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Femme Problems 133: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Recycle Woman

(Illustration: jameslee1/Getty Images; design: Lauren Wade)

It takes no more than one survey of the D.C. area lesbian scene to realize that resources are scarce. All the good ones are nesting and the single ladies’ pool is just teeming with inexperienced baby dykes and wounded hearts searching for the next one night stand to help ease the pain of a freshly broken heart. When resources are reduced people get desperate, resorting to a variety of behaviors and bad habits that will ultimately land them in a landfill of drama, desperation, and disparity.

Like many women out there, I used to be a re-user: every time my ex and I would break up, it never took more than two to three weeks to land right back into her conniving little arms. The laws of supply and demand put me at a severe disadvantage. Instead of braving the drought in hopes of investing in someone new, I chose to reuse my resources, often times out of denial and a strong sense that I was doing the right thing. She can change, right? This time will be different. It took me a considerably long time to realize that my labor bore no good fruit.

Once I discovered that oranges are not the only fruit, I moved onto apples, which just drove me bananas. I was dating a girl I had briefly dated before. I had once again convinced myself she would be good for me. After a loveless two-month endeavor, I gave up reusing all together; vowing never again to be so naive as to think that people can change.

In a desperate attempt to regain some semblance of a love life, I resorted to recycling—dating a close friend’s ex-girlfriend. She had pursued me for several weeks, and after a few cocktails and flirtatious exchanges, I decided to throw girl code to the wind and act on my curiosity.

I told myself that it was justifiable, that my friend and I had lost touch. I convinced myself that it’s okay because the lesbian dating pool is so small. After all, aren’t most girls someone’s ex? I was treading on thin ice, and eventually that ice cracked. I wish I could look back and say that the ends justified the means, but it was not true love. After a brief two-week stint, we ended things, and I ruined one of the closest friendships I had made in my favorite little city.

In a small city with scarce resources and overlapping social circles, it’s hard not to date someone’s ex or go back to a girl you’ve previously dated. Perhaps this is why when a new girl moves into town, everyone rushes to the bar to buy her a drink and adds her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I mean if she’s on LinkedIn, she must legit, right?

We get so excited when we meet someone new because we believe this uncharted territory can save us from our hassles and wasted efforts. We can start over, build new bridges, and engineer new designs without reusing or recycling. But new girls just don’t appear off the shelves of a Saturday night out with friends, and sadly, we inevitably resort to what is easy, known, and comfortable. And when we find ourselves in that situation again, perhaps it is honesty, communication, and self-reflection that just might save us.


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