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  NIGHTSPOTS

Dateland
by Jennifer Parello
2004-09-01

This article shared 2146 times since Wed Sep 1, 2004
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I went to lunch today with a straight friend. She spent the hour stabbing at her salad and complaining bitterly about her husband (who bares a striking resemblance to a Muppet), her daughter (a teenager—'nuff said), and the family pet (a gerbil with psoriasis).

At the end of her rant, she grabbed my hand. 'Oh, but enough of my tiny problems,' she said with a sob. 'Your life must be so much worse than mine. After all, I live in the suburbs and you... well, you're a lesbian.'

She leaned in close and stared into my eyes soulfully. 'It must be terribly difficult to be gay, isn't it?' she asked, hopefully.

I looked down into my iced tea and wondered how long I'd have to pretend to contemplate her stupid question before I could ask her if I could eat her pickle.

Unhappy straight people are always pulling this crap. They desperately try to justify their own sorry existence by reminding themselves that things could be worse—they could be gay.

I was straight for the first half of my life, and now I'm gay. So, I speak from experience when I say that being gay is a hell of a lot easier than being straight.

When you're straight, you have to live up to so many expectations. Get married! Have kids! Wear cocktail dresses! It's exhausting. From the moment I came out, though, my parents dropped all their demands. The only thing my parents expect of me now is that I don't shove my hand down my girlfriend's blouse at Thanksgiving dinner.

The hardest part about being a lesbian is remembering the accepted spelling for the word 'woman.' (Womin? Wymun? Wombin? Wimyn?) It's very confusing. I just try to avoid using the word altogether, which is pretty hard to do if you're a lesbian.

But, apart from that, my life is a lark. I have plenty of disposable income and I spend it foolishly on my dog and myself. (Hurrah for disposable income! It's my favorite thing about being gay.) While my straight friends fret and scramble to save enough pennies to get their kids into an Ivy League school, I'm blowing through my dog's obedience school fund buying drinks for my gay boyfriends and spending hours discussing the trajectory of Barbara Stanwyck's movie career. As a lesbian, I get to clomp through life in clunky shoes, learning all about the mysterious world of tofu, and kissing any girl who is silly enough to wander into my airspace. Now, what's so difficult about that?

There is one expectation that straight people have of us—and that is that they demand that we do our part to maintain their zany perception that we are more miserable than they are. And because I feel sorry for them, I try to play along. So, today at lunch, as my friend looked up at me pleadingly, I sighed wearily and then did my best to make her feel better about herself.

'Yes, yes, it's very hard to be gay,' I said, as I reached over and snatched the pickle from her plate. 'But they throw a parade for us every year. And that helps to ease the pain a bit.'


This article shared 2146 times since Wed Sep 1, 2004
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