, so let's assume that your mom is going to find out, one way or another. If she responds badly, you'll have to make a decision: You can side with your boyfriend – your awesome, sparkles-and-butterflies boyfriend who has done nothing wrong – and tell your mom to deal with it, or you can side with your mom – your crazy, conservative, bigoted mom – and break up with him. (Option C is that your mom is totally cool and it's not even a thing, but it sounds like we shouldn't hold our breath for that one.) It should be pretty clear which is the correct choice, but only if you let go of the idea that your mom's opinion matters. You may love her, you may even respect her, but there's no reason why her disapproval of bisexuality should impact your relationship with a dude who might be The One.

What I'd like you to do – with your boyfriend's permission, of course – is disclose that he's bi to your parents before you bring him home to meet them. The Seventh Commandment of Relationships says: Thou shalt not expose thy significant other to any more of thy family's craziness than absolutely necessary. Introducing him to your mother and letting the topic of his orientation come up on its own is extremely risky and may lead to yelling, plate-throwing, public weeping, and/or storming out of restaurants; better for you to field her questions and concerns yourself, in a safe, controlled environment where you can hang up on her if you feel like it. Make it clear that she can say whatever she wants to you, but that she needs to be on her best behavior when your boyfriend is around. If she can't agree to that, for God's sake don't take your boyfriend to meet her. He deserves better than being dropped in the middle of a homophobia-and-family-drama minefield. Go without him – or better yet, stay home, until your mom gets it through her head that she needs to keep her intolerant views to herself.

4. I'm mid-20s, in grad school, have landed my dream job post-graduation, and a femme dyke. I've been dating this absolutely wonderful butchy hot rugby-playing prematurely salt-and-pepper hair grad student for about six months and Things Are Happening. Queer Chick, this is the lady with whom I can imagine settling down, getting married, feathering the nest, bickering about which set of parents get to see us at Thanksgiving, planting little herb gardens, and generally being a nice little butch/femme queer couple. Queer Chick, this one? This is a keeper. It's relaxed and comfortable and nice and feels so sustainable — it reminds me of my parents' marriage, which is going on 30+ years.

There is one problem. I think I like kinky sex, and I think she does not, maybe? She's slept with four people, EVER, and I know for a fact that her last girlfriend didn't touch her ever and was so picky about sex that she just gave instructions, so no creativity at all. But Queer Chick, sometimes I just want my sweet, gentle, academic, butch girlfriend to pin me down and fuck me really, really hard. And maybe ummmm do other things.

This isn't to say that the sex isn't good. It's GREAT, just vanilla. It's "screaming, coming, thrashing, panting, listen-to-Melissa Ferrick's-'Drive,' multiple orgasms good," but I think I want her to maybe be kind of dominant?

Here's the thing: We've watched porn (<3 u crashpadseries!), we've been to the sex toy store, we have friends who are in the organized kink community (neither of us is super interested in it), so it's not ignorance. It's that when we've talked about it, she's said that the hot part about having sex is that I want to be there, so holding me down isn't hot, but also that seeing people in pain or hurting or distressed really upsets her, and she doesn't want to do anything that could ever hurt me. So no hair pulling. I'm serious, NO HAIR PULLING because she feels as though hurting someone intentionally is Very Bad.

The marriage talk came up a few times. Queer Chick, I love her, but I can't imagine getting married to someone if I want something more interesting in the bedroom. I don't want another person, I don't want to be poly, I just want to have slightly less vanilla (vanilla with sprinkles? vanilla with chocolate swirl? vanilla with those yummy vanilla bean flecks?) sex. Not whips and chains, just "pin me down, pull my hair, fuck me hard, and take me."

Sitting her down and saying things is oddly hard because she's so sweet and coming from such a righteously compassionate humanist vantage point. I also was dealing with some Stuff when we started dating, and didn't want to have anything except super vanilla sex, but now that therapy is going well, it's not something I'm trying to avoid. I feel like I'd be giving her a bait-n-switch.

I don't want it to sound like an ultimatum ("have rougher sex with me or I'm leaving, bye!"). But I also don't want it to sound like "oh hey, wouldn't it be fun to spice things up?" because that's not the issue.

First of all, I'm showing your letter to my own favorite prematurely salt-and-pepper butch and saying “See? Gray hair is hot and I'm not the only one who thinks so!” Thanks for backing me up there.

Second of all, how much of what you just told me does your girlfriend actually know? I can't really pin it down. Sitting her down and talking about your sexual dissatisfaction is “oddly hard,” but ... have you, like, tried? Because that's definitely going to be the first step.

So many people have this weird resistance to talking frankly about sex – the idea being, I guess, that it's not romantic or sexy to do so, and that awesome multi-orgasmic fucking should just magically happen with no prior negotiation whatsoever. This is madness. You (and by “you” I mean “the person who wrote this letter and also everyone reading it and everyone else in the world”) should be discussing sex with your partner on the regular, just like you should be talking regularly about your finances and your politics and where you want to retire. Sex is a major part of most romantic relationships, and even if things are going well, it's good to check in from time to time and make sure everyone's on the same page. And if things aren't going so great ... we're lesbians. We invented processing. We might as well use it.

You need to tell your girlfriend that your sexual needs are not being met. This doesn't have to be a “pull my hair or I'm out” ultimatum – it can be really hot, actually. What's not going to be fun about telling her “I have these fantasies of being dominated, and there's nothing I want more than to explore them with you”? If you've only ever talked about rough sex in the abstract, you may be surprised how much more open to it she is when it's something you want to do with her.

If she's hesitant because it would be a boner-killer to see you hurting or in distress, reassure her – you're not talking about hardcore pain or bondage. You're just talking about expanding your repertoire of pleasurable, enjoyable activities. Promise her that, if she'll agree to try out some of your fantasies, you'll go out of your way to show her that you're not distressed, and that you very much want to be there. She might not feel so guilty about pulling your hair if it's accompanied by you saying “mmm, yes, just like that, a little harder, oh my God, that feels so good.” You can start even slower than that if you need to – the next time you're having gentle, soft-focus vanilla sex, try throwing in a little bit of dirty talk about all the rough, hot, totally consensual things you want her to do to you.

But if none of it works, if you try and try to tell her how much you want sprinkles in your vanilla and she still doesn't go for it ... well, then it might be time to bust out that ultimatum.

Previously: Racist Girlfriends, Plush Closets, and Sufficient Queerness.

Lindsay Miller is also on Twitter. Do you have a question for her

Photo by Anna Sedneva, via Shutterstock



159 Comments / Post A Comment

aphrabean

Queer Chick YAY! Reading now.

JadedStone

The bruise on my leg says YES YOU CAN infuse your vanilla partner with some cookie dough, brownie pieces, and sprinkles. It just takes time and patience and rope.

That.. came out way dirtier than it was in my mind.
mmm...ice cream.

Passion Fruit

@JadedStone Haha, your analogy made me smile. I am happy for you!

Megasus

@JadedStone Hmmm, I feel like rope might be a good place to start? Just like a simple tie me to the bed and take me scenario? Cuz like, it probably doesn't hurt as much/isn't as "violent" as like hair pulling and stuff?

JadedStone

@Megano! "purple bondage tape" is the place to start. That stuff is so non-threatening. It's PURPLE, for pete's sake.

In my case, 90% of it was deprogramming what the no-good-terrible-ex had instilled in him. GAH. LW4 - dig a bit and see if it's not a case of the terrible-no-good-ex.

slutberry

@JadedStone Yep, am currently in this process with vanilla partner. Started as an in-the-moment spontaneous "bite my arm NO SERIOUSLY BITE MY ARM NOW", and the subsequent moaning was impetus enough.

Quinn A@twitter

LW3: A Queer Chick gave you good advice! But I would add that if your boyfriend isn't cool with being outed before he meets your parents, the answer to the question "is he gay?" is "obviously not, since he's with me." The answer to "is he bisexual?" is "that's an intrusive question and maybe you shouldn't be stereotyping."

Boundaries! You and he are allowed to have them. If your mom pushes, you can say "this is none of your business and this conversation is over".

Otherwise, just do what AQC said. :)

isadora

How in the world would your boyfriend's previous relationships even come up? How rude would it be to talk about his exes while meeting your parents?

How is his orientation any of their business at all? I don't think it is so why involve them in it?

Quinn A@twitter

@isadora Enh, his past relationships might not come up easily, but his orientation might. I outed myself pretty quickly at work, because I volunteered with LGBTQ organizations; had mostly LGBTQ friends; and got upset with people who made gay jokes around me while assuming that I was straight and would find it funny. If the boyfriend is really actively involved in the queer community, it might be really awkward for him to have to hide a huge part of his life from her parents.

purefog

@isadora ". . .my boyfriend has said that he will probably eventually want them to know." Don't ask me why he will probably eventually want them to know, but apparently he does.

EDIT: I see AQC has made this point since I posted.

paddlepickle

@isadora I think the whole question should be tabled till they're about to hit in-law status. If he's gonna be around forever, it's important. If not. . .meh.

