by Lauren Nicole
I stand in front of the bathroom mirror gently curling my eyelashes, placing the finishing touches on my makeup. My goal is to look effortlessly beautiful, although three outfit changes now have me running about 30 minutes late. It comes as a relief to find my date is running late as well.
Preparing for any first date is nerve-racking, but readying my first date with a woman, my first ever same-sex date brought on a different type of nerves.
I would not classify myself as lesbian, bisexual, bi-curious or any of the like. I doubt sheâ€™d choose any of those classifications to describe herself either. When asked by friends, I opt for the more user-friendly definition, heteroflexible. I lean towards heterosexuality, but I will place interest into anyone I find interesting. In this instance, it was a woman. I was slightly nervous to share this idea with friends, but most didnâ€™t even blink.
The landscape of traditional relationships is shifting for â€œGeneration Me.â€ As children, we were told to question the nature of all things, to challenge social norms, to fight for what we believe in. We learned to be seen and heard. Why then, would we be held to traditional ideas of relationships or even marriage? Be it blended, interracial, interfaith, monogamous, polyamorous, gay, straight, or otherwise. The ways in which we are structuring relationships may be centuries old, but our openness to share these structures is welcoming. We are unwilling to be dismissed, disregarded, or slutshamed into oblivion for loving how we love.
For better or worse, relationships no longer fit neatly into categories of can and cannot. The rules are completely new. The way we date is different. Itâ€™s not uncommon to exchange social media information before we exchange phone numbers. Itâ€™s feasible to have a sex buddy, a boyfriend, and a girlfriend. Itâ€™s also entirely feasible to have deeply sincere, intimate relationships with all three. And why shouldnâ€™t we?
We are ushering in a new era of progressive love and the effects have already trickled down to younger generations. My teacher friends speak of students proudly proclaiming their sexuality in middle school or earlier. Long-held prejudices may never completely dissolve, but I believe we are moving in a direction of honesty, choice, flexibility, and freedom. This is love on fire. This is unapologetic.
As I tote around a new fancy definition for my dating freedom, I quickly realize that many carry fancy definitions all their own. My once lofty ideas of open, companionate marriage or long-term cohabitation, no longer shock. These are exciting times.
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