Lily’s College Lesbianage #10: Words and Music Videos

1. The Second Year IS Better

This school is full of crazy, scary, really well-dressed overachievers who intimidated the shit out of me last year. But I am a new woman now! (or so I keep telling myself) and thus have decided to join the ranks of well dressed overachieving ladies. Apparently if you join clubs, publications, and other student groups, you can find friends and a sense of purpose. Who knew?

Photo by Cass Bird

Soooo I decided to take 18 credits, accept a 10-15 hour a week job, and join as many groups as possible. Needless to say, sophomore year has been ridiculously busy and I have (mostly) been enjoying it.

Unfortunately, no one told me that I would be stuck in bed with a fever during midterms.

This strong, independent, look-at-me-I-can-do-everything persona I’ve built up is going to have to find some serious Brandy-as-Cinderella inner magic to stay alive. Who wants to study Japanese art while feeding me soup!?

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2. The Dreaded Lesbian Question

Because I’ve been so sick, I had to muster up enough courage to go down to my school’s health services center. Here’s the thing: I hate doctors. Yes, they are great people who want to make you feel better, blah blah blah. But I absolutely despise them because in my experience they just make you take off your clothes, put on a gross paper dress, and then sneak attack you with a million shots. It is a highly painful and embarrassing experience.

For that reason I had been successfully avoiding the health center since the beginning of last year. But this obnoxiously high fever set in and I had no choice but to pay them a little visit. They didn’t make me take off my clothes, which was nice, and they didn’t give me a shot, which was doubly nice, but they did ask me that question that makes my insides close up and my mind produce a high pitched “eeeeeeeeee” noise:

“Are you sexually active?”

Baaaaaagggghhhhh. What does that even mean? I believe my answer went a little something like this…

“Umm well, hah that’s a tough one. Um yeah, I mean yeah but like with girls (no, Lily, that sounds like you have sex with children) I mean women. Yeah, uh just with women.”

It was sufficiently awkward to say the least. Luckily the Nurse Practitioner didn’t find it awkward at all and was 100% normal. So, at least in this case, the sexually active question was a much bigger deal in my head than it was in real life. Doctors hear everything; at least you are not sexually active with roller coasters or ice cream or elephants (maybe you are but that’s a completely different issue that I don’t even know how to begin addressing). I still hate going to the doctor, but I do love the antibiotics.

3. Boring Town, Population: Me

By the beginning of October, the semester had been going so smoothly that I really wasn’t sure I had anything interesting to write about. Sure, I could discuss my newfound dream to join the CIA (because of that show, Covert Affairs). Or show you what I’ve learned in my elementary Spanish class—Hola, me llamo Lily. Yo soy muy intelligente y bonita. (I can practice my positive affirmations in two languages now!) I could even share with you some random thoughts I tend to have during the day, like…

“Is anyone else in the world listening to Destiny’s Child complete discography in a totally un-ironic way right now?”

and

“Every girl in this class is super hot. How is this possible? What do I do? OMG STOP STARING, LILY, YOU ARE SO CREEPY.”

But none of those ideas seemed important enough to use as an update of gay life in college.

Luckily (though not actually lucky), various dramatic instances involving:

1) An ex

2) unfortunate run-ins

3) inappropriate age differences

4) public yelling

5) me making dumb decisions

… came back into my life and inspired me to write yet again!


I was honestly trying to avoid a lot of crazy emotions this year. This semester was supposed to be about being too busy with work for real life, making friends (NOT making out with those friends), and just moving along at a steady rate of sheer contentment. That is all I wanted.

I’d planned to stay away from anything that might impede on my ability to learn about feminist art movements and basic Spanish (my favorite two classes, in case you were wondering). I see now that my goals were rather far-fetched and that life will always manage to creep in no matter how hard you work to push it to the side. You just have to deal with it, which is something I’m still learning how to do. But I am getting better at it!

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4. On a Brighter Note, Everyone Is Gay!

