Rejection Is Rejection, Infatuation Is Infatuation, And Sex Is Sex

by Lindsay King-Miller


I recently (6 months ago) became aware that I am attracted to girls. I don’t know if I’m strictly gay or bisexual.

I’m 24 and come from a slightly conservative family from Mexico City. As I came to terms with my preferences I started to search for girls. The thing is that I only have straight friends, so it is a bit difficult for me to socialize with lesbians, or even go to gay clubs since I have no one who would accompany me. So I decided to join Tinder and started talking to this cute girl. After a couple of weeks of texting we decided to meet in a bar, which was perfect for me since I was really nervous (hence I had 4 beers and she only had 2). We had a great meeting (IDK if I should define it as a date) laughing all the time, finding common and different interests. She let me know right away she was gay but since I’m still coming with terms with it I didn’t know what to say and as we talk about exes I could only refer to guys. At the end of the night I decided to pay and we had a normal goodbye as two friends can have. The next day being as brave as I could manage, I decided to write her a text saying I had a great time, let’s do it again soon. She replied “sure :)” Then I let a couple days pass and decided to write her again, asking if she had any plans for the weekend and if not if she wanted to get together. The thing is, she read it and didn’t answer me and now I’m going nuts because I don’t know if she is playing games and wants to play hard to get and I should put a little more effort, or she’s just not that into me, or if I did something wrong. It’s really confusing for me because I never had this problem with guys and it annoys me because I really really liked her. I’m writing to you because I desperately need some advice on what to do because clearly I’m losing my mind.

Oh, sweetheart, my deepest sympathies to you. You’ve fallen victim to one of the classic blunders: letting your libido confuse what you want with what’s really going on.

This girl is not playing hard to get. She’s blowing you off. It’s kind of rude, but not really beyond the pale; she doesn’t owe you a break-up heart-to-heart after one maybe-sorta date. What she’s demonstrating is not game-playing. It is, I’m sorry to say, rejection.

Of course, your heart and your imagination are more than willing to concoct scenarios that explain why she hasn’t returned your message — maybe she’s really into you but she wants to make you chase her, maybe her phone was hacked, maybe she was abducted by aliens. The thing is, people who “play hard to get” make terrible girlfriends, because they require a constant push and pull of rejection and reassurance, and even if you do end up dating you’ll never really be sure where you stand.

And more importantly, most people who are into you don’t make you chase them. Usually the person described as “playing hard to get” isn’t playing, she really is hard to get — because she’s not interested. And nothing makes you look less cute than frantically pursuing someone who isn’t interested.

On the off chance that something major really has come up in her life that prevented her from getting in touch with you, it’s still better to give her time than to pester her while she’s dealing with a personal emergency. Otherwise, you’re going to have to accept this for what it is: you had an enjoyable first date with someone who didn’t feel like planning a second. And that’s fine — in fact, it’s great! The more practice you get dating and handling mild rejection, the more prepared you’ll be when the girl of your dreams shows up. Don’t waste your time pining for the ones that got away, because what’s still to come is going to be even better.

So, while I was on vacation this summer I got to meet up with a girl I’ve been friends with on the internet for a couple years, due to intersecting geeky interests. This girl, who I guess I’ll call C to shorten things up, had briefly expressed interest in me in the past but it had never gone anywhere because I didn’t have a great sense of who she was beyond her Tumblr posts. Text-only Skype only does so much.

In person, though. Oh man. She’s funny and cool and super gorgeous and incredibly easy to be around (not true of every longstanding e-friend I’ve met for the first time). Long story short, we ended up hooking up a couple of times while sharing a hotel room and it was great. Bold and italics great.

Some backstory: I’ve been out about being bi since I was a teenager, but I took a dating break in my mid-twenties to focus on career stuff, and before that I was last in a serious relationship with a cishet dude.

As I’ve been getting back into dating I’ve mostly been interested in ladies, but I live in a very small city and most of the other queer women I’ve met who didn’t move to bigger centres, as is the norm here, stayed because they really like, say, mountain climbing and weed. That’s cool, but not me.

Couple that with the fact it’s been five or six years since I’ve been with (or, until this trip, slept with) anyone who wasn’t cis male and I’d developed a bit of a complex about it. To finally be with a woman who I genuinely have things in common with in a way that felt comfortable, natural and easy was — like, not to oversell it or anything, but it’s kind of been a revelation.

