Photo-Illustration: James Gallagher
This week, a woman wondering whether she’s really queer and ready to start dating: 44, single, Sag Harbor.
9:00 a.m. I’m isolating at my country house out east, sharing my kids with my ex-husband who is also out here. The biggest news in my life is that I’m officially identifying as a queer woman. I’ve been “straight” for 44 years and now seems like the perfect time to try and date women — at least online.
11:30 a.m. On a socially distanced walk with one of my best friends and I explain everything to her: I’ve been divorced three years. It’s genuinely amicable. I got very busy post-divorce trying to raise my young kids and nurture my growing career (I run a popular wellness website). I’ve had zero interest in meeting, dating, or fucking men. Zero. So I examined that. I am done with men. Truly, done. But I’m still a sexual person and still interested in romance, so, what now? Women. Mind you, I have never so much as kissed a woman. But I’m wildly turned on by the idea of being in a lesbian relationship. I have crazy fantasies about it. Meeting, sleeping with, and falling in love with a woman is my new obsession. My friend thinks it’s great. All my married, straight friends envy this decision.
3:00 p.m. My kids are watching TV so I browse Lex and Tinder. I know there are probably better sites for women meeting women but I’m not so looped in. I don’t even have any close, gay girlfriends to lead the way.
4:30 p.m. I’ve started conversations with about five different women but now I have to go be a mom.
9:30 p.m. Chatting with someone named Susanna who is a mom out in Long Island (not the Hamptons part). She’s cute and adorable in that suburban-mom-with-a-secret way, but I don’t like soccer moms in real life, so why would I want to fuck one?
9:30 a.m. My kids are in third grade and sixth grade. The Zooms and assignments are very challenging for them and me. They go to private school and it makes me sick to think of the money we’re spending to do all this shit ourselves at home.
12:45 p.m. My ex shows up to take them for the next 48 hours or so. We keep it loose. That’s always worked for us. He’s had a new girlfriend for about a year. I like her. She’s really nice and never had kids of her own so I have empathy for her — and if she wants to love my kids like they’re her own, she totally can. The more people who want to love them, the better. I don’t feel threatened. While the kids get ready, I tell my ex that I’m turning gay. He thinks I’m joking. I tell him I’m not joking. He says it sounds “very hot” and that I should go for it. It’s not the worst response.
3:30 p.m. I’m determined to find someone I really connect with so I can flirt for the next two days while my kids aren’t home. I want to feel something real; to put my money where my mouth is. No pun intended.
10:30 p.m. I’ve finished a bottle of prosecco and am hardcore flirting with two women. One is young — like 25 — and out in Montauk. The other is a woman from London who’s stuck here because of the coronavirus. (She was producing a film here.) She’s very serious and very British — but she’s definitely beautiful. I find myself being a bit of the aggressor with her. Like, I want her to talk dirty to me. I’m provoking her. I don’t foresee me meeting with any of these people in real life for a while. It’s too irresponsible given the shared custody with my ex. We all have to trust each other and we all have promised to live with the assumption that everyone we meet has the coronavirus.
11:15 p.m. I like these two prospects. It’s been a very invigorating night.
8:30 a.m. Well, go figure, the 25-year-old sent me a long text about how she’s not comfortable engaging with someone who’s not “out” as a queer person. I’m a little confused — it’s not like I’m “in.” I have no one to confess my queerness to! My kids? I don’t respond and delete her.
6:00 p.m. Ugh. Crappy day. I feel a little depressed.
8:00 p.m. I am flipping through Netflix and nothing appeals to me. I decide to call it a night.
10:00 a.m. I’m always happy to see my kids. Hugging them resets everything from yesterday. My ex asks how the lady hunt is going (or some even more crass version of that). I tell him it’s a little exhausting. I feel disheartened and don’t want to go on the apps.
7:00 p.m. Great day with my kids. They’re handling this — the homeschooling and social distancing — so well.
10:00 p.m. I’m scrolling through the apps before bed. I meet someone named Cameron who seems very low key. She’s flirty. The conversation is natural. She’s at her home nearby, also from the city, like me. She has one kid with her ex-wife. No drama. The coolest part about her is that she works for a similar company as I do. I ask Cameron if she’d want to walk the beach together at some point and she says absolutely.
2:00 p.m. It was a crazy day with work and homeschooling and this is the first second I’ve had to think about anything, so I think about Cameron. I look at my weather app and find the next sunny day and run the date past her. She says she’ll be there. I suddenly feel like throwing up. I’m a little bit scared!
8:00 p.m. Finishing off my glass of red wine while the kids get ready for bed. I’ve had knots in my stomach all day, for a few different reasons. First, it will be my first real date with a woman. Second, it will be my first real date in several years. Third, we are in a goddamn pandemic and I don’t even know if I’m supposed to be doing this. I do what I always do to make my anxiety subside — focus on my kids.
10:00 p.m. Everyone is asleep. I open my book, read for 20 minutes and doze off.
8:00 a.m. It’s supposed to be beautiful today and tomorrow (when I was supposed to meet Cam) looks bad. I text her to move our walk to today. I think I just want to get it over with, rip the Band-Aid off.
9:15 a.m. We decide to meet up this afternoon. My husband is getting my kids around noon because he and his girlfriend are taking his boat out. That gives me an hour or so to either vomit or get pretty. Maybe both.
1:00 p.m. I put on a summer dress. It feels so nice to be bare legged. I decide to lean into the whole thing. A beautiful outfit, a gorgeous day … a date. Let’s just see what happens.
4:00 p.m. Home from the beach walk, which went well. Well, I don’t know. It was weird. It’s really different dating women. Like, way more confusing than I ever imagined. I found myself not knowing if I should talk to her as a potential new friend, or a mom friend, or as a fling who I want to flirt with, someone I want to be sexy toward. I know the answer is just be yourself but it’s really not that simple. She’s definitely cool and very attractive.
7:00 p.m. Sitting in my house in silence, digesting everything.
8:00 a.m. I decided I’m not going to see Cameron again. We work in the same circles and I just feel freaked out about everything. I’m not sure who I am or what I want … am I honestly tapping into something that’s authentic? Is it scary because it’s right, or because it’s not? These are questions bigger than I realized.
4:00 p.m. My kids are home and I put all my energy into them. We make a big dinner together. We talk about their happiness and frustrations right now. I get all the love and closeness I need from them. For today, at least.
10:00 p.m. This is when I usually go on the apps. Instead, I email a therapist friend. I ask her to recommend someone to me. I think maybe I can’t do this without a little help. I have no shame in admitting that. I don’t want to close the door on dating women but I think I’m not ready to do it just yet.
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