Men often say, ‘Women! Who could ever understand them?’ Don’t ask a lesbian for the answer. All you’ll get is a sympathetic nod.
– Joanne Brigden
I had my first girl crush in the tenth grade, on an artsy senior
named Natalie. She was a lead actor in the Thespian Club, very popular
and extremely beautiful. Like, Angelina Jolie/Rosario Dawson beautiful
but with Siouxsie Sioux make-up, crimped bangs sprayed eight inches
high and a patched black trenchcoat she wore daily, even in Las Vegas’
scorching heat. Although I was a mere sophomore, Natalie was always
nice to me—greeting me in the hallway with an exuberant “Hey, cutie!”
to which I would smile shyly and then look behind me to see if she was
talking to someone else.
I had heard from someone at school that Natalie was “bisexual”—a
lifestyle we associated at the time with the androgynous singers of the
goth-rock bands we loved but a term used casually by only the coolest
of cool, older kids in fringe circles. None of my closest friends would
claim it, or even knew that it meant anything beyond making particular
hair, wardrobe and accessory choices.
All I knew is that Natalie exuded sexy confidence and it scared the hell outta me.
With a sly grin, she’d watch me watching her smoke with such cool
finesse in the quad while the rest of the mods, punks and drama kids
passed cloves and cigarette lighters to each other. Often she’d wave
for me to come over. But I could never say more than two words to her.
I couldn’t even begin to contemplate what would happen if I did.
When I moved to Santa Cruz after high school, I discovered that the
bisexual tag had made a precarious comeback amongst the “curious,”
sexually experimenting young women attending university—“queer before
graduation” became almost cliche. But I experienced none of that, as I
remained in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship throughout college.
Back then it was a fairly common novelty for chicks (and still is,
apparently, according to the Girls Gone Wild videos) to engage in
pseudo-lesbian shenanigans—drinking until they could make out with each
other in front of a crowd of straight male onlookers. But there were
also many of my collegiate friends who headed to gay clubs, and Women’s
Studies classes, for bona fide Sapphic action.
Meanwhile, my boyfriend repeatedly suggested that I do a little
experimenting as well—as long as I brought enough home to share. But I
was still much too inhibited to instigate such a notion. And although
Santa Cruz had a prominent gay and lesbian community, no woman ever hit
on me. I felt so unwanted.
It wasn’t until after I graduated, and the relationship with Mr.
Greedy was over, that it finally happened. Of course at this point I
was kinda over the whole “sexually curious” thing. But I figured I
might as well give it a go. And then gleefully tell my ex all about it.
Aside from the excitement of doing something slightly “naughty,” I
felt pretty unemotional about the whole thing. Much like the first time
I had hetero-sex, I was just pleased I had gotten the experience out of
the way so I could move on.
And I remember having a renewed appreciation for how guys actually
figure out how to do these things and make us women feel so good. Props
to my lesbian sistahs, too. It’s certainly not as easy as it looks. It
actually takes quite a bit of patience, creativity and a good deal of
For all my mindless hedonism, some things made me realize I am quite the traditionalist at heart.
Unfortunately, the girl I hooked up with didn’t feel the same way.
Instead of the strong, independent woman I had met, she quickly became
frail, vulnerable, clingy and manipulative. Suddenly, I was the asshole
saying things like, “It’s not you, it’s me,” “I think you’re great but
this just isn’t going to work out” and “Everything was cool until she
got all psycho.”
It was disturbing but the biggest thing I got from the whole
experience was that I actually gained a new respect for guys and
everything we put them through. I saw myself with new eyes. And I felt
empowered with the knowledge that I would never again put some dude
through that needy, girly bullshit.
Women are amazingly beautiful, sexy, intelligent, highly demanding
beings. I know because I am one. But I also know I’m much happier to be
wonderfully frustrated by men and all their fabulously stupid ways.
Samantha Campos is starting her Bittersweet line of pickled bath and body scents, including cucumber, kim chee and mango. MTW