Hellcat

@isadora Yeah, I'm confused. I've never felt a need to tell my parents about my own BFs' previouslies. I guess sometimes exes could get casually mentioned in everyday conversation but I don't know why the info would be owed to them.

swirrlygrrl

@Quinn A@twitter I think the other thing is having to edit pronouns/relationships in your past, even for casual conversations. Like saying, "oh, a former boyfriend and I went camping there - it was great!" versus "I/and a former partner/and my male friend and I have been there and it was great," and how that feels to the people involved - like you are hiding, are closeted, like you are lying to them and about yourself. It doesn't feel good. It doesn't feel safe. No one needs to pull out the "and then he gave me a blow job!" stories at this kind of family gathering, but I'd hate hate hate to have to think about all of my words, stories and conversation to make sure I was editing it for a homophobic audience.

questingbeast

@swirrlygrrl But doesn't everyone do that a bit with partner's parents? I wouldn't say to my bf's parents, 'I went to Madrid once with my ex-boyfriend', I'd say 'I went to Madrid once'. Even if the person was necessary to the story, I'd probably say 'a friend'. I think it's weird to tell them about exes. Not that I think he should necessarily hide the bi thing, but I don't think the accidental part is the problem.

Summer Somewhere

@questingbeast Sexual identity can come up conversationally in a lot of ways that don't involve explicit descriptions of the specific sexual acts you prefer or even the gender of your exes, and you may not notice the subtleties of this if you are straight because you don't get shitty reactions from other people when these things do come up. Your decision to edit your exes out of your conversations with your boyfriend's parents are made in a different context (assuming you're straight). If LW#3's boyfriend decided to remain closeted around her mother, he wouldn't be doing it out of... whatever reason you're doing it. He would be doing it to avoid a potentially violent, abusive or relationship-destroying reaction, because we live in a heterosexist society and that shit is still normal in some places. Do you see the difference?

adorable-eggplant

@questingbeast I thought I was the only one who did that! And it sometimes feels so awkward! But yeah, for some reason I hate even alluding to the fact that I have other people in my past (not to my actual boyfriend, we have drinks with my favorite ex pretty regularly, so it's no secret for him) but as for his parents, I would rather not have them imaging previous ex's even if it means my story about visiting a friend in paris makes next to zero sense.

paddlepickle

@questingbeast I don't think you'd realize how hard it is to avoid revealing your sexual orientation until you had to try. It's not just in conversations about exes. What if her mom was like "Oh, that Jon Hamm is so dreamy!" and LW was like "oh yeah, I totally think so too" and then her boyfriend was like "me. . .oh, wait. I'm not allowed to say that in front of these people". It would suck.

swirrlygrrl

@questingbeast Maybe for other people, that would be normal. No judgement if so. But I'm more than minimally friendly to my partner's parents and his sister - we have been together 7.5 years and all, and live in the same city, and they are lovely people. And my former partner and I were together for 7 years. I don't overshare, but I don't edit either. And maybe there are follow up questions or a story about Madrid that it just gets progressively more awkward to aggressively pretend you weren't there with??

Also, I don't understand how that would work as one gets older, or has a more complicated past. If one has children from a previous relationship, is divorced, etc., a previous partner would just...not...be mentioned? Even when it's awkward not to?

Maybe all of this is less pressing where one doesn't live in the same city as the partner's family, and isn't spending a couple of every hours a month chatting over dinner with people for the last 7 years, and thinking you likely will for the foreseaable future.

adorable-eggplant

@swirrlygrrl Totally, I think if I were closer to my SO's parents, I'd probably share a lot more. Also, I'm just expressing my personal preference to not share as a private person. LW's partner has expressed a preference for being open, and I totally think he should go with that preference.

swirrlygrrl

@paddlepickle @adorable-eggplant Well stated.

harebell

@paddlepickle
But, no. Straight men have opinions on whether or not Jon Hamm is hot, and it doesn't need to make anybody question their orientation, audibly or otherwise.

The parents may question the gender presentation and "manliness" of the letter-writer's boyfriend, in which case that should be dealt with and the LW should make sure they are polite and he is comfortable. However, that seems totally separate from talking about his sexual orientation, which I'm not sure why they really need to know about.

As people above said, it just seems rude to bring up any past relationships to one's partner's parents, regardless of genders, orientations, what have you.

Isn't it better to have the LW's parents just treat him as a unique individual with no identity politics involved?

adorable-eggplant

@harebell But it's not a question of Need to Know. LW wants them to know: it's a part of who he is and he's decided that it's something he wants to share. Part of being a unique individual is deciding what bits of your identity are the ones you want to share/present.

For example, I'm an atheist. Does anyone need to know this? Nope. Does it explain a lot about who I am and how I see the world? Yup. Do I work it into a conversation, even with my SO's very clearly devout parents? Yup.*

It's who I am, and if it's going to be a problem, I trust my partner to back me up. I don't share previous relationship history because I've decided that doesn't really tell much of the story of me, but if it did I would be all over sharing those experiences.

paddlepickle

@harebell But, yes. There's differences in the way people speak when they're saying "that person of the gender I'm not into is attractive" and when they're saying "I really want to jump that person's bones, right now". And because there are other things about his gender presentation that he knows they'll have noticed, he's going to feel extra self conscious about it, and they're more likely to notice. In short, he's going to feel like he's hiding it. What it really comes down to is that he doesn't want to have to actively hide something from them. Maybe you don't bring up your exes, but you don't actively hide them either. "Who did you go on that trip to Paris with, dear?" "Oh, my ex boyfriend". That's not rude, that's just honest. If you can't answer certain questions honestly that's going to make you feel uncomfortable.

We'd all love to have his parents threat him as a unique individual with no identity politics involved, but it's pretty obvious they aren't willing to do that. Unless your idea of 'having them treat him as a unique individual' is 'hiding that he's bisexual'

Mila

@Summer Somewhere This. I obviously would never discuss with my parents or in-laws sexual encounters with my past lovers. But people from your past totally comes up in conversation in non-sexual ways. These are the two most recent I can remember: my sister just married someone of a different race than her, and my grandfather reacted weirdly, and I was chatting about this with my m-i-l and we were talking about interracial relationships being more common than in my grandfather's day, and I mentioned that the guy I dated before my husband was a different race than me. No discussion of what we did in bed, just normal conversation! Or like, a while back we had this bizarre coincidental run in with my husband's ex while walking in a residential neighborhood in a major city no where near where she lived, and my husband got so flustered he didn't introduce me, and I tease him about it to this day. It is a funny story, and again, nothing to do with sex. Not telling those stories, if I was the LW's dude, that would feel weird, and like I was giving in to the bigots.

Summer Somewhere

@harebell "Straight men have opinions on whether or not Jon Hamm is hot, and it doesn't need to make anybody question their orientation, audibly or otherwise."

You and I and the other lovely Hairpinners here may be aware that sexual identity and gender identity are separate, but in our heterosexist patriarchy, sexism and heterosexism work together to reinforce and strengthen one another. One of the ways masculinity retains its privileged status is by strictly policing the boundaries of male sexuality. Any form of desire for men is coded as feminine, lesser than, and when it comes from another man, suspect. I'm not saying EVERYONE does this, but a straight homophobic conservative christian is VERY LIKELY to. Sure, LW could treat it as a teachable moment, but I don't that discussion being any less of a nightmare than actually letting her dude come out.

"Isn't it better to have the LW's parents just treat him as a unique individual with no identity politics involved?"

There is no such thing as a human interaction with no identity politics involved.

@Mila Yes! Those are excellent examples, thank you for sharing them.

questingbeast

@Summer Somewhere Well certainly it's a different situation, and as I said, I don't think he should have to hide the fact that he's bi. I was disagreeing with the point that it would either a) come up naturally, or b) conversely, be something he had to hide in awkward ways. It would be perfectly easy never to bring up, but as AQC said, accommodating a homophobe is not really a good thing to be doing (and he doesn't want to).

questingbeast

@Summer Somewhere (Basically I agree with you; my first comment was a nitpicky one and I apologize. I typed in haste and have been repenting at leisure.)

harebell

@paddlepickle @Summer Somewhere
Maybe we're just going to have to disagree, because this may be cultural, but I definitely wouldn't identify an ex as such to my partner's parents, regardless of gender (and, indeed, I have dated people of both). It just doesn't seem especially respectful to my partner, to whom I'm loyal, or to the parents, and it seems excessively revealing of my own privacy. And this is true even when I'm friends with the parents in question and write to them independently of my partner, etc. etc.

I do think the world would be a better place if we all treated gender a little more fluidly/less definatorily and didn't have to announce a fixed (!) sexual identity, like, "I'm bi!" to new acquaintances to explain ourselves. There are definitely circles (conservative, Christian) where people might expect you to announce such an identity or might police your identity (masculinity, femininity) for you, but now that one is an adult, I don't see why any of us should give other people that power -- should acquiesce.

