But What Does Gay Look Like...?
I will never forget my first time out at a gay friendly bar on lesbian night. I was 23. I put on my best outfit, a black sequined tank top, low rise blue jean skirt, and strappy black heels. Being in that bar that night was like finding out after a lifetime of being a muggle that you're actually a wizard. It was magical. Everywhere I looked were women, women who liked women!!! I ordered a drink at the bar and an older woman came over and struck up a conversation. In the first five minutes, she told me a joke that would derail me for the next year. "What do you call a lesbian with acrylic nails?" Answer: Single
Suddenly, I felt self conscious. Scanning the room nervously sipping my drink, I noticed all these confident lady loving ladies.. These confident females that looked nothing like me! Why had I chosen heels? Did I really have to put on a shirt that sparkled? Where was the gay dress code?!? Feeling self conscious but still pretty, I navigated the rest of the evening without conflict. But sitting at home later that night I nibbled off EVERY ONE of my already short acrylic nails, a leftover habit from adolescence.
For the next six months, I traded my sundresses for casual loose fitting blue jeans. I swapped the skirts for plaid board shorts on warmer days. I left the espadrilles in the closet in favor of Birkenstocks and flip flops. I saved all my femme favorites for my nights out with my straight girlfriends. What I really ended up trading in was myself. I traded things that make me happy for a self imposed concept, of what I thought gay needed to looked like. What I discovered was that a happy lesbian in a dress is a lot more attractive than a miserable one in Birkenstocks! And that acrylic nails don't = single!!!
One of the greatest feelings in the world is giving yourself ownership over who you are and the message you choose to send to the world. When you look in the mirror, realize that the person staring back is what EXACTLY what gay (or however you identify) is supposed to look like. There is room here for everyone, femme, sporty, butch, lipstick, stud and everything in between. We have the ability to challenge the stereotype, change the narrative AND add a new chapter. So rock your Birkenstocks, your Toms, or your wedge heels and make your story a good one. Me, I'll be grabbing my my sundress, it's supposed to be nice this weekend and everything about me is better out of the closet. 💕