So, not very long ago I came out to my father as straight.
He took it pretty well.
Please understand that I’m in no way mocking the brave individuals who have had to come out to their loved ones as NOT straight – I can’t imagine the courage it would take to make such a huge decision. I’m not trying to take anything away from those experiences, I just feel that it’s important to share my own.
I am a thirty-something female with no spouse or significant other and my longest relationship was somewhere in the neighbourhood of four months.
Recently I was giving a friend some relationship advice and he was kind of taken aback when I confessed my limited dating past. I was immediately defensive because, hey, I give INCREDIBLE advice regardless, but it struck a nerve – let me tell you why.
All of this is related, trust me, I’ll tie it together soonish.
I never dated in high school. No one wanted to date me and that was fine, I was totally going to marry Brian Littrell anyway so the haters could go eff themselves.
I had my first kiss at 17 (17!) and it was pretty great. Right up until I discovered that every time he said he’d “be right back” the dipshit was actually running upstairs to tell my bestie how much he really liked her.
I told a guy I liked him for the first time when I was 19. He assured me that I DIDN’T and then asked me if he had a chance with my friend. They dated for 2 years. Different friend btw.
I lost my virginity at 19 and a half – that was an epic moment. First, because I felt so guilty about having “done it” that I ended up asking my mother for permission to sneak out of the house after the fact. (Spoiler alert: she gave me permission and a really intense look of confusion since she worked nights and I could have simply walked out the door at any time) Second, because the morning after, the Dude contacted me to say he didn’t think I WAS a virgin because it was “easier” than he had experienced with his harem of other virgins. I found this almost as insulting as when he’d shown up with a massive hickey one day and a friend of ours declared his awe over my Hoover abilities – until I explained I wasn’t the one responsible. Remind me to share more information about The Night I Lost It because really, it set the bar for all of my future sexual encounters.
A very, very LOW bar.
I thought I was in love when I was 20. We kind of dated for almost four months-ish because he didn’t want a relationship (with me) but did end up dating my best friend. That was probably the best worst thing ever. It took a long time for the three of us to get our shit together after that but we did and I’m thrilled to report that the two of them have been happily married for over a decade and have a beautiful little boy. I love all three of them more than words could express and I’m so proud of the people they’ve become. Also, I learned the greatest lesson of my life – there is a difference between being IN love and loving someone for wanting to be with you.
After that I stuck to simple, basic infatuations coupled with good old fashioned one night stands. I dated here and there but never with any serious intent and usually with the idea that maybe people would stop looking at me funny simply because I showed up to most events with a girl instead of with a guy. Because more often than not I was hanging with my girls instead of trying to find a husband.
I make friends easily and when I connect with someone on almost all levels we usually end up becoming attached at the hip.
There is nothing quite like a best friend. Someone you call any time of the day or night, someone who laughs at the same things you laugh at, who has your back no matter what and is always there to support you and hates people on principle just because… it’s brilliant.
I have had some amazing best friends in my life over the years. I’ve also had some really shitty ones. The way I’ve learned to tell the difference is that the good ones are never really gone from your life no matter how much distance or time has separated you.
I’ve had terrible fights with some that evolved over time into the best relationships imaginable and I’ve had disagreements with others that taught me the importance of being able to leave people behind. I’ve learned how to forgive and grow together as well as how to forgive and recognize when some people are just meant to grow in different directions.
But I’ve always been blessed to have at least one friendship that is so close it makes others question my sexual preferences. Which made me appreciate how truly special a best friend IS. The truth is; people who have never HAD one don’t recognize what it looks like. They don’t understand why I’d rather bring my best friend to a family event instead of whatever waste of bed space I’d been seeing last. They can’t figure out why my best friend joins me everywhere instead of the most recent mouth breather I let buy me drinks two nights in a row.
The whispers and the rumours bothered me until I accepted how much better off I was NOT dating until I could learn to, A) love myself enough to stop thanking guys for wanting to be with me and B) stop picking guys who really just wanted to date the girl standing beside me.
I kept my newly developed self-awareness to.. my, um, self… and never thought much of it for a while until I started paying closer attention to conversations with my dad.
Right now I’d like to say how outrageously proud I am to have such amazing parents (I am doing a great job raising them as a single child) because it truly warmed my heart that my father was doing his absolute best to ensure our chats about romance aways ALWAYS included gender non-specific pronouns. But eventually I had to explain to him that I was, in fact, interested in men.
Like I said, he took it well.
He did however mention that I might want to tell my grandmother, too.
Happy International Best Friend’s Day, peeps. “Ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend?”