The Barnard and Columbia class of 2014 have turned out to be way gayer than my freshman class, which I think we can ALL agree is due to my presence at Barnard (JK, kind of). Slowly but surely I will use my queen-of-the-lesbians power (I just made that up) to turn Barnard College into my very own New York City version of Smith College. You’re welcome, Morningside Heights.

But for real, it is extremely comforting to see this relatively large presence of openly queer freshmen on campus. Perhaps it’s just an example of the socially liberal, younger generation who is open and comfortable with their sexuality, or maybe 1992 was just a really gay year to be born. Whatever the case, I am certainly thankful to see Barnard heading in a slightly gayer direction this year.

5. I Do Not Have The Answers

While meeting those freshmen, I somehow got into the habit of thinking, “Oh they are so much like me last year! I have so much to teach them!”…as if I was some sort of wise elder who knew all of the secrets to homogayness and college life. But then reality settled in and I remembered that I absolutely do not have all of the answers. I may have a tad more experience than I did last year, but I certainly can’t claim to hold the keys to gay college success.

SUCCESS = TWO CHICKS AT THE SAME TIME

And while I do have two pretty good pieces of advice (don’t sleep with your roommate, don’t drunkenly come out to your parents via text message), I still have two times a billion questions. I don’t even know what I’m going to be for Halloween. I mean really, who am I?!?

This is an option.

It’s humbling to hear from people who say reading my little column has taught them a thing or two or, more importantly, reminds them that they’re not alone. And really that’s all I could ever ask for. I may not have all/any of the answers. I may not turn out to be that overbooked Superwoman I set out to be, but if you can read this, and read Autostraddle and feel as if you are connected to something bigger than your own sadness/fear of you’re surroundings, then that’s perfect.

I’ll most likely continue to procrastinate writing these articles and always have girl/ex-girl/dumb decision problems, and I’ll forever continue referencing 90s girl-band pop groups in everyday life but, imperfections intact, I know that I’m not alone, because of you! And hopefully you know that you’re not alone. I promise.

If you need some convincing you should really check out Jennifer Lopez singing en español (that means “in Spanish”!!!)—seriously. It will help. I’m listening to it right now and I already feel better.

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Lily has written 33 articles for us.

73 Comments

  1. Thumb up 0

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    I am trying to transfer schools, and thanks in part to your posts I started thinking about the super lesbian all girls university I visited in my junior year of high school and rejected immediately because “I wanted to be around boys” (closeting while making college decisions, not a good idea). I’m most of my way through the application, which is due in just a few days, so… thanks! Next year, when I’m hopefully surrounded by intelligent, more-likely-to-be-queer-than-they-would-if-I-were-elsewhere girls, I’m thanking you!

    (Or blaming you, if I hate it.)

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      I actually almost did the same thing you did! Around my Sophomore year of high school I visited a couple of schools close to where my grandmother lives in Pennsylvania including Bryn Mawr College which is a woman’s college. But I told my mom and EVERYONE around me that I would never go there because there were no boys, HAH. Luckily I sort of figured a few things out during the next couple of years and ended up here!

      I really really hope that transferring works for you!! Espeeecially if you blame me for hating it, haha.

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        I DID make that mistake, well a similar one. Before I really knew who I was I decided to go to a Christian college, and have unhappily stayed. A lot of my credits wouldn’t transfer, so what’s the point in switching schools now? Even though it is definitely more liberal than most Christian schools–and it’s a GOOD school and I love my profs, friends, etc.,– if I came out and someone “told” on me, I’d be sent to counseling and could actually be EXPELLED. Don’t even get me started on that…in short, I can wait another year.

        However, it makes me sad to think that I can’t even be myself to my closest friends and even though I’ve “found” myself while in college I can’t BE myself because of a dumb decision my eighteen year old self made. Grrmph.

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    In the U.S. most courses are 4 credits. I’m guessing 18 credits would be like 4-5 classes.

    I can totally relate to the doctor situation. I also hate when I get asked if I’m on any medications and when I don’t say birth control, they always do a double take.

