To the Young Queer Nerds
Dear (your name here),
Imagine for a second that the year is 2000.
Holding hands with your girlfriend in public is either an act of defiance or shame.
The world is years away from The L Word - nobody knows yet that it sucks, that lesbian life does not have to be “like that”. (Bette Porter is bad for you; Jenny is worse.) No one has ever met a married queer couple. The idea did not exist. You’re supposed to aspire to cohabitation, no kids, and two sets of power suits. But you don’t.
You are never going to meet the woman of your dreams at the smoking section of the weekly queer party. Definitely not on the dance floor. They can’t hear a single word you’re saying, and they don’t care. They don’t care that you’ve found your major and the internship of your dreams. They won’t even remember your name after they’ve fucked you (badly).
But it’s not 2000, and no one really cares who you hold hands with anymore. Kinda. Sorta. We’ve made a ton of progress - there are now women married to each other! And you know them, because they write about it on Facebook! Ha! - yet for all the progress in the world, the music never improves at these parties. One day, maybe in 2040, we will have driverless cars and queer clubs which play jazz. I’m putting all my money on the driverless cars.
I just want to tell you that it’s ok if you’re badly dressed, somewhat awkward, and a bag of nerves. That your nerdy hair cut is OK, too. The makeup you don’t have - you can always YouTube it later. Or not. Someone out there likes badly dressed nerdy girls who don’t know how to put on makeup. They’ll even listen to you talk about linguistics or Burmese history or app development, too. You’ll meet her.
It’s ok to screw up. It’s ok to be messy. Nobody expects you to “grow up” any faster than you should. Your friends who are so ‘sorted out’? They’re all pretending.
That older woman you love is going to break your heart.
You’re going to let her. Often.
That’s okay, too. We learn.
Drink good whisky. Toss the vodka orange shit. If you have to drink rum and coke, make sure it’s good rum. One day you’ll learn that drinking is fun only when it tastes good, and you might even learn to stop just before you are no longer in control of your body, or your thoughts. Two is a good place to start taking stock. Zero if you are driving.
If the booze makes you want to call or text your ex / the love of your life (who doesn’t feel the same way anymore, or ever), give your phone to your friends and tell them to never give it back to you until two hours after a sausage McMuffin.
It’s okay to use an alias until you’re comfortable that the girl you’re talking to isn’t an axe murderer. With girls, that can take anything from two minutes to never.
Don’t stay over unless you want to see her again. Or unless she lives near a cool breakfast place, and it opens early.
One night stands are boring. But if you have to, and there are seasons for that kind of thing, you need to be ok with learning to ask and to answer uncomfortable but important questions. It’s the right thing to do.
Avoid hyphenated relationships you’re not really involved in, like the bubonic plague. They’re worse than that. For example, avoid dating your ex-girlfriend’s ex-girlfriend. Also avoid accidents: do not sleep with your ex-ex girlfriend’s on-off girlfriend. Hyphens are trouble. There are hot, single women out there. You just have to look outside your phone book. No hyphens. No exceptions.
Eventually, you’ll learn to identify the toxic ones before they even come close to you, and your heart won’t be needlessly broken anymore.
Is there a type you’re drawn to? Do they break your heart? Maybe it’s the hapless artist whose broken spirit you want to save. You need to let her know she’s not going to set your life on fire, just for the heck of it, ever again. Perhaps it’s the stoic, powerful women in your life who don’t appreciate your struggle for parity. It’s ok - you’re going to be more powerful than them someday. Without stoicism.
They’re going to make you think that it’s your fault. It’s your fault that you’re a slut. It’s your fault that there’s a string of broken hearts. Sometimes, it is your fault. Own up to them when you can. It might take years before you are sorry enough for everybody. But you tried. And no one cares.
Quite often, you will meet women who want you to travel halfway around the world to prove that you are really into them. They don’t mean it. Don’t go, unless you have other things to do there. Or unless you have a fire for her which isn’t just in your loins.
If she wants to marry him, and still see you on the side, leave.
The world tells you it gets better. It does, and then it doesn’t.
People - and this can be family, insurance companies, government bodies - are not going to take your love seriously. Especially if you are a woman who loves another woman. If you are feminine enough, nobody will like your ‘rejection’ of masculinity. If you are not, nobody will like your ‘attempt’ to threaten theirs, a threat which you’ve made just by merely existing. If you are a woman who loves a woman who was not born one, it’s going to be that much harder for you. You will not be invisible for much longer.
Your family is much more resilient and loving than you imagine.
Love them back.
Be young. Be queer. Be the nerd that you are. When you get older, it’s the algorithms that will get you laid.