1. Develop a crush on a girl in kindergarten but don’t view it as a crush for another twenty years because heteronormativity.
2. Watch Aladdin and become inexplicably fixated on Jasmine in the red bikini.
3. Develop a crush on your gay best friend in third grade but routinely kiss Jessica Dorino in the toilet cubicles.
4. Play Elvis in your school’s assembly. Later play Jesus in your school’s production of The Passion of the Christ, and Jeff Probst every lunchtime in your playground re-enactment of Survivor. Continue where necessary to assume male roles with a cheerful nonchalance and disregard for gender.
5. Become acutely aware of your vagina in sixth grade after seeing Katie Holmes semi-naked in a sleepover screening of Teaching Mrs Tingle.
6. Develop “intense friendship feelings” for the popular girl in seventh grade.
7. Find your dad’s VHS copy of The Getaway and masturbate to Kim Basinger’s breasts whenever you’re home alone. Assume, because women are always the sex objects in media, that everyone finds women sexier than men and not just you.
8. Watch minute-long increments of The L Word on mute whenever your grandma leaves the room, and develop a secret fascination with lesbians you view as being the epitome of cool. Wish you could be as cool as a lesbian.
9. Stumble upon The Encyclopedia of Lesbian Movie Scenes website in tenth grade and feel like all your Christmases have come at once. Spend the year feverishly combing through the erotic category, never once questioning your straightness.
10. Develop a crush on two guys at your after-school job, both rumoured to be gay.
11. Realise guys aren’t attracted to tomboys and start wearing dresses, heels, and make-up in an effort to be Pretty™.
12. Obtain the perfect boyfriend whose love for you is rivalled only by his love for Madonna.
13. Blame yourself for his reluctance to have sex with you and start shaving, waxing, and wearing lingerie in an effort to be Sexy™.
14. Write a short story about a woman who is still hung up over an old high school friend she lost contact with. Wonder if other women feel this strongly about their female friendships. Ditch the short story and meet up with said friend.
15. Shave your head for a cause and find it oddly liberating.
16. Accompany your gay best friend to a gay club and stare wistfully at a lesbian couple making out heatedly against the wall. Wish you could experience that kind of passion with someone. Return home and masturbate to lesbian porn after your perfect boyfriend rejects your sexual advances yet again.
17. Find out that none of your straight female friends masturbate to images of women. Be shocked and confused as you try but fail to see the erotic appeal of men.
18. Decide you’re probably bisexual but don’t feel authorised to claim this publicly since you’ve never been with a woman.
19. Embark on a self-destructive, two-year sex spree with random men of questionable character after your perfect boyfriend of five years comes out. Kiss a few women during this period but think nothing of it as you exercise your need for male validation. Also, take up drinking and wearing skimpy outfits in an effort to be Hot™.
20. Feel like absolute garbage.
21. Read The Female Eunuch and understand just enough of it to know you don’t have to wax and shave and wear high heels and make-up and skimpy clothing and uncomfortable underwear. Return to your former tomboyish self and feel confident and free.
22. Date a lovely straight man but find his low sex drive and overall straight maleness trying and break up with him after three months.
23. Burst into tears when your brother casually suggests you might be gay. Insist, as tears stream down your face, that you’re not gay, you can’t be gay. Do not see this reaction as definitive proof that you are.
24. Sign up to Tumblr and follow an inordinate amount of soft butch and female androgyny appreciation pages.
25. Date another lovely straight man, one who likes to fuck as frequently as you do but find yourself struggling to get aroused six months into the relationship. Wonder if you’re gay and not bisexual when you have to fantasise about women during sex in order to get aroused.
26. Google ‘signs you’re a lesbian’ and ‘am I lesbian? ’ whenever you’re home alone.
27. Compile a list of signs you might be gay. Concede when the list hits two pages that you’re probably gay.
28. Tentatively come out to one of your best friends. Hear yourself say “I think I might be gay” and realise you most definitely are.
29. Come out to your boyfriend and break up with him.
30. Feel guilty about coming out to your boyfriend as you know firsthand what that feels like and get back with him.
31. Break up three weeks later.
32. Finally embrace your identity as a lesbian. Read, buy, and watch all the lesbian things. Feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders but still feel unqualified to call yourself a lesbian having never been with a woman sober.
33. Develop a crush on the new butch lesbian at your workplace.
34. Find out she only likes femme chicks and that heteronormative gender roles still inform many queer relationships.
35. Cry a lot but continue hanging out with her.
36. Visit San Francisco during Pride Month with your gay best friend but hook-up with a total of no-one since you’ve fallen hard for your co-worker.
37. Return home and find out she’s fallen for you too.
38. Commence merging.
39. Feel validated by your lesbian relationship and come out to the rest of your family and friends.
40. Find out your partner is asexual.
41. Continue dating but feel increasingly ugly and rejected even though on an intellectual level you understand her lack of sexual desire towards you has nothing to do with you not being femme.
42. Make a zine about this and cry a lot.
43. Find out your partner doesn’t identify as female.
44. Continue dating but feel sad that you now have no-one to share in the experience of being a lesbian. Wish the coming out process came with a circle of lesbian friends. Also question whether you’re now even a lesbian.
45. Write a short story about this and masturbate a lot.
46. Grow resentful in your sexual frustration and start fantasising about your ex-boyfriend. Be unable to determine whether this is because you’re actually bisexual or merely pining for the one relationship where you felt desired.
47. Feel hopelessly alone and confused.
48. Accept that this isn’t a positive relationship for either parties and break up with your partner.
49. Realise your journey of self-discovery doesn’t necessarily end once you leave the closet. Work on being okay with this.
50. Buy a new vibrator.
Note: Obviously satire.
Zo Watt is a work-in-progress. When she’s not counting the number of talking POC in films, you can find her flaunting her hairy pits at horrified onlookers on the train. Zo hopes to one day sit fourth row centre at the Oscars and publish the novel she has yet to write. Be one of the exclusive few to follow her on Instagram.