homo… homosocial.

6 May

Growing into an adult at a women’s college is a unique experience. I arrived at one of the top women’s colleges on the West coast three years ago and have seen my social circles change dramatically. Throughout my experiences, I have had friends of all different genders, and have enjoyed being challenged by the different perspectives gender inevitably brings to the table. However, now my friends are all biological and self-identified females. In fact, I can go days without even interacting with an XY. What’s more is that I don’t mind. I identify as heterosexual – and yet, it doesn’t bother me that I interact with boys only at college parties and on summer break.

Last summer, Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, O ran an interview about Oprah’s relationship with her best friend, Gayle. For months rumors had been swirling in the media that the two friends were actually lovers. Oprah combated the frenzy by explaining, “I understand why people think we’re gay. There isn’t a definition in our culture for this kind of bond between women. So I get why people have to label it—how can you be this close without it being sexual? How else can you explain a level of intimacy where someone always loves you, always respects you, admires you? Wants the best for you in every single situation of your life. Lifts you up. Supports you. Always! That’s an incredibly rare thing between even the closest of friends. 

Having the bonds that I do with my close girls-that-are-friends (not to be mistaken with “girlfriends,” which you can’t say in today’s world, unless you are actually referring to your romantic partner) I could relate to Oprah’s sentiment. When given the option of dating – entering that fiercely competitive, overly-emotional and just plain boring environment – and hanging out with my network of women, I always choose the latter.

 

Does my lifestyle make me gay? Is it really that strange? Someone once told me that I lead a very homosexual lifestyle. I thought for moment and could only disagree. I’m not afraid to be called gay – in fact, given my circle of friends, people generally assume that I am a lesbian. I never really feel the need to correct their assumptions, because usually my sexuality is none of their concern. But the expectation that I’m homosexual just because I hang out with girls is kind of astonishing. I argued that no, I do not lead a homosexual life – none of my interactions with my girlfriends are ever sexual. I offered that my life is probably homosocial.

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