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July 23, 2012 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Mulled Whine With H.G. Beattie

I just don’t know any more.

In high school, I went to Taupo for a week for a football tournament. I did a tandem bungy jump with a girl that I didn’t know hugely well. We chose the ‘tango’ position. After the jump (post-coil, if you will), flooded with adrenaline and still upside-down, I thought an appropriate observation to make would be that “were I a lesbian, I would totally jump you right now.” I vividly remember all of the above: this statement being merely an observation as to the effect of adrenaline on arousal, my ever-present respect for the subjunctive tense, and her freaking the fuck out and asking to switch motel rooms. Hence my Open Letter to Suzie: You were a talented midfielder. It was unintentional. Sorry also for culling you on Facebook.

The first person to question my sexuality was my mother. She got off the phone with my aunt, giddy with anecdotal bliss of my same-aged cousin’s first srs boyfriend, and asked me why I neither took nor received romantic male interest. I kept her guessing. “Because I got Dad’s nose.” “Oh. Right. Well, boys—I mean, prospects of either gender, will appreciate wit when you’re older.” (While fulfillment of said prophecy has subsequently occurred (!!), I can confirm that “appreciate” does not mean “whip it out for”.) Family reunions went by in a whirl of “Great khakis.

You look just like your dad! Do you have a boyfr-I-mean-partner?” “No, cruel world! I have taken no lover!” snarled seventeen-year-old me. Even now, when I meet new people, I see some of the cleaner-cut thinking “Could this be my new power lesbian friend?” No. I ask you. What has happened to the market for sassy white straight friends?

Despite (my arrogance in thinking that people devote their time and energy to) speculation as to my sexuality, I spend little to no time ascertaining the sexual preferences of others. This is because my ‘gaydar’ (there has to be a better term for that) is woeful. Holla at your autism spectrum. In a characteristic display of self-deprecation, it has become a matter of construing all male politeness as an indication of homosexuality. If they’re nice to me, they clearly like boys and are talking to me because my non-smokerdom and child- bearing hips—a description your mother never used, hence why you are normal—make me a target for surrogacy. It is a bit like when potential models get ‘talent spotted’. The difference is that no one ever gets ‘talent spotted’ by the editors of their friendly local student magazine at 2am in the Fringe Bar bathrooms.

The eternal allure of casual stereotyping led a gay man to drunkenly sound-bite to me over the holiday break that “I hate ‘fags’, just like you hate ‘sluts’.” (If by “hate” he meant “envy their taut stomachs and their excellent material for drunken bathroom tears”, then consider the boat un-missed.) The point is, that regardless of your subscription to the phallus fallacy or to the altar of the lady garden, I am alone.


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