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Bad Reputation

By Mink Stole | Posted 9/7/2005

Iím a 40-ish woman who, after living in another state for nearly 20 years, recently moved back to my hometown. Iíd been married and divorced while I was away, and at first it was really strange to be back. Then I looked up a couple of old friends, who introduced me to their friends, and soon I had a pretty active social life. Iím really grateful for this, because itís hard to start over, but there is one problem. I was pretty wild when I was younger. While I was never addicted to anything, I had a pretty liberal attitude toward recreational drugs and casual sex. Iím hardly an old prude now, but my hard-core partying days are long over. The problem is that my old pals have told so many (mostly exaggerated) stories about how crazy and promiscuous I was that every guy Iíve been meeting, including the married ones, has been coming on to me. At first I was flattered, but then when it kept happening, I realized they were all expecting me to live up to my youthful reputation. Iím also getting the feeling that the women in the group are feeling a bit threatened. Without putting on a nunís habit, how can I convince people that, while Iím not ashamed of my past, I have no desire to relive it?

Slowed Down

Some guys are funny, SD: They think that just because you once gave it up for Tom and Dick, youíre somehow obligated to give it up for Harry, too. And when you donít deliver, they feel cheated. They think of you as a liquor store running a free beer promotion, but by the time they reached the front of the line, the supplies had run out and the doors were closed. Other guys think of any unattached new female entering the herd, so to speak, as fresh meat and feel compelled to give her a good sniff. The already established females will naturally consider the newcomer an intruder.

Donít worry so much about what the guys think. As soon as they realize theyíre not getting anywhere with you, most will lose interest. They may salve their egos by deciding youíre a frigid bitch, but who cares? The women are the core of the social group; they control the guest list, so if you want to stay in, you have to let them know they can trust you. You donít need to subvert your entire personality, but a little humility can go a long way. Ask their advice about where to shop for clothes, have your hair done, etc. Invite them to a girls-only brunch. Dress like a good girl. When and if you want to start dating, ask them about available men they may know. Nothing makes the married women in any group relax more than getting unattached single women safely paired up.

 

I am a lesbian, and I live with Amy, a wonderful woman I love very much. I have a 7-year-old son, Brad, from a former marriage, which, except for my son, was a big mistake. Brad and Amy took to each other from their first meeting two years ago, and he calls her his ďother mommy,Ē which makes me and my family very happy. Amyís mother, however, is dead set against it. She blames me for ďmakingĒ Amy gay, and is somehow convinced that if I were out of the picture Amy would see the light, find a great guy, get married, and live a ďnormalĒ life. She has refused to accept her daughterís homosexuality since Amy came out to her at 17. The other week Amy and Brad went to see her mother, and the woman barely acknowledged his presence. In fact, she told Amy that, in the future, she would prefer that she visit alone. Amy came home in tears, Brad was confused, and I was furious. Brad is practically this womanís grandson. How can she be so cruel? Should I insist Amy stop seeing her mother? I want to protect my son and the woman I love from being hurt.

Libby in Love

One day, LIL, Iíll invent an anti-venom kit for families, like the ones they have for snakebite, and get so rich I can buy my way into the White House, where, among all my other world-improving accomplishments, I will push through legislation making lower pay for women and minorities, ďfaith-basedĒ propaganda (including intelligent design and creationism) in public schools, and all forms of homophobia unconstitutional. Until that time, however, we have to deal the best we can with other peopleís ignorance, intolerance, and well- or ill-intentioned bad behavior.

You can comfort Brad by telling him that Amyís mommy doesnít understand some things, and that when people donít understand things sometimes it makes them scared and angry, but asking Amy to stop seeing her mom will only put her in the middle of an unwinnable tug of war that would only add to her distress. Try not to bad-mouth her mother too much either, which could make Amy feel a need to defend her. When and if Amy does visit, however, thereís no need for her to take Brad. As long as Mom is shooting poison darts, it only makes sense to keep him out of the line of fire.

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Think Mink archives

More from Mink Stole

Pick and Choose (4/12/2006)
First of all, homosexuality isnít like snake handling or Catholicism; it isnít a cult or a religion you can be recruited for or converted to.

Territorial Rites (4/5/2006)

Family Guy (3/15/2006)

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