Lost: One Mojo, Reward If Found

I was sitting in a local coffee dispensary, writing the first draft of a blog post in my Moleskine notebook and enjoying a latte (full caffeine, whole milk, five packets of raw sugar … I’m hardcore like that, it’s just the way I roll). This particular establishment had once been known as a meeting place for lesbians; but over the years the  herd has thinned and rather than a flock of femmes or a bevy of butches you’re more likely to see a gaggle of high school girls being incredulous and astonished about everything!, or important business men taking important business calls about important business things and ignoring the barista who’s trying to take their order, gathered at the watering hole.

So it came as no surprise when I heard two young lesbians at the table next to me lamenting the decline of “our” coffee shop from lesbian hot-spot to gay-friendly neighborhood joint.

“This sucks,” said one to the other. “There’s nothing but fucking straight people here anymore.”

When I glanced up at them, smiling in commiseration, she turned to me and said, “Oh, sorry!”

“No problem,” I replied, assuming she thought she’d disrupted my writing or offended me by swearing.

“I didn’t mean anything,” she continued. “It’s not like I have something against straight people.”

I looked at her, momentarily confused, until what she was saying finally hit me. “No, I’m gay!”

Now she was the one who looked confused. “You are? Wow, I totally couldn’t tell.”

“Yeah,” her friend chimed in. “Me neither. Totally.”

Suddenly I was stricken with writer’s block and my latte tasted of despair. Totally.

That evening I recounted the disturbing episode to a friend. “No wonder I can’t meet anyone,” I whined. “My own people don’t even know I’m one of them!”

“I didn’t know you were gay when I met you either,” she confessed.

“That’s different,” I told her. “You’re straight.”

“When I first saw you,” she said. “I thought you were a soccer mom or something.”

0011 Soccer MomI looked around for a vial of poison to drink, an asp to press against my breast or a windswept cliff upon the moors from which I might throw myself. Alas, there were none.

Please don’t misconstrue any of what I’ve said as a disdain or contempt for the heteronormative community. I love my Straights! I am like the Kathy Griffin of lesbians … except I don’t do stand-up, make a lot of money, piss off celebrities, my mother isn’t an alcoholic and I look way better when I’m not wearing make-up.

I know a lot of gay people say things like … There’s a guy at work who’s straight or I had a straight roommate in college once or I think Chelsea Handler is so funny! … in an attempt to “relate” to heterosexuals. And I’m sure when we do, it sounds just as ridiculous as meeting someone who’s Japanese and blurting out, “I love origami!”

But my experience is a little different. In the summer of 2010, three weeks after my 17-year relationship imploded, a car accident left me with an ankle too badly broken to even hobble. Since neither my Ex nor I enjoyed hiking, camping or wymyn’s music festivals, we’d drifted apart from most of the lesbian-couple friends we’d once had (for those who don’t know, The Rules of Lesbian Relationships state that once you enter into one, you must phase out activities that involve things such as fun, in favor of forced marches and sleeping in the dirt). So when it ended I found myself separated from the lesbian herd, stranded in the vast desolation of South Orange County. I was lost and alone.

But then a kind woman found me. She took me in and gave me a place to sleep, she fed me, she bathed me, she got me drunk. I ate at her table, I played with her children and she made me feel like part of her family. There were social gatherings with friends who were fun and friendly and got me drunk. Eventually, she even stopped locking up her jewelry when I was alone in the house.

That woman was a heterosexual.

I’m not shocked that straight people don’t know I’m gay. Typically the only indicator I display is the silver ring on my right thumb — not the most conspicuous piece of signage.  A few years ago however, when my hair was short, they were much more adept at picking-up on my lesbianisoty, sometimes saying, “I knew it! My gaydar’s always been really great!” And by “gaydar,” I can only assume they meant guessing that inch-long, purple, spiky hair might be favored by lesbians, because they were really great at doing that! It’s weird though, now that my hair is longer and blonde and I’ve learned to use some basic tools (blow-dryer, round-brush, thing that’s a blow-dryer and a round-brush combined together), I don’t meet as many straight people with really great gaydar.

I’m not really all that surprised when other gay people don’t know I’m a lesbian because I’m not the best at just spotting other gay people, either; and I usually have to do the eye-contact thing. My lesbian-detection abilities are weakest at the bank or Target or a shopping mall — places that I think of as out of context. So it stands to reason that there are others like me who have trouble getting a signal in certain areas. But when I’m in a recognized lesbian-zone (eg, hiking trails, softball fields, The Home Depot) — places that are in context, I’m a little bewildered. Has my lesbi-mojo slipped so far that even in a lesbian(ish) coffee shop I’m undetectable to other lesbians?

