When I take her hand, I always look 50 yards ahead of me. If I see a cadet, a group of guys, or an older Blacksburgian on my radar, my fingers start to squirm. I hate to pass judgment based on statistics I hardly have, and even more, I hate that I allow myself to stereotype individuals into categories when ultimately all I fear is that they’ll do the same for me. But despite some sense of rationality I do hypothetically possess, my fingers twinge, because even in the final semester of my senior year I still haven’t shed all of my high school insecurities about who I am.
Related: This is one of eight columns written for Valentine's Day 2011. Check out all the writers: Jason Campbell, Owen Davis, the Editorial Board, Noor Khalidi, Sean Simons, Ben Woody, and Shelby Vasko and Jen Underwood.
A similar thing happens when we walk into a restaurant, and it’s just the two of us, but there I’ve at least morphed my anxiety into some sort of game. The host may make a passing judgment on the status of our relationship: Are we classmates, sisters, friends — or something more? But once we’re all set at our designated table it’s on to the waiter’s turn, and he’s got more time on the clock to make his call.
Every once in a while a more-forward waiters will skip the guesswork and ask why we aren’t out with boyfriends, but usually I have some fun reading the micro-expressions on their faces, looking for the shift in their expressions when they figure out we’re more than just friends. If they’re perceptive, they’ll realize it when I can’t stop myself from locking eyes with her. If not, maybe they’ll catch a glimpse of her putting her hand on mine or the moment when we brush legs underneath the table.
Valentine’s Day is different. I’ve only had a few of them where I ask for a table for two with a girl by my side, but from my brief experiences there’s more of a question on everyone’s faces as to what I’m doing showing up to this fancy restaurant without a boy in-tow. Ultimately, I know I’m thinking way too much about this.
I envy my friends who can just go to dinner and talk about how the food tastes without considering how the waiter looks at you or, really, doesn’t look at you. Thanks to decades of silent heroes who chose to be with the one that made them truly happy, even in the face of grave difficulties, I’m pretty sure the vast majority of waiters now are only concerned with how to earn a respectable tip at the end of the meal.
This is where my mind takes me when asked to write an opinion on what it’s like to identify as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning/queer — if you didn’t know) on Valentine’s Day. So far though, all I’ve really answered is what it’s like to identify as LGBTQ, and ridiculously overanalyze the brains out of any scenario — because that’s just how I roll. But I’ll do my job and let you in on a little secret: There’s no gay boycott of Valentine’s Day.