The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Julie Marie Wade’s “When an Old Classmate Learns I Am a Lesbian”

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WHEN AN OLD CLASSMATE LEARNS I AM A LESBIAN

“Oh my god! I knew it! I always knew it. I was
like Julie is so gay, & people were like oh,
whatever, you just think everybody’s gay because
it’s an all-girls school, but I knew I wasn’t gay, &
I knew most of those girls weren’t gay, so I was
like fuck you, Jasmine, go suck on one of your
Jolly Rancher rings! Do you remember those?
So, how’s it going? Do you have a girlfriend or
something? I have to tell you in college I had a
gay roommate, & she got lucky like every single
night. seriously. I’d come back to the room &
there’d be some ribbon tied around the door,
so I’d have to like hang out by the vending
machines in the lobby looking like a total loser.
I never saw the girls go, though. I guess they
must have gone out the fire escape or
something. Nobody thinks there would be that
many gay girls in Iowa, you know, but I guess
they’re kind of everywhere now. Do you still
live on the West Coast or what? If I were gay,
I would be like San Francisco, here I come, but
truth be told, it’s kind of dirty. My boyfriend took
me there once—we’re actually engaged so
technically he’s my fiancé now, but you know,
he wasn’t then, so—we just walked around a lot &
got some of that good chocolate & saw the seals,
& I was like hey, isn’t there some really cool old prison
that you can see if you take a ferry from here, & then
he was like San Francisco is full of fairies, ha, ha!
I hope that doesn’t offend you. I mean, I thought
it was funny, but my boyfriend is like totally down
with gay people. He would really like you because
you’re smart & it’s kind of hot when a girl isn’t
into you at all, you know? Well, I guess you would
want a girl to be into you, huh? so scratch that.
But I mean most girls are always trying to get with
him & then I have to be like whoa, hands off, that’s
my man. Sometimes I think it would be so much
easier to be gay. It would just take all the pressure
off. I wouldn’t have to get my hair done or worry
how my boobs looked, & if somebody called me
fat, I could just be like I’m a lesbian, douchebag.
I mean, seriously, do you even have to wax?

This selection is from Julie Marie Wade’s chapbook When I Was Straight, available from A Midsummer Night’s PressPurchase your copy here!

Julie Marie Wade is the author of Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures (Colgate University Press, 2010; Bywater Books 2014), winner of the Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Memoir; Without: Poems (Finishing Line Press, 2010); Small Fires: Essays (Sarabande Books, 2011); Postage Due: Poems & Prose Poems (White Pine Press, 2013), winner of the Marie Alexander Poetry Series; and Tremolo: An Essay (Bloom Books, 2013), winner of the Bloom Nonfiction Chapbook Prize. She is a member of the creative writing faculty at Florida International University.

Mary Stone Dockery is the author of One Last Cigarette, a poetry collection, and the chapbooks Blink Finch and The Dopamine Letters. Her poetry and prose has appeared in Stirring: A Literary Collection, Gutter Eloquence, Arts & Letters, Redactions, and others. She earned her MFA from the University of Kansas in 2012. Currently, she lives and writes in St. Joseph, MO, where she teaches English at Missouri Western State University and coordinates the First Thursdays Open Mic at Norty’s Bar and Grill.

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