We're standing at a traffic light in Mendoza. Untypically for South America (or let's be honest, anywhere outside German-speaking countries), Argentinians wait for it to turn green before crossing the street. My travel companion says in a light-hearted but contemplative way that only English women can do: "Love, so many guys are checking you out here."

I shake my head in disbelief. Guys don't check me out. Or at least, that's the way I see it. The weeks before, I had been proudly proclaiming that I never get any catcalls when travelling in my own in those supposedly "macho" countries of South America, Southern Europe or North Africa. Going out onto the streets of Valparaiso with two blonde, European ladies opened my eyes to how much of this other women go through.

I try to tell myself I don't get any attention because I'm outside those countries' beauty ideal - too tall, not curvy enough, hair too short and dark. Not exotic enough or too exotic for them to be interesting. And when I'm out on my own, I usually have a look on my face that says "approach me and I'll skin you alive". I'm very happy this way.

But then I thought again, especially considering Unbrave Girl's post about how half the time, she doesn't notice guys flirting with her, or at least tries to tell herself it's not happening to her - and this lady is straight.

Truth be told, I never see men as sexual beings, and never have. The fact that a guy could be attracted to me seems just as absurd to me as that I would be interested in them. 

Little boy in Lisbon, SO checking out the hot statue.
This has brought me into many awkward situation, especially with male friends during my teens and earlier 20s (I didn't think anything of getting changed - including getting undressed - in front of guy friends. Or tell them about my sex life. You know, I'm just another dude, man. Unsurprisingly, a lot of them got this wrong). But men - of course they assume I'm straight. People see what they expect to see, even if you decorate yourself in rainbow patterned stuff like a Christmas tree. I guess it's logically that they do look at me, even if only for the fact that I'm a foreigner, and even though I don't notice it. Still, if they do, I don't realise it. When I subconsciously hear a "Hola mi amor", something in the back of my mind says "Hey, there must be a really hot girl around here he's checking out, where is she?" - and the moment is gone.

I've tried very hard in those last two weeks since Deborah told me in Mendoza to notice this kind of thing when it's happening, and I can't tell, even if I try. Maybe if you're straight, it's an ability you have instead of having a gaydar. I'd rather not lose my gaydar. It's a more essential skill for my daily life.

So when I say you can travel on your own as a women and never attract a guys' attention, you probably shouldn't believe me.

I haven't had the chance to talk about this with other lesbian travellers (we tend to keep a low profile while travelling, for various reasons. And to be honest, if I DO meet a girl and my gaydar sends me signals, I'm too busy checking HER out too ask those kind of questions) - I'd love to hear other girls take on this.


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