On the flip side, just considering the mother's feelings, I'm not sure why she has to know her daughter's partner is bi -- she's obviously not going to understand what it means to him in his own terms through that word, and it's going to be upsetting for her. Surely there's a way of translating it -- or him just being himself around her? Yes it's a big character flaw of the mother's to be so judgmental, but confronting her head-on is probably not the fastest way to change that aspect of her. (I guess I do also differ from a lot of people in the amount of respect one has to pay to parents -- I figure that if they raised, fed, changed diapers, and put up with us when we were terrible as children and probably did and said terrible, awful things, and pooped in the wrong places, the least we can do is try to be patient if they say terrible things too later in life, especially when they are facing the fear & pain of aging and mortality).

Also @Summer Somewhere, there may be nowhere in the world without sex & gender dynamics, but there are definitely many, many places in the world without the US version of identity politics.

adorable-eggplant

@harebell I would have to agree this is probably a cultural difference. While I am a private person who doesn't like to share details or talk about sex (with my own parents, even) my ex's parents (who were not American) were VERY open about sex and asked me a lot of direct questions. Also, his mother once walked into a room naked, and proceeded to ask me a question and then waited for an answer. She had just stepped out of the shower, so I guess it made sense, but for me it's emblazoned on my memory and I'm sure she barely even noticed that she may have been tromping all over my 'don't see parents of person you're dating undressed' boundary.

My current bf's parents (also not American, but from somewhere else) are more traditionally reserved about everything, except for money. I'm from the south, where you don't discuss the size of your paycheck or how much your outfit costs or really anything money related, so this has been as big an adjustment as being frank about my sexuality (which even when it was expected of me, I mostly demurred), so yeah I agree that there can be some cultural mismatch about sharing vs. not sharing on certain topics, and that that can be difficult to navigate.

However, the boyfriend has stated a preference for being frank about this and presumably he's ready to deal with any fallout that may occur. Also, as part of my respect for my parents, I include a respect for their basic intelligence and compassion. IF I thought they would have a bigoted reaction, I would trust that they could do the soul searching necessary to get over it. My respect for them doesn't mean I need to tiptoe around, so they can die bigots (for the record, my folks are very accepting, but IF they weren't, we would have some heartfelt, respectful, but really serious words).

harebell

@adorable-eggplant
oh, I agree with most of what you're saying. I guess my basic point in a nutshell is -- the couple could solve this problem by not explaining themselves. The boyf could be his wonderful queer self, including around the parents, the LW could introduce him, she could even privately prep her parents for the meeting in a gentle way so that they aren't surprised, but nobody has to modify themselves or explain themselves. Labels like "bi" (or "heterosexual," for that matter) just seem reductive of the people concerned, and also a way to make unnecessary conflict more likely. The great part of being an adult, to me, is that we can expect people to treat us politely and fairly AND we can simply not explain our motives, selves, pasts, and actions, which is freeing.

TheUnchosenOne

If *I* was LW3 I'd yell at my mom, peppered with lots of cusses, next time she did something awful but not many people want to be as confrontational as me about stuff like that so I dunno.

It's kind of mean but get rid of your mom, seriously, she is revolting.

femme cassidy

Hey guys, AQC here. A note for the comments: Can we not spend a lot of time talking about how LW3 and her boyfriend should simply not mention the fact that he is bi? Bisexual people in relationships tend to get a lot of pressure (from both sides of the orientation line) to keep their sexuality quiet, because it will just confuse people and why is it anyone's business anyway, God, no one wants to hear about that. This contributes to bi invisibility and is generally Not Awesome. Obviously everyone has the right to decide when and to whom they disclose their orientation; however, since her boyfriend has been clear about the fact that he wants her parents to know, let's refrain from telling her that he should just stay closeted and things will be fine.

Thanks! Love all your faces!

SarahP

@femme cassidy Oh man we love your face the most.

entangled

@femme cassidy This is so true, especially since the LW's boyfriend WANTS to be out.

but, eek... so my situation is a little different because my husband's family is not at all homophobic (they are possibly the least homophobic family ever - love them so much!) but I am not out to them as bi because the idea of bringing up people I am attracted to who are not their son/brother/nephew/etc seems really, really awkward. Sometimes I feel weird about this and I would never outright lie to them, there's never a good time to bring it up. I try to be as out as possible, but I also feel like sometimes it's just too awkward to bring up. It has been years and I haven't figured out what to do about this, if anything.

iceberg

@femme cassidy but like, even to her (bigoted) mom? i would never ever discuss anything about my husband's sexual past OR PRESENT with my mum, and he's straight. i think it's not a case of oh bi people should just be quiet, but more like ugh can we please not ever talk to our parents about anything remotely sexual, especially if it is utterly irrelevant to them.

Summer Somewhere

@iceberg We're not talking about sex here, we're talking about identity. Dude doesn't want to be closeted around her parents. Your straight husband's identity isn't made invisible by your refusal to talk about his sex life, because straight is the assumed norm and it happens to be correct this time. When someone refers to our society as "heteronormative", that's what they're talking about.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@iceberg I feel like there's a way to say it without bringing in All The Sex He's Ever Had. If mom asks, "Is he gay?" the answer can be "No." or it can be, "You know, I'm curious why you would ask; he's proudly dated men and women in the past and has no problem with me saying so, but that doesn't really matter because I'm so happy he's with me now."

iceberg

@Summer Somewhere @I'm Right on Top of that, Rose
ah these are both good answers thank you ladies!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@iceberg For the record, my partner's sexual history is so not my mother's business, and it squicks me out to even think about that conversation. Oh no, neeeeeever.

swirrlygrrl

@femme cassidy *hearted*

niq
niq

@femme cassidy I wonder if LW3 knows for sure her mom would be super homophobic about it. Is she religious type conservative? Sometimes the preferred conservative solution to queer identity is just couple hetero anyway. This position poses political problems in general, but not for LW and boyfriend.

OwlOfDerision

Slightly OT, but can I just say how much I extra <3 'Ask A Queer Chick/Lady/Married Dude/Spider' over that 'Ask Polly' column on The Awl. I don't know, something about that one just grated on me.

Daisy Razor

@OwlOfDerision By "something" do you mean the part where it's awful?

evil melis

@Daisy Razor DAISY RAZOR FEEL FREE TO REMOVE YOURSELF FROM MY LIFE IMMEDIATELY.

wee_ramekin

@Daisy Razor Awww, I don't think it's awful!

Sister Administrator

@wee_ramekin I don't think it's awful either, why is it awful?

wee_ramekin

@Sister Administrator I did see a lot of folks get up in arms about a previous Ask Polly column because she came down quite hard on religion/religious people. That could be it; it could also be her bracing tone. I'm a fan of the tone (and I actually thought that she ratcheted it down in the most recent column, to my dismay), but I can see why other people wouldn't be.

purefog

@Sister Administrator I think there have been two episodes of Polly, or at least only two that I've seen. the most recent was pretty darned good. The one I saw before that was kinda awful, IIRC.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@wee_ramekin I feel like people reacted negatively to the first one because Polly was deriding idealistic, hyperbolic people with her own flavor of hyperbole. It felt hypocritical and sort of lazy.

SuperGogo

@OwlOfDerision I was surprised and disappointed how straightforward the last Polly was, because the first one was awesome and caustic and, as one Awl commentor put it, like Alex Blak ate Cary Tennis. I for one LOVE Heather Havrilesky and am only sad that she hasn't yet worked into a Polly column what I see at her signature expression from her days at Salon: whoring sea donkeys.

OwlOfDerision

@Daisy Razor It just raised my hackles* by comparison. A Queer Chick and Polly are both addressing the same essential issue, which is rejection. But I kinda felt that Polly's answer was flippant and 'get over yourself, who gives a crap?' whereas AQC was compassionate and understanding.

*what, exactly, is a hackle?

Barry Grant

@OwlOfDerision "what, exactly, is a hackle?"

That's the fur on the back of a dog's neck (or other mammals). It bristles up when they're getting ready to fight. I think it's supposed to make them look more BAMF.

itiresias

@Daisy Razor I didn't think it was too awful, then I read her blog and she had just answered an advice question where a woman who was married with one child asked if she should press to have another when her husband really didn't want to, and Polly's answer was "Yes, obviously, two kids are always better than one. Have you ever dated an only child? Me either, because that sounds like hell. They're weird and lonely and have skewed views on the world." ..(sic).

And as a fully functioning only child with a wonderful family who didn't have more kids because of their personal circumstances, whose extended family always berated my mom for not having more kids - who is actually dating another only child, who comes from a horrible family that would have been far worse off with multiple children, and are lucky that he ended up sane - that pissed me off and I almost registered as a commenter to vent about it. And then I just read more and her constant tone can't help but make me feel this "who do you think you are, internet advice woman?!" disgust.

entangled

LW#4 is giving me so many feelings right now. Which is to say that this is a tough question and I have absolutely zero answers but a long story with no ending that even I am not exhibitionist enough to share on the internet.

