A Thousand Women


heart-puzzleA thousand women.
The backs of their heads.
The backs of a thousand heads.
Blond, brunette, graying.
Long hair, short, up in a bun, or cascading around shoulders.
All turned from me.
These are the eligible ones.
Lesbian of my generation.
But they are turned away.
No tone, no volume, no words can cross the chasm between us.

But I try.
I say, “I’m a great lover, a great partner, a great friend.”Romance
I say, “I’m fun and adventurous.”
I say, “I’m intelligent and love ideas. Tell me yours.”
I say, “I’m cuddly and affectionate, sexy and passionate.”
I say, “I’m forgiving and understanding, caring and patient, loving and supportive.”
The backs of a thousand heads make no motion, offer no acknowledgement.

the-question-mark-350168_640I keep trying, but with edge, now.
I ask, “Does my history really matter?”
I ask, “Does the way I became one of you disqualify me?”
I ask, “Does my karyotype really scour away any attractiveness, any allure?”
I ask, “Isn’t that discrimination, isn’t that narrow-minded, isn’t that UNFAIR?”
The backs of a thousand heads remain unmoving.

I listen.
Across the chasm come whispers.
A thousand whispers, and I listen.
Hoping to find a key.
Hoping to find a way in.
I listen.
“…I like soft butch. You know, butch, but not too butch…”
“…femme. I like femme. Little. Petite…”
“…needs a love of wine … could never date someone who didn’t love wine…”
“…and no bisexual women…”
“…yes. Bisexual women will want something I don’t have…”
“…no. No bisexual women. We all agree on that…”

I keep listening.
Tuning in to those who have encountered me.
Or others like me.
“…of course I support them. But I don’t like when they call themselves women…”
“…they don’t know what being a woman is really like…”
“…they have a right to their identities, but I don’t have to accept it…”
“…I don’t know why they have to hang around us…”
“…sure, I’d be friends. I’m a friendly person…”
“… she was easy to talk to…”
“…interesting. She was interesting…”
“…sweet and kind…”
“…she was kind…”
“…one of the nicest people I ever met…”
“…but no chemistry…”
“…no attraction…”
“…wasn’t attracted to her…”
“…didn’t feel any romantic chemistry…”
“…there has to be chemistry…”

I can take it no longer.
I shut my ears to the whispers before me.
As I do, voices behind me come clearer.
Far more voices behind me.
A million.
Maybe ten million.
Millions of women.
Gay and straight.
Cis and trans.
I listen.
“…I gave up dating years ago…”
“…too discouraging…”
“…dozens of dates. No one called me back…”
“…you never meet someone when you’re looking…”
“…don’t need to date … happy as I am…”
“…too much trouble. Who needs that?”
“…much happier now that I’ve given up…”
“… given up…”
“…gave up…”
“…give up…”

They draw me.
Beckon me to join them.
Tempt me to turn my back on the dark place in my heart.
That spews angry poetry.
Settle into lifelong singlehood like a warm bath.
Embrace it.
Love it.
Take it on and live it.

As if it were even possible to pretend.

I shut them out.
All the voices.
Instead conjuring an image from within.
The woman.Shadow-Cropped
I know she’s out there.
Among the thousand turned heads.
We’d appreciate one another.
We’d want the same things.
We’d look out for one another.
We’d share adventures, heartache, and triumph.
We’d listen and understand.
Is that too much to ask?

And we’d both know that love isn’t alchemy.
Not some unholy mixing of chemicals,
hoping for a favorable reaction.
We’d know love is a sacred, precious, delicate flower.
To plant, tend, nourish.
Devote lives to keep it growing.

Imagining this woman.
Not seeing her
Not hearing her voice.
Not caring what she looks or sounds like.
But feeling her essence.
The special person she is.
The powerful possibility of growing something together.
The certainty she is trying to find me.
To speak with me.
To deliver a message.

So I listen.
I listen until I hear.
I hear clearly.
I hear accurately.
I hear words from this special person,
who I know is out there,
with whom a connection might,
just might,
be possible.
I hear as clearly as if spoken aloud.

“Sorry. I just don’t feel ‘that way’ about you.”


About Author

Suzi Chase writes about transgender issues through both fiction and non-fiction. She has had careers in teaching and software engineering and has raised two children.


  1. Oh, Suzi! I know just what you’re feeling, what you’re saying. There’s only one fate worse, but let’s not talk about that.

    There are four billion women in the world, give or take. Surely one of them is for you,… for me.

    I’ll make you a deal, you don’t give up and I won’t either.


  2. This hits me harder than the hardest punch I’ve ever felt. I know exactly how this feels! So many of them reject us. Rejection, rejection, all for the sake of what? I see no rhyme or reason in those who pretend to be tolerant, accepting, or loving. They think equality should only be for them, they think we don’t deserve to be treated as humans. I’ve been called an ‘it’ by a woman who only months before said she would love me no matter what.

  3. Janine,
    Your comment brought this poem back to my awareness. At just the worst possible time. Two years ago, a month after the poem was posted. My wife asked for a divorce. Nothing much has been said about it since, so you begin to think, “maybe”.

    Today a potential new client asked how long I’ve been married do zi had to explain that I’m a lesbian. I likely would have anyway because of the chance of what happened next happening. He was a fundamentalist and staunchly anti-LGBTQ. It’s better to know upfront rather than weeks up the road. No biggie.

    When I saw my wife she asked about the meeting. I told her what happened. ” You didn’t have to tell him. We’re only married because we can’t afford a divorce. “

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