I finished watching The L Word over the holiday weekend. A fact that I shared with a friend earlier today. I almost didn’t tell anyone because an admission such as that one can potentially be accompanied by judgments and misconceptions. But really, who the hell cares who thinks what of it?
Just last year or maybe the year before, my sister asked me if I was gay. I’m not quite sure what made her ask, and I didn’t question her, just simply answered no. I guess I figured that people were thinking it, and I appreciated that someone was brave enough to actually ask the question rather than just let it hang there in their mind. I might, in their shoes, question it too. After all, an unmarried woman of my age with very few lasting relationships under her belt might make me wonder a little too, I guess.
So I enjoyed the show, but after a while it became predictable. It seemed that the show was trying to make a point about no woman being 100% straight. Every ‘straight’ girl who appeared on the show would eventually give in to sapphic desires. I could be wrong, maybe this wasn’t their intention, maybe it was just meant to show women unsure of their sexuality that there’s a place somewhere for them. Whatever.
I shared this with my friend, who then asked if I’d ever been hit on by a lesbian.
“Yes, yes I have. Funny story, in fact.”
You wouldn’t think that Salt Lake City, Utah would have a large gay population, but it does, or at least did in the late ’90s. I was living in a house with two friends, T and Maria, or at least I think her name was Maria.I have to admit that I don’t know if that’s right, though I remember her clearly. Our six-pack-a-night drinking, angry, roommate who one night, during a Halloween party, came out to the backyard holding a toilet seat, lifted it in front of her face, and screamed at the top of her lungs “WHO BROKE THE MOTHER FUCKING TOILET SEAT?” as we all burst into uncontrollable laughter because her angry, red face was in line with the hole of the seat she was holding up in front of her face. She moved out soon after that episode and never spoke to us again, or at least not to me.
Months before that, in the spring, she’d come home and asked us if we’d be interested in being part of a bowling team for a few weeks. They needed three people and wouldn’t it be fun to just hang out, bowl, and drink beer for a few weeks. All in our 20s, we were never ones to turn down a party. We were in. We showed up at the bowling alley the next week ready to drink and laugh, and there they were… a bunch of lesbians. The butch kind. Huh???
What the fuck were we gonna do?? Who were our drunk asses going to flirt with?
We did what we went there to do and bowled, and to our surprise, as the weeks passed we got to know the ladies in the other teams and had a blast. Soon enough we were invited to hang out with them outside of bowling night.
“Come meet us up at the Paper Moon” they said.
We got ready that night as if it were any other night of clubbing. Heels, revealing club wear, makeup, the works. We were going to party with the lesbians! Our false bravado slowly leaving us as we walked in the door. This was a different world all together. We were overdressed and stuck out like sore thumbs. The three girls who talked themselves into front of the lines at clubs every weekend were all of a sudden feeling like the uncool. Our backs against the wall, unsure of what to do after we walked in.
Our friend came and got us, she showed us to a table, got us drinks, and then made us dance. T and I headed back to the table and sat; a bit more relaxed, but still unsure about the night. She turned to me and said “Oh my god. I have to hide.”
“