Let me tell you a story about a girl who came out. Once upon a time there was a girl living in a Kingdom far, far away. She wasn’t a princess and she certainly wasn’t the fairest in the land, but she had a wonderful family and she was happy.
Doubts have begun to creep in, like ants crawling over a summer picnic. It starts with a relatively innocent request: a sexy photo for her to moon over late at night. So one evening I get home from the office, wriggle into a slinky LBD and dim the lights ready to titillate my paramour.
For our third date the artist takes me for a walk on the beach; a little slice of Costa del Kent. I’ve come to her home town, over an hour by train from mine, with a wheelie suitcase packed with champagne, strawberries, perfume and lingerie. We still haven’t slept together and I’m a bubbling mix of lust and nerves.
When I meet the artist at a quiet pub near Bankside I’m immediately attracted to her. Her long, dark hair falls to just below where I imagine the curve of her breast lies under her white shirt, her hazel eyes peppered with honey in the late afternoon sun.
I’m intrigued that thus far I haven’t been on a date with any bonafide lebians. Tinder seems to be awash with the curious, the bewildered and the confused, the kind of women who use the ‘two girls’ emoji on their profile and then collapse into paroxysms of doubt when they get a message from an actual girl.
When you’re dating women there’s a pitifully small pool to choose from. I’m not even sure it can fairly be called a pool. It’s more of a pond or a puddle or a light drizzle or an egg cup full of water. Where’s my girlfriend? I think mournfully, prodding the egg cup.
One of the tougher aspects of coming out in later life is realising that many of the dating rules as you knew them no longer apply. You can no longer lollop around in a bonnet waiting for a man to ask you out or make all the moves. You can’t rely on a man to pick the first date, pay the bill or do that gorgeous, end of night lean that makes your legs wibble.