3 min

Friend requests pending

Oh the times they are a-changing, at least for me. I have overhauled my social system in the past nine months — friends, habits, job — as I try to align my life and what I actually do with my values and what I would like to be doing.
   It has sort of been like a midlife crisis, only without the new car, the toupee and the slutty gifts for my wife. Okay, count the slutty gifts in, but otherwise, very different.
   I think queer people who came out young have their crises early. I think we come out, we settle into the version of ourselves we’ve created in coming out and then we come out again, closer to who we really are. I am projecting a crisis for myself every 15 to 18 years as I shed the layers that have constructed my identity instead of revealing it, that have taught me more about who I’m not than about who I am.
   Part of this life change has been the necessary shedding of people with whom I don’t imagine the freedom to change. But now here I am in this big open space with almost nobody in it, looking for new people to support my personal growth, looking for new faces to call friends.
   Consider the Facebook definition of “friend.” I must be the only queer woman in Toronto who isn’t on Facebook. I am trying to escape my past, not reinvent it, and there are good reasons why my high school “friends” and I didn’t keep in touch. (Sarah, if you’re out there, I didn’t avoid your phone calls because you went to Bible college. I avoided them because you were a snob and your boyfriend creeped me out. Tina, I saw you through your abortion and hung out with you a lot until you told me I was lucky because I was a lesbian so I didn’t have to worry about looking good. I felt alienated from you and realized I was sick of hearing about how you were going commando all the time because there wasn’t a washing machine in residence.)
   Why would I reconnect with those people? Maybe a more fitting question is why would they reconnect with me? I suppose if I did then I could have dozens of “friends” to share pictures with, swap messages with, know nothing about.
   Right now I feel like no one except my partner really knows me. If I was on Facebook then maybe I could convince myself that “friends” don’t need to know me at all, they just need to be able to remember my name and include me in their eblasts. I am saving that as a last resort. For now I am seeking the real-life kind of friend. The real deal.
   It’s awkward to make friends at 29 years old. Most everyone has their social life all set up at this point, or at least it seems that way.
   I wonder how many people would choose the friends they have if they really thought about it. I think sometimes people stay in your life by default, having probably reflected your values at some point, but then hanging around long after they don’t anymore — like family members, plantar warts, the smell of the wine barrels in my grandfather’s basement.
   The one exciting part of finding new friends at 29 is that you get to choose them. I want more male-identified friends, more butch friends, more people who understand the complexities of my attraction to my increasingly femme and eternally beautiful partner. Not to say that isn’t possible with other women, but I want more friends right now whose lives reflect my own, especially my sex life. I have so much trouble being open about my desires. I think it would be easier if I had people who could read between the lines.
   So I am kind of doing outreach for myself. A very interesting potential new friend introduced me (conceptually) to the world of live action role-playing (LARP) last week. I was amused and fascinated and only a tiny bit weirded-out by the idea of adults running around a big field in the boonies dressed up in costumes, from elves to aliens. It made me consider how much easier it would be to make friends if I could don a super-friendly, outgoing, confident character (like say, media personality Vicki Gabereau) to make friends for me.
   LARP characters seem a lot like caricatures for dramatic therapy — single features of our personalities embellished and exaggerated so that we can explore them, laugh at them, get over them. I should probably sign myself up as a stereotypical straight boy who hits on women in short skirts, watches degrading porn, orders all you can eat steak and only separates the recycling from the garbage when it is really convenient. I wonder who my friends would be then.
   I am feeling impatient, wanting to feel connections with people, like, last week. But I know it takes time for the connections to be real. In the meantime perhaps I should pursue the fantasy option, research Gabereau’s outfits and hit the battlefield before the temptation of Facebook becomes too much to bear.