You know how you get a weird feeling about the people your current lover used to date? It isn’t necessarily a good or a bad feeling; it’s just weird. Maybe it’s vaguely uncomfortable, but it’s definitely weird.
That’s how I feel about Jennifer Baumgardner.
You all know that she used to date Amy Ray, right? Hence, the weird feelings. It isn’t as if I actually believe myself to be Amy Ray’s lover, current or otherwise. It’s just that my brow can’t help but furrow when I think that Jennifer was lucky enough to be in a relationship with Amy. It distracts me from absorbing what I imagine is the meaningful work that Jennifer does. I did read her book, Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics, some years ago, and that’s when all this really began. It is a kind of sexual identity memoir so naturally it is filled with references to Amy and stories about how terrific Amy isâ€”as if I needed someone to tell me these things. It was while I was reading this book that I began to superimpose my own overwhelming feelings of affection for Amy Ray on to Jennifer’s feelings for her. Of course I have no idea how Jennifer feels about Amy, but during the course of reading her book and ever since I read it, I have sort of just channeled my feelings about Amy through Jennifer as a sort of proxy lover. (All right, I can see that this is getting weird, but I don’t know how to stop the crazy train once it leaves the station.) So you see, I assume Jennifer feels the same way I would feel if I were her, but in no way do I think I am her. Because I, too, as myself, love Amy, I can’t help but be a little jealous that Jennifer loved/loves Amy and that she actually knew/knows her, too.
I don’t know why it didn’t work out with Jennifer and Amy. Amy is kind of a wandering soulâ€”one of those easy-to-love, hard-to-keep typesâ€”so she probably has a lot of ex-girlfriends pining away all over the place. According to my worldview, it’s a given that Jennifer is still pining for Amy. If she isn’t, there must be something wrong with her. I mean, how does one get over Amy Ray?
Well, I may get a chance to find out. Jennifer Baumgardner (and Amy Richards) are coming to IPFW on Thursday. Do you all know what Thursday is? It’s Amy Ray’s birthday. It seems like a perfect opportunity for me to air out my weird feelings about Jennifer and maybe get some closure. Maybe Jennifer and I can get a drink and talk through our feelings and then I can concentrate on the merits of her work.
Or, maybe I’ll just go to the lecture, shake her hand and thank her for coming, and then go home with my weird feelings still intact.