Looking Straight In

flower girl

(via weheartit.com)

I am a straight woman. I appear to always have been. I often find girls ‘cute’, playfully, but I can truthfully say that I have never had the urge to take a girl’s clothes off or stick my tongue… well, you get the point. (You must forgive me, I’m British.) I’ve never wanted to do that, and that is, perhaps, an inconspicuous kind of personal tragedy.

There are secrets I will never know about because I am an outsider, in some respects, from my own gender. There is no choice in the matter and that’s all there is to it. It’s a club I’ll never be able to join, merely peek through the curtains. A group united by experiences – “coming out”, her “first”, the troubles she has faced; united by shared places and solidarity in being women, together. Whilst all women may share joy in our journey from veritable ‘second-class citizens’ to where we are today – suffrage, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, burning bras – there is a distinct culture only open to some, selected for membership by the lottery of life.

I imagine my life if I were gay. I don’t know if everything would really change or not. I imagine one day getting married; thinking how many shops people would have to visit before they could find a card without a smiling groom on the front; thinking where I would have the ceremony – or, where would allow me to do it in law;  thinking what we – she and I – would be known as – titles, surnames, ‘roles’. A couple entirely free to build their own world of two. Would a deconstructed wedding would allow the burning, naked truth of love to demand attention from the world?

For, in reality, this is all I can do: imagine. My heterosexual existence continues, and most likely always will do. My wedding will be in a church, in a white dress, exchanging vows that have been intoned between men and women for centuries. My children will have one mother and one father. Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy with my lot. But there is another world that I will never know. “Straight and proud” is not something we see plastered on websites, on the street or in newspapers: rightly or not, it smacks of homophobia. Perhaps being straight is nothing to be hugely proud of: being “normal” is nothing exceptional.

Is the point that I am jealous? I don’t know. Looking in, when I can on a group of women that I could be eligible to join by virtue of having been born with the same body, yet not sharing the same outlook, I feel a pang.

A woman’s body to me may be attractive and well-proportioned; it will never be sensual. The curve of her hip to me is not an ogee to lose myself in. Her smile will never set my nerves on fire. Her skin will never smell of desire.

Will I ever be a true woman if I can never, truly, love women?

 

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