My name is Kat, and it’s been one year since I’ve slept with a “straight girl.”
If there was an AA for being hopelessly obsessed with unavailable women, I would have been a one-meeting-a-day girl. My drug of choice was going after fiercely gorgeous, wildly independent, deeply intense women who were tragically (for me… and maybe also for them) attracted to men.
In high school, I remember getting upset because my captain (let’s call her Sophie) had chosen to drive to a volleyball tournament with her boyfriend instead of with me. I teased her a little bit about it, and she responded, flippantly, “I mean, if your boyfriend was able to go, of course you would be going with him instead of me.”
Nope. I may have been hopelessly trapped in a Catholic guilt-ridden closet, but I knew even then that I would have chosen Sophie, who looked like Blake Lively (still one of my straight kryptonites, to this day), over a trip with my egotistical boyfriend with the motorcycle and douchey tattoos. Despite my unrelenting resentment toward my dumb boyfriend and poor Sophie’s innocent guy, it wasn’t until college that I realized what it all meant.
I came out of the closet, face first, in love with my college volleyball captain (let’s call her Kara). Maybe I should deal with the volleyball captain fixation in another essay. I’ve never been as fit as I was that fall with all the extra sprints I did on the track and all the weightlifting sessions—anything to get more time with her.
Off the court, we hit up every sports team party we could. Rather than get to know my fellow freshmen, I would spend every chance I could shotgunning beers with Kara and the men’s basketball team. Our team would lock and load and then stumble through zero-degree weather in upstate New York to the off-campus soccer house for beer pong and kegs. I would make out with guys at those parties or at the grimy bar in town and compare stories with Kara and our teammates over pizza on the way home. It didn’t feel right, but it meant spending time with her, even if I had to make out with guys to do it.
When Kara graduated, I realized I had spent most of my freshman year pining after someone who had no interest in me and could never have an interest in me. I had missed out on so many memories that my classmates had made that year and spent the next year trying to make up for it.
While I’d like to say that this shook me out of my addiction, and I had a come to Hayley Kiyoko moment, I still had a long way to go. My first girlfriend? Had a boyfriend. When I realized I was falling for her, I backed away and told my friends not to let me fall for any more straight girls. Next thing I knew, she had broken up with her boyfriend, and we were ferociously making out in her tiny dorm room.
After that breakup, I was the “starter lesbian” for three women in a row. The first two of those women eventually became out-and-proud queers. The third woman was a stunning, obscenely intelligent future lawyer who had never been with a woman but propositioned me while I had a mouthful of artichoke pizza after a night of drinking and flirting. She was intense and alluring in all the ways that had always thrown me down a spiral of pining and self-loathing.
I couldn’t keep this up forever. The rush of having achieved the unachievable with a gorgeous straight woman wasn’t there anymore. I was depressed and unfulfilled. I was tired of leading the way and wanted someone who knew who she was and wasn’t conflicted about her attraction to me. On a long subway ride from the hot future lawyer’s apartment in Harlem back to Bushwick, I had time to really take stock of what I was doing.
After a long nap and some strong Brooklyn espresso, I reactivated the Bumble I had been neglecting. I swiped right with determination and started up conversations with dozens of new matches rather than dwelling on someone who was uninterested in me. I forced myself to make the first move and ask the blonde hiking fanatic who worked at Deutsche to a bar downtown. I had greasy fries in a Union Square pub with a sweet girl who waxed poetic about her nieces. I even bit the bullet and struck up a conversation with the shy, wide-eyed girl alone at Stonewall and left the bar with her number. All of these were wildly different women with their own quirks and stories to learn over a bottle of wine. The common denominator? All confidently, unequivocally identified as queer and were interested in dating me. (Also mostly from New Jersey, but I think that was just a coincidence.)
Another common denominator was that none of these women worked out for me. There were some memorable dates, including sending one woman to a bar that had been permanently closed (whoops). None of them was “the one,” but they all did help me with my straight girl recovery program.
I am currently lying in bed with my sexy, talented, beautifully complex, intense, and incredibly gay girlfriend. We met on Bumble, and in every picture, she had a delicate gold necklace that had Dyke in cursive on the necklace. She’s as far from straight as they come but had everything (except for the weird volleyball captain fetish) that I’ve ever wanted. In the end, it wasn’t the orientation of the women in the past that kept me spellbound, it was their lack of availability. The challenge. My current girlfriend challenges me every day—to keep practicing guitar, to apply to more law schools, and to keep writing. She doesn’t challenge me to win her or convert her.
If you, like me, find yourself ensnared by the challenge of unavailable women and enchanted by the idea of someone being unable to resist you, I promise you that there is light at the end of the tunnel—a tunnel inevitably filled with heartbreak and confusion. While the straight girl falling for you does happen, it’s the exception rather than the rule, and it’s one you shouldn’t seek out. Put the energy you put into fixating on unavailable women into other passions. Learn to play the guitar. Rewatch each season of The L Word (except season 6). Dive into the DMs of that queer artist you’ve been following and shoot your shot. Never ever pressure a girl. You can break the cycle. I believe in you.