Scared to Make the First Move

Friday, March 06, 2009


I am in love with my best friend. She has never had a girlfriend. But she says that she loves me more than anyone she has ever known, and she says our relationship is better than dating a guy. She knows that I am a lesbian—we met in college while I was coming out—and ever since I moved to her area and we reconnected, she has not gone out with anybody. She also knows how I feel about her. Can a straight woman ever change and become able to love another woman? I believe she is my soul mate. It is really hard to be around her and not kiss her or touch her the way that I do in my fantasies. Can you give me any hope that we could someday be together?


Who says that your best friend is straight? I know, I know—most women just assume that they are 100% heterosexual. But this is a silly bit of dumbness perpetuated by mass media that go into a tizzy every time a girl kisses another girl on the television. A certain number of women are fortunate enough to know that their desire is focused on other women, probably because they've experienced strong romantic crushes and erotic fantasies about women ever since they were old enough to know they had bodies. But there are also a hell of a lot of women who are curious about woman-to-woman sex, fantasizing about it, and sadly concluding that they will probably never get the chance to find out what all the fuss is about.

And if they are your best friend, they'd be right about that, apparently.

Look, do you have any pride in your "lifestyle," or not? If you've got any direct knowledge of the fact that it doesn't take a penis to drive a woman wild in bed, or stir her heart, light a fire under your britches, sister, and do what you most fear.

Understand that even if your best friend is actually secretly in love with you, too, she is still contending with a lack of experience and a ton of female socialization. Women are supposed to wait for somebody else to embrace them, carry them up the stairs, and toss them onto the bed. If she's never had sex with another woman, how is she going to initiate an encounter with you? She has no idea what the rules are—what's possible and what isn't—what you like and don't like. So there she sits, poor thing, wondering why she isn't quite good enough to be introduced to the High Holy Sapphic Mysteries.

You don't have to be as aggressive as Clark Gable was with Vivien Leigh. You don't even have to touch her without her permission. Create a special evening for the two of you. Make her dinner. Then sit on the couch beside her and say, "You're so beautiful. I can't stop thinking about kissing you." If she turns to you with a questioning look in her eye, and doesn't slide away from you, lean forward and offer her your mouth.

I can't guarantee that she will lean forward as well and become the other half of your dream. Even if she does kiss you back and even go to bed with you, there's no guarantee that this will be the love affair you crave. But it will mean that you will know where you stand. You can stop suffering the misery of limbo. Either you get to love her and see where that goes—or you will know that you have to withdraw, lick your wounds, grieve, and see what else life might have in store for you.

Please don't tell me that you are afraid to damage the friendship. The friendship no longer exists. It is already something else—an unrequited romance. If you don't have the courage to risk everything and pursue her, you don't deserve to have her. I would also then begin to suspect that you don't really love her. Unrequited love is often nothing more than cowardice—a refusal to participate in life on its own terms, and deal with a real relationship with someone who IS available.

I am speaking harshly to you only to put a little starch in your spine. The ghost of Natalie Clifford Barney is watching you. Good luck.