The eye-contact thing …

… is when two gay people see each, their eyes meet and in that moment, however brief, a message passes between them saying, “Hello. I see that you are gay. I too am gay.” I’ve describe this “telepathy” to heterosexuals who also claimed to have it, they are mistaken however. They may correctly identify someone and think “Hello. I see that you are lesbian. I am one of those straight people who can tell.”  But, straight people make accurate guesses based on outward appearance, while gays can do it without such signs. Also, the lesbian looking back at you is thinking, “Wow, good guess. Were my cargo shorts your first clue?”

And now that we’ve got my mojo all beat down and weak, let’s throw that soccer mom comment at it and see if we can kill it, shall we? But don’t jump to any anti-soccer mom conclusions about me just yet. The truth is I like soccer moms. A lot. I have this image of a tired woman schlepping around her screaming brood and their tangled accumulation of sports equipment, turning up the stereo in the minivan to try and drown out the incessant noise and the voice in her head that won’t stop asking is this the life you always dreamed of?

Maybe I’m just a romantic, or maybe I watch too much porn, but I want to take Soccer Mom away from all that. If it’s the former, then I’ll meet her at work or perhaps the gym, she’ll find me witty and charismatic and strangely intriguing. We’ll become fast friends and there will be a montage of us walking on the beach with our pants rolled up to the knee, laughing together over drinks and one where we both reach for something at the same time, our fingers touch, our eyes meet and then we both look quickly away, played over a song like Corrine Bailey Rae’s Put Your Records On. Eventually she’ll confess that she has feelings for me but that it’s too complicated because of the kids and the custody fight with her bastard of an ex-husband. She’ll say “I’m sorry, I just can’t do this” and walk out of the apartment, leaving me standing there feeling hurt and alone … only to burst back through the door a minute later saying, “Who am I kidding?” as she throws her arms around me and kisses me (dear heterosexuals, you’ve just been introduced to the basic plot line of almost every lesbian romance movie on the market … we have movies too, and they’re just as cheesy as yours!). If it’s the latter, I’ll show up at her house to do some repair work inexplicably wearing 5” pumps and carrying a toolbox full of sex toys (there’s a Snap-on Tools joke in there, but this post is already getting too long), and we will commence to fuck like monkeys as soon as the bowchicabowow music starts (dear uhhh … oh hell, you all already know … everyone watches this crap).

So you see, my anguish has nothing to do with an aversion to either heterosexuals or mother’s of children involved in organized sports. It’s that I now feel my self-image is distorted and my self-perception on par with that of Donald Trump. By allowing my hair to grow did I inadvertently don some kind of lesbian cloak of invisibility? Did the time I spent living with the heterosexuals alter my chemical pheromones that alert others gays to my presence among them? Do I not exude the aura of self-assured, devilishly-charming lesbian romance-movie character I imagine? After living in South Orange County for so long could I have absorbed the appearance and mannerisms of a soccer mom without even realizing it? Is it possible that the Stepford Wives phenomenon rumor is actually true?

My mind reels with self-doubt, unanswered questions and thoughts of the Wahl clippers gathering dust on the top shelf of my closet.

140 Comments

  1. love this lol….I am a straight woman, curvy with long flowing hair, who has tattoos and rides a rather large motorbike, and as a consequence used to always be told i was a lesbian by men who felt threatened by the fact I rode a bigger bike than them, by women who hated the fact I rode my own large bike when they didn’t, and I also got fancied by very butch lesbians, who were kind of scary with their muscles and tattoos and assumed i was also gay because of the bike etc.
    funny!

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    1. Well, you won’t find a Gay Pride Parade that doesn’t prominently feature a group of women on big motorcycles with a banner reading Dykes on Bikes … could be a connection there. And if so, perhaps the fact that the few times I’ve been on a motorcycle all I could think about was how terrified I was of the road rushing by a few inches below my feet could be adding to my aura of heterosexuality.

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      1. ah but maybe people shouldn’t be so judgemental…a female riding a big bike doesn’t mean she is gay, and a female who doesn’t give off stereotypical signs of lesbianism should not be dismissed out of hand by others who do. no matter whether we are straight or gay, it seems everyone has a judgement to overcome.

