I am prepared to make a confession for the sake of womankind. I've given it a lot of thought (arguably too much) and decided it's time to come clean for all the girls out there who've been down the same road. My message: You are not alone, and you are not to blame.
(deep breath ...)
I have fallen for gay guys -- repeatedly, hook, line and sinker -- and I am not ashamed.
I'll spare you (and these men) the sordid stories, but let's just say mine isn't a one-time-I-fell-for-the-Will-to-my-Grace tale. I'm a repeat offender. My type: The guy who isn't quite sure of his own position on the Kinsey Scale; who has some gay tendencies but some straight; and who, when it all finally makes sense, will say, "I could have loved a man or a woman, but I'm most sexually attracted to men."
Now that my peer group and I have arrived at the stage where most everyone is open with his or her specific sexuality, my problem arises much less, but that doesn't erase my case file. I will forever be "the girl who loved the guys who didn't know they were gay." It's not your typical scarlet letter situation. You hear about a girl who always falls for guys who cheat and say, "Ugh, what a problem ..." or a girl who can't seem to commit to any guys at all and say, "Oof, what a shame ..." My story tends to be met with a, "Really?! What an idiot!"
But like I said, this confession isn't about the fact that I have loved men who later love men; it's about the fact that I'm damn proud of it. It is not my fault. It is simple cause/effect of who I am as a woman, what I want in a man, and how this particular set of men fits that bill.
Here, with some stereotypes and non-PC details I'd like to blanketly disclaim, is why:
• I am interested in men who are interested in the arts -- fine art, performing arts, arts & crafts, Art Garfunkel ... you name it. It's what I enjoy doing and talking about, so I'm naturally inclined to like doing and talking about it with like-minded individuals. There are many straight men who also enjoy these things, and I have dated some of them too, but the percentage of gay men who enjoy them is making a for a dating/math equation that doesn't work in my favor.
• I am a communicator; I can't, won't and don't deal well with a stoic, quiet and closed-off man. I like when the words and feelings flow freely, easily and in more then 140 characters. I'm not saying all straight men have cavemen communication skills. I'm saying more men-who-end-up-being-gay don't.
• Isn't it nice to spend the day gallivanting around a flea market, outlet mall or vintage shop with an interested and patient man who helps you pick out things and tells you what looks great? I sure think so, and that's why I'm in this situation.
• Men have all different kinds of grooming tendencies. It may be offensive but is true to say that men of the gay persuasion have more involved grooming tendencies than those of the straight. As such they can tend to look, shall we say, better. I'm attracted to good-looking men. And so since A is to B as B is to C, I fall for gay guys.
• I spent four years living in Manhattan's West Village.
• And, finally, not-so-sure-they're-gay guys fall for me! Am I thrilled about what that may imply about the balance of my estrogen and testosterone? No, but let it be known that despite hating "Moulin Rouge" and Vera Bradley bags, I'm as girly as they come. I can't explain why the Jake Gyllenhaals* of the world make me their Reese Witherspoon, but I most certainly can't be (fully) blamed.
And so when it comes time to walk my daughters through my romantic history, I won't skip over the parts where I had a serious thing for Uncle Mike. I'll just explain the very logical reasons that my heart sometimes took me to the bench of the wrong team, and then I'll show them all the awesome gifts he bought me.
Jessie Rosen writes the blog 20-Nothings -- an account of getting by from 2-0 to 3-0. It has been some time since she last dated a closeted gay man and, frankly, she misses it.
(*Jake just has to be of the doesn't-know-it-yet persuasion ...)