I’m a dyke. Kind of a stereotypical fat dyke. I have always dated smaller, prettier femme girls- preferring their long hair and smooth skin and the way they smell like soap and make-up. And women in general have always been my culture. I even for a while joined a group called the Lesbian Avengers- we staged small protests on lesbian issues punctuated most elaborately with our ability to literally swallow fire. And then came Daniel. A short, thick, nerdy Jewish man who I could not for the life of me resist. He was religiously complex, having been a rabbi and now a tortured believer who could not define his place in the religious world. He was a musician, had traveled the world playing jazz professionally. He was currently working as a barista and made the best damned cappuccino I’ve ever had, owing partly to the fact that it was made from pure half and half. Overall he struggled existentially to find his place and his path and his identity. Overall I thought he was the most beautiful man I’d ever known. He is the only man I’ve ever dated.When we met for the first time he corrected the grammar of the very first sentence I said. I smiled and was deeply amused, although I should have found that offensive. As I spent time with him I remember I didn’t understand that I had a crush on him. I just wanted to spend more and more time with him. I wanted his attention. Purely and simply. I wasn’t even thinking physically yet. Our first date we spent eating burritos on the beach and talking a mile a minute about everything. I squeezed his hand. He squeezed back. Our second date I spent sitting next to him on the couch, scooting closer and closer until we were cuddling. We sat holding each other for hours. But we still did not kiss until the third date. Like it didn’t even occur to us that we could. When we did kiss it was fireworks- passion that put even fire-eating to shame.
We only dated for a few months although it was an intense talking-of-marriage-and-kids-and-religious-conversion-type of few months. He made me want to be a different woman. When I was with him I read more- books and newspapers- and I tried to learn about music and I strongly considered converting to orthodox Judaism. Somehow the idea of living out my life in a long skirt with 10 children and a husband I’d have to obey seemed reasonable- and my inner Lesbian Avenger failed me- she never protested. Perhaps luckily, Daniel and I were ill-fated and broke up. But we kept in touch, and would continue to casually sleep together for years. I accept that we were not to be, and I have dated some wonderful women since, but sometimes when the phone rings I still close my eyes and make a wish that it is Daniel. And then the feminist in me cringes and I know I am getting myself back.