Donna was not my type.
At 18 and just out of high school, I had no idea what my type was. But I had a feeling that she was not it.
With her slender frame, short, spiky blond hair and emo couture, she looked more like a 12-year-old boy than anything else. Still, I dated her. Why not give her a chance, I figured, not understanding at that young age that it wasn’t one lesbian fits all, and that the world didn’t operate on the principle of have vagina, will travel. Having graduated from an all-girls Catholic high school, which I affectionately refer to as lesbian boot camp, you’d think that I would have been better versed in the ways of women. But, having pined over the same girl for three years, I was not. And so I dated Donna.
But life changed when I moved out of my parents’ house on Long Island and into the dorms of a local college less than an hour away from where I grew up. I dyed my hair various shades of blue, and, inadvertently, my hands as well, making it constantly seem as though I had just given a Smurf a handjob. I pierced things. Became vegan. Listened to obscure indie rock. Read Jack Kerouac into the wee hours of the night, annoyed at first that I didn’t have a penis and would never be like him, but then quickly realized I didn’t need one to sleep with a lot of women, write inappropriate stories and drink more than I should. And I dated Donna, though she smoked too much, did too many drugs and was dumb as rocks.
Despite what people think, Long Island actually isn’t that long, and everything feels like it’s less than an hour away from everything else, even if in reality it’s farther. So I’d find my way home on weekends and still see my friends from school, still see Donna.
My parents didn’t formally know I was gay. But one look at Donna, I surmised, and they certainly would. I figured what I needed was a pre-emptive strike, though I resented the fact that I had to make a big to-do over my sexuality, when straight kids didn’t have to sit their parents down and say, after a deep breath to compose themselves, “Mom, Dad, I have to tell you something. I’m straight.”