A few weeks ago I posted my short story “The Morning After” but I didn’t post my usual notes about the piece like I usually do.
If you haven’t read it yet, or want to read it again, or will give in to my persistent begging, you can find the story here! 🙂
Anyway, I wanted to do a quick post to explain the inspiration behind it and why I chose to create a modern twist on the “friends with benefits” situation. (So spoiler alert)
Seeing as how I work eight hours doing the same things over and over again, I now have a lot of time to brainstorm story ideas and just think. I must have been thinking about how this no strings attached arrangement becomes so corrupt in the participant’s lives and makes for dramatic rom-com movies for Hollywood. I started to wonder how that same situation would change if, adjusting to modern times and acceptances, both participants were the same gender. More specifically females- as we seem to be the ones who struggle with that whole no emotions thing.
The idea spun out of control from there. What was supposed to be a fun story about how Ava snuck Scarlett past her roommates became a story about how Ava struggled with being in love with the most unlikely character (in her opinion). It wasn’t supposed to be Ava’s internal struggle with emotions and feelings at Scarlett’s expense, and yet here we are. I feel bad for Scarlett; she did everything right, but Ava was in denial.
I want to clear something up. Ava is not a lesbian. Nor is she bisexual. In fact her sexuality (not that it’s really anyone’s business aside from her own) was based on the Straight But Not Narrow movement/campaign/idea/whatever you call it. I tried to make this clear at the end when Ava said that Scarlett was the only girl she fell in love with. That does not mean that Scarlett was the only girl she was intimately involved with- gods no! Ava most closely identified as straight, but she had to admit that she was sexually attracted to the same gender. A lot of what I’ve heard about people identifying with the Straight but not narrow idea comes from a male point of view. It’s males who will admit that other guys are physically attracted, but the attraction stops there and nothing happens. Or guys who are emotionally attracted- wanting a relationship that maybe never gets to the bedroom. And then there are the people like Ava; who don’t want a relationship that leaves the bedroom. They are sexually attracted to the same gender, but don’t see themselves dating or marrying them.
And this is why Ava’s story became so messy. Because she fell in love when she wasn’t supposed to. Because she got scared and shut down instead of embracing what could have been a beautiful thing.
Now sexuality is a tricky topic and I believe there are no clear cut definitions for what everyone feels and who likes who. I do not mean to start some crazy debate about what it means to like the same gender some of the time vs. all the time or never at all. That’s not the point, and if you think it is then you can leave because you don’t deserve to hear about how Scarlett felt through all this.
Are the only people reading on, ones that get the bigger picture?
I think possibly the biggest inspiration for this story was the song “Broken Hearted Love Song” by The Shoe from their album I’m Okay.
But seriously, listen to this song and the lyrics. It is the perfect explanation for everything that Scarlett feels. She too is in love with Ava, but she’s ready to admit it. She’s not going to put a stop to the sex, but she’s hungry for more. She wants to talk to Ava and take their relationship to the next level- a more public level.
Yet I ripped that opportunity from Scarlett’s hands. And I am sorry.