A Strange Place
I find myself in a strange place lately, and that is one of lesbian mentor to a friend and colleague of mine. We’ll call her “Karen” (this is obviously not her real name).
Karen has had lots of trouble with men in her past. She spent several years with abusive and controlling men. I won’t share all of her details, but let’s just say she hasn’t had a good time with men at all. She is 40 years old and came to me to let me know she is thinking about women. She told me this about a year ago when she developed a crush on a woman who works for me, but I thought it had passed, because she hadn’t really mentioned it again, and any time she did, I thought she was joking. She would say things like, “I’m giving up on men!”, and we’d laugh together about the strange things that happened on her dates – but I never thought she would seriously consider being with a woman.
She stopped by our house on Friday night after work, and D immediately gave her (and I) a drink. I am a major lightweight, and was buzzing pretty hard after just that one drink. Karen had 2, and was seeming just fine. It was funny because we rarely have company, and we weren’t expecting her, so we didn’t have much in the way of food to offer her. D went into the cabinet and brought out Cheese-its and some jelly beans and malt balls we had leftover from Easter. We all laughed at our offerings, and I said, “Karen, have some Cheese-its. They’re cheese AND crackers!”
We talked about work first and then we started talking about her sexuality. She keeps saying she doesn’t know what she is, but that she is sick of men and often fantasizes about women. She also said she doesn’t like sex with men, and thinks it’s kind of gross. She has 3 grown children and she also worries about what they will think of her if she was ever to be with a woman.
D and her have a lot in common, as D didn’t actually admit to herself she liked women until she was 33. They compared notes and stories about men, and I, in my very buzzed state, tried to explain to her the wonderful world of the vagina. It was pretty funny, and D said that Karen was very intently listening as I was explaining how it all works. It’s interesting how little “straight” women know about their own parts! She also said she doesn’t think she could actually, um, you know – “please” a woman. D said she never thought she would be able to do it either. I don’t think any woman thinks they will be able to “go down” until it happens, and then they realize it’s not bad at all 😉
Anyway, we talked with her for 4 hours. We told her our experiences with each other and with being lesbians. When she was leaving, she kept saying that we had opened her eyes to a lot of things.
I find myself struggling with telling her how great being a lesbian is, because I’m not trying to “recruit” her or anything. It’s a fine line I walk with her, and I always find myself saying things like, “you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do with either a male or female”. I don’t want her to think that I am pressuring her into being with a woman. I would never do that, but I can’t help but bubble over with joy when I talk about my experiences with being gay. I can’t imagine ever being straight and would never want to be, even if there was a “cure” for it.
I’ve never been in this situation before, and I don’t want to say the wrong thing to her. She keeps coming to me and telling me about these older men that keep texting her. I can see she doesn’t have much self esteem because she is actually considering them. I told her she should not “settle” just because they are available.
What would you tell her if you were in my situation? Would you encourage her to be with a woman? Or would you just stay out of it?