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looking at the l-word
what it feels like for this girl
by alex b (@Lexistential)

I like a girl.

I never expected to say it. As a woman who daydreams of a sunset beach wedding set amidst tiki torches, I hope for Mr. Right while appraising occasional Mr. Right Nows. I consider myself heterosexual, a guy's girl, a yin element who would certainly complement an appropriate yang. But, in spite of ideals I've been raised with and a Hallmark card culture centered on heterosexuality, the thought of her stirs me, brightens me, and arouses me. She is the woman my visions present instead of a ceremony with ocean and sand.

I shouldn't be too surprised by my attraction for her, for I've always found women beautiful. When I started nicking the Playboy issues hidden in my dad's closet and my uncle's den at the age of twelve, I happily admired the pictures while ignoring the interviews. To my adolescent psyche, the models weren't hot chicks I hoped to nail. They were bright, sensuous women in goddess form, and they took my breath away. Barbi Benton? Absolutely. Pamela Sue Martin? Damn right. Flipping through Playboy in bed became a favorite ritual, one I didn't entirely give up even when my relationships with boyfriends strengthened.

However, I skipped the issue with LaToya Jackson.

Perhaps a reason why my attraction for her is stronger than previous passing crushes is because my current intimate relationships with men range from intermittent to weak. Like any other single woman, I've seen the glow of a passionate night fade as though it had never existed in the light of day, and know the disappointment accompanying an unmade call. Fabulous dates have sparked brief relationships that culminate in blanket excuses such as "I'm just not there," or "It's not you, it's me." Despite efforts I've made to provide a pragmatic and illuminating status quo, I am shut out from both a man's emotional heart and the decision-making process regarding our relationship.

The last factor saddens me the most. Not only am I deprived of learning the range and nature of a man's feelings for me, but of the opportunity to create a good friendship. At once, I am deserted and stripped of the privilege to choose. In turn, doubts sprout up, unwanted weeds interfering with the train of thought that tells me I am pretty good to spend time with. I wonder if he would openly like me if I were more compliant; I wonder if he stranded me for showing I can care. I distance myself from the time I believed we had a compatible sense of chemistry; I reluctantly dismantle my scaffold of feelings that immediately materialized in good faith. I write emails resembling thesis papers to my best friend Spence, lengthy bricks demanding intel that can actually make sense of male behavior to me. I question if I'm holding out for a caliber who doesn't exist.

For truly, I don't understand guys, and am losing the will to try.

Just as my intimate relationships with men have gone from strong to struggling, my friendships and interactions with women have become powerful and accepting. With my girlfriends, I am validated as the writer hoping to see her name on the New York Times Best-Seller List, a creative friend who encourages trying new pursuits, the girl who occasionally cracks out a chicken dance while waiting for a restroom at five in the morning, and the zany bombshell with a fondness for coloring her hair in nuclear tones. Through them, I walk tall, handle obstacles with grace, and recover from difficulties. I am not on guard, nor am I waiting for a shoe to drop under a two-month mark. I can express what I'm really thinking without a fear of being deemed unfeminine or threatening. I am not nitpicked with words preceded by "you're too...". I am allowed to care and nurture, and am not penalized for doing so by being suddenly abandoned or considered needy. My company of beautiful sisters does not limit who I can be in their presence. I am loved in all my dimensions, and love them and men in my life for all of their qualities.

On the other hand, my stable of unstable relationships only seem to know how to recognize my bombshell factor. Preferably at their own convenience and on my back.

Thus, perhaps it's time for me to explore the L-word, to expand my self-definition into bisexuality. I'm happy to swear off men for however long is appropriate and explore a sexual relationship with a woman. But in spite of my enlightened sentiment, several nags go off by reflex. Remember, you still want a good partner. Remember, you want kids someday. Remember, you want to preside over a dinner table with him. YOU NEED A MAN.

The programmed, unkind reminders make me wonder if I'm betraying my ultimate sexual purpose by liking a girl. Part of me feels as if I'm giving up too quickly, while another is sad at the prospect of never planning the beach ceremony. While I don't think I would be betraying anything or committing a transgression, I also feel like I've failed at finding a partner- even though I have no reason to blame myself. The guilt is unreasonable, and sits in the corner of my mind pointing its finger at me with a glare.

I'm going to fight it.

I've long thought that it's high time I learn to have a happy, healthy sexual relationship. Though I've loved my recent male rebels with questionable causes, none of them have ever openly given me the recognition due to me, or thought to think of what I need from them. Nor have they possessed the cojones to ever personally tell me that they've ever liked me. Without those aspects of open recognition, respect, and communication, none of the nights spent are worth it.

Ultimately, I know I don't hate men. I have no plans to permanently define them in angry, bitter contexts, even with my difficulties in creating a strong relationship. I still hope that I meet someone reminiscent of Han Solo, because he seems like the kind of man who can see me for all that I am instead of limiting me to virginal and hoochie lady archetypes. But right about now, I'm just as happy to explore my sexuality with a woman as I've been with a man.

I like a girl. And it feels good.


