Were you looking for a particular answer about your sexuality?
I wasn’t looking for an answer as in the actual truth. I was looking for an answer as confirmation of what I wanted to believe that day. And usually what I wanted to believe was that I was straight, or that I was not sufficiently gay for it to really manifest in any meaningful way in my life.
Obviously, now there is a lot more awareness about bisexuality and sexual fluidity. But in the early aughts, that sort of literacy was not there, especially not on whatever crappy quizzes I was finding. There were also times when I would take quizzes and want to be told that I was gay, but then I just didn’t really believe it because the criteria they considered in order to make that assessment felt so fake.
Did you feel like you could talk to your friends about your sexuality?
A little bit. I talked a lot to my best friend at the time, Rylee. I remember sending her Facebook messages when I was 20, you know, about Shane from “The L Word” and Tegan and Sara. I’d write, “I’m pretty sure I’m gay now,” but it was always self-deprecating and presented half as a joke. She didn’t reject it or shut it down.
I also didn’t have any gay friends. Again, this is something that is probably a lot different now, depending on where you are in the country or in the world, but in the early to mid-aughts, I think it was not uncommon. So my conversations with straight women about these feelings, I imagine, were very different than they might have been if I had talked to anyone who was queer.
What led to the moment when, at 28, you told your friends that you might not be straight?
I had a wonderful therapist who helped me click things into place. I moved to New York City when I was 26 and had dated a couple of guys pretty unsuccessfully.
When I started talking to my therapist about my romantic life, she said, “It’s significant that you pretty much only want to spend time with other women. It’s significant that the thought of going on a date with a man only makes you feel dread, whereas the idea of going on a date with a woman makes you curious.” She made it seem really simple. I needed that. I wish I had that 10 years earlier.