I Was Only Looking

by Fairley Lloyd

I color pumpkins and do other crafts at Freya’s house. Freya and I wear Halloween costumes, while others, like Vince and Tim, wear their regular clothes. I’m not sure what most college students in their twenties do the weekend before Halloween; aside from crafts, there is dip and chips on Freya’s counter, and I smell peanut butter cookies baking in the oven. This is my first Halloween party, though, so I don’t really have expectations.

The conversation moves toward people we find attractive. Celebrities are mentioned. Freya mentions wanting to fuck some guy. Vince also mentions it, but Freya says “fuck” more times than he does.

I know Freya is open about her sex life but hearing her say the word “fuck” still surprises me. It feels like I shouldn’t be hearing it; my baby ears shouldn’t hear the word “fuck” used to describe sex. It’s okay to say “fuck” when we’re swearing, as in, “Fuck you for beating me in Mario Kart,” but not to describe sex. I shouldn’t even be thinking about sex—my mom says that’s best for marriage.

My virgin eyes shouldn’t see my friend dressed in what I can only describe as a sexy bunny costume. She’s wearing a fluffy, white jumper with long sleeves and short shorts that hug her bottom. White fishnets reach down from her thighs to her ankles. It’s not as revealing as a Playboy Bunny, but that’s the first thing that comes to mind when I see her.

Meanwhile, I’m sweating in my Greek goddess outfit. It’s not long-sleeved but has way more layers than Freya’s outfit. Maybe I should have worn her sexy bunny outfit or at least something without so many layers. I’d feel like a slut, but at least I’d be fitting in with other sluts, one of them being a good friend.

I couldn’t wear anything “sexy” growing up, like blouses that showed too much cleavage or shorts as short as Freya’s. I wonder if that’s why I never feel comfortable wearing them.

Freya and Vince go back and forth on guys they’d sleep with. Tim asks, “I’m the only one here who likes girls, right?” for confirmation. I want to say “No,” but I also feel way too uncertain. I’m thinking about how sexy Freya looks in her outfit, and how sexy other girls look when I can see the outlines of their bodies and their pretty eyes and their radiant hair and their juicy lips and sometimes, I want to kiss them.

I don’t know what any of this means, though, so I stay silent and let Tim think that, yes, he’s the only one here who is sexually attracted to women. But Tim’s question—the fact that he asked a question—about someone’s sexuality surprises me. The other day, I brought up LGBT discrimination, foolishly thinking he would understand. Instead, he said, “There’s no way to prove your sexuality,” which translated to me.

At the wee age of fourteen, I came across a picture of my now ex-friend on Facebook, Susan. She wasn’t dressed like a Playboy Bunny, but I paid a lot of attention to her body. I stayed on her image way longer than I stayed on any of my other Facebook friends’ pictures. I even wanted to use it as a design for one of my fictional characters, because she was just so pretty to look at, and so was my character. That was when I asked myself, “Holy shit, am I gay?”

I still don’t know the answer to that. I can’t say “I like girls and guys” as some people can. Sometimes I like girls like that, but sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I just think about sex with guys; other times I wonder what it would be like with a woman. That’s part of the reason why I didn’t answer Tim’s question.

But I am glad he asked as if he knows it’s an option, that I don’t have to only think of kissing and making out and having sex with guys; I can think about kissing and fucking girls, too. I can question my sexuality, and it won’t kill me or anyone else to identify as queer. I can choose right now, at this moment, to identify as bisexual—even if I was only looking.