I feel like I see 3 options:
1) through honesty/moving slowly/mutual trust, you two are able to move closer to a relationship that satisfies your needs without turning her off (it sounds like some sort of monogamish relationship is not an option for you, but that would probably fall into this category if it were relevant)
2) you decide that being with her is more important to you than having the kind of sex life you want
3) you decide that she is not the one worth giving this up for

I think in order to work towards #1, you need to at least on some level feel like you would probably be OK with #2. It's hard to tell sometimes if resentment is going to be an issue somewhere down the road or not... but I think the earlier the resentment starts to build/the stronger it gets, the more likely it is that the relationship isn't strong enough to withstand mismatched desires?

Those are kind of unfinished thoughts, but that's all I've got right now.

purefog

Are there several A Queer Chicks (in which case this one is the best) or just one who is less or more on her game at any given time (in which case this is one of those "more" times)? Great advice from one end to the other.

Passion Fruit

@purefog I think it's always Lindsay Miller, who is FUCKING AMAZING.

Quinn A@twitter

@purefog Just one AQC! And I think she's pretty consistently great. :)

nonvolleyball

@purefog I believe there is only the one, true Queer Chick (Lindsay Miller) & that she's varying degrees of awesome 100% of the time.

femme cassidy

@purefog I write all of them except the ones you don't like, those are written by an evil gnome who steals my laptop. :) And thanks for the compliment!

TARDIStime

@femme cassidy can I say your username is very full of win, also? I love me some subversive wordplay!

TheUnchosenOne

Also to LW1: AQC is right, you had a real relationship and you get to mourn it! Just because you never had sexytimes doesn't mean the emotional connection wasn't real. You are rad and will definitely not be alone forever.

Inkling

If your boyfriend was half white, half Black, and your mom was a racist white lady, you'd know what to do.

Slapfight

@Inkling PREACH.

thatgirl

@Inkling YES. Also, high five on the MLP love.

Mila

@Inkling This is what I was thinking, and it relates to the issues of "can't you just not say anything?". I am of Jewish heritage, but have never been a practicing Jew. I knew my conservative Christian in-laws would have a problem with this, and it would have been very easy to keep it to myself. But I don't want to keep it to myself. It is a part of my identity, a part I am very proud of. Making the issue of orientation be about sex, and "sex is private" misses the fact that our orientation is a part of our identity, and hiding it makes it feel like we are ashamed of it.

adorable-eggplant

@Mila Yes! I think asking anyone to hide or distort anything about themselves is placing an unfair burden. It also sends the message that the person with the "secret" is actually the problem, which is the opposite of the truth.

...
...

LW2: Maybe you've already been doing this, but you might consider applying to Episcopal schools? My partner works at one, and from what I understand they seem to be very, very accepting.

Alli525

@... Yes! There are private schools out there that are not conservative Christian, or religious at all! Granted, not as many of them in Texas I'm sure, but they're out there.

Pyxis

@Alli525 Texas actually has a lot of private, nonreligious based schools schools, such as montessori, or university schools. Unfortunately they are mainly in the city's, and a lot of them also require certification. Moving to a larger, more tolerant, area like houston , or Austin, could be an option for letter writer if she wants to stay close to her family.

hannah77

@... Yeah, why wouldn't you just get certified? Do you have an education degree? I am confused by this, most private/religious schools in most states still require you have the credentials. Plus, teaching jobs are hard to get right now many places, its going to be even harder without a certificate.

Summer Somewhere

LW #1 - That happened to me too! AQC did a good job of talking about how easy it is to build up a fantasy about a long-distance lover - it can be difficult to get over relationships like that, especially ones that stopped before they got started, because it feels like you lost out on Perfection rather than losing out on a real person. The fantasy sticks around and teases you unless you figure out how to punch some holes in it.

fabel

For LW1...some people are bad at follow-through. Like, willfully so. These kinds of people are able to get off to an erotic story or porn video before the actual sex starts. They like the lead-up only & are not so interested in consumating all the back-and-forth. I'm guessing this lady you were talking to is like this-- so rest assured, it has nothing to do with you!

PistolPackinMama

@Catholic School Lady-- Also it might be the case that the faculty in particular at a religious school? Will think it's NBD. I went to a Catholic high school that now has a GLBTQ Alliance for students. I work in a Catholic college (which, I know is different, but still) and my office is next to Theology and the amount of queer up in that office area is reassuring.

My point is, it might be the case, depending on the school, that there is a more supportive environment for queer staff than one might expect to find.

You'd have to gauge the atmosphere, of course. And you're in Texas and I am not, so there is that.

Also, am I completely stereotyping when I say... why would a public school be any less dreadful about closeting and being out and such? In some ways, and maybe I think this because I am Catholic, papists can be much cooler about teh gayz than evangelical protestants? At least Holy Mother Church thinks it's okay to be gay, even if you aren't supposed to be sexing while gay.

Oh... unless religious schools means Christian-but-not-Catholic-Schools... in which case, oh my. I'm amazed and sympathetic and compassioning you for taking on this issue in Tiny Texasville before escaping to Elsewhere.

So much hugs. Report back?

purefog

@PistolPackinMama Interesting article in the NYT yesterday about surprising levels of gay acceptance in the South might be relevant here.

The Attic Wife

@PistolPackinMama I was going to come in and say this, regardless of how douchey some of the bishops/cardinals/other people who hang out at the Vatican can be, the vast majority of Catholics I know (in the Liberal Northeast, it must be said) are super cool with queer folks. Even people who've been ordained (nuns/brothers/priests) are usually more accepting than not. Generally when you're out and about participating in a community in a ministry capacity, you tend to develop your empathy moreso than people who are in an office building spewing the crap that gets in the press.

Where it gets tricky, in my experience, is the fact that while your co-workers could be a-okay with your queerness, everyone at a Catholic school has to answer to the diocese which might be filled with the above-mentioned office-dwelling douches. So while it could be cool to discuss your latest lady!date in the staff room, you probably won't be allowed to make the next play the drama club produces Angels in America.

adorable-eggplant

@The Attic Wife Yeah, I think the northeast might have lucked out in the catholic lottery, because I don't know which small Texas town LW is in, but if it's the same as my grandmother (also catholic) then they are pretty serious about following the letter of the law and castigating "sinners". For instance, a man in my grandmother's church was shunned for life basically after his divorce. Still showed up every Sunday, but no one would talk to him or sit next to him and he couldn't take communion. Soooo yeah, not every ordained person is accepting or willing to bend the rules to be welcoming/accepting of the human side of someone who is considered a "sinner". My mother went to catholic school in Texas and was told some things by her priests/nuns that I honestly wouldn't repeat because they are so hateful.

Also, as the LW points out, Texas is a right to work state with fairly terrible employee protection, so if one of the co-workers or supervisors did take personal offense, LW could be fired without cause.

adorable-eggplant

@PistolPackinMama One benefit about being in the public system, rather than the religious private school system, is Texas has a great public teachers union (great as in tireless in a david/goliath style battle) so the LW would have the help of union lawyers, if he/she ever did need to file a wrongful termination suit.

PistolPackinMama

@adorable-eggplant ah- thanks for that info. I suppose if you were gonna need a great teacher's union, Texas would be a place to need it. (Although we all need good teacher's unions, so.)

adorable-eggplant

@PistolPackinMama I may be biased, because I'm friends with an organizer down here, and I really think she's like superwoman.

And good point that evangelicals can be just as/even more hostile. Has anyone suggested Montessori schools to LW? I have a friend who teaches at a nondenominational one that seems pretty open and accepting. Some private charters (oh good, my organizer friend would so totally kill me if she read this) are not affiliated with a church, but are instead run on a business model. So they recruit out of the teach for america pool and generally look for inexperienced teachers and have a more profit-driven, rather than evangelical approach, which could make for a haven for LW.

Alli525

@The Attic Wife "Cool" is one thing - asking an institution formally associated with the Catholic Church to hire someone who is openly gay, or keep on staff someone who comes out. No matter where you are, it's going to be VERY risky... I've found that many parents, no matter how cool/open/tolerant they want to be, change their tunes once it comes down to A Gay Is Teaching My Child.

The Attic Wife

@Alli525 Right, absolutely, I just wanted to throw out the idea that not everyone who works at a Catholic school is automatically a homophobe. And talking about her orientation to coworkers is not an obligation, obviously, it all depends on what she's most comfortable with. I was just trying to say that if she feels like she can't fathom teaching at a school and being completely closeted that she might not have to be. It obviously depends on the situation.

adorable-eggplant

@The Attic Wife Although sometimes the environment sets the tone. Like I was an atheist working at a very religious institution, and even though I'm 99% certain some of my coworkers would have been okay with it, and even 1% suspicious that I wasn't really the only one, I still never told anyone because there could have been consequences.

Also, I head God Bless you at least once a day (and even thank God for the weekend ... rather than Thank god for the Weekend) and never had the guts to say anything more revealing in response than "you too' or 'indeed' or 'back atcha' (and even that got me an eyebrow raised and a come to jesus talk once), so yeah Texas, sigh.

adorable-eggplant

@The Attic Wife But yeah, there will totally be good folks (hopefully) and maybe there will be some openness, but individual good people can't do much to make up for the sense of paranoia that can come from knowing you could be a target if the wrong people knew.

