OKC Me For Guidance
There comes a time in most of our lives where we find ourselves various types of “single”. I say various because your level of comfort with your current relationship status can come with a hodgepodge of emotional states including jubilation, loneliness, and indifference. I just happen to be one of these single people, and more specifically, a single lesbian in DC. And hence, I find myself drawn to the common outlet for new interactions of the flirtatious sort. That’s right ladies, I’m talking about OkCupid.
It all starts with a profile and that pivotal moment where you decide whether you're going to check the box straight, bisexual, or gay. For some of this “check” is quite simple and we do it without hesitation. We do it while wondering who thought to set the default word they tell you to add to your username if it isn’t available as: TACO. (Yes, if you try to create a username of something common i.e. "Lindsay" it'll inevitably tell you that that while your super awesome username isn’t available, "Lindsay_Taco" is. What?) Anyways, I personally checked the gay box, allowed myself a moment of judgment and jubilation over the fact that my profile name didn’t involve the word "taco," and moved on to the asinine questions they require you to answer.
Now, I have had the pleasure of all kinds of interactions on this site. I've gained all sorts of knowledge about social interaction and chemistry of all kinds. However, nothing piques my curiosity like a wink or profile visit from a girl with the straight box checked. I can honestly say I’ve never dated, kissed-with-intent, or slept with a straight girl. NOTHING against it, I just haven’t. So when one visits my profile, I immediately think: Looking for a 3-some partner? You clicked the wrong button on the search fields? You're looking at my profile on behalf of a friend trying to see if I’m message-worthy?
And THEN I started getting messages.
I started getting messages with questions about coming out. I started getting messages with questions about what it is to be gay and about how I told my friends and family. I started getting messages with questions about how I “first” knew and if it took falling in love with a girl. Some of these messages contained small stories about their own experiences and their current thoughts on attraction. The main commonality was the ribbon of-- for lack of a better word--fear, that ran through each of them.
I must admit that it took 4 or 5 of these messages before I began to reply. Perhaps I was a little nervous that this was some sort of ploy to hate-bomb me with some Rick Santorum-esque rhetoric. But, if someone was going to creatively use a dating site in order to seek advice on coming out, then I owed it to them to answer as best I could. I told them how I came out to both my friends and my family, about how I first fell in love with a girl and how I had been so scared for that first real kiss. And I told them that when I had that first real kiss with this girl that I fell in love with, it was outside, in public, on the street, and I wasn’t scared at all. (Oh Fab Lounge, how I used to love you so). And above all, I told them that to me being gay wasn’t a choice. But coming out was.
Some of them replied to me, and some didn’t, but the ones that did thanked me. After that I began to appreciate OKC just a little bit more for its place in the social sphere as a venue for communication and commonality. I appreciated that it enabled women to find a (sometimes anonymous) outlet where they could find someone to simply “talk” to. I’ll never know why they chose to message me, or what about my profile made it seem like I would have the answers to their questions-- Maybe they wrote messages to everyone that happened to show up on their first match page? I guess I’ll never know (without asking of course, but that just seemed really awkward). I hope that for each of them they were able to come to a better understanding of both themselves and what it is that they're feeling. And maybe, just maybe, they were brave enough to be able to change that little “check” on their profile page. But if not, there’s still time.