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    last time i when to the doctor our discussion went like this:
    her: “what is your primary method of birth control?”
    me: “er, i have sex with women.”
    her: “not funny.”
    me: “huh?”
    her: “do you use condoms?”
    me: “no, i checked off ‘female’ as my sexual partner on the list and i just told you”
    her: “then you’re not having safe sex. you need to follow the abcs of safe sex: abstinence, birth control, condoms.”

    then just to make me more uncomfortable, she walked in while i was changing without knocking. then told me i probably had chlamydia [i went in for a sore throat] and forgot to call me back to tell me my results were negative. obviously i wrote a really long nasty letter to student health services.

    ANYWAY enough about me! lily i’m so glad you’re second year is going well. let’s practice our spanish together sometime.

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      how about this?
      WOMAN MD: if you’re worried about unplanned pregnancies, i suggest you go on some kind of routine birth control. i see you’ve never been on the pill… do you need me to give you a prescription?
      ME: oh. no, no thanks. i’m not worried about getting pregnant. i don’t sleep with men.
      WOMAN MD: (laughs) you might get lucky! (winks a la lucy ricardo)
      ME: (uncomfortable look and NOT laughing) uh…no. i meant… ever. and i never will. i’m gay.
      WOMAN MD: (giving the “i-just-fucked-up” look) oh!!! ok then. gotcha (winks. again) sorry, haha… your long hair and makeup threw me off.

      really? awesome. =/

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        what i thought was weird was how i checked off “doesn’t practice safe sex” and there was no question about the gender of people i was sleeping with, and my doctor didn’t say anything. the whole time i kept thinking “if i was straight that would make her a bad doctor”. espesh since she spent a lot of time describing various STIs to me.

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    My Mom’s a and convi Registered Nurse at the local hospital, so I know/knew all the Doctors. She convinced me to go on the pill before I came out (side note it’s for cramps).
    By this point I should just waltz into the Doctors office announcing loudly “I’m a lesbian” before I even get a check up cuz seriously, upon moving, I have had to have the “awkward doctor/pharmacist sex talk” SOOO many times it’s not even funny anymore.

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    Uhm, me last time at the doctors:

    Him: Do you take birth control pills?
    Me: No
    Him: Which form of birth control are you using then?
    Me: None, im a homosexual.
    Him: So you use “helping toys” when you are with your partner?
    Me: Uhm, no. (very uncomfortable, it was not AT ALL a relevent question if i use toys with my partner or not)

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    just as a positive example, since so many people have crappy experiences…

    the nurse or doctor asks, “so are you sexually active?” (which, I’ll admit, is a bit distracting when you’re there for a cold)

    if you say yes, the immediate follow-up question in an incredibly non judgemental fashion is “with men, women, or both?”

    in other words…both bisexuality and homosexuality are completely recognized as valid lifestyles AND both are recognized as being “sexually active.” none of this heterosexual sex only bullshit.

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    I went to go get a “Women’s Health Check-up”

    Freshman Me: Well, I have a girlfriend, so I’m only having sex with her… right now…
    Doctor: So, you only use toys?
    Me: Yes…? (in my head: oh no! we never use toys! why did he say that? is that what we’re supposed to do? ah! I need gay friends!)
    Doctor: You can leave, there’s no need to do a gynecological exam.
    Me: Ok (in my head: then why did I have to get naked and sit in this chair? why did I say I only use toys? is that why he said I should leave? should I tell him we… I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S CALLED! should I… he’s gone.)

    and I haven’t been to a doctor since. I later found out that the no exam part was because I hadn’t been “sexually active” long enough, not because of the awkward toy bit.