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  2. Maybe we can trade… I get the “Oh, I wonder if she’s a lesbian?” stare a lot… when I’d much rather have a guy give me the “Nice MILF!” stare. Maybe I found your mojo. I’ll give it back… 🙂

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  3. “dear heterosexuals, you’ve just been introduced to the basic plot line of almost every lesbian romance movie on the market … we have movies too, and they’re just as cheesy as yours!” – well thank you i didn’t know that, still i guess it does not matter cuz love- sex – “romance” no matter u are strait or gay, is screed by Hollywood one way or another…. ;D

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    1. The funny thing is that I’m a bit of a hypocrite because I scoff at chick flicks while I have just about every “mainstream” lesbian romance movie from Desert Hearts to Elena Undone in my collection. I guess those would be considered chick-chick flicks?

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        1. I just watched Jack & Diane, a little different but not bad. Room in Rome is good, the sex is a little more involved than what I’ve seen in other movies. I’m also a sucker for Loving Annabelle. Imagine Me and You is one of my faves, too … I just love Piper Perabo. She’ also in Lost and Delirious but it’s not nearly as fun as Me & You. In fact, it’s not much fun at all … kinda deep and message-y. If you want something lighter, try Better Than Chocolate.

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  4. Absolutely hilarious! Before I got married, I had the opposite problem–straight girl getting hit on by lesbians all the time. I have always considered female sexuality to be a moving target, but preferring to have that bonus equipment that comes with a man. So when I was college, I was a cashier at a grocery store. Every day I got propositioned by women. I have always been a makeup maven–hair, nails, face all done before going out. I thought, is it this fashionable red grocer smock I’m wearing or what? Years later, the wonderful man I married is a self-proclaimed lesbian trapped in a man’s body–all the sensitivity of a female lover with that bonus equipment. Win-win! LOL

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    1. Lesbians have bonus equipment … in fact, the Condom Revolution down the street from me has a rather well-stocked selection. Were you by chance working at a Trader Joes or Whole Foods in college? Apparently those are now the go-to lesbian pick-up spots. Or, they might have just been hitting on you because you’re hot.

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  5. Thanks for the laughs…”recognized lesbian zone…” that’s rich! I didn’t realize that so many gays were sort of anti-straight people hogging space in “their” establishments. That’s good to know!

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  6. hilarious…in splits after reading it….infact shared the link to your post with many of my friends….it is an honest, in-the-face, (un)kind humour….very refreshing….
    congratulations on being fp-ed

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      1. Now that sounds more like my 5 year old – after he got caught spinning in circles in his undies with my empty container of cupcakes (after he ate them all of course)! However, if it would help your mojo, I’ll see what I can do 😉

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  7. When I was in high school, I had an aversion to make-up, dresses, fixing my hair, and flirting with boys.

    My sister kept asking me if I was a lesbian. I kept assuring her I wasn’t. (To my knowledge, crushing hard on guys is pretty much the opposite of being gay.)

    To this day, despite being married to a very straight, awesome man, I still worry endlessly about ‘looking like a lesbian’……even though that’s clearly not always a thing. x_x;;;;

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    1. To explain about the boys in high school: I didn’t want to date high-school boys. I wanted to wait until I was old enough to date a man. 🙂 Still, the crush hormone doesn’t discriminate!

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    2. The only crush I associate with high school boys is crushing disappointment. There was one guy who set the bar too high and the rest … well, let’s just say you made an excellent choice waiting for a man. They’re much more enjoyable when they’ve been aged a bit.

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  8. Funny, as my wife says that she also had a hard time being seen as “lesbian” simply because she wasn’t “butch” – She often says she had to be “butch” in order to get laid…. Today she is happy to have me around – I love her femme. But as far as meeting other lesbian couples… funny thing most couples we meet we have nothing in common with them. Most of our friends are single…. but maybe cause we are polyamorous?? Hard to say but actually we just find we have zero in common with them.

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    1. It’s not so weird you don’t have a lot of couple friends. I think polyamory is on the final frontier of acceptance and couples see it as more of a threat than single people do. My GF left my for a poly relationship and even after getting dumped, I found myself defending her relationship because people judged it as much (or more) than her leaving me.

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  9. Sweet – you are just precious and hilarious!! I hope you find your mojo again soon, it’s awful to lose sight of oneself and wonder if one is really that invisible. 🙂

    (Btw, by eye contact you could tell instantly that I’m one of those straight moms – with 3 brats and an overcommitment to Cubs. But, yeah, this is my life and I do love it even if I’m often quite as invisible as you… 😉 sorry about the toolbox… )

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      1. 🙂 I think, precious is a good start. I don’t know how to do devilishly charming myself (though I do write villainesses who seem to manage). Guess the best is to be yourself – because then whoever discovers you, loves you for yourself! But… I’m not telling you anything new here 😉

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  10. Awesome post. Is it very discriminating when I say I find it so interesting to find a blog by a lesbian who is not a dyke? So great to find a more feminine lesbian. I apologize for my excitement. I’ve never met any real life lesbians, so I only know the stereotypes of movies.

