Confessions of a L.U.G.

There is a truth to the conceit we develop in college that the "real world" somehow exists outside our current circumstances. The confined, secluded space of higher learning, enables us, ever so briefly, to embark on flights of fancy without the very real repurcussions that await out there, in the real world. In the faux universe of the ivory tower, idealism grows unchallenged by reality, and experimentation is encouraged and protected.One manifestation of this temporary cessation of consequences, is what is commonly referred to as "lesbian until graduation." The brash, bright hetero girl plunges into the netherworld of girl-girl romance, only to emerge years later, diploma in hand, straight as a ruler for the remainder of her days.I wasn't a L.U.G. in the strictest sense of the word; I never gave up men entirely. Call me a B.U.G. (bisexual until graduation). I'd had small crushes on women before, but nothing beyond the realm of my imagination had happened -- until I met Amy*.Tall, pale, with long locks of dark blond hair that stretched down her back, I was certain she'd been plucked from Sandro Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" and placed on earth for my enjoyment. She was the editor of the university newspaper, and I was her star columnist. Our attraction was, at first, that of two best friends destined to keep in touch for life. But by the end of one listless summer, when we were both unemployed and mostly single, an undeniable sexual heat had developed between us. One night, we got drunk on cheap swill and did the deed. Embarassed, we giggled over our small feat for weeks. It was the first and last time we'd make love. But hot damn, if it wasn't amazing!I had other encounters with women, but none quite matched the heady rush that followed the first. I quicky became disenchanted with the notion of, well, going down. How could men manage this for minutes on end? I wondered Breasts? They couldn't compare with firm shoulders. And the soft, sweet feminine touch was no match for the firm, male thrust. Emotionally and intellectually, I found more to like in the complicated process of two people attempting to merge from opposite ends of the gender pool than I did in the simpler equation of lady meets lady, hence the toilet seat stays down.Worse still, after mentioning my lesbian exploits to friends, I found myself pressured to turn these seemingly innocent trifles into something far more serious. "You must tell everyone you're bisexual. It's a political statement," a friend demanded. I wanted to support my gay and bisexual sisters. I really, really did. The problem was, every time I affixed the the word "bisexual" to my long list of identity markers -- white, female, liberal Democrat, carnivore, etc. -- it didn't seem to fit. "Couldn't I just be sexual?" I asked my politically active friend.No. Apparently, I could not.There was no getting around it. I was straight. At the time, it felt very unfashionable, uncool, politically incorrect.Lesbian friends of mine say there's nothing they hate more than L.U.G.s. Unlike these Lesbians For Life (L.F.L.), we collegiate experimenters never had to endure coming out to our families, confronting a lifetime of discrimination, being refused the right to get married, adopt children, walk down the street holding hands with our significant others. We have our fun, often at the expense of a true lesbian's feelings -- Oops! Thought I was gay. Sorry! -- and move along.L.U.G.'s have the luxury of trying out something different and walking away without any serious repurcussions. Try explaining that to someone whose parents have disowned them, or who's been turned down for a job because of sexual preference.While I understand the L.F.L.'s frustration, I wish they felt differently. We former lesbians may have only been messing around with societal constructs, but it's unquestionable that the experience makes us more attuned to gay issues, more likely to speak out against discrimination -- after graduation.Imagine, if you will, that being Gay Until Graduation was as acceptable in our society as being a L.U.G. (The unlikelyhood of such a hypothesis makes it clear that the real world, however watered down, still exists even within the ivory tower.) Imagine if fraternity boys could do more than fraternize in the showers. If male college athletes, geeks and hipsters could enjoy each other sexually, if only once or twice. If straight boys trying each other on for size was dismissed as playful experimentation.Would this not go a long way toward stamping homophobia and sexism? Wouldn't a congressman, preacher or manager who's had a penis up his ass and liked it be more likely to accept someone for whom it's a regular practice?There are no real answers to these questions, but in the confined, secluded space of my imagination I like to picture the possibilities.*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.