An expert in coloring outside the lines while reading between them, Alex B has a head for business, bod for sin, and weakness for ice cream during all seasons. Apart from watching Bravo marathons and enjoying haute bites here and there, she writes about TV, pop culture, and coloring outside even more lines. She sneaks Tweets via @lexistential.

more about alex b


how do i mourn a villain?
processing the passing of a polarizing relative
by alex b
topic: writing
published: 3.17.11

searching for positivity
my struggle for a better, kinder, and less bitchy me
by alex b
topic: writing
published: 7.15.09


ken mohnkern
2.5.07 @ 11:58a

Wow. Talking about the personal stuff is always brave, but you've gone into heroic with this. Good fer you. Have fun.

alex b
2.5.07 @ 3:59p

Hiya Ken! Thanks for the props. I do intend to have safe, sane, and respectful fun, especially since I'd like us to be really great friends first. So far, that's what we are, and I'm enjoying the easygoing vibe.

robert melos
2.5.07 @ 10:19p

You go, girl!

I hear ya. Men can be jerks. However, you don't need a man to have children, or to be complete. And don't pay attention to that saying, "bi now, gay later." Explore your life, and find your happiness. It's better to have a partner you love than one others think you should have because of sexuality.

alex b
2.6.07 @ 3:14a

Thanks Robert!

Thanks to my share of "been there's" and "done that's", I've come to recognize that sex is an enriching, meaningful experience, and the best way to honor it is to practice it with respect. Be open, be honest, be communicative, and do so with kindness.

Something else I've also come to see is that my attitude to sex differs from a lot of straight, single guys out there. They don't think of it past the physical- the emotional aspect makes 'em run for the hills. With those differences, the usual casual hetero structure is no longer the place for me, and I may have more in common with women than men. That's fine. In any case, I'm happy to upgrade from economy and hang out in the first-class enriching relationship section with a guy or a girl :-)


robert melos
2.6.07 @ 4:16a

Alex, I know a lot of guy like the straight ones you describe lacking the ability to go deep in the relationship than surface sex. But don't give up hope, there are men out there who are comfortable with relationships and want that emotional depth.

Personally I'd still like Prince Charming. I admit to holding on to that fantasy of meeting the guy who will click with me like in a movie. I know that's a bit naive, and probably not the best for a long term relationship. I just trust that if I'm meant to be ina relationship, the universe will lead me to it and while I am gay that doens't mean my relationship might not be with a woman. So all options are open, and learning from the experiences is more fun and more important than much else.

alex b
2.6.07 @ 4:32a

Thanks, Robert. I totally understand the Prince Charming thing. If anything, I consider myself a Princess Charming- not really a damsel in distress, but one who'd love to race the horse with you. Some straight boys don't quite know what to make of me because of that.

Clicking with someone is quite easy on the surface stuff- it's the deeper compatibility that's more difficult. I've met guys where I thought, "wow, we have something in common", only to discover later that our emotional/sexual points don't match. Like you, I hope the universe leads me somewhere good, but I also think in terms of Field of Dreams: "If you build it, they will come." Some of the things I want will ripen with time, and it's for me to plant the right seeds by implementing and advocating a healthy M.O.

steve owen
2.6.07 @ 4:44a

'sup Lex! Steve in Manila here. Wow, cool entry! You were always the articulate one. I hope you're able to understand "men" as a category one day, but my guess is, it'll be a hard slog. But in truth, it isn't any easier to understand "women" as a category. As individuals, perhaps, but as big groups, no way. Very tough to find someone, regardless of pelvic plumbing fixtures, who isn't just a mass of stereotypes. It can be so tedious to continue looking for interesting individual differences, especially when so many people get stuck in behavioral ruts they usually picked up from TV. I wish I could say that most men don't have ingrained cultural (biological?) habits of looking for hit-and-run sex (especially in NYC, which is quite similar to LA with its devil-may-care ambitiousness and ethics derived strictly from personal convenience), but far be it from me to BS a friend. If that lady friend of yours is the supportive, affectionate, trustworthy pal that all the guys in your experience just ain't, then she'll be as lucky to have you as you will be to have her. You'll see her truly, and appreciate her vividly.

Keep writing, you have a snappy turn of phrase. :-)

Shine on, kiddo.



alex b
2.6.07 @ 5:03a

Holy crap, hi Steve! Yay, you joined!

I don't think I'm going to have guys down as a science, and consider it impossible to lump 'em all in one category. What I seem to have developed is the mutant ability to differentiate between the emotionally mature, constipated, and just not there (along with the sexually repressed, freaky, and just plain rampantly horny). I haven't written off guys, but I'm happy to back off from the ones who will most likely never try to give me what I need.

NYC is indeed a big city full of F*ck and Run. Rather than continue to try to accept it, I'd rather just go with my M.O. This big city may be full of assholes, but this is NY- and there are a few decent dudes here. Somewhere.

Off to write you... you rule!

tracey kelley
2.6.07 @ 9:43a

Whoo, Alex!

Very brave, honey, very brave. Good on ya for writing this, and may you continue to have loving, fulfilling relationships with everyone.

alex b
2.6.07 @ 7:30p

Hiya Tracey! Thanks bunches. I felt like it was all right to come out and say it since it's something I've felt for a long time, and it feels great to explore it.

o c
2.8.07 @ 9:23p

OMG! What level of the Inferno have you reached? I'm still working my way down! I see you're a late bloomer on the College 4 year "L" experiment. Here's and idea... sketch out an idea for the first Lesbian or bisexual Superhero... (Cat woman/Batgirl) mmmmm... interesting... Well, too bad most men aren't as open...(Go Jets)... Brazilian Carnaval is coming up on 17 Feb....!!! Sexual openess??!! See ya in Astoria neigborhood... Hey, still haven't see ya at Asia Society for their shindings...

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