Coming Out: Late to the Party
Over the years, several people have mentioned that I should write a book. Usually it’s about my journey as a gestational surrogate (times 3) but now it seems to be about my coming out process. I joke and say that if I were to write a book about finding out that I’m a lesbian at the age of 37, I should entitle it, “Late to the Party.”
Actually, the last year has been pretty fun figuring out where I fit, and gay and lesbian friends trying to welcome me over to their side. Of course, most is in jest and is totally aligned with a lot of stereotypes, but funny nonetheless. One of my friends told me right off, “You do know that now you need to have a favorite USA women’s soccer player, right?” I needed clarification. Am I basing this off of cuteness or actual skill? Apparently, it can be either . . . for the record, I chose Tobin Heath . . . although it’s killing me she isn’t “age appropriate”.
I was also given all six seasons of The L Word. I had heard about the show for years but never watched it. Now, if someone would’ve given me the DVDs a while ago, I wonder if it would have accelerated the end of my marriage? Who knows? But as I watched it, it was wonderful reinforcement. Yep. This is it. My friends loved talking to me about where I was in the seasons and reminiscing about the plot and my thoughts about it. I loved the show and couldn’t wait for the kids’ bedtime so I could get through as many episodes as possible each night. I think I powered through them all rather quickly. It was like a drug. I couldn’t get enough.
I think the reason I never watched the show before is because we didn’t have Showtime. Because you can bet your last dollar, if I knew what I was missing, I would’ve figured out a reason to order it back in 2004. That’s another thing. I was told right away that as a lesbian, I needed Showtime. A few months later when I moved I did get three months’ free and although I could see why I should have it, I didn’t end up sticking with it. As much as I fell in love with Kacy and Cori off the “Real L Word”, I couldn’t really bring myself to pay more money. I also didn’t feel comfortable DVRing any of the shows. Don’t need to have episodes of “Ninjago” and “My Babysitter’s a Vampire” bookending episodes of “Polyamory” and other fun shows. Don’t want to explain that much stuff to my 6-, 9- or 11-year-old.
I was also told that I need to lose my purse, because appraently lesbians don’t carry purses. But I’m simply not a billfold in the back pocket kind of lady. My friends would tease me about other items I was missing: swiss army knife, tool belt, flannel, a cat. I was officially the worst lesbian ever!
When I first came out to a few close friends and my sister (and myself!), I was a several weeks into my final surrogacy. Being pregnant helped me not rush into too much, although I was told by a few friends that some lesbians are totally into the pregnant thing. Just my luck! However, as a surrogate, you sign a contract that you’ll be monogamous with your partner and both of you are screened for sexually transmitted diseases. Basically sex of any kind is out . . . unless you get your new partner (male or female) screened, and that’s hundreds of dollars. So I was told if I decided to start dating and it got physical to keep my clothes on. I wasn’t going to whore around because first, I am a rule follower and second, that’s just not my scene. I am a serial monogamist, it’s what I do. So I was able to date and kiss but not much else. In a way, it was a blessing, because being pregnant could help me not make stupid decisions and jump into things too quickly.
My friends kept telling me that after the pregnancy, when I could finally be totally out, that I would be “very popular”. I found this a little disconcerting. I had been popular before. I didn’t want to be popular. I didn’t want to spread the wealth (or anything else for a number of ladies) and was a little nervous about all of it. Dating nowadays was much different than back in 1999 when I had no kids and wasn’t the same person I am today. Again, I didn’t want to go out and experience every Tina, Debbie, and Hannah. I have always been a woman on a mission, to find the one right person. Being a lesbian didn’t suddenly change that.
A very close friend asked me what I was looking for in a girlfriend. I told her my list of traits, like she has to be REALLY funny (a sense of humor is very important to me), loyal, sweet, have a great smile, be a good communicator, and an awesome mom. I wanted her to be someone with whom I could see myself raising my kids. Someone who was as active with her own kid(s) as I was with mine.
Physically was a different story. I never really thought about what type of woman I was in to. Throughout the years I would see various women and think that certain parts of them were attractive, but I honestly think sense of humor and a great personality are more crucial in making a person attractive. When my straight friends would ask what type of woman I was attracted to, I couldn’t just say this or that type. Although as time went on, it became obvious to me that I wasn’t into girly girls –definitely more athletic than feminine. I would see certain women and think, hmmmmmm… maybe? But again, I was looking for a total package, not just a cute face.
One of my biggest issues with being newly out – me with with three kids, long hair, make up, mini van, and Coach handbags was, how in the hell would I attract women? I thought about this a lot. I thought this is probably going to need to be a set up, since I don’t see myself hanging out in lesbian bars trying to “out myself” to random, attractive women. I also am not the kind of person to waste time dating around everywhere. I would like to know ahead of time that you have your shit together. I don’t want drama. I don’t want a big drinker. I don’t want someone who doesn’t have similar morals and views as my own. You aren’t sure you ever want to get married and be a mom? – then keep moving. You have a history of cheating on partners? -been there and no thanks. I’m looking for trustworthy and loyal, not the local whore. But all of that is null and void if no one knows I’m “up for grabs”. I know it sounds funny, but for months I’d both dream day and night about how this was all going to go down once I lost this baby belly (literally with baby inside my belly) and wanted to start dating.
Funny. When the time came, it wasn’t an issue at all. The perfect woman who had every single thing I was looking for just…fell into my lap.