Sappho and Starch

THE LAST TIME I was straight, dinosaurs ruled the earth.

Apparently, I've always been gay. It seems all the telltale signs were there pretty early on. I refused to wear my Easter dress at the age of 4. I was a tomboy and excelled at sports (especially softball). I had a monumental crush on my P.E. teacher. My girlfriends and I had sleepovers. Lots of sleepovers. And I liked cats unequivocal proof, yet I was blithely unaware of my gayness.

I tried being a good, wholesome, heterosexual girl. Really, I did. I had three boyfriends in high school. We went to the junior/senior prom. We made out in cars. We played hide the salami. I never really understood why such a big deal was made about guys' johnsons; the pink chimney never did much for me.

But I gave it a try. My last heterosexual experience was with Kurt, a guy I met while doing summer theater. He was funny, sensitive, and handsome, and we shared a passion for musical theater (yes, you're way ahead of me). One late night, after two bottles of Boone's Farm apple wine, Kurt and I attempted to Do the Deed until Mr. Happy got droopy, and sensitive Kurt spent the wee morning hours praying to the porcelain god. I found out years later that Kurt was gay and living in San Francisco. My theory is we probably turned each other gay that fateful night, and I am eternally grateful.

I finally got a big fat clue in the summer of 1977 when, still a teenager, I woke up one hungover morning and found myself bare-ass naked in bed with my best friend, Jackie. The details of the previous night were sketchy at best, but I did remember that I enjoyed ita lot.

My next mission was the risky process of "coming out" to family and friends. Would I be accepted or shunned? Would they embrace me or cast me out? Anticlimactically, my family and friends all assumed that I'd been riding the homosexual train for quite some time. I'd screw up my courage and Tourette-ishly blurt out, "I'm gay! I'm a lesbo!" My friends would look at me calmly and say, "Duh."

One afternoon, I was talking about a popular feminist singer when my sweet, first-grade-teacher mother casually remarked, "You know, your father asked me if I was ever going to come right out and ask you, but I told him what you do in the privacy of your bedroom is your business." All said while ironing my father's slacks. I sat there, stunned. After talking in circles for the next 10 minutesneither of us, God forbid, ever using the words "gay," "lesbian," or "homosexual"my mother finally said, "Honey, if I'd known how important this was to you, I would have told you that you were . . . ," and she whispered now, " . . . 'gay' a long time ago. Hand me the starch, would you?"

Lisa Koch is a local singer/songwriter/ actor/comedian/Britney Spears body double and one-half of the hilarious sketch-comedy duo Dos Fallopia (with comic Peggy Platt). You can contact her at www.heylisa.com.

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