Book Review: Would You Rather?

By Terri Schlichenmeyer, November 2018 Web Exclusive.

You’re late! Oops, you overslept, got caught in traffic, the elevator was slow. Phone lines were down, email was down. You forgot, and you’re late, sorry. Or, as in the new book Would You Rather? A Memoir of Growing Up and Coming Out by Katie Heaney, your understanding was just a bit delayed.

Where do you go when you’re looking for love?

For Katie Heaney, it was, well, pretty much anywhere. She’d always wanted a boyfriend and she’d had lots of crushes in her life but she was never meaningfully kissed. At age twenty-one, she went to Madrid for a semester with the hopes of meeting someone, but there were only seven men in the group of a hundred students.

In Spain, though, after binge-streaming "The L Word" and falling for Shane, she began to think that maybe she might be a lesbian. Musing, she messaged her best friend, who let Heaney talk it out and decide that there was a big MAYBE involved.

Would You Rather author Katie Heaney. Photo by Chris Ritter.

Even so, she never saw herself with a girlfriend.

She grew up in the cold of Minnesota, had planned on spending the rest of her life close to home, and moved into an apartment near Minneapolis with her straight best friend but that was too cozy-comfy. Heaney on-and-off flirted with the possibly being gay and she met a woman who was, no question, lesbian, which made her decide to shake herself out of her complacency. She visited New York, and then moved there.

Being in The Big Apple was a big deal, but Heaney remained frustratingly dateless. By age twenty-four, everyone she knew had dated and she began blogging about it, she wrote a book, and she noticed that that affected the way men acted toward her. Four years later, her “attraction to men was just… gone” and picturing herself with a woman came “pretty easily,” which was all it seemed to take: shortly thereafter, Heaney met Lydia online, and her almost-thirty-year dating desert became an oasis. She not only imagined herself with a woman, she was with a woman and nothing felt more right.

Would You Rather? A Memoir of Growing Up and Coming Out by Katie Heaney. Ballantine Books, 2018 | $16.

And now, says Heaney, “I am living with the best roommate I have ever had.”

Sometimes funny, sometimes self-depreciatingly cringe-worthy,Would You Rather? is a refreshing change over the I’ve-known-since-I-was-a-child LGBTQ memoirs. Readers may also notice that it’s a bit overboard.

Heaney writes of her journey with a charming awkwardness that endears her to any reader who’s ever felt as though the different drummer they’re marching to is actually playing the bongos: same beat, different crowd. This book will resonate with all who feel left behind in a world where peers are hooked up solid, and frustration mixes with indecisiveness mixes with self-questioning. Once readers have gotten to the happy not-quite-ending, though, Heaney continues to examine her situation which, while it doesn’t completely ruin the books’ earlier allure, bruises the story somewhat.

Still, this book is worthy, if nothing but for its unique coming-out POV. For that, Would You Rather? fits perfectly for memoir-lovers, Heaney fans, and those who bloom late.

Keep reading Show less

National Margarita Day

A lot of us have really picked up an interest in tequila and it's no wonder. Its popularity is soaring in the U.S. and doesn't look like it'll be slowing down any time soon. The only contender would probably be whiskey. Meh, but they have their own day. Now, it's National Margarita Day and we put together some of the best margarita recipes around so you can pick one or maybe even all of them to try.

We have a few surprises in there too. Maybe it's not all about tequila but it certainly has a theme going on. Take a look at some of these great tequila brands and start making some amazing margaritas today!

Keep reading Show less
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Gender-Inclusive Universities and Student Privacy

For many students, attending university is a profound, often life-changing, transition. It is often the student’s first time living on their own without parental supervision. This lifestyle is also accompanied by a period of self-discovery, of defining and redefining a sense of personal identity largely independent of the influence of family and friends from home.

For students who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, this rite of passage can also be a deeply empowering one. Indeed, attending university may be the student’s first real opportunity to explore their gender identity in a safe, comfortable, and accepting college.

Keep reading Show less

José Cuervo's Reserva de la Familia agave fields

Disclaimer: My trip was provided courtesy of a press trip but all opinions about the trip and events are my own. Please note there are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase.

I had the opportunity to visit Mexico for an event José Cuervo was putting on, the unveiling of their premium tequila brand, Reserva de la Familia. The trip was all about tequila, how to drink it properly, how to pair it with food, and of course, visiting various points of interest in Guadalajara while tasting tequila along the way.

Keep reading Show less