How Queer is an occasional series of vignettes and reflections on growing up in a heteronormative world. Because most of these experiences made me feel odd, or wrong, or struck a warning bell in my head when they occurred, many of them are things I have never shared or even really fully unpacked in my own mind. As such, they may be a little more fragmented or dreamlike than my regular essays. Today’s post, the first of the series, is very personal: I write about my first romantic fantasy.
What was your first fantasy?
Mine was different. I was hardly involved. Instead, I staged the set and brought in players — neighborhood kids, who were dating — the longest-running couple in our fifth grade class.
I was twelve. I wasn’t yet ready to play a leading role in my own love life.
It goes like this: I am invisible, hidden behind a wall or a chair. The boy and the girl begin to kiss. She is wearing a blouse with buttons down the front. He reaches over and begins to undo them, one by one (a gesture stolen from the movie Big, and less so, House Sitter). From under her blouse, a glimpse of bra. They lay down, on a couch. And it fades to black. (I don’t think I really knew what was supposed to happen next).
Where was I, really, in all of this? Who was I? Was I the girl? The boy?
I think that I was somehow both.
I was the girl, waiting to be unbuttoned.
I was the boy, ready to undress the girl.
It was never going to be as simple as I hope he likes me. It was never going to be as simple as me and him (or even me and her), together, in a room. It had to be the three of us. That was the only way I could connect to being the girl, and wanting the girl, all at the same time.