There’s a proliferation of How To information on the internet and in bookstores and libraries — everything from the ubiquitous Dummies and Idiot’s guides through to sites such as Wiki How, where you can find How to kiss in 32 steps. Beyond corporate answering bodies, there are individual contributors out there who are happy to answer just about any how-to you can think of, including How to pee in a cup while driving.
Clearly, there’s perceived value in how-to guides: people want to know how to do things. No how-to question goes unanswered. More to the point, where questions can mean there’s money to be made or wisdom, knowledge, data, opinions, pontifications and wild-assed guesses to be shared and spread around like Nutella.
But enough about a delicious chocolate and hazelnut mixture. Here on this blog, I get a number of how-to questions and the one I get a lot is: how to be/how can I be a lesbian?
A puzzling question. I ponder it with knitted brows. Is the question asking what do I need to know, what credentials and knowledge do I need to qualify as a lesbian, as in, How can I be a pilot? An astronaut? An engineer? An editor? A racing car driver? Or is it a more subtle question, asking something along the lines of, How can I be a good person? A caring, considerate, and courageous teacher? An emotionally, culturally sensitive, values-based and intelligent person?
Is the question centred on how to do the things that a lesbian does (as in the technical aspects of being a lesbian) or is it a question of what, in her being, makes a woman a lesbian and how to get that? (The doing/being divide?)
Sigh. Haven’t I answered this question in earlier posts? It seems obvious to me how to be a lesbian; however, calling on my mindful and compassionate self, I must remember that what’s obvious to me as a lesbian is not always obvious to others.
Perhaps I am over-thinking it. Perhaps I need to answer the question succinctly, leaning toward the being mode over the doing mode … as I see it, it’s quite straightforward to be a lesbian, if such a label is desired or required, as outlined below.
How to be a lesbian in two easy steps, with two other steps that are less easy.
1. Be a woman (natural born or surgically re-assigned).
2. Have crushes, romances, dating stresses, deep likes, physical intimacy/sex only with a woman. Or with many women, one after the other. (We call it serial monogamy.)
There are two additional steps take you deeper into lesbian territory…
3. Fall in love with a woman.
4. Share your life, love, heart, soul — everything: ups and downs and crazy laughter and buckets of tears and hopes and dreams and fears and wonders and picnics and laundry and cooking and holding hands and exploring and grieving and book buying binges — all with a woman and only a woman.
And that’s how to be a lesbian.