The Attic Wife

@adorable-eggplant ...like, just in general people say 'God Bless you'? Seriously? Yeah, I guess Texas is different from us, because I've never known anyone to say to a person unless they just sneezed. I do have some Facebook friends who've found Jesus (like, evangelical Christian!Jesus, not Catholic!Jesus) and they talk about how 'blessed' they are all the time and that weirds me out since, growing up Catholic, no one EVER acted like that.

adorable-eggplant

@The Attic Wife Hahaha, oh yeah, daily. I think people have a lot of experience with places (like St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores) that are nominally religious, but are really secular for all intents and purposes. That's not often the case here in Texas (maybe the whole south?). My school had a time for prayer, and if you were not praying, it was noted. People gossiped.

I also kept it a secret that I was living with a boyfriend, because I had signed a code of ethics agreement that I would 'uphold the values of the church'. No joke. Not even sure that's legal, but hey momma's gotta eat.*

*One time I slipped up and said something about my boyfriend cooking breakfast, so I had to launch into this whole convoluted story about how I woke up early to drive him to the airport and he made breakfast in exchange?? Nothing turns you into a casual liar like having to hide a very everyday part of yourself. It's weird.

adorable-eggplant

@The Attic Wife The live-in boyfriend is also something I've never confessed to my catholic grandmother, because whooee I cannot deal with that much yelling in my life.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

Hard time choosing which thread to attach this to, but:

"...I was coping fairly well until I started applying and substitute teaching for Catholic schools. I don't like feeling closeted at work, but I have very little doubt that it would be a major issue with my prospective employers if they knew."

And I'm not sure about commuting in li'l ol' Texas, especially since saving money seems like a really high priority. What's the folksy, homespun Texas version of "between a rock and a hard place?"

The Attic Wife

@adorable-eggplant Oy. I can't even imagine trying to get along with people who are that closed-minded. The worst I've ever dealt with is, 'Well, I don't agree with your choices, but you're free to do what you want/it's for God to judge/I'll pray for you." Granted, "I'll pray for you" is pretty passive-aggressive, but whatever it's not straight-up condemnation.

Eh, you've got your hard asses up here too, but nowhere near that bad. At my Catholic high school, a few years before I went, one of the teachers was fired for getting married outside the church. When a new principal took over, he immediately re-hired her since she was such a good teacher. He was also the one who allowed pregnant students to remain enrolled, so a lot of a school's policies do depend on a tolerant administration. We would also pray before every class, but if you didn't participate, no one really cared. I've never had to sign any kind of morality clause for anything, job or school-related.

heyhaley

@purefog
Re: surprising acceptance in the South: my friend and I started a gay straight alliance at our high school in rural Georgia. We were pretty nervous that we'd be met with protest. At our first meeting, the very large, jockish, Southern-accented football coach sat quietly while we all introduced ourselves. We were really, really worried about what he was doing there and if he was going to try to break it up, but we learned a good lesson about judging people prematurely...he ended up coming out to us. It was The Best. To make things even better, it quickly spread around the school and nobody ever made a fuss. And this was a pretty conservative little town. His guys on the football team loved and respected him the same way they always had.

ARE YOUR HEARTS WARMED OR WHAT??

adorable-eggplant

@heyhaley Awww yeah, that's sweet.

@The Attic Wife The weird bit is that everyone was totally friendly, but yeah would drop you in a hot second. I can't imagine what would've happened in that job, had I gotten pregnant accidentally or anything like that. It was strange to have people who were basically my friends, but who also knew very little about who I actually am.

Buuut, that was the most strict environment I've ever been in, and I've worked for the city/state ever since, so there's that. Just wanted to share as a Texan.

PistolPackinMama

@heyhaley My icy, icy heart is melting. It is. <3

Not Quite Sonic

To LW1, two things:

1. UGH I know. One time my best friend and I were making plans to move to another city together, and she "set me up" via Skype with a dude friend of hers who lived there. We hit it off like crazy and ended up texting/chatting/doing things on camera I would not want to surface online someday for a couple months before I flew out there for a long weekend - ostensibly to check out apartments, but of course actually to finally consummate our clearly passionate burgeoning love affair. You know where this is going. Dude did not even want to *kiss* me, let alone sex me. What followed was the most awkward and awful three nights of life sharing a bed platonically in a tiny studio apartment. (I had nowhere else to go, and wasn't able/was too ashamed to change my flight). To this day, when I think about how excited I had been to finally meet him, and how confused/disappointed/utterly wrecked I was when he rejected me, it makes me feel like the world's biggest idiot.

2. But I *wasn't* an idiot, and neither are you. I was led to believe, and did believe, that I was participating in a mutual, developing relationship. Certainly I learned some lessons, but what I felt was real, and I was entitled to the pain and heartbreak that followed. Do not ever let anyone tell you that you are not entitled to feel what you feel. Do not ever feel stupid for feeling what you feel. Heartbreak is bad enough without the additional burden of shame for feeling heartbroken.

Reginal T. Squirge

I like these things that you said.

mystique

@Not Quite Sonic This is a really great comment! Thank you for this :)

LW1, I have fallen into this pattern several times, and it is hard when things don't work out. But I think both you and I have learned that while this kind of relationship (and it WAS a relationship, and those feelings were REAL) can be fraught with problems, it didn't end because of the long-distance thing necessarily (though that likely contributed, the way the universe likes to contribute to your heartbreak). It ended because it was supposed to end.

In fact! I recently got into this kind of relationship and decided to tell the person in no uncertain terms how I feel this weekend. This letter and advice really helped me realize that this is the best course of action, because if he doesn't feel the same, I would rather know now.

mlle.gateau

@Not Quite Sonic Yes. This has happened to me, and it's hard and confusing, and like more so because in my case it went on for YEARS, and I was unwise in the ways of the world when it started, and so when it ended, I felt really used and taken advantage of... and probably I was. I think part of why it dragged on was because I told myself it wasn't a "real" relationship and it didn't count, so my feelings were invalid, and I think we all know that that promotes the opposite of healing. So yes. You had a relationship, and it ended, and it's painful. Feel your feelings, and move on to people who are way more into you in real life.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

LW2: Let's break this down. Though I'm not from Texas, I live in a similarly conservative, unprotected-rights state, and also grew up Catholic. I'm no longer Catholic, but my entire family is and so are their friends. It's tough to wander between these worlds, so to speak, but people surprise you, as I'm sure you know.

The Catholic church as an institution is bigoted, but most Catholics I know aren't. That being said, my advice is to come out if you want, but only if it's safe. Yes, be a light to the darkness of ignorance, but not if it means risking your physical and mental safety.

You're a cool lady and you seem smart, so you'll be able to take the atmospheric temperature there. And do as AQC says: save your money and get out when you can. Best of luck!

City_Dater

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

As another "raised by Catholics but not one" lady, I agree. It's possible, even within that conservative monolith, to find people who will surprise you with their lack of bigotry.

And for what it's worth, I don't think this LW even has to think of herself as "closeted" because she's not sharing her personal life in her work place or with casual (conservative) acquaintances. Unless some colleague is rude enough to ask something insane like "why aren't you married, are you a lesbian?" there is absolutely no reason to announce oneself as any orientation in particular. You have friends and family, people who are important to you, who know. You're out, even if you aren't waving a rainbow flag on Main Street every weekend.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@City_Dater Yep. I'm proudly gay, but it's not my whole identity. If I'm not sexing you, it's not your business. That's a luxury we have, in large part because of those who lived before us and who paved the way. But there's no rule that says every gay person must announce their orientation before entering a room full of new people or they lose their Gay Card.

Oh, squiggles

So this is sort of a general question, and I'm really not trying to offend or step on anyone's toes here, but how do you reconcile a religious belief with a sexuality that is condemned by that religion? Or really, how do you call yourself a Catholic (or fill in any other major religion) while admittedly disagreeing with rather important aspects of that faith? I'm not sure I understand what the thought process is, because from the outside it just seems like picking and choosing which parts you like, and ignoring what you don't like. I don't align myself with any religion or belief system because I don't agree completely with any of them. Maybe this is a horrible question, but how can you call yourself a 'devout' anything, when you are not accepting the whole religion?

This really has been on my mind a lot. Some of my relatives are pretty hard-core Christian. Unfortunately, they like to take the parts they want (hating gay people, judging those who are different from them) and forget others (being compassionate, following the rules that would make their lives difficult). How can they justify imposing their will on others (being anti-gay equality, anti-choice) by referencing the judeo-christian bible, but then ignore the parts that effect them (being a divorced woman ect.)?

I just don't get it.

City_Dater

@Awesomely Nonfunctional

Compassionate, intelligent people recognize that intolerance and bigotry are, in fact, completely antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and thus find it pretty easy to ignore the BS that comes down from Rome. My grandmother was a devout Catholic who had no problem at all ignoring the stuff that was either outdated or pretty clearly "Word of Men" not "Word of God." Much like people who want a reason to hate someone have no trouble blowing up that one little Old Testament passage into the biggest thing ever, even as they ignore the ones that tell them not to eat pork or shellfish.

