Baby New Year is still in swaddling clothes and yet, certain things are already trending:
Indigo – The deepest of blues is everywhere, from catalogs for stores like Nordstrom and Pottery Barn to a recent Thames & Hudson book, “Indigo: The Color That Changed the World” by Catherine Legrand. Makes sense. Blue is always a good color to take you into spring and summer. And its inkiness makes it such an intriguing alternative to black.
Cancer – Is it just me or does it seem like everyone you know has it or is being tested for it? Turns out, according to The New York Times, that it’s the inevitable byproduct of the genetic mutations that have made evolution a success. Gee, that’s comforting.
And bisexuality – Also per The Times, it’s hip to be bi, except to gay men, who suspect bi men are just in deep denial of their gayness. But one of the issues that “The Newer Normal,” the 16th annual Women’s History Conference at Sarah Lawrence College, will address on March 1 is whether or not we are moving toward a population that refuses to define itself in a binary way – as male or female, as gay or straight – but instead as both or neither. Like indigo – not quite navy to the eye and not quite black.
I know that there are those who get their crumpets all twisted up every time someone like that dishy diver Tom Daley announces he is bisexual, but the way I figure it, sexuality is a fluid thing that depends on individual attraction rather than gender. In my forthcoming novel, “Water Music,” the four main characters define themselves as gay since their primary emotional and sexual relationships are with one another. But they certainly have intense relationships with women that are in some cases sexual.
Perhaps the key to their sexuality is that they are unafraid to breach divides, including what maybe the greatest gulf of all, between our notions of sex and God. At one point, they visit a church while on holiday in Mykonos, and Daniel, the most critical and skeptical of the four, wonders aloud to Alex, the host, if they’re not hypocrites, being at once caught up with traditional religions and yet living as they do.
“God is love, my friend,” Alex responds. “Or at least he ought to be.”
It reminds me of a story I heard once on the radio. A young woman was afraid of coming out to her mother. When she finally did, she was relieved to hear her say, “Oh, honey, there’s so little love in this world. You have to take it where you find it.”
For more on “The Newer Normal," visit the 16th annual Women’s History Conference at Sarah Lawrence College March 1. And for my interview with Rona Holub, director of the Graduate Program in Women’s History there, look for WAG’s February “The Power of Sex” issue.