Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I think I identify as "hilarious" more than anything else.

It's been a little over a month since I came out to my parents through email, and we haven't exactly talked about it since. Which, honestly, is fine with me since I like avoid that kind of interaction with my parents in the first place. (Gossip and cancer-talk can happen over the phone, but I prefer to update them about my love life strictly through electronic forms of communication, if at all.)

Last night, however, I got a call from my mother as soon as I got home. I had sent her the link to my post at This Recording, and she wanted to tell me she liked it, and that I seemed to not completely make fun of her, which she appreciated. Of course, I had an idea that she was calling because, in that article, I had written the following sentences:

"Once a girl I had a crush on pressured me into eating a strawberry, but I haven’t had one since."

"It wasn’t until last year, when my first serious boyfriend listed it as one of the reasons for breaking up with me, did I begin to think that there might be something wrong and it was affecting other people more than it was affecting me."

Of course that invoked the first conversation of many, probs, about my sexual preferences. She asked the same question that most people I've known in the last four to six years have asked: Did you really have crushes on girls in college? Are you bisexual? Et cetera, et cetera.

It's a difficult question to answer because, if you didn't know me well in college, I was very head-over-heels with someone I went to school with, feelings with lasted for about two years. Obviously, those feelings were unrequited, but they existed nonetheless. And I did date Megan for a few months my junior year, although it admittedly wasn't a very serious relationship. Perhaps my attraction to girls really stemmed from emotion and what I thought I was supposed to feel. I've certainly found men attractive, too, but I think I never developed feelings for a guy until after college because, frankly, I never had male friends. (Even my mother said, "I never really thought of you being attracted to men, as you seemed to hate most of the ones you knew." Which is true; I never had many male friends (aside from my childhood best friend, with whom I'm no longer friends), even in college.

But, like I told my mother last night, this is an issue I honestly don't think about much. Sure, people ask the question, and I try to give an answer, but it's not easy to produce when I haven't exactly figured it out for myself and, really, don't feel like I have to. I am who I am: I like dudes, and I'm fine with that. I don't think it's really the most important aspect of my life, or the only (or even the most important) way to identify myself. In fact, I've never actually found that I can come up with an identity for myself, and I think the reason for that is I'm from a family and a cultural background that can't trace back its roots to another foreign culture. When you grow up not thinking about that sort of thing, and then suddenly are hounded with ideas of multi-culturalism and "hyphenation" in college, it's a lot to take in. I suppose you could say I'm "Southern" or, simply, "American," but those are silly labels that, ironically, no one (especially in our dear, liberal city of Chicago) takes very seriously. At the same time, however, I'm not going to put "Gay" in front of anything, either.

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