by: Mar Curran
Whenever my friends and I discuss people we know with someone new, it always ends with them saying, “Wow, what a coincidence!” and me yelling loudly while doing dramatic arm gestures, “AND THE QUEER CIRCLE CLOSES AGAIN!”. I have a flair for the dramatic.
Yes, in this case, “The L Word” had it right: when you’re queer, you’re going to repeatedly be dipping into the same pool of people who are more interconnected than… I don’t even know. Because nothing is as closely tied together as a list of who’s had sex with who in the queer communities.
I’m not going to lie, I’m an offender. I have a type who I’m attracted to. I also have a type I accidentally hook up with. I lucked out in that these don’t overlap too much, but I make the mistake of constantly returning. Pocahontas was right, you can’t step in the same river twice. Once I’m done hooking up with someone, I’m done.
But you can return to that river on a few occasions, like when you’ve been drinking Jameson all night, and you know that river water is available and it tastes so good. Yeah, you might regret that trip later, especially if you become friends with said river or said river is friends with someone you’re dating, especially when things get weird when your friends bring up the river, but who cares? That river is fucking open for business.
So, why do queers keep smooching in circles? Why do we actually have a chart as seen on “The L Word” of hook-ups and relationships tighter than a hipster T-shirt?
Well, statistically, we are a smaller sample of the population. We’re also a population that seems more invested in doing away with traditional ideas of monogamy, ownership of past and present partners, and sex shame. Many queers I know are very open and understanding of past dalliances and how they affect one’s social life.
But these are not the reasons I specifically can pinpoint why I am on the chart as a fucking hub of activity (pun potentially intended). I know what I’m doing wrong here. Number one, see the river analogy. Number two, I am a wuss. A coward. A socially awkward weenie. If my not-so-great gaydar cannot pick up on the queerness of a cute person, I throw in the towel. The towel should not even be off the rod here, people. No towel play should be on my plate! I get far too worried about offending straight women, which is something I picked up at my Catholic all-girls high school after hearing too many young women say how weirded out they were when a queer woman came onto them.
Being trans* has only made me want to put in less work. I have to consider how I’m being read gender-wise, then worry about the awkward, “Oh! I thought you were a _____!” and then painfully explain my identity afterwards. At this point, my boner is gone.
Even if someone knows I’m trans*, this doesn’t mean it’s going to be a painless experience. I have dated a substantial number of lesbian-identified women who will address me as male, until the topic of conversation turns to my family. My favorite repeated line is “you’re your mother’s daughter!” Christ on a cracker, ladies.
This doesn’t mean I can pick up on whether someone is interested or not! You practically have to hand me a note that says, “I want to do you,” for me to get it. (Sidebar: Please leave any such notes in the comments or my Facebook inbox. I openly welcome receiving them.) And if I somehow do know you’re interested I am so hilarious at navigating where to proceed from there that it either goes awesomely well (hey, we’re making out now!) or astoundingly bad (see: the girl who a couple weeks ago at the bar yelled, “THAT’S THE GIRL WHO TOOK MY VIRGINITY!” at me. This illustrates how long ago it was and how often we communicate).
What I’m saying is, we all have our hang ups about finding partners for whatever we want to do. In the queer community, we’re all in a confining situation that heterosexual people often don’t have to deal with. But we do deal with it. I have seen more mature responses out of my friends’ mouths regarding my love life than could fill War and Peace. Even if certain friends aren’t mature about “the chart,” they just suck it up and start fucking someone else. We all make do, which is something I admire.
So, I won’t stop returning to the familiar, queers! I will branch out, yes, but I will know it’s okay for me to kiss multiple consenting adults, even thouse who might happen to have the same haircut and eat pizza together every Tuesday night while discussing Judith Butler before meeting me out for drinks. The queer dating world is our vegan-friendly equivalent of an oyster! Let’s get out there and show them what we’re made of, folks!
Of course, as long as it doesn’t violate Bro Code. But that’s a whole different piece for another day.
Mattis “Mar” Curran is a trans/queer rights activist and community organizer; he is on the boards of Video Action league, Advocate Loyola, the Queer intercollegiate Alliance, and works with GetEQUAL. As spoken word artist, he has read at each All The Writers I Know event. He studies Communications and Women’s Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Curran likes beer and cats.