I am not a vegetarian. I often get mistaken for a vegetarian, which is flattering, but also annoying. Maybe it’s my obsession with yoga.
I am not a lesbian. During my undergrad, an edgy professor asked me to be her TA. Let’s call her Susan. After a few weeks, she asked me to go to lunch. I met Susan at her office thinking we would go to the cafeteria. Instead, she drove me to a nice little café – one with waiters. She began talking about insomnia and about NPR in the early morning. I said, “Oh, I love NPR in the morning too!”
She smiled and said, “No way! We have so much in common!”
She started talking about her pack rat tendencies and where she grew up.
A shiver. Then full on goose bumps. A flash of dread.
I was, in fact, on a date. With a woman.
“I'm not a pack rat,” I said. “I take everything to the D.I. which is owned and operated by the Mormon Church because I am a Mormon. I’ve been a Mormon since I was little. I live its teachings. All the teachings. I’m excited to marry a Mormon man. I just love men.”
She stirred her fries in her mayonnaise and pushed her long, brownish grey hair behind her ear. She wore a long brown wool skirt with Danskos - just like me.
She listened kindly and got the check. I said thank you for lunch. Susan then drove me back to campus to catch the bus home. I didn’t even own a car.
The next day, she called again and invited me to dinner. I was so discombobulated that I said yes accidentally. Freaked out and anxious, I called her and said, “I am not coming to dinner with you.”
She said, “I understand.”
I had told this story for 11 years. In 2007, I went to a Writing Workshop with a professor friend of mine from my immature college days. During the Workshop, I started writing the story of The Lesbian Date. Since I was ready to finally commit the story to paper, I thought I’d ask him about Susan.
He gave me a strange look. Then he said, “She’s not gay.”
I stared at him in disbelief. “Not gay?”
“Susan is not gay.”
And so, I guess I’m not the only woman who has been mistaken for a lesbian. What can I say? At least I didn’t think she was a vegetarian.