I was at work and ran into a friend of mine there, a woman originally from Barbados. She’s a very nice person and good at her job, and I think highly of her. We’ve always had a pleasant, friendly relationship. (Sometimes she offers me “a spot of tea”!)
However, on THIS occasion I saw dangling under her chin a labrys necklace. My reaction kind of surprised me: I was so taken aback I stopped and stared. It was so out of any context that I was expecting, I was literally at a loss for words. (It was my understanding this woman was married to a man; I believe she said as much. She certainly had been divorced from a man in the past.)
We weren’t having a very deep conversation and she said something about it being a “Cretan ax” before we parted company. (Note: She was wearing a loose turtleneck, so there was no chance that my staring could be interpreted in any other way as at her necklace.) So now several things/possibilities are running through my head:
1 - I’m worried about my own weird reaction. Other than being very tired and surprised, I don’t have any real explanation for it. Should I just shrug and go on with my life? The issue is not her orientation, it’s whether or not I acted weird and made her uncomfortable. Is there any way to address THAT without mentioning the cause of my own behavior and getting into that issue? Should I even bother at all?
2 - Her being a foreigner (technically) maybe it really IS just a “Cretan ax” to her, and not a symbol that she is a lesbian. In that case, should I clue her in on how it might be interpreted, i.e., that she’s sending out a signal that she isn’t aware of?
3 - She IS a lesbian, but some how has been in the closet all the years I’ve known her (this is a rural region; its highly unlikely many people around here attach any meaning to a labrys at all.) While we are on good terms, she has very British manners, and rarely talks much about herself.
4 - She is a lesbian and isn’t in the closet, doesn’t feel like talking about it (hence her saying it was a “Cretan ax”), even though she is publicly wearing a lesbian symbol around. That seems a bit strange. But if she didn’t want to mention it, should I just assume that tells me where she stands on discussing it, and forget the whole things?
I hope someone has some ideas here!