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?



About thelesbiannextdoor

I am a 41 year old lesbian, living with her wife in a small town. I have a 23 year old step-son. Who knows, I could be your neighbor ;) (Unless you know for sure your neighbor is not a lesbian - then I'm probably not!)

Posted on April 19, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Hmm…I hate feeling like I need to help people make choices…like when they’re looking for encouragement or justification. It’s really up to her, and if she doesn’t feel up to doing anything yet, that’s a sign right there. I would just listen and similar to the spirit of therapy, get her to find her own answers (which she may already know). Part of me thinks she’s going to you guys for advice, and the other part thinks she’s having fun being the center of ‘drama.’ What do you think?

    BTW, I definitely never had second thoughts or hesitations about ‘going down’ for the first time 😉

    • Haha! I didn’t have second thoughts either 😉 (only a hesitation when I first thought about it when I was 15 or so)

      Yeah, she is one who likes drama, so I’m not sure. She’s kind of like a lost puppy in a way, and I feel bad for her, and like I should be there for her. She does keep flip-flopping though, so I’m not sure what to think of it all. I basically told her she needs to do whatever feels right, and that only she can control who she dates. She seems to get all giddy when she talks about being with a woman, but then the next day she talks about this guy she might date. Ugh!

  2. Welcome the bisexual!! I think you’re doing everyone right. I’m lucky in that I’ve never had someone come to me for advice in this manner, but if they did I’d “sell” the idea insofar that I would do as you’ve done: prove that it’s not disgusting, it is a wonderful thing and there are many benefits. Yet I would also warn of the consequences too, as she seems to partially have considered.

    Being gay in our heteronormative world is not easy. Coming out later in life isn’t always as easy as people think. There’s a lot to consider. The repulsion of men should not be the sole reason for her to consider women… she almost needs to dip her toe in both waters which it sounds like she wants to do (hence coming to you for advice). She might end up with the sort of man who is an arsehole, and needs to find the right one, she might end up with an arsehoe of a woman…

    Sorry, this is a bit disjointed… but essentially you need to do as strawberry says and push the ball firmly in her court and let her make her mind up. Tis not about recruitment…!!

    • I think you’re right GOAS. She said she’s always liked women, but pushed it out of her head – but I really think she is Bi and not lesbian. On Monday she said she thinks she’s Asexual, but that’s not possible from the way she talks. I think she is scared to try with a woman. She doesn’t know what she’s missing!!

      Thanks for popping by and thank you for the comment! 🙂

  3. Treat her the way you wish someone would have treated you when you had questions. I often wish I would have known someone that was gay that I could talk to when I was first coming to terms with who I am, etc. Knowing an experienced lesbian to help me down that path would have been lovely 🙂 On the same note, i totally agree with everyone above – let her make her own decisions and come to her own answers. You’re a good friend!

    • Thanks for the comment Alison 🙂 You need to start writing on your blog again! I miss reading it!

      I agree that I want to be there for her and just let her make her own decision. She keeps flip-flopping, so it gets a bit frustrating, but I will push through.

  4. I think that so far yoga re on the right track, doing everything right. Just keep listening and encouraging her to explore how she really feels – and hey, there’s nothing wrong with her experimenting. 🙂

    i, too, was married to a man before i met my wife. i had never thought about women, so when i met my wife, it wasn’t that i was looking for anything. we simply fell in love. i fell in love with the person. that was the most important thing to me, whether it was a man or a woman, didn’t matter. it was who she was. and we clicked. though, i must admit, that once experiencing love & sex with her, i could never imagine being with a man again. this woman, my wife, was exactly what i had been looking for all of my life, without even knowing it. 🙂

    so, just keep doing what you’re doing. it’s so good that she has someone to talk with! she’ll figure it out, if she’s honest with herself.

    xo, my friend.

    • Wow Liz, I didn’t know you were married to a man before. I’m so glad you found your true happiness with Lina 🙂 There’s nothing better than that!

      I will just be here to listen to her. We’ll see what happens!

  5. I commented on my own blog because my reply was getting long and I wanted to draw a diagram! ha ha! I do have one thing to add though – I, for a long time dated men and pushed the thoughts of women out of my head, I was very lucky to have the final nudge I needed to get me over to the other side, I often wonder how long it would have taken me to take the plunge, or if indeed I ever would have done, had I not have had that nudge. I am not bisexual…

  1. Pingback: Dear Karen, « Silly wrong but vivid right

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