MilesofMountains

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I'm a life-ling athiest, but some of my family is Catholic, and it definitely IS picking and choosing for them. For example, my mother goes to church every Sunday, but "doesn't believe half the crap they say" and thinks the Pope is a douche. For her, it's a belief in God and her valuing a lot of the teachings, rituals, and community that comes with the church. It seems to be pretty much like how I would call myself a strident feminist, but I don't agree with everything everyone says in the name of feminism. Or how I call myself an environmentalist even though I have a car and am not vegan. That's picking and choosing, too, but I'm comfortable with it.

Tuna Surprise

@Awesomely Nonfunctional - hmm, I'll give this one a whirl.

From my point a view, you can believe in God and believe that a particular religion is God's 'appointed representative' (so to speak) here on earth. But it doesn't mean that the church is perfect. The church isn't perfect. It is run by people who by definition are not perfect. You can believe that part of our goal on earth is to face trials and keep the faith. But if a religion was 100% infallible, it really wouldn't be a test. So believing in religion is like believing in the big bang. There may be a lot of dark matter in the theory (i.e., unknowables) and the theory may get fine tuned over time (i.e., when new ideas are accepted) but ultimately it's the closest we have to the truth so we stick with it.

karion

@Awesomely Nonfunctional: Nor do I. It is simply incomprehensible to me - being able to "reconcile your queer identity" with your faith, where that faith (Catholicism) considers your identity a sin.

I don't think I will ever understand that, but I will keep trying.

OhMarie

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I'm an atheist and this stuff has never made sense to me, but I have a friend who is a pro-gay, feminist Mormon. I have always been a little bit baffled by that and talked to her about it. Turns out that theologically, she really believes in God and Mormonism in a way that didn't even occur to me. That stuff is all really important to her and central to her life, and she needs to be able to go to church in order to keep them.

When you look at it from that perspective (there is this HUGE, IMPORTANT thing that you can only get from this flawed institution), the decision to stay with your religeon and kind of rationalize it/work on it from the inside instead of fully ditching it makes a lot more sense.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Awesomely Nonfunctional

I'll answer for myself. I'm a member of a church that is part of Mennonite Church USA, and I basically agree with you. But I think it's possible for me to be part of MCUSA because:

1. There's no spiritual leader. MCUSA church leaders are just administrators and managers. They don't hold any status as closer to God than I or any other church member might. Individual church pastors might have some spiritual authority, but I feel free to disagree with my pastor, and anyone can start a new congregation.

2. There's a Confession of Faith, but it's just something some people wrote in 1995. The Confession and MCUSA itself are not the last and only representations of Mennonite faith. There will be different ones in the future and it's fine for anyone to propose new versions at any time.

I don't think I could be Catholic, or Mormon, or a member of a congregation where the pastor is held up as having special spiritual insight. I know there are good people in those churches, but I am just as confused about it as you are.

The Attic Wife

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I can answer that with regards to Catholicism. It's because the anti-woman, anti-gay, even anti-choice attitudes are NOT central tenants of the faith. These are all church laws, not church doctrine, they can be changed and I think they probably will be eventually. We just need another Pope John XXIII to call a Vatican III.

There were female priests in the early church, when it was still a largely underground movement, but the Church fathers put an end to that. The church only officially came out against abortion in the mid-19th century. The idea that gay people are called to lives of celibacy and being against premarital sex is based on the anti-sex (and anti-Roman) attitudes of early Church fathers and taking that to an extreme (basically, St. Paul and friends thought that Jesus would be making his return visit within their lifetimes, so there was no point in having sex since they were all just going to be beamed up to heaven anyway).

These are political talking points that have nothing whatsoever to do with religion, faith or belief and all of them could be changed if everyone up on Vatican Hill could take their heads out of their asses and see that they're driving people away from the church by being so unbending with their outdated bigotry.

up cubed

@The Attic Wife THIS! Also, there is lots of disagreement within the mainstream Catholic church. Bishops keep telling nuns to stop doing good works and spend more time judging sinners. Politics! Not just for government.

The Attic Wife

@upupandaway I hit the roof when I heard that. "Ladies, you're on notice for spending too much time ministering to the poor and not enough time judging gay people and praying outside abortion clinics!"

I keep meaning to write strongly-worded letters, but this is all I've come up with: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? What did Jesus spend his entire career doing? MINISTERING TO PEOPLE! There are these holy books all about it, they're called the Gospels, written by some dudes, HAVE YOU READ THEM?!

MilesofMountains

@The Attic Wife There's an interesting bit in A Brief History of Misogyny where he theorizes that the Christian church was embraced so much by women in its early days because of those anti-sex, anti-abortion type laws. He thinks that compared to the prevailing Roman culture, in which men forced their wives to have abortions against their will and there were no sanctions on men having sex outside of marriage but it was a death-sentence for a woman to commit adultery, and where marriage and wives weren't highly valued, a religion that held men to higher standards and protected women from forced abortion looked pretty damn good. I don't know much about the early church, but yeah, context is probably important when talking about 2000 year old laws.

Springtime for Voldemort

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Well, there are different ways in which people are devout. Some people are devout in the sense that that is how certain they are that (deity/s) exists, while others are devout in that their relationship with (deity/s) informs the details and minutia of their everyday life, while still others mean that they are highly committed to following the rules and regulations that their religion lays out.

And people are always and constantly adjusting their religion and how they interpret it to fit their needs. Which I guess you could call hypocrisy, but I think you could also call making religion a workable institution, and I'm honestly hardpressed to say that science and skepticism don't run into the same issues. And everyone is going to put emphasis on certain things more than others, even if they manage to see the texts as internally consistent. Which I think works well, when you have faith, because if you're not having some kind of internal debate about if (deity/s) actually exist, it's maybe not a huge existential threat that you're debating if it's more important to put emphasis on one passage over another.

There are movements within certain faiths to bring feminism, gay rights, queerness, all that into the faiths. Reinterpretations of ideas about menstrual purity that make them feminist, rebuking the idea that God is against homosexual relations with the idea that David was probably having some homoerotic brotimes with Jonathan, finding passages that promote equality and social justice (which are totally there) to counter the crap. So, yeah, Jerry Falwell totally cherrypicks certain passages, but so can you, and you can pick the good ones.

I really like seeing how people manage to make feminist and queer spaces within the religion without having to leave it altogether. Like how nunneries in the Middle Ages were often a way for women to (relatively) get away from patriarchy and have their own space, and then those "radical feminist" nuns recently who got in trouble for not hating gays enough and focusing instead on feeding the poor. That seems so badass, to have the Vatican being all "grrr, gays! birth control! abortion!" and respond with "::eyerolll:: yeah, we'll be feeding the poor and hungry, ktxbai". And since most of us aren't just the most radical radicals who ever radicaled (including me), it doesn't seem fair for me to reject the idea that capitalism or psychoanalysis are fundamentally incompatible with feminism but agree with the idea that religion/certain religions is fundamentally incompatible with feminism/queerness.

I will say this, though: I wish that awesome feminist and queer Christians were louder outside of academia about the details of their social justice theology. The evangelical Christian Right is actually pretty on top of drawing the basic lines of their theology, and a lot of times, feminist/queer Christians seem to respond with "it's bigotry to assume that just because I'm Christian I agree with what is obviously bullshit", but don't really take it much further. Things have gotten a lot, lot clearer to me as I've taken a lot of religious studies courses that focus on this very question, but I wish I didn't have to wait until upper-division college classes to encounter these ideas.

The Attic Wife

@MilesofMountains You're totally right, the early Church attracted a lot of women and slaves because of the relatively progressive positions it took in comparison to the Judaism of the period (and let's not forget that Jesus was one of MANY healers/prophets in ye olde Jerusalem who had a good sized following) and it definitely offered appealing things to women in comparison to Rome, which is where the gentiles come in. In a way, many of Christianity's founding principles come from people trying to be as anti-Roman as possible. And also the fact that St. Paul had some serious issues with women and sex. And that St. Augustine (from whom we get a condemnation of abortion, the notion of original sin and the concept of just war, among other delightful notions) was a great big hypocrite who decided to ruin the party for everyone after he got all the sex and booze he wanted. Everything needs to be put into its proper context to be understood, ESPECIALLY religious ideas from hundreds of years ago.

hannah77

A lot of eye rolling and not putting anything into the collection basket. And everyone knows, every Catholic choir/musicians is run by/full of The Gays. Also, many GLBT teachers at Catholic schools when I was growing up too.

The Attic Wife

@hannah77 Lest we forget, a lot of the older generation of priests brothers and nuns (pre-Stonewall) joined the clergy in part because they themselves fell somewhere on the queer spectrum and felt like same-sex relationships weren't an option. I feel like some of this group (not all, but many I've encountered) are more compassionately disposed toward LGBTQ folks than newer clergy because they've struggled with their sexuality at some point too.