Since getting home I haven’t been able to get C out of my head. But, we don’t live in the same country and we’ve got just enough of an age gap (from mid- to late-twenties) where our lives are very different things. I know that pursuing this would be tough on both of us, assuming she even wants to (we didn’t talk about that, of course, because that would be helpful, but things since have been low-key flirty).

I guess what I’m asking in a roundabout way here, given that it’s a mix of vacation hookup and first queer experience after a long time, should I be suspicious about the fact that I am even considering trying to keep this going? How does one tell whether one is just giddy over getting laid, or really into someone?

Sometimes it’s super clear: after the first post-orgasm oxytocin high fades, you’re like “Okay, that was cool, see you never.” But more often, the only way to spot the difference between infatuation and genuine romance is to give it time.

The first person you date after a big breakup and a period of celibacy is unlikely to be your lifelong love, but let’s be real: so is anybody. People are unique and particular and weird, and what makes a relationship last is an unpredictable combination of chemistry and compromise and work and luck. Everyone you date is going to be the wrong one until the right one comes along. If you think C might be the right one, what the hell, go for it. If it doesn’t work out, at least you’ll know you tried.

By “go for it” I don’t mean “plunge headlong into a Very Serious Relationship without discussing it or thinking about the potential for fallout.” I just mean consider your options. Start by talking to her about what kind of future she wants for the two of you. Does she want to hook up again? Does she want to date? Or was this a one-time thing?

If she’s open to exploring the possibility of keeping your vacation romance alive, it will take some time to figure out what that looks like. How often can you afford to visit each other, and can your romance subsist on phone calls and Skype sessions in between? Is there any possibility of moving closer together in the future, or are you both committed to your current location? Is monogamy important to you, and if so, how much stress will long periods without sex put on your relationship?

I’m not saying these are questions you need answered right away, just that they’re things to keep in mind as you continue talking to her and see how things progress. You already know that there are a lot of obstacles in your path, so the biggest question you need to answer — and this may also take some time — will be: Is it worth it? Does the happiness you get from being with C outweigh the stress and sadness and inconvenience of being physically and chronologically separated? Would you rather have no girlfriend than a funny, gorgeous, cool girlfriend who lives far away? Will being with her bring you joy more often than it brings you sorrow?

I don’t know the answer to that. You probably don’t know the answer yet either. I wish you luck finding out.

I had an argument with my boyfriend last weekend and need some help sorting this out. I’m bisexual, something he’s totally cool with and supportive of, we’re also in an open relationship so both of us are free to pursue relationships with others.

I’ve had several experiences with women that he claims we’re missing an act that would constitute losing my queer virginity: performing oral sex on a woman. I haven’t done it, although I have been the recipient so I don’t really see how that’s different, I’ve also done lots of other fun stuff with women but, to him, I’m still a virgin until I go down.

At first he questioned my identity as bisexual having not performed this one act, after explaining to him how offensive I find it to have my sexual orientation questioned he came around on that one but still claims I haven’t really “been” with a woman until I cross this particular act off my list.

What do you think? Is there a litmus test for two women having “real” sex vs. just messing around? Don’t all the other kinds of sex also count as, you know, sex?

Yep, sex is sex, and your boyfriend is wrong! There are lots of different acts and positions and body parts that can be part of sex, from penetration to manual sex to oral sex to the whole vast array of activities inadequately summed up by the term “kink.” You could go your whole life without performing cunnilingus and still be the sluttiest person in your zip code. Plus, you have had oral sex, you’ve just been on the receiving end of it. I don’t even understand your boyfriend’s line of thought here, because it suggests that somehow a woman has had sex with you but you haven’t had sex with her. That’s very weird to contemplate.

I think your dude is stumbling into a logical fallacy I’ve encountered before, one that goes something like this: “Since there is one true sex act that defines heterosexual sex, there must also be one true act that defines Sapphic sex.” Only that’s not true of girl-on-boy any more than it’s true of girl-on-girl. Some people like penetration but not oral, and their sex lives are valid. Some people enjoy fisting but hate strap-ons, and their sex lives are valid too. There are no sex acts that “count” more than any others. (Also, virginity is a worthless and antiquated concept that reduces a woman’s worth to her sexual purity and has no place in an egalitarian society like the one The Gay Agenda is trying to create!)

My question is, why is it so important to your boyfriend that he gets to define the scope of your experience with women? Does he want to believe that your lady-sex times “don’t count” because he would see them as threatening if they did? If so, that may be the conversation you two really need to be having.

My very Catholic BFF from junior high, who has been a close family friend for over 15 years now, is getting married to a guy this winter and has asked me to be a bridesmaid. I’m thrilled for her and excited to be included.