    Also, as a college senior, I’ll toss in the two cents that the number of out queers has increased A TON each year I’ve been here. And not just out, but OUT Last year there was a huge spike and this year another small pick up. This is so good because it effectively doubles the number of queers (as most usually didn’t come out for a few years back “in the day”)

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    All these awkward gyno stories are actually really making me want to go to med school and become a gynecologist whilst researching sti transmission amongst lesbians on the side. my mother would love that @sarcasm

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      but i AM serious about the doc thing. if i don’t do it, one of you guys needs to, clearly we need women medical researchers since men are too wrapped up in the anti-impotence solution to give a damn about lesbian sex lives

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        i know this more than a month late. but these doctor experiences are making me soooo sad! anxious. like just let me into med school already so i can get to work on this stuff!

        i mean i know you/we don’t have much of a choice besides going to student health, but sometimes on the internet there are lists of lgbt-supportive doctors that should not ask insensitive questions! if you have the ability to choose a doctor with your insurance or whatever, look them up! once i had to fill out a doctor form that asked for past sexual experience. then it had a separate question for homosexual contact. turns out the form was published before I was born. like when homosexuality was fucking diagnosable. jesus.

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    my roommate went to planned parenthood and this exchange took place
    Doc- what kind of birth control do you use?
    Roomie – um, i don’t, i am gay, and i’m not even sleeping with anyone right now.
    Doc- okay, you take condoms then
    Roomie- I really don’t think i need them…
    Doc – for emergency.
    Roomie to me and my girlfriend later in the day- so they gave me condoms if anyone needs any…you know, in case you have a d**k emergency.

    oh and you are all born in 1992??? i am feelin’ oooooold.

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      Sorry this took me so long to respond!!
      I’d say if you’re looking into colleges now, try to visit them if that is at all possible. If you’re looking to figure out what the gay scene on the campuses are like, definitely look into the LGBT groups on campus. Even just google the name of the school with “LGBT” student group next to it and see what it brings up. Maybe do a little facebook stalking of to see if any gay events or groups pop up that are associated with the school you are looking into. But also, remember to look for the school you think you will be most comfortable at. You may find a school that doesn’t seem to have a huge gay community but you love the atmosphere and the curriculum. It is most important that you are happy and comfortable…the rest will come!

      Let me know how the search goes!

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    Just to repeat what everyone else is saying… the class of 2014 is definitely gayer. I’m a sophomore too, and our turnout at Pride this year has definitely doubled. It’s awesome.

    Our turnout tripled the week Glee wasn’t on because that’s when our meetings are. I think all the gays hide out in their rooms from 8-9 on Tuesdays if they aren’t at our meeting.

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    Reading these comments has made me feel old…and I’m only ’89! I guess just ’cause ’89 baby sounds sooo much older than ’90 baby. I associate all of the ’90s with Nickelodeon and Spice Girls, so upon hearing anyone was born in ’90 it always takes me a minute to realize they weren’t born while I was entering middle school. And don’t even get me started on ’92…that sounds like yesterday.

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      Samseys! And I’m an 88 baby! 90s remind me of bright colours, wet weather, being mistaken for a boy more times than not, live &kicking on Saturday mornings crushing on zoe ball, fri afternoons in primary school with mr. Campell painting and playing cricket, loving th power rangers, seriously disliking my mother for making me wear dresses to Sunday school and playing football in th garden until it gets dark…ah simplier times!! Omfg I was such baby dyke! Lol

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    Yep, this year’s freshers are hella gay at my Uni. My city is almost too gay to function actually so I’m sorted there, I could just use more help with the ‘finding friends AND a sense of pruporse’ bit.I need more purpose. I have plenty of friends, but we mostly met through going out and getting drunk. And that tends to cause the ‘not making out with said friends’ bit to suffer. You can’t make out with purpose.

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    On winter break and I just found this blog. It is really enjoyable. I go to school in a very liberal area of New York as well need-less-to-say I have been able to relate to almost everything you’ve been writing about. You’re funny.

    P.S.
    Urban Outfitters is the uniform at my school as well. Though this could be said at many private liberal arts institutions.

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    So, your posts are kind of fantastic! Your college lesbianage experience is fun to read about and you seem like a really interesting girl. Continue rockin’ out at Barnard!

    Plus, I really hope you went as Pikachu. I went as Ash Ketchum (yay breaking gender barriers!) and my roommate went as Misty and it was amazing. You also have fabulous taste in music…90′s pop is where it’s at! :)

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