    ANyway, yes, it was a great post, highly entertaining. I’m so following you and checking out your other stuff.

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  11. You should go check out ButchOnTap. She recently wrote a post posing the question about how a butch is supposed to spot a femme. Both of you are posting from opposite angles.

    When I was pregnant, it drove me dilly being an undercover lesbian. Eventually I went back to my short hair and more boyish look just so people would stop asking if my husband was happy about our twins.

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    1. Thanks, I’ll go check out her post. And I never considered it, but I guess being pregnant would invite assumptions because where there are kids, there are penises. And just don’t go too butch or you’ll have people asking if with twins your wife had natural delivery or had to have a cesarean.

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      1. Never butch. Just boyish. I was asked the other day when we got them. I was confused until I realised the woman thought we had.adopted them. Lol

        Well technically lady we’ve had them since they were zygotes…

        Fielding assumptions can be a full time job.

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  12. Sorry, but gaydar is over. Now that it is hip to be gay, unless a person is an absolute parody of queerness, there is just no way to identify gay any more.

    If you rely on all of the old cues, that covers maybe a quarter of everyone. Maybe you can identify another quarter by virtue of your fifth sense (gaydar). But that leaves half of everyone out there, unrecognized. Incognito.

    In your own case, maybe you are just suffering from a mild case of classic femme invisibility.

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  13. Everyone questions who we are and how we got here. It’s a burden of the human condition. Even those of us who are straight-up straight. 🙂 Thanks for your honesty and your humor. Very glad I found your blog.

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  14. Yipes! No wonder I never meet any men, what with the silver ring on my right thumb! Litttle did I know.
    You are a truly funny writer, not just one who thinks they’re funny – hard to come by (no pun intended). Love your Ten Stupidest Things post, too.
    Congrats on the FP! A consolation prize for having to abandon your other blog. That must have been hard. Sorry that happened to you.

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    1. Don’t worry, men don’t know about the ring on the right thumb thing … as evidenced by the 10 Stupidest Things list. And thanks for the kind words, giving up the other blog was hard, but a fresh start got me a Freshly Pressed, so it kinda worked out okay.

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  15. You gave me the best laugh of my day. You have an unassuming way about your writing style. I absolutely love it. That origami line…priceless.

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  16. I am straight but I love your post . I love your honesty as it is very refreshing . As far as I am concerned I love people for whom they are as peoples not for what they do with their lives as long as they are not hurting anyone. Your post is indeed inspiring to me because no matter whom you are you must like who you are and I get the impression ..you most certainty do. Thanks for sharing

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      1. You are most welcome and I too wish people live their lives and let others live theirs . I believe the world in general would be a better place once people understood and accept others for whom they are as human beings and stop being judgmental.I admired you for accepting and being proud of who you are..many people are not able to do that. Thanks again. Blessings

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  17. So, you’re gone for four months and I stop checking in every day. You come back, and write a couple of GREAT posts, get FreshPressed and un-follow me. That’s OK, I’ll still look in from time to time. I mentioned you in a post recently. I think my cancer-patient follower died. You, I worried about, ’cause I wasn’t sure. Welcome back.

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    1. Thank you, good to be back. And the un-follow was inadvertent. In my absence WordPress apparently connected my Reader to who I follow and in the process of cleaning things up, I accidentally deleted a lot of people I didn’t mean to. I’m working on re-building things. So sorry! And my condolences on the possible loss of your cancer patient follower. That’s very sad.

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  18. Well no matter what side of the coin you are on being called a soccer mom is NOT enjoyable, at least not to me! Football mom who can throw a spiral, baseball mom who tells you to suck it up when you strike out…I would be a little better with. Have to work on the soccer mom thing, my younger boys and husband are fanatics.

    So, I like hiking, home depot, knocking down a sink and replacing hardware – however, I prefer the Eagles&40’s big band over a ‘Put Your Record On’ riff so I guess I don’t have any sole searching in front of me tonight 🙂

    I enjoyed your post, great humor > I could hear the buzz and smells from of a busy little coffee house in the background. Now I’m going to pour myself another cup of coffee (cause I’m a tired soccer mom) and when those rowdy boys of mine start pecking and yelling at eachother (actually I just belted out a ‘Cut it out, mommy’s leaving a GD comment!!’, I’ll revert to wine. That’s how ‘I’ roll.

