First Girl Crush




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O.K., Late bloomers, let’s hear it: when was your first girl crush? 

Mine was 7th grade.  Sarah R.  Tall and lanky, with a big a splash of freckles across perfectly angled cheekbones. Dirty blond hair just grazing her collar.  Emerald green eyes. Smile to die for. Every time I saw her, my heart did a back flip.  Which was really confusing. Was this how all best friends felt about each other? Did she feel this way about me?

Best moment ever:  she invited me over the Saturday before my birthday. She opened the door with a huge grin. My heart did a triple axle.  It was a beautiful fall day—normally we’d be headed downtown to wander aimlessly in and out of stores before parking ourselves at Burger King for hours, nursing giant Diet Cokes and sharing an order of large greasy fries. Instead, she made me wait in their family room while she ran up to her bedroom.  Fine by me. I was in love with her whole family— a crew of five athletic, freckle-faced girls with warm, welcoming, seemlingly happily married parents at the helm. In other words, the polar opposite of the sad little state of affairs I went home to every night.

She ran downstairs, holding something behind her back. With a flourish, she pulled out a rectangular piece of wood: "Happy Birthday!"   I admit, I had a moment. Really?  This is your gift?  But then I looked down at what was in my hands. It was a solid maple plaque, carefully stained and sanded by hand. A piece of parchment, burned at the edges, had been lacquered on top.  And on the parchment, in Sarah's loopy script, was a poem about friendship—ending with the one the word I had been longing to hear: love.

I don’t remember the poem.  I don’t remember the rest of the afternoon. I don't remember what else I did to celebrate my birthday that year.  But I will always remember the hug we gave each other after our eyes met.

It took me many years to experience that kind of hug again. But it was well worth the wait.

So, LBLs, how about you?

Go Edie!

Edie Windsor is a gay activist, a tough broad, one-half of a 42-year love affair, and at age 83, a total sex kitten.

As plaintiff, she is leading the fight, to be heard this year in the Supreme Court against DOMA.

I had the great fortune of hearing Edie speak at the Gay Film Fest this year. Then I watched the documentary "Edie and Thea: a Very Long Engagement." If you haven't seen it, run, don't walk (it's on netflix).

She and Thea had one of the great loves. You can see so clearly in the movie, it wasn't all "candy and roses," as Mary J. Blige would say. In fact, their dedication to each other was fueled--especially at the end--by incredible self-sacrifice and perpetual kindness in the face of adversity.

What a great lady--go Edie!

Lateblooming on Martha's Vineyard

The view from my rocking chair tonight.... Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard is one of my very favorite places on this planet.

The first time I came here I was married with two small (ish) children. We were the poster family for the perfect vacation.

Ten years later, I'm back  with my 14-year old son, while my 17-year old travels the globe and my ex-husband celebrates his recent marriage. A divorced, middle-aged mom, alone in her favorite vacation spot with her kid....seems like a potential Lifetime Movie one-hanky movie opening.

Instead, I feel free.  One of  the characters in August Wilson's play, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," says that everyone has a song inside of them. At one point, he says "Something wasn't making my heart smooth and easy."

It might just be my son and me back here this year, but my heart is smooth and easy.

The Kate Clinton Epiphany

I have a feeling we could start a club: the Kate Clinton Epiphany Club. Mine happened on a Saturday afternoon, about six months after my divorce. It was a non-kid weekend, and I was still feeling the acute despair of  not seeing  my children for two days.  It's not something you get over, by the way, but you learn how to keep busy to keep it at bay.

I had just watched Kate Clinton MC an ACT UP fundraiser at the Brookyn Academy of Music, and was, of course, in love.  She is the bomb: hilarious, satirical, silly, searingly intelligent and sexy (in that middle-aged way that is so heartening to those of us who fear obesity and oversized denim shirts are right around the corner).

I flopped down on the couch with a collection of her essays, Don't Get Me Started. If you haven't read it, get it immediately and save it for that bad, bad day that requires massive doses of  escapism, laughter, chocolate, carbohydrates, and diet coke.

Now, let's be clear. I am reading the book NOT because I myself am gay, but merely because I find Kate Clinton hilarious and want to know more about her. Right.

So I'm halfway through the book,  and have just finished reading about one of her ill-fated early relationships gone horribly wrong, when I get to a story about a young college student who is inspired by Clinton to come out of the closet. Something happens--is it lightening bolt? Sappho's ghost arriving for a brief visit? Or the deft hand of Kate Clinton pausing lightly on my shoulder....

I sit bolt upright, close the book, and say to myself, "I'm gay."

Obviously, this was not  a Moses and his tablet moment. There had been lots and lots of subtle shifts and signs along the way. But even though they were welling up, coming closer and closer to the surface, it was something about the way Kate Clinton wrote about the experience of coming out that broke through the final layer of denial.

Therein begins the journey that has led me, six years later, to this lateblooming blog.

Thank you, Kate Clinton.  You are the bomb.