I recently read a pretty good piece from Thought Catalog titled Girls Don’t Count. It inspired me to write about my own experiences with this subject.
I’m 12 years old having a sleep over with my best friend. She wants us to get naked for the hot tub. I feel uncomfortable with this
I’m not supposed to be naked with other people. I say
Don’t be silly, we’re both girls, it doesn’t count. She says
Later sharing a bed together. She asks me if I’ve ever kissed a boy. I say yes. She wants me to tell her about it
It was wet? I say
Yeah, but did you like it? Did it feel good?
I shake my head no
We should practice then. That way when you kiss a boy again, it will feel good. She says
We kiss a few times. It does feel good. I think this is good practice. Then I remember what they said in church about gay people. I pull back
It doesn’t count for girls if you don’t like it. She says
I pretend I don’t like it
It’s a year later with the same best friend. She wants to watch porn with me. I get excited. I had watched it by myself but it never really held my attention
After a few minutes watching she gets out a toy. I had never used one before
It’s lots of fun, she says
That night in bed she asks me if I ever touch myself with my hands. I tell her yes.
Doesn’t it feel weird? Like, good, but weird? She says
Yeah I guess. I laugh
You can touch me, you know, to see what we like. For practice.
She says those words again but this time I don’t believe her as much. Why are girls just practice? Why don’t I count? I think
I found her on facebook a couple years ago. She says she’s straight now. I guess I didn’t count
I’m in high school, 15 or 16 years old I think, I’m at a Halloween party. The girl next to me on the couch is in band with me. She tells me she’s a lesbian. I say something about Jesus. She laughs at me
But you do want to kiss me, right? She says
I really really want to kiss her. I lean toward her and put my hand on her thigh. She puts her hand on mine. I laugh. Like it’s a game of chicken
I’m not playing. I mean it for real. She says
I swallow. My mouth goes dry. She kisses me. I sink in for a few moments. Kiss her back. Then the tears start coming. I push her away and avoid her for the rest of the party. On Monday we pretend nothing happened because girls don’t count
A year later I’m hanging out with a friend of mine. I’m in band, she’s in theater, but we still make it work (band vs theater rivalry joke). She asks me if I’m going to Jacob’s New Year’s Eve party the next night
Of course I’m going. I say
Matt’s going to be there. I saw you two getting close the last time we all hang out. She says
Yeah, Matt’s pretty cool, I don’t know though. I’m not really interested in dating right now. I say
We were outside on the porch. She says it’s getting chilly and we should go inside to her room. We cuddle on her bed together and watch tv or a movie. I can’t remember now
I know you don’t really like Matt. She says
No, not really.
You can kiss me, you know. It’s ok. She says
We do kiss. I call my mom later to tell her I’m staying the night. The next morning I wake up happy. Then I remember what happened and I cry. She doesn’t understand what’s wrong. I tell her I have to go home to get ready for the party
She’s at the party that night. I avoid her. I try to flirt with Matt, but he’s apparently uninterested. I spend the night in bed with Jacob though
I spend the weekend locked in my room. Crying and praying. Wanting to be as happy in bed with Jacob as I was with her
I see her in the hallway at school. She tries to catch my attention. I pretend I didn’t see her. Girls don’t count, I tell myself
I’m engaged to a man. We have a standing open relationship agreement. I can’t sleep with other men though. He won’t acknowledge the existence of gender queer or nonbinary people. Only girls
I spend the night with my current best friend. It was amazing. I tell him about it. I just want to be honest with him. I didn’t want to be seen as the sneaky bisexual. He gets upset. Tells me I shouldn’t do it with people he knows and I shouldn’t tell him about it
Turns out girls he knows count.
Later I spend the night with a different woman. She wants to go on an actual date one day. I’ve never openly gone on a date with a woman. I tell him about it. Wanting to make sure it’s ok. He says I can’t go on a date. I can sleep with other women, but I’m not allowed to care about them. They can’t matter to me
I can’t date a woman. But I can fuck her. That’s what he sees this as. Girls he doesn’t know don’t count for fucking
He institutes “don’t ask, don’t tell.” So I stop asking or telling. I go on dates with women. I wonder if he ever had sex with a random woman…since he’s technically allowed. How could I live with myself treating random women as fucking receptacles?
Women do count, I start to tell myself
My sister and I watch Black Swan together. After that scene (you know the one) she turns to me and says
I don’t understand sex with girls. Isn’t that just foreplay? It’s not real sex.
I’m not out yet to her. I nod and continue watching the movie. Girls still don’t count
My best friend comes out as a lesbian. She leaves her fiance. They had an open relationship too. She was allowed to sleep with women because “girls don’t count.” Turns out they did count. I counted.
I spent three days with a woman recently. My mom asked me where I was
I’m with Samantha on a spa date. I’ll be home in a couple days
Ok. she said
Last Sunday I hung out with a guy friend of mine. We ate Chinese food and watched Legend of Korra. When I came home my mom asked me a dozen questions about him. How I know him. What he does for a living. Did I have a good time. Oh she hopes I had a good time with him
The women in my life don’t matter to her. They don’t count. I’m spending the upcoming weekend with a nonbinary person. Going to be sharing a bed with them and cuddling with them for two days. They’re not a man though, so my mom doesn’t ask anything about them
Girls (and she misgenders nonbinary DFAB people as girls) don’t count
“Our daily lives, discourse, regular interactions, literally everything, follows a script written by men. And everyone [here] we are all constantly fighting against our concept of reality vs the script written by men. More women suffer from depression… no fucking shit, we are born into a world that sees us as props and figures to move the man’s story line ahead.
Girls DO matter. Women DO matter.
Enbees DO matter.
We fucking matter. The girls and women I’ve loved mattered, and I sure hope I mattered.”
-Neeley Fluke (a wise friend of mine)
Every single girl counted. The ones I danced with in clubs when I was 18. The ones who kissed me in dark corners. The ones who said they love Jesus and they were just practicing. The ones who gave me wonderful nights who I tried to forget in the morning. The ones who were and are my best friends.
They count. They matter. I count. I matter.