Emily was a sexual being from birth; Susannah was a sporty, semi-closeted lesbian. When they took their friendship to a new level, things got awkward. This is their story.
SUSANNAH: I was always athletic, and a lot of my female role models were athletes. My high-school soccer and lacrosse coaches were both lesbians but I didn’t really notice at the time. Growing up, I wasn’t boy-crazy like everyone else. I wasn’t girl-crazy, either. I was just happy going to practice, seeing friends, and being me.
EMILY: I was pretty slutty growing up! Totally promiscuous. Boys, girls, whatever. I’ve always been very sexual. I think it’s because I’m from Florida.
SUSANNAH: Emily and I became close friends in college, but it was nothing romantic. She just cracked me up. My sexuality was ambiguous to everyone including myself. I just didn’t care about that stuff.
EMILY: Susannah was very obviously a dyke who hadn’t come to terms with it yet. I adored her for her humor and pure heart. There was nothing romantic there. Meanwhile, I was still acting like a whore … but a little less so because I started a pre-med program, which consumed most of my time.
SUSANNAH: We had a joint 23rd-birthday party. Emily was newly single and I was still a virgin. I had just started experimenting with women by flirting on AOL chat rooms. I went to a few gay bars alone to see how it felt. I made out with one or two girls. It was nice.
EMILY: I was over guys and determined to help Susannah come out of her shell a bit. My plan was to get us wasted at our birthday party and then fool around. And that’s exactly what happened. We had a sloppy, awesome, beautiful make-out … right in front of all our friends.
SUSANNAH: I will never forget that night. I totally lost control. I was embarrassed the next day and really nervous about what it meant for me and Em as friends.
EMILY: I realized I was in love with her that night … but before I could do anything about that, I had to normalize the situation for her sake. I knew she was freaking out. We spent a ton of time together talking about what it all meant. It was a very heavy moment for her, whereas for me, it was like, Oooh, we’re going to start hooking up and I kind of love this woman ... this is awesome times a million.
SUSANNAH: It all hit me hard. I was gay. I was going to have a “girlfriend.” I know it sounds crazy, but I had blocked all these kinds of conversations from happening inside my head my entire life. Emily was pretty aggressive about everything. And she was so sexually open. She taught me literally everything. I was so shy. I’m still shy!
EMILY: We started dating. It was great but also weird. Sometimes it felt like the most natural thing on earth and sometimes it just felt forced. Also, our sex life was not what you’d imagine. It was very … high school.
SUSANNAH: I felt very alone dating Emily. She moved fast and had no hang-ups about anything! I basically came out with a gun to my head (held by her). She wasn’t very sympathetic to how hard that was … or maybe she was, but she wanted to set an example of what it meant to be strong and empowered. The friendship that had blossomed all those years just felt changed. I was nervous, anxious, and coming to terms with so many things at once! Also, I felt like Emily saw me as a project. She meant well, but I felt a little bit like I existed in one of her medical-school labs on human sexuality.
EMILY: Ultimately, our gorgeous friendship translated into a very bland relationship. She was always so “tentative” — about coming out, fooling around, going on romantic vacations. We never eased into a comfort zone. I wanted to send Susannah into the world to live her life out loud, get some experience, make some mistakes, fuck some women, and then … maybe … come back to me. So I ended it.
SUSANNAH: Emily dumped me just before our birthday, one year after that first make-out. She played the “I’m doing this because I love you" card. I felt like I didn’t know how to be an openly gay woman without her by my side. I had a lot of fear. In hindsight, she was totally right. It was the push I needed.
EMILY: I ended up marrying a guy I graduated medical school with, and Susannah is coaching sports and I think dating someone seriously. We never recovered from our weird relationship. We really drifted.
SUSANNAH: I met someone online about a year ago. We live together and are really happy. She reminds me of Emily. She’s totally fearless … and really, really cool.
Most Viewed Stories
That Awkward Clip of Donald and Melania at the Inauguration Is Definitely Real
Sean Spicer Chews and Swallows 35 Pieces of Gum Every Day Before Noon
The Future of the Left Is Female
Trump’s Latest Executive Order Will Affect Women’s Health Worldwide
State Rep. Says Making Abortion a Crime Would Force Women to Be ‘More Personally Responsible’
Kellyanne Conway Reportedly Punched a Man at an Inaugural Ball
Museums Across the World Are Collecting Women’s March Signs
Ask a Boss: I’m a Bad Employee, But I Can’t Do Anything About It!
Josh Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s Brother-in-Law, Was Reportedly Spotted at the Women’s March
The ‘Natural’ Skin-care Line Sephora Can’t Keep in Stock
From Our Partners
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Love and War FeaturesA Holiday Season Weekend Through London
A good guide for avid The Crown fans.It’s About Time You Learned Tove Lo’s Name
The singer has crafted pop hits you’ve heard a thousand times by now.Marina Abramovic Has Outlasted Her Lovers and, She Hopes, Her Critics
The world's most famous performance artist at 70.The Wing: Do Women Still Need a Space of Their Own?
This exclusive social club for women, is part sorority, part start-up.In Virtual Reality, Women Run the World
A new generation of female artists is making VR the most diverse corner of the male-dominated tech space.The Novelist Disguised As a Housewife
Shirley Jackson wrote 17 books while raising four children — and she couldn't have had a successful career without them.Ava DuVernay on Hollywood Racism, Modern-Day Slavery, and Why She’s Still an Optimist
The director, whose new documentary The 13th chronicles America’s history of racial subjugation, talks to Rebecca Traister about Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the modern criminal-justice system.What No One Tells Couples Trying to Conceive
It helps to be rich.The Hidden Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
A segregated unit of mathematicians born of desperation during World War II became the secret to NASA’s success.Slut-Shaming Squids Are Everywhere
The “Bermuda Square” comic strip is back.
The collaboration that dreams are made of.Good Morning America Host Amy Robach Apologizes for Saying ‘Colored People’ on Air
She quickly apologized.Unknown NFL Player Tries to Get Attention by Asking Aly Raisman Out in Video
That’s one way to do it.Don’t Mess This Up, Mischa Barton
Marissa Cooper is poised for a comeback ... maybe.California Votes to Remove Time Limit on Prosecuting Rape Cases
In light of the Bill Cosby case.Beyoncé’s Behind-the-Scenes Lemonade Photos Belong in a Museum
She had the "Boycott Beyoncé" sign already in formation on set.The Rise of the Male Celebrity Full-Frontal
An ex-publicist explains.Gabby Douglas Will Be a Miss America Judge
The gold-medal gymnast will help choose the 2017 pageant winner.Camille Becerra’s Photo Diary of Rockaway Beach
An ideal trip to add and cross off your summer bucket list.Sorry Nerds, Ian McKellen Won’t Officiate Your Expensive Lord of the Rings–Themed Wedding
Not even for $1.5 million.