    Again- great post!

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    1. Thank you. You just brought reminded so much of my mom on the phone, tethered to the kitchen wall by a twirly cord yelling at me and my brothers, “Would you kids knock it the hell off? I’m on the phone!!” Love it, such great memories …

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  19. I am a straight male who has never needed to meet a gay woman for dating purposes. Had you known me when I was single you could have just followed me around all day and met one gay woman after another. I am assuming that the only straight woman I ever met was the one I am with. Why else would the rest have turned me down? After reading your post I might want to reason that a little introspection on the subject of how I projected myself might have helped me back then. As for now I would hate to lose her and have to start again. Maybe I would have to grow a mustache again or wear skinny clothes. Maybe the best tactic for now is to remind her that we are good together. Were I a gay woman right now I would go out and rent some soccer gear to adorn my van and look to find a sugar junkie. Good luck on your quest. Great post.

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  20. In college one of our residents – we were a freshman group, herded together to bear the rigor of semester the first as an artificial Together – exclaimed, “Everyone is coming out to me!” And I looked at him for a moment, and a beat passed, and maybe my expression was a cue – but then he said, “Don’t worry – you’re not gay.” And so now I’m like, Ah good, I am straight. Or something.

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  21. I loved this!
    I used to have short, “lesbian” hair, but I was only doing it to look lesbian… After my last relationship also imploded I’m having difficulty finding someone because everyone goes, “I couldn’t tell!” or “really?”.
    The only place I’m conspicuously gay is my work (an LGBT sex sh– ahem, erotic boutique), where you’re only likely to meet loved up couples buying strap-ons, flustered, shy vibrator-buying girls, or cocky, “it’ll be like in Sugar Rush” girls who think they’re oh-so-Shane. Not likely to meet a future partner there…
    I’d hate to conform to the gay-girl image, but it looks like my locks will have to be chopped off soon if I’m to meet someone!

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    1. I had the short hair because I never learned to used the hair implements and still have trouble getting my arms to go the right way when I’m looking in the mirror — I try to move the blow-dryer toward my head and my brain keeps sending it in the other direction. I call it Reflective Dyslexia.
      Wouldn’t it be awesome to be Shane? All you have to do it stand there and the girls come to you. She was like the lesbian Fonzie …

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  22. I think there feels like less of a need for overt signs of belonging–it is a byproduct of greater acceptance in the larger society. (As lacking as it is, it is still better than it was.) We feel less cast out, and so there’s less of a need to show physical allegiance to the cast-out group.in order to have a sense of belonging. The thing is that your lesbian identity is still important to you, but it isn’t so important to everyone else anymore. I’m pretty sure strangers don’t notices I’m gay either these days. It’s not deliberate. It’s just not that important–and I’m not single, so there’s no need for me to get out there and get noticed.

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    1. I agree, when I had a girlfriend, getting noticed wasn’t a concern. Coming out in the 80s I was probably I more “I’m here, I’m queer, get used to it!” But today it’s all about “I’m here, I’m queer, hook up with me!”

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  23. Hey great post right there! I am following you now, if you ever want to know about Ocean Paddling then follow us back. Cheers!

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      1. Ocean Paddling is a great sports activity and very popular in many countries. Alright then, if you want to visit our website you are very welcome to do it. Regards.

        Carlos

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  24. I did end up buying a shirt that says “Nobody Knows I’m a Lesbian.” Coincidentally, and very awesomely, the little picture on the shirt is the same as the pic on my wallpaper … how weird/cool is that? I also got one that says “I don’t cook. I eat out,” that one’s for church. And the piece de resistance: “I Love Soccer Moms!”

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  25. I love the way your write! After being married and having kids, divorcing and then realizing my feelings for women, I have had MORE people tell me….well I thought you were a lesbian. WOW…really. Two lesbian moms(a couple) who had a kid on my son’s soccer team saw me later with my girlfriend and they both said, “we always thought you were gay.” I guess I had a mojo that I didn’t know about!

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    1. Thank you!
      I’m jealous! I think my mojo and gaydar are still running on a dial-up modem … how did you get high-speed service when you didn’t even sign-up until after the married, kids, divorce thing? Was headquarters offering another New Member special?

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    1. I actually learned the hard way that being undetectable does not, in fact, mean I’m invisible. Turns out when you’re undetectable people can see you, they just can’t tell you’re a lesbian. So it’s apparently that whole “walking around naked in public” thing doesn’t apply …

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