You see when I was growing up, I lived in a lesbian free world, well at least that's the colour it was painted. At best, being gay was a deviation, one that meant your parents could have checked you into the asylum for, and mine would have been quite likely to do that.
So last night when I got asked the question that I always get asked, the one that is always preceded by 'would you mind if I ask you a personal question, and don't answer this if you don't want to... but what made you change from being married to being gay?'
Well, repetitive as it is, I'm always glad when people do actually ask me about it. Living in the west of Ireland isn't exactly San Francisco, and despite the fact that we are slowly coming out of the caves, it seems to me that rather than embrace diversity, we silence it. Despite all of our new laws and regulations and the whole gay marriage thing (I still don't know why gay people want to live like heterosexuals, but anyway), a lot of the people who I meet, have never met a gay woman before, so the reaction can be anything from ostracizing me, running a mile from me, considering me to be very strange indeed, and a host of other things that silences any mention of my gayness. And the silence hurts.
|Cynthia Nixon &Rojo Caliente with their son Max|
But still, last night in a Galway club, that ingrained Irish guilt complex couldn't stop me from feeling so wrong for admiring the great legs and the flesh coloured tights of the three singers. There's just something very sexy about flesh coloured tights - I believe they are now called 'nude' rather than flesh coloured, but that doesn't make any difference. For me, flesh coloured tights are a mix between 1950's cocktail parties and school teachers. They scream for hands on them. They're like ice cream wrappers to a child, they make silk purses out of sow's ears. But still, I suppose clubs that are frequented by twenty-something year olds in search of a standard heterosexual adventure don't expect women pushing 50 to lust after the sheer satin flesh coloured tights of the singers. Not that I would have made a move on any of them or anything like that, I just felt wrong, guilty, almost a pervert. I felt lonely.
But then I thought: a guy wouldn't feel bad about it, and isn't that why they have dancers in the club in the first place, so I let myself off and spent the rest of this morning's hangover feeling bad about other painful banalities and also wondering why the hell I live in the west of Ireland where I'll always be something of an outcast. Well there is a reason, and that is because someone has to do it. I guess there needs to be a lesbian visibility, one that stretches from the Galway suburbs all the way up the N17 as far as Tuam. Not that I go around waving the rainbow flag or anything, I'm just here.
There are three things that really drive me mental though.
- The assumption that because I'm a lesbian I fancy every woman on the planet
- The assumption by straight women that if they decide they want to try it out with another woman, they only need to come to me and I'll take them on for a night
- And this is my pet hate - the assumption that because I'm a lesbian, all I ever think about is sex with women (and true, there are times I can't deny that), and that the only thing I ever do with my partner is have sex. Believe me, there's a huge difference between wanting sex with a woman and falling in love with a woman or living with a woman.
Guess I'll just have to wait another 40 years for it to come to Galway, by which time I'll be decrepit and disapproving of all that sort of carry on. Sigh...