Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Fool

In the name of giving myself a break this week while I still get settled into my new job, I've pulled an excerpt from my journal.  No, it's not a recent entry. But, I find it entertaining.  I hope you enjoy it.  I did when I found it last week.  


Loneliness crept up on me the other day.  So, I naturally went to shuffle my tarot cards to read myself a fortune—or rather, to keep reading my cards until I got a good one.

About halfway through shuffling I had a sudden out of body experience and saw myself in that moment, sitting cross-legged in my childhood bedroom, sharing the wall with my parents, about to read my tarot cards. 

I had reached a new level of teenage regression that even for me was too much.

So, I packed up the cards and went scrolling around Facebook (as usual).  There are a couple profiles of friends I always end up commenting on, if not routinely right back on my own to respond to the messages I got for the day.  When I went to my list of latest posts I couldn’t help but notice a girl I’ve had a crush for a year or more has interacted with a couple things I had thrown out onto the Face earlier that day.

She had posted a response, she had obviously liked a link I had posted because it had coincidentally been linked again on her page right after I had said something on hers, which also tells me that she went to my profile—and success!

She had to have looked at my profile!  My face was in front of her face!  I might not have been aware of it at the time… but what of that?  There’s no need for retrospective speculation.  I am just burbling with joy that she even looked me up.  And thus, the pitiful, foolish, ritual begins anew.

Saying, "You Do It, Too" Just Means We're Both Creepy

Whenever I happen to find someone I like on Facebook I have a ritual I go through. I've asked around and I'm not alone in this.  Facebook allows us to anonymously snoop without feeling bad because of the Golden Internet Rule:  Post unto others as you would have posted about you.  Aka, if she didn't want me to see it then why make it public?  But, this girl decided to not publicly declare whether or not she likes girls.  How dare she.

Rather than just plain asking her (because that would be too scary) when the girl popped back under my radar I returned to her “info” page of her Facebook profile and sat and went through every bit of information as if the secret to her sexuality were right there sitting in front of me.  

I just have to crack the code, I tell myself—get enough evidence, find the secret out.  It's all right there in front of me because who we are is what we love (negating the fact that we sometimes fluff our profiles to look better for others to see).  And if she's straight (by my rubric) then it's my loss and I should move on.  If she's not, then I can allow myself the luxury of hoping I'll catch her eye one day in the future.

I always check first to see if her preference for guys or girls is even listed—but of course, that is ever vacant, which causes me to become all the more curious.  Why wasn’t it posted?  Is she just afraid of weird lesbians trolling around on Facebook searching for any sign of The Gay because in actuality you leaving that information hidden just makes weird lesbians search for signs of The Gay.  

just… I can’t let it go.  That’s the problem.  I think if I had got the message long ago that she was completely utterly straight, I’d be far less interested and burning with curiosity not knowing and always wondering if I just made it up in my head that she could be queer.  

Objects In Rearview May Appear Gayer Than Before

Gaydar is funny this way; to those who have it, usually it means you get a slight tingling sensation about a person that you have more in common than your Buffy DVD collection.  It grows subtly inside of you until that perfect moment he/she says something along the lines of "I was reading the latest Sarah Waters novel the other day," and BOOM.  You knew you were right.

For me, Gaydar is unfortunately retrospective.   

So, I surf past the “Relationship status” on her page as always with a grimace—it’s the steady reminder that “even if her sexuality was listed this doesn’t change anything—remember she’s with so-and-so and you’re definitely not so-and-so.”

At least, that blue underlined link is not to my Facebook profile.*

Anyway, I go back to the meat of my possible discovery—I feel like an archeologist, sifting through minuscule remnants of stone and bog-preserved tissue, trying to piece together the truth I know existed at one point.

My criteria?  There isn't much to go on.  But, it's all I've got:  her favorite books, movies and tv shows which, arguably, could be all within the same bracket of criteria. These are the things that emotionally stuck with her that she would like to share with other people. It’s likely she will not list her ex-girlfriends and boyfriends, you see.  

So, I pull on my mental archeologist outfit and get to work.

I begin by scouring these titles.  And it is then that I turn into Superficial Beryl.  Every title places an invisible hash mark under either “queer” or “straight” in my head.  And it is through this ridiculous rubric I make up on the spot that I try to figure out her level of queerness.

Do You Have a (Rainbow) Flag?

No flag, no queer community.  Those are the rules I've just made up.  If there was an App for this--there should be an app for this--I would call it:  The Queerubric.  You plug in a title.  It tells you if its fans are queer or not with 80% accuracy. What?  I'm no Steve Jobs.  80% accuracy is good enough.

I start off with Favorite books:

Jane Eyre… straight… Pride and Prejudice...straight…** 

But, as with any rubric, I quickly feel constrained and start adding categories to take off the edge of disappointment and leave wiggle room for change:

Never Let Me Go… straight and secretly masochistic…Harry Potter... straight but British...

Not getting the answers to my Queerubric I wanted, I move on to movies:

Love Actually… hopelessly romantic but hopelessly straight… 

It isn't looking promising.  But then, within the folds of blue verdana comes...


It's like a beacon.  A giant, Joss-Whedon-shaped beacon.  

Queer, point 1.

Success.  I greedily read on, heading into TV shows.  Suddenly, I see the queer in everything.

Shakespeare in Love….drama geek...and/or queer ... Bones… queer… 30 Rock… bi-curious tennis shoes… The Office… UK version = queer, US version = not as good either way… Lost…annoying either way…Babylon 5…queer…

And then finally, as a finale to this whole dehumanizing--not for her, for me, realizing that underneath it all I really am just this superficial--experience, I reach favorite music.

The Beatles…pansexual…Joni Mitchell… straight, but depressed… Rufus Wainwright… queer but male…Fiona Apple… female, but straight and self-destructive…Damien Rice…interested in women but male and self-destructive… Sondheim… genius either way… Tegan and Sara…

Wait...Tegan and Sara?


That’s when I stop stalking her profile and figure “I’ve got my answer.”  I smugly smile to myself and think “It’s fine.  She’s secretly gay and doesn’t know it.” I’ll just sit and wait here, I think.  I’ll just sit and wait here…as I’ve been waiting for the past couple years.

That’s when I pull out the tarot cards again.

*Am I the only one wary of setting a relationship status with someone new?  Ending a relationship on Facebook and changing your status from "in a relationship" to "single" is the worst; you have to cancel your relationship.  Cancel.  Like a dentist appointment.

**It should go without saying but one of my favorite stories (and BBC mini series ever) is Pride & Prejudice.  By my own rubric I am possibly straight.  And given that 80% accuracy rate for this app of mine, I am now questioning if in fact I am.


  1. I love you, BBaker. And I hope you remember that.

  2. Crystal! Hello. I love you, too. Also, the moment I move back into Berkeley = Awkward British Series Movie Night.