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No Thanks, I’m Just Cheerful

The other day I was lying around with a friend discussing my less-than-stellar dating life and wondering what it would be like if I expended all that time doing something useful, like eating. At one point during the conversation she looked at me very knowingly and asked the question I have heard from more than one person on more than one occasion, “Why don’t you just turn gay?” This is asked like sexual orientation is a knob on the stove that keeps the cookies from burning.

I know this is asked in jest most of the time. Well, it is asked in jest at least half the time. There are other times when my friends understand my complete and total fascination with boobs and complex thinking patterns and wish for me to parlay that into a successful relationship. They also love me dearly and wish for me to find happiness, whether this be with someone with boobs or not.

The other day after being presented with this question for the umpteenth time, I really began contemplating the consequences of changing my sexual orientation. In doing this, I discovered there were quite a few reasons I didn’t think this would work out.

I’d like to share with you the top 10 reasons why I’ve decided not to be gay.

1. I find it necessary, for my own self-esteem issues, that Karl Rove like me.

2. I’m already a little paranoid. If I thought there was an entire “coalition” founded to effectively stamp out my relationship status, I would probably have a psychotic break and build an underground bunker where I stored lots of canned peaches and batteries.

3. It would be way too 1991 of me. There’s always at least one era when everything becomes trendy for a while, even being gay. I don’t do trendy.

4. I don’t think I would do well living in a country that is currently attempting to amend a 200-year-old government document, just to make sure I can’t get a tax break or tell my partner I wish to be with them forever. If I were gay I might actually feel compelled to freak out about this, publicly and with much enthusiasm, because I abhor hypocrisy. I just don’t have the time to be doing that since I grew my hair out.

5. Matthew Shepard. I would never be able to comprehend the level of ignorance visited upon me by people who believe they are “right” because “God said so.” I don’t think I’m strong enough to live with the possibility of death simply because of the gender of my partner.

6. Protesting has just gotten to be such a bore.

7. I spent most of my adolescent life fighting for the right to breathe among my peers because I was an ugly kid. I thought that when I was over 25, and infinitely better looking, this fight would cease. If I were gay, this fight would never cease, and the flashbacks from 4th-grade physical education class would only get more frightening.

8. I’m already a woman. This one fact automatically puts me at a disadvantage. If old, white, straight men rule the world, why in Buddha’s name would I purposely take a another step away from that paradigm, effectively removing what personal power I have achieved thus far? There are enough logs at the base of this stake already, thank you.

9. How strange would it be to turn on the news and realize that your love life is a major topic of discussion and is up for vote in the next election? Because, while there is a war going on in which lots of innocent people are being killed, I think this might anger me to a point where I couldn’t function. I don’t do “angry” well. It puts lines on my face and causes bad wardrobe decisions.

10. I have a tendency to want to kick people in the face when they tell me I am “going to hell.” If you think that is the one thing that is going to send me there, then you definitely weren’t around for all of 2001 when I was dating two men and working in the corporate world. I find it offensive you would assume I wouldn’t have better escapades in my past to earn me an audience with the Evil One other than something as silly as whether I dated a man or woman at some point in my life. I hate it when people underestimate me.

The more I read that list, the more I resign myself to a fate of heterosexual relationships and protected rights. I never did persecution well. The closest I got to feeling unfairly treated was when I played Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar and was called a whore every day by the rest of the cast. I was the only Mary Magdalene in history that spent most of her time off stage left moaning, “Why don’t they like me? I just washed his feet.”

You know, speaking of all that persecution, it makes me wonder why anyone would ever “choose” that. Doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense, does it?

While I’m at it, why don’t I choose to be African-American during the 1960s in Mississippi?

That sounds like lots of fun.

—Ali Greggs

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