I need your lesbian insight. I think I might like a girl.
SOUND THE ALARM. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. When I got this message from my sorority sister, Hayley, I was shocked. We had been friendly with each other throughout college but ran in different circles. She was tall, thin, blonde, and as far as I knew, definitely straight. She had a very dry sense of humor and never backed down from an intellectual argument. I saw her as such a strong and self-knowing person, so when she came to me with a potential identity crisis, I knew it was an emergency.
What she needed was a fairy gaymother: a lesbian with experience to help transform her into the dyke she deserves to be. It’s like a dykon that you actually know IRL. With a little bit of magic and a lot of 4 AM talks about her feelings, she could strip herself of her straight tendencies and live the life she had been suppressing for years.
It wasn’t too long ago that I was in desperate need of a fairy gaymother myself. I met mine at work; Veronica was my boss. I was an intern at an online blog, and, one day, we were all sitting in the break room talking about sex and other sins (as we usually did) and someone brought up hooking up with other girls.
“I dunno. I would definitely make out with a girl and, like, touch her boobs, but I couldn’t eat her out,” one girl said.
“Vaginas are gross.”
“I just wouldn’t even know what to do.”
All the other writers agreed, except Veronica. I immediately clocked her as my guiding gay guru.
When Veronica told me she was dating a girl, I was excited that I finally had someone to answer the billions of questions I had about dating girls. How do I communicate lesbian interest in another woman without creeping her out? How do I go on an actual real live date with a woman? How do I look a girl in the eye confidently to try to kiss her without running away? One by one, she answered all my operational questions as well as the huge question I was afraid to ask: am I actually gay?
About a year later, when Hayley texted me, I still felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. How was I going to help someone else? I uncomfortably took my seat in my new position and caught my breath. I was honored that she chose to reach out to me. I told myself that I didn’t have to be an expert to be a guide. My role wasn’t to tell her what to do—it was to comfort her as she made those decisions on her own.
First thing’s first: I needed to know what Hayley was thinking. I told her to tell me everything. I scanned through her texts to me, looking for familiarities, just as Veronica had done with me. I identified feelings, decoded subliminal, subconscious messages, and validated experiences. But the more we talked, the more I didn’t know. The more questions she asked, the fewer answers I had. I frantically texted Veronica for backup.
I was switching between the two conversations, but I was also bouncing back and forth between roles within them. Sometimes I was asking, sometimes I was answering. I acted as a liaison between Veronica and Hayley. I had told about each other. Hayley liked that there was a second, elder reference that I could turn to, and Veronica was excited to mentor me to become a mentor myself.
No matter which one I was talking to, I had something to give and something to take. My experiences, perceptions, and reactions to situations were different than Hayley’s and Veronica’s. We could use each other as sounding boards, bouncing ideas and feelings off of each other to see how to best process our new journey. Should I be spending hours hate-stalking the exes of my exes? Should I be getting a haircut that is more customary to the lesbian lifestyle? Should I be staring down visible lesbians in public to get them to notice me, or should I let them pick out their groceries in peace? Should I be consuming exclusively lesbian-specific content and, if so, where do I find the best?
None of us could take on the role of supreme sapphic—not because we were all relatively “new” to the experience, but because no one person has lived enough lifetimes to experience everything a lesbian possibly could. I learned new things from each of them, and they learned from me. I learned from my fairy gaymother that self-discovery is stressful and never-ending, though it is ultimately rewarding. I learned from being a fairy gaymother that the lesbian experience, though seemingly universal, is still individualized. From both of them, I acquired new perspectives and an arsenal of lesbian sex moves. Perhaps there is a chronological order in which we came out, but there’s more a family tree than there is a hierarchy between us.
If you have not had the experience of having a fairy gaymother, that doesn’t mean that your life will be devoid of such an experience—you could be someone else’s fairy gaymother. As a visible, confident lesbian, you never know who will look at you and decide that they want to be like you. It has to start with someone, and you could be the next one to be called upon to use the magic words: “bibbity bobbity boobs are awesome.”