She was one of the first friends I came out to as bisexual in high school, and was initially supportive, especially during some hard stuff with my parents. However, while we were attending separate colleges (me at a super-queer liberal arts school, her at a Catholic university), we had a terribly awkward winter-break coffee date during which she backtracked on that support. She told me she could no longer pretend to be okay with my sexuality, and was concerned about my future — as in, where I was going to spend eternity. She said that she loved me, but that I needed to rethink my choices (like dating my girlfriend). I thanked her for her honesty. We have never talked about that coffee date again, and I think she was as secretly relieved as my parents were when I dated men for a few years, and that she may have thought my “gay phase” was over.

Now, we’re adults living in separate cities. We’re no longer terribly close — we see each other about once a year when we’re both home for the holidays, and talk on the phone mayyybe once every two or three months. I’ve only recently told her about the woman I’ve been dating (for 9 months). My girlfriend and I are really serious, planning to move in together in the near future, talking about marriage and kids. My friend seemed a little surprised, asked a couple questions about her, and then dropped it — we haven’t spoken about it again, though we’ve been talking wedding stuff.

Based on bridal-party logistics emails, it seems the other bridesmaids’ spouses and SOs are invited to the wedding. I want to ask my friend if my girlfriend is invited, but I’m afraid to hear the answer. If she says no, I will be hurt and angry, and might reconsider participating in the wedding. Over the past few years, in moving from a small Southern town to a big East-coast city, I’ve come to prioritize living an out lifestyle, and have a rapidly shrinking tolerance for homophobia and any situation in which I’m encouraged to hide my sexuality. On the other hand, I don’t want to be selfish and make this about me — I want to show up for my friend and help her celebrate her love and commitment to her future-husband. I think I would just feel better about it if I knew that my love was also seen as legitimate. What should I do? Would it be selfish to disembridesmaid myself if she says I can’t bring my girlfriend?

This is a complicated question, because you’re not just dealing with your friend’s feelings about your relationship, or your feelings about her, you’re dealing with WEDDING SHIT. And wedding shit makes people crazy. There are so many factors that go into every decision, from how much it will cost to whose feelings will be hurt to how it will affect the seating chart. For instance, when I got married we decided not to do plus-ones. We only invited significant others if we knew them personally, because we were trying desperately to stay under budget. Some of our attendants were pretty annoyed about that, and from my less-stressed vantage point in the future I can acknowledge that they probably had a right to be (although one of them brought his not-invited girlfriend and then they had a dramatic breakup during the reception and I was like SEE THIS IS WHY SHE WASN’T INVITED, but that’s not strictly relevant to your question).

I can’t know what went into your friend’s decision to not invite your girlfriend (if she has in fact decided that, since it sounds the invitations haven’t gone out yet) and neither can you if you don’t ask her, but you might want to keep in mind that she’s juggling a lot of competing needs and priorities right now, and if she isn’t planning to invite your girlfriend it’s probably not just because she’s uncomfortable with you being queer. That doesn’t mean you can’t confront her about it, just that you should not assume she’s hurting your feelings out of malice.

You should definitely start by asking her whether your girlfriend is invited to the wedding. It’s a perfectly reasonable question, especially since you’ll be coming from out of town and you need to make travel plans. If she says no, then you can decide whether to press the issue. You can ask her why not, if the reason would make a difference to you. If she’s inviting other SOs because she’s known them for years, is that better than if she’s inviting them because they’re straight and your girlfriend isn’t? Or are you simply unwilling to be the only member of the bridal party without a date, no matter the justification for leaving her out?

If your friendship with this woman is important enough to overlook a slight based on your orientation, or if you want to one day have a shot at bringing her over to the side of LGBTQ rights, it’s totally fine to go ahead and attend the wedding solo. If you feel unfairly singled out and aren’t willing to put up with it, it’s also fine to send your regrets. Ultimately, the big questions here are: In order to be friends with her, do you have to allow her to ignore your queerness? And if so, is that a price you’re willing to pay?

I know it might be tempting to dance around the subject, but I think it will be better for your relationship in the long run if, the next time you’re on the phone, you ask flat out: “Years ago you told me you disapproved of my dating women. Do you still feel that way?” If she says yes, then it’s up to you to decide whether you want to show up in support of her love and happiness when she won’t do the same for you.

Previously: Healing, “Couple-Dating,” And Tips For A Baby Queer

Lindsay King-Miller is also on Twitter, and you can peruse the AAQC archive here. Do you have a question for her?