That generation also lived during/post Vatican II, they usually emphasis the social justice portion of being Catholic rather than acting as the morality police. Unlike the neo-con clergy, as I call them, who've been popping up for the last twenty years or so. Again, I don't want to generalize and say that all older clergy folks are liberal and all newly-ordained people are conservative, but it's a divide I've noticed getting wider and wider in the past 25 years, especially since the Vatican II clergy are retiring and dying out and the Vatican is working its ass off to bring the Church back to where it was in the stone age.

charmcity

YMMV, but tread carefully, LW2. My mother's colleague was terminated from a Catholic school in a large, coastal city because she was pregnant out of wedlock. Was this legal? I do not know, because I know nothing about employment law at religious institutions or what her contract said.

maggagie

@charmcity I went to Catholic high school in a large, coastal city, and we had two gay male teachers and one lesbian teacher at our all-girls school while I was there. One of them was very popular with students, the other two were not particularly popular, but their popularity did not seem related to their sexual orientation. I would say their orientation was an "open secret," in that it was gossiped about, but we didn't discuss it with them. (This was in the mid '90s). I don't know if our school's administration was just more tolerant than the average Catholic school's. They were quite a few lesbian and bisexual students at our school who were out of the closet. I feel like LW2 could find a place for herself at a Catholic school, just as she has done within the religion itself. Why she wants to continue along in a religion that openly rejects gay people is my question...

adorable-eggplant

@maggagie Yeah, I think though if LW wants to stay in Catholic schools, it would be best to leave Texas. My mom is a Texas Catholic school alumn, and she has some very scary stories to share about that specific kind of intolerance. So really, a lot depends on the diocese and the attitude at the top, which trickles down.

ETA: That was the 70s so things may have changed a bit. Although if the complaining of my fairly progressive grandmother (it boggles my mind why she stays in the church, even after my mother's experience and even with all the clear wrongs that I know she sees) is any indication, then they haven't changed that much.

theotherginger

@adorable-eggplant because sometimes, when you grow up religious you can't leave it no matter how far you run. for me, church (Mennonite) is tied to ethnic identity and culture in a way I will never fully be able to explain or understand. If I leave, I lose a lot. (I know it's not like this for everyone/there are super legit, logical reasons why no one should ever join a religious group, ever)

Creature Cheeseman

@charmcity Yeah I think it definitely depends. I went to an all-girls Catholic school in a small town in Louisiana, and we had several teachers who were lesbians. Some of them were even in relationships with each other, so they definitely weren't closeted. But it was also more of an "open secret" sort of thing where the students kind of knew and talked about it but the teachers themselves never addressed it.

superfluous consonants

LW 4: i don't know your subjective sexytimes experience, obviously, but when my sexytimes associate does the things to me you're describing, it doesn't hurt--it feels AWESOME. could you maybe frame your interests to your ladyfriend not as "hurt me for fun" but "make me feel GREAT for fun"? if she holds you down, it wouldn't be that you COULDN'T leave (unsexy) but that you never WANT to leave, because she's so strong and passionate and amazing (!).

planforamiracle

LW4.. as a similarly slightly-kinky (albeit mostly straight-identified) person, I've run up against this issue a few times with my partners. Your description of your partner's feeling that hurting someone is wrong sounded very familiar.

One thing that has helped me to deal with this is to try to have a discussion with my partner in which we explore WHY I like those feelings. It sounds clinical but my gentleman-friend and I had a super intimate conversation about it. I explained to him how a little bit of hair-pulling and whatnot is a demonstration of our trust, or that a little bit of pain is just one of the many ways we can touch each other and I want to explore lots of different touches together.

Wow, that sounds really new-agey and kind of awful but it was a good step for us. I have yet to see how well it worked but he said it was a useful thing and helped him understand why I would want to do such a thing.. which I think is what he was struggling with.

One other thing: maybe this sounds odd, but sexting each other (even really non-explicit, vanilla-y things to the tune of "I want your body") helped open the door for more frank discussions around sex.
Good luck!

meatbath

@planforamiracle WORD. I exclusively love love love sweet, nice boys in my silly, romantic heart but my vagina is all like "This girl needs a spanking"/"let's play who's on top because I sure don't know!" I have had these conversations so many times. It really does help to explain why you get turned on by the thing that you get turned on by. Be descriptive! This usually turns your partner on and can lead to sexy times! And if you mess up, try again. The first time I sexed a boy who was super gentle with me and I wanted to help see the glories of kink, I think I said something along the lines of, "ugh, you're so hot and like, I want to do whatever you want to do and for that to be okay and you can tell me what to do I guess and that's not weird, right?" You can totally recover from that by the way.

Phrases that work for me in convo: "when you're in charge, I feel like the center of attention and I love the kind of care you take with me" "I like when you call me names because it means you know how much I want you" "I like when you let me hold you down because I know it means you trust me." Cuddling and talking about this stuff is great because everybody feels really safe and cozy. Also, much like sexting, a return to pre-relationship styles of flirting, how you two acted before you established a dynamic, is a great way to get back into a place of play and a lack of seriousness that can lead to trying new things. Take your lady out on a fancy date, maybe dress each other up real nice, see what happens!

I really think a concern here for you is steering the conversation away from pain. And for the most part, BDSM is not about pain (for some people, sure, but for most of us it's about power). Maybe your partner, LW4, just has some misconceptions about BDSM. Also, it's totally worth asking if your person-friend has a bad previous experiences with BDSM. Lot's of people have run into serious power bottoms who have no regard for their feelings and it can really ruin kink for them.

A Peach

@planforamiracle

Yes! Everything above is great advice. I would add that if you figure out more precisely what turns you on about what you want your girlfriend to do, you might find ways to have kinkier sex while avoiding the pain stuff that freaks her out (at least initially). For example, domination is easy to do without pain - just focus on the control aspects, have her direct your every move while you're having sex, ask for her permission to do things (like touching her, or yourself), maybe throw in some light bondage if she'd be cool with it. A lot of people have a hard time being mean to someone they really like, and incorrectly assume that being dominant means you have to be a cruel bitch - you don't; you can totally have power exchange without that!

If the pain is important to you, try easing into it by exploring other kinds of sensation play together first - temperature, scratching, tickling (bonus: there's literally no toy in the world less threatening than a feather tickler). If you can get her to pay attention to how many different kinds of sensations can be pleasurable, she might have an easier time accepting pain as one of those. Compare someone gently running their fingernails over your skin vs. lightly scratching you vs. clawing you. The line where that turns from pleasurable to painful is very blurred, especially since people's thresholds for pain differ (and we're more likely to read pain as pleasure when we're aroused).

In general, even though you're not looking to get into hardcore BDSM, it might actually be useful to poke around some of the heavier kink/fetish sites, because there's so much variety in the kink world that you're guaranteed to find some things you guys can do that'll push your buttons without turning her off.

angelene

@planforamiracle This all seems like good advice. I disagreed with the very end of the QC advice as I don't think ultimatums will work, even as a last resort. "Have sex the way I want it or I'm leaving" doesn't create the sort of trusting space where they might actually explore less 'vanilla' sex. Suggests that everything has to follow what one person wants, which isn't how love really works out, in my experience. I'm sure the LW can find a way towards kinkier sex without resorting to threats of abandonment – she'll just have to be willing to go at her partner's pace. And if her partner really is never going to be into it, she'll have to decide how important it is to her. The expectation that your partner should fulfil literally all of your dreams and fantasies seems a bit destructive.

RNL
RNL

Another thought for LW1 - some people (who are well represented among those who engage in long distance flirtations/relationships) are afraid of intimacy and panic when faced with it. It honestly sounds like nothing to do with you and everything to do with this other person. Which is great, because she has to continue living in a world where she can't get close, but you get to go on and find someone who, like you, can. So she has a lot more work to do, which is sad for her, but not for you.

Mourn your feelings, but try not to let it get you down on yourself.

adorable-eggplant

@RobotsNeedLove Great point! I also wondered if this was a case of meatspace panic. I think distance can add a lot of room for bravado, which not everybody has the guts to follow through with (spoken as a totally shy in-person lady).

runner in the garden

Soooooo um, how many copies of that Melissa Ferrick song did LW4 just sell?

thatgirl

@runner in the garden Oooh, did you get it? Can we listen to it tonight?

Also, my calling cards just got here and they look AWESOME. And I got all blushy in front of him! What is this?!

paddlepickle

It's always kind of a relief to me when I see 'am I crazy for not being over this person?' questions on advice columns, because I spent most of the last year wondering the same thing. In this case I felt crazy because we were only together for three months, yet I was still not over it for a full year and. . .oh wait, I'm still not completely over it.

But, I have started to realize that you just have to respect your mourning process even if you might think it's 'crazy'. Examine the reasons behind it, but don't beat yourself up over having feelings that don't quite fit the socially prescribed norm for how you're supposed to feel. Doing so will make it take even LONGER to get over it, because in addition to the sad feelings about the relationship you'll be feeling sad and unlovable because you're a crazy person, which you are not.

skyslang

@paddlepickle Nice response. I really hate when advice columnists, or people in general, say something like: the amount of time it takes you to get over a relationship should be half the time you were together, or some such bullshit.
It takes however long it takes.
What I like about your advice is that you say examine the reasons behind it. These feelings aren't happening in a vacuum, and they're not entirely about recovering from rejection, or getting over a girl.

wee_ramekin

@paddlepickle Yep. I am an especially long mourner. I didn't truly get over my first relationship for ~5 years, and it took me about 1.5 years out of my last relationship to be really and truly over it.

