In the crowd of women at lesbian bars there were many normal egos and personalities. I just didn't choose them. The two women I met and dated from bar meet-ups revealed some dysfunctional behavior not long after meeting outside the bar atmosphere. These two women picked me out, not the other way around. That was one of my greatest weakness... not allowing the time needed to choose or pursue for myself. When I finally did learn the means to a healthy relationship, I chose well, and we celebrate our 25th Anniversary this year.
I will write of one of these women. I'll call her Bar-Girl. She seemed nice enough, attractive with Betty Davis bedroom eyes. She had a famous brother who had won Emmys and Oscars for his work. She was about 8 years or a bit more my senior, and she had just left her 'ex' of several years. She was responsible, and worked full-time as did I. Having since graduated from college, I lived at the time with a sorority sister about one hour's drive from Bar-Girl's apartment.
I was just beginning to understand the concept of 'red-flags' in my late 20's. The first warning was her 'ex' whom I never did meet in the 3 months of dating... but I felt her presence in the most harmful ways. Clearly, there was a jealousy I was not immediately aware of behind the scenes.
Red Flag #1: Bar-Girl said she loved me after about 30 days of dating. Oh no. This older woman grew upset with me when I could not say the same. I liked her, but I wasn't going to lie to appease her or make her feel better. She said, "Maybe I should dig up my dead father, at least he loved me!" My brain hung on to that morbid statement.
Red Flag #2: I started to get hate mail, the post office delivery kind. They were creepy, insulting, vulgar, and all with the same message cut out of newspaper clippings: Lesbian Go Home! It did upset me, and to be honest until Bar-Girl said she thought it was her 'ex' I had no clue who it could be. Back then everyone yelled nasty things to lesbians... my personal armor had grown quite thick by the late 70's. I had so many letters come in the mail that my roommate started to tear them up before I could read them. She was a good friend who felt she needed to protect me because she would also pick up the phone to hear threatening messages being delivered to me. Today, that method of harassment would not work. It was Bar-Girl's ex. I had no idea what she even looked like. But I was getting wind they were a bit physical in their relationship.
Red Flag #3: I was in the shower when Bar-Girl entered my bathroom, and for no reason started to punch at the shower curtain. She said she was joking, and shadow-boxing, as she landed several hard punches to my body. My expression on my face felt eagle-like as I yelled for her to 'stop it, you're hurting me.'
Red Flag #4: I was excited because Bar-Girl was going to introduce me to my first official drag show. Hundreds of drag queens and kings would be performing in the huge event room at a hotel. It would be a night filled with laughter as professionals and amateurs performed. She had attended these for years with her 'ex.' We booked a room at the hotel for that night. The event room was filled with round tables, and was dimly lit. The show had not yet started, when Bar-Girl handed me my one and only drink of that night that she bought at a wet bar. But before it was in my hands, Bar-Girl went over to a table where her 'ex' and her ex's older friends sat. I could not make them out, and I was not invited over to meet them. Within 30 minutes of drinking, I started to feel whoosy, like I was drunk. I felt ill, and disoriented. Bar-Girl helped me to the hotel room, and in to the bed. It was the last thing I remembered until sitting out on the lawn of the hotel the next morning, desperate for cool air to get in to my lungs and on to my forehead. At that time, I never thought in terms of someone doctoring my drink. I was too trusting and naive.
Red Flag #5: Yes, it took me 5 red flags. Bar-Girl and I were invited in to a remote mountain area to dirt bike on rugged trails. I had a blast. By days end, I was exhausted as I sat around the cabin's table with Bar-Girl and her 'ex's' older pals. Bar-Girl was pissed that I did not drink, but I did have conversation with them. I was sleepy and finally excused myself and went to bed. I quickly fell to sleep in the full-sized bed. Suddenly, I woke up to someone's hands gripping my ankles and tugging me quickly off the bottom end of the mattress. It was so fast and I had nothing to grip on to as my head thudded hard on to the cabin's wood flooring. I saw stars in the dark. Bar-Girl said, "You were on my side of the bed!" I wish I was then who I am today... I would have clobbered her ass on the spot. The next morning I did not say a word on the way back in the car with her and her ex's friends.... well, actually one: Good Riddens! She returned to her 'ex.'
By the 80's I had grown some 'butch balls.' Excuse the pun if you find it offensive. I had no intentions of ever being abused again. Here is a photo a friend took of me about 5 years after Bar-Girl. Single and happy...but buried anger.
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