You saw the black cat cross the hallway twice and you felt a twinge of familiarity. Deja vu. Except it wasn’t. Trinity taught you what it actually was: a glitch in the matrix. Well Gay-ja vu is like that only the black cat is the memory of that girl from camp who you just HAD TO eat every meal next to and Trinity is here to teach you that there’s been a glitch in YOUR matrix: that girl was the first girl you had a crush on before you knew you were queer.
These moments of gay-ja vu blindside me at random. When I’m drowning in mucous and my nose is all red and I’m at the grocery store trying to find soup without added sugar and I grab a can that happens to share a name with the last name of that girl from camp and then I remember when she played Mr. Weatherby in the camp production of Archie and I feel things move downstairs which forces me to release a slow, long, audible “ooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Well shit.” Later while sipping my sugar-filled soup (because apparently sugar-free is hard to come by), I look her up on facebook and spend probably too long staring at her display picture trying to decide whether or not it reads lesbian. I decide against sending a friend request.
And it’s not restricted to people, but also to movies and TV shows. But I’m a Cheerleader, Boys Don’t Cry, season two of Dawson’s Creek, just a few examples of the kind of entertainment I avoided. I want to say it was done subconsciously, but on some level I definitely knew what I was doing, I just perhaps didn’t know why. Cut to fifteen years later and I’m compiling a list of my favourite TV shows and having a bit of trouble narrowing down the list to just ten for a submission package. I take a look at my DVDs that sparked enough joy to survive the purge and that’s when I see it: season one, followed by season three to six of Dawson’s Creek. Then I remember that Jack came out in season two and for some reason (eyeroll) that storyline always made me a little uncomfortable. “Ooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Well fuck me.” Gay-ja vu strikes again.
Now please excuse me, there’s a lot of gay entertainment I need to catch up on.
QUESTION: do you think glasses, no make-up, and a bob reads lesbian? Just curious…
Standard party conversation, or perhaps late night talks under the stars, or stoned moments of clarity: if you could download any skill like they do in the Matrix, what would it be?
Some people need time to think. They either haven’t thought of their answer before or perhaps they’re searching for the answer that will make them seem the most… intellectual? Or the most virtuous? Or just the most. These people eventually come up with answers like “infinite patience” or “the answer to ending world hunger.” Which makes them sound much more like a contestant in a Beauty Pageant than having their desired effect.
Other people have quick answers. And I would be of the that category: Guitar.
“But Rebecca, guitar is something you could pick up and learn at any time.” And to that I would say, you are right. But then I would present to you my 15 year-old acoustic guitar that I have had re-strung 3 times by three different men, all of whom I had a crush on. I would follow it up by saying when I was 16 I took a few lessons, and then again when I was 25. And every year it appears on my list of new years resolutions and vision boards acting as a regular reminder that I have been failing at this goal for fifteen years.
Like I said, you’re right, I could learn guitar. But then I’d have to learn guitar. And I don’t want to learn guitar. I want to be able to play guitar. I want to go over to a girl’s apartment for the first time, see a guitar that happens to belong to her roommate, pick it up and play a few chords. She’d melt. I’d shrug and put the guitar down. Fire would ensue. And I don’t mean to say I’d like to be able to play guitar so I can get some, although yes. What I mean is that I want to be able to play guitar for the social benefits. Music is universal. Tell me you’ve never been envious of the person with the guitar around the campfire? If you haven’t then it’s because you were THAT person. Heeding requests and controlling the vibe of the evening, all eyes on you waiting to fulfill their individual musical desires. I wonder how that feels? Is it a partnership? Are you every bit as focused on the people listening as they are on you?
To the people concerned about what their answer says about their character, I feel you. Not being consumed by what others think of me is a day to day struggle. Let it be known that I don’t judge you. So when you say, “I’d want to download the ability to perform any surgery so that I could heal the world” the most you’ll get from me is a knowing smile.
Then I’d follow that up with, “I’ve been thinking about learning the guitar, any chance you know how to play?”
There are many things I am sure of: my favourite colour is purple; my favourite song is Mr. Big’s To Be With You; I prefer cats over dogs; I have an unhealthy relationship with food; I love to laugh more than most anything else; I’m stubborn; determined; a feminist. I could go on. Despite being able to make such a list, I still get blindsided every few months by how little I know myself. And not like, “oh, that was weird” when acting in a way outside myself, but more like “WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?”
The most recent moment of pure confusion came when I was talking to a friend about what my perfect guy looks like. I couldn’t answer. I mean, I could: long-haired, bearded, tattooed, burly, glasses a bonus. But running through the list of men I have been with would suggest otherwise. No one on my list fits that description. Oh no wait, there is one. But he only achieved said look after we first slept together. Ain’t that the way?
If none of the people I have slept with fit my quote-unquote ideal, then am I actually really attracted to what I think I am? Or have I just been perpetuating this idea because I hadn’t stopped to ask the question in so long? I’ll take this opportunity to stroke my own ego and say that I’ve never dated this guy because at the end of the day, I care less about the wrapping than the gift itself. I know, I know – I’m a really good person. That must be the reason. Yeah. Well. That OR men that look like that tend to be assholes. It’s definitely one of the two. Probably the latter.
But really I think it comes down to the fact that I am a queer woman that has dated mostly men. The lumberjack vision is antithetical to the parts of me that are attracted to strong, empowered women like the Cara Delevingne, Evan Rachel Wood, and Janelle Monae’s of the world. And until I fully explore that wonderful world, my idea of what I am attracted to will remain just that: an idea. A shoulder shrug. A moment of pause followed by an, “ummm… they just have to be able to make me laugh.” At the end of the day, that’s what I want. And it’s okay to not know the rest.