I know that those numbers make me seem like some sort of emotional freak, and perhaps I am*. I didn't spend that amount of time actively mourning the people I'd dated and eschewing the light of day or anything, but it did take me that long until I could see or hear about them without my stomach dropping, or without it messing up my day.

It used to bother me that I have the longest mourning period of anyone I know; I kind of felt like an emotional leper or something. As I've grown older, I've just grown to accept that this is a particular quirk I have, and that I'm not an unhealthy person. A friend told me it would probably take her about two months to get over a two-year relationship, and I was flabbergasted. It really is different strokes for different folks, y'all.

*I mean, I am a Virgo with a Scorpio moon. That's lots of self-critical, analytical intensity to deal with, folks.

redheaded&crazy

@wee_ramekin I'm a long mourner tooooo! It just takes me time! I'm also at the point where I'm growing to accept it, but it is hard when you see the other person moving on and being all "yeah we can just be friends now" when you're still like "when you mean friends you mean we're going to meet up and you're going to propose to me right?" (...hypothetically)

As an old therapist once said to me, better to feel too much than not to be able to feel at all! The comfort blanket I hold tight to when I'm not drawing hearts around my name + dude's name.

paddlepickle

@wee_ramekin Word. It varies from relationship to relationship for me- that kind of made me feel extra crazy about this guy. It's taking me longer to get over a three-month guy than it did to get over a one-year guy. And there was a four-month guy I got over in about sixty minutes. Which makes me realize that it's not actually about the time, it's about the relationship, and time is an illusion anyway or something, right?

SarahP

@wee_ramekin I ALSO HAVE A SCORPIO MOON

We are just hairpin twins all over the place.

wee_ramekin

@SarahP ARE YOU ALSO A VIRGO? (heee! i love you)

redheaded&crazy

@paddlepickle I came back here to re-read your comment because I just had the worst unlovable sad crazy feelings-creating weekend and I'm just going to try to sear everything you said onto my brain. FOREVER. Respect the mourning process respect the mourning process respect the mourning process

paddlepickle

@redheaded&crazie Awww. Well I'm really glad that my year'o'misery taught me some things that I can impart to other people to help them be less miserable themselves! Hope you feel better soon. You're not crazy, promise!

wee_ramekin

@redheaded&crazie Aw, bunny. I'm sorry you had a bad feelings weekend, and on Canadian Thanksgiving to boot! Even though it's hard, it's good to do what you're doing and respect the mourning process (dammit!), because there's some sort of feeling in there somewhere that needs to be felt. Go ahead and feel it, and realize that it doesn't make you "crazy" or "bad" or "weak" to not be over a relationship that meant a lot to you. We're your Long Mourning Sisters, and we will never tell you that you're crazy for feeling the way you do. Chin up, darlin'. We love you!

frigwiggin

Is this the right place to admit something? When I was a nine-year-old animal-obsessed friendless child, I heard my older brother say something about lesbians to my mom (I don't know why they were talking about lesbians), and I butted in and asked, "Isn't that a kind of horse?"

I was thinking of Lipizzaner stallions. He's probably forgotten all about it fifteen years later, but I never will.

thatgirl

@frigwiggin This is the most amazing thing in the history of ever.

anniemac

LW#2: Please apply for some jobs in Austin! Many religious folks there tend to be more tolerant. Also, there are some other cool private and charter schools in the city that might be willing to hire you. Then maybe also take some night classes at UT to work toward your certification?

melimania

"pin me down, pull my hair, fuck me hard, and take me" Oh yes!! I have always had such a hard time explaining to my partners exactly what I want. Thank you LW4 for giving me the perfect words! And perhaps framing it to your very sweet sounding lady as something that makes you feel good might help. Good luck!

empirestate

queer chick! i was in the same bummer of a boat that LW1 is in, and you are the first person to say that it was actually a real relationship that i am allowed to have real feelings about. it means a lot. :)

Porn Peddler

Sexual incompatibility questions that come from people in loving relationships...ouch. So hard. Always. Just...that is all.

The Frozen Head of Dorothy Zbornak

Hey everyone! I have a kind of update for anyone who has been following the saga my burgeoning bi-curiosity...

So the friend-of-a-friend that ignited the initial curiosity in my heart/vagina and I are still talking. Unfortunately, she still lives ~1000 miles away. But we are texting like every day. In fact, LW1's story hit home a bit too much for me, because that is TOTALLY the kind of thing we have going right now. Things have definitely cooled a bit though since our very lustful beginnings. We're don't have a ton in common, but we're both fun, nice people who are a bit lonely at the moment. So, it works for now, but it's nothing committed or serious.

But we are both going to be in the same city at the end of this month, visiting our respective friends (and our one mutual friend) for the first time since we met two months ago. We have made vague plans of consummation, but honestly I am a bit worried about logistics...

She'll be staying with her parents. I'll be staying with friends, who only have couches in their living rooms to offer, so neither of us has much in the way of a proper surface-for-sexytimes. And, um, it will be my first time with a woman, so I'd rather do it somewhere safe and comfortable. But then, I don't know about the idea of a motel because it's an expensive city and we are both broke students, plus I don't know...I feel like it puts on a lot of pressure?

Which brings me to my second concern: PRESSURE. I am by no means going to pull an LW1 on her and act all weird and aloof (and hopefully she won't to me either). But at the same time, I know that we will likely only have time to be alone together for a few hours on this whole trip, since we'll be busy visiting our respective friends and family. So I am afraid that I will get a little freaked out because its like: Okay! We're finally alone! Time to lose your girl virginity--right now!

Plus, I am still kind of figuring out just how bi-curious I am, and I am honestly not sure how into it I will be in the moment, especially if I am freaked out by pressure or we are doing it on a park bench or whatever. I know I want to do it because, if nothing else, I feel like it's something I need to try, and I like her and all. But I also don't want to force it on myself just because it's my one shot in the foreseeable future.

So, yes. Feeling both scared and excited. Sounds about right for losing virginity, I suppose.

superdaisy@twitter

Hey Texas Teacher, get certified in TX! It will be easier to transfer your certification to another state than try to convince them that you do indeed have the skills. And plus, while you're looking for that out of state job, you can substitute at local schools, which looks not shabby on a resume.

Depending on what levels you're certified to teach, you can also look into online schools, tutoring, and being a teacher's aide.

Good luck!

Melusina

I wish I was into sex enough to be having GREAT sex and yet still feel unsatisfied. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.

279th District Court

I don't know if it's kosher to just say, "Hi, I'm LW2" but, "Hi, I'm LW2," and I just wanted to thank AQC and all of those who have chimed in in the comments! Feeling less alone with the issue if nothing else.

I am taking most of y'all advice already in my job search (although I didn't know that about Episcopal schools - good to know since I have a couple applications to those out), but as teaching jobs are in short supply, I have had to fall back on my contacts with a) the school I attended K-12 where b) my mother is still a major volunteer force and therefore people are willing to go out of their way to put me on the sub list and possibly re-budget to get me a job there next year. The temperature I've taken there has not been terribly encouraging on the LGBT front, however. This has occasionally been an awkward, upsetting temperature.

But I have had good experiences in the Church! Even in my little Texas hometown (a priest friend of the family has been fighting Church corruption and hypocrisy since the sixties, just his stories can really keep me going when other Catholics around me have been particularly intolerant and hateful).

This is also when I remember Jesus rebuking the Pharisees in Matthew 15:8-9 "‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. 9‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”" And I study on my own, and I pray about it, and I think about what a loving God would do. I may be wrong, but that is how I make it work. Also, I believe the Church of Jesus Christ is worth saving.

So...thanks!

The Attic Wife

@279th District Court Good luck in your job search! And yes, some of my favorite Bible passages are when Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees and the other intolerant religious leaders. It's definitely worth notice that the people who got the MOST condemnation from him were the hypocrites who hid behind their piety.

Bopbopbop

@LW2,
I am also a queer lady teacher in TX. This is my third year of teaching from the closet. It hurts when colleagues and students make brazenly ignorant comments about the scary scary gayz. These are people I have good relationships otherwise! I get sad that I can't do more for students who are struggling with their sexualities and their friends' and families' reactions; I want to be their real-life It Gets Better Video or whatever. BUT then I think about the fact that if/when I leave, my position could very well be taken by one more non-ally--if not openly anti-gay--teacher. Even if we can't be out and activist at work, at least we're keeping far worse alternatives out of the classroom. Sounds small but it helps to think this way on bad days.

By the way, if you want to stay in Catholic schools, this blog post in favor of gay marriage from the conservative president of Seattle Prep, a Jesuit high school, might be a heartening read. It makes me think you might be able to find a job where both your faith and your sexual identity is supported! http://www.seaprep.org/page.aspx?pid=598

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