Volume 80, Number 33 | January 13 - 19, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Kiss epiphany: Revelation outside the Gay Center
By Kate Walter
On a cold December morning, I left Integral Yoga after an invigorating class.
I crossed W. 13th St. and headed to the Gay Center to pick up the new issue of GO Magazine, the popular city dyke monthly.
“Excuse me,” said a woman who was sitting in a parked car, door open, about 200 feet from the entrance.
The car was too far from the curb, so I thought she wanted help parking or she was seeking directions. I walked toward her. She was about 40 with shoulder-length hair that needed washing. Her car was filled with blankets like she’d been sleeping in it.
“Are you gay?” she asked out of nowhere.
“Yeah. Why?” I said, surprised at her question.
“Do you have a girlfriend?” she asked.
“I’m dating someone,” I said quickly, wondering where this was going. This woman seemed highly agitated as she gripped the phone in her hand.
“But you see other people?” she asked.
“What’s this all about?” I demanded.
“I’m confused,” she said. “I want to figure out if I’m gay. I want a woman to kiss me and then I’ll know. Would you kiss me? I’m going crazy. I have to know.”
I was taken aback by her request.
“You should talk to a therapist. They could help you at the Institute for Human Identity. They specialize in these issues.”
“No, no therapy,” she said. “I want a kiss. I want a woman to hold me.”
I shook my head and adjusted my yoga mat, which was slipping off my shoulder.
“You can’t just expect strange people to kiss you.”
I was stunned at this ironic interaction. I’d been looking for love and romance for months and now this unhinged woman was throwing herself at me. Was the universe mocking my efforts? Was the devil tempting me, like Eve with the apple? For a brief moment I considered it (if only to break this dry spell) but I realized no good could come from kissing a crazy lady in the street. What if she had a knife or gun hidden in her car? That thought made me back away farther from the vehicle.
“Well, if you won’t do it, maybe you know someone who will. I could give you my card — please, I have to know.” She was pleading now.
“This isn’t the right way to go about this,” I said thinking she’d have better luck making her appeal at the Cubbyhole on the night they served cheap shots of tequila.
She was sitting on the edge of her car seat facing me, her feet on the curb, her head in her hands.
“For two years I have been trying to figure this out,” she said, sounding desperate. “First I was into Jesus and then I was married and… .”
When she mentioned Jesus, I thought, What would he do in this situation? I was not sure if he’d touch her but I knew Jesus would act with kindness and compassion.
“You gotta do things to meet women,” I said. “Go to a dance or a bar or an event at the Center.” By now, we’d been talking about five minutes and I was cold.
“Look, I have to go. I’m freezing. Good luck and please talk to a therapist.”
“No, I want a kiss and then I will know. Please. I’m clean, I don’t have diseases. We could go somewhere. I’m not a hooker.”
“No, sorry,” I said. “I can’t.” I hadn’t had a soulful kiss in a long time but I wasn’t so desperate that I’d kiss a deranged woman stalking lesbians outside the Gay Center. I turned and walked inside the building grateful to be safe inside the warm lobby.
I went up to the handsome Latino man behind the front desk and spoke to him.
“I’m sure you see and hear a lot of weird s--t in your position, but something pretty strange just happened to me outside,” I said, and I told him the story of the woman who wanted a kiss to determine if she was a lesbian.
“Oh, her?” he said, obviously familiar. “She’s back? She’s been doing that off and on for years. People have been nice to her, like you. I’m amazed no one has hit her. She’s more than confused. She’s really crazy. I feel sorry for her.”
“Yeah, she seems really tortured,” I said, feeling sorry for her, too. When I slipped back outside, 10 minutes later, I was relieved to find her car was gone.
As I thought about this encounter over the next few days, I convinced myself that she was a messenger — like a crazy, queer, Christmas angel — sent to make things clearer for me. She was desperate for a kiss and I wasn’t. She felt tortured; I felt peaceful.
Everything was lining up in my life, and I had faith I’d meet a special person in 2011.
I was open to possibilities and happy with my independent single life. I was now in the best position from which to attract someone. It had taken years of hard work to get here but I was where I wanted to be and the new year was filled with promise.
When I went to church on Christmas Eve, I said a prayer for this woman, or angel in disguise, whose sad situation shone a light on how I am blessed with good fortune.