I have met many good men along the way. I will write about some who asked me out for a date in my thirties in Colorado. You see, I did not wear a label stating I was a lesbian, gay, or homosexual. I was simply me, Frances, Fran, or Franny.
I took any extra jobs I could get to have extra money. One was working from 11-7 am at a 7-11. I was watched very closely by the fantastic local police because a couple of murders actually took place in the town I worked in, and the next one over at 7-11’s. If they did not see me on the floor, I worked alone during those hours, they would come in and look for me. They served to protect and it gave me an immense sense of pride that these men watched over me.
While on this job I was asked out by men. One delivered the dairy products to the store. He also gave me all expired yogurts, and told me how I could freeze them by swirling the fruit first in the yogurt, recap and freeze. I lived on yogurts. One night he asked, “Would you like to go out on a date?” I lied and said, “I have a boyfriend.” I was single but a lesbian. I did not tell him that news. It didn’t feel safe to tell him. He smiled and that was it.
Another regular night-customer asked me out for a drink at a bar he worked at, and partially owned. I thought, why not. It was at the bar with others. We talked several times previously at the store after he closed up the bar. I told him how I loved the taste of Grand Marnier. He asked, “But have you had it the way it was meant to be served?”
He was a perfect gentleman at the bar. He poured the orange-flavored liqueur in to a very large snifter. He then took a small hand-held blow torch, tilted the glass and waved the blue flame on the glass beneath the Grand Marnier. Heated to drinking perfection, the perfumed drink went down my throat like the nectar of the Gods. He started to ask more personal questions, all appropriate, and then asked if one day we could go out for dinner.
I decided to tell him my truth, “Listen, I’m a lesbian. I would want you to know if I joined you...in friendship.” No sex. He gave me a crooked grin, shook his head and said, “Figures - Well, enjoy your drink.” I did, I thanked him, I wished him well, and I left.
While still in Colorado, working full time, I entered a community college program to earn my cap as an LPN. There were perhaps three men in the program of at least twenty women. A seemingly polite man named Carl, decided to ask me out. I was actually dating a woman at the time so I told him so. He seemed to take it as a personal rejection. In a few weeks of his ignoring me, he was dating another student nurse.
He asked if my girlfriend would join his for a dinner out. We did go. But he seemed to be putting on a show of possessiveness with his girlfriend. He hung his arm around her throughout the meal, and even ordered for her. I liked her. She was a bright student, and a divorcee with a child. I remember eye contact we had during the meal. She looked sad, and seemed to have shrunk in size under the weight of his arm on her shoulder. I thought, there sits the real man who asked me out. He was staking a claim on ‘his’ woman. He almost seemed to gloat.
When back in New York, I hung around a lot with a straight female co-worker. She was great fun. Beers and steaks were our best friends as we sat around a fire pit in the woods, where one day would stand her and her husband’s house. She was engaged. I was single.
A third co-worker, Mark, started to tag along with us. I thought he had a crush on my 'engaged' friend, until one day he asked to take me out for a row on a local lake. His name was Mark. He was a handsome blond, and the son of a minister. I don’t know why I miss signals but as we sat out on the middle of the lake he asked for me to be his girlfriend. I was in my thirties, dressed in flannel shirts and blue jeans near daily. I had a long braid, but I thought it was clear who and what I was, so I was shocked at his anger when I told him I was gay. “I thought you knew.”
He raised his voice. “Everyone’s gay! It’s sick. What’s wrong with everyone these days?!”
Yikes. I felt like I needed to be ready to dive in to the lake as he grabbed the oars, to thankfully, row us back full-speed to the shore. He never spoke to me again face to face, even if I said hello in passing at work.
My straight girlfriend knew I was gay, how did Mark miss it? However he viewed me, I certainly received his bigoted views and religious wrath. I thought, where had the mature men gone? And what in hell where they truly looking for in even a straight woman… fairy-tales and utter control? A faultless broad? Someone to mold in to the image of what they wanted a woman to be?
(Insert my laughter) I had a fatal flaw with these men, I was a lesbian. These were all mostly good men, fine people. I didn't reject any one of them in kinship. I could have been friends with all of them to one degree or another. But they could not do the same with me. Yes, they were attracted to my character, but clearly wanted a sexual connection to follow. Maybe the fact that they were attracted to a lesbian, freaked them out - Or was it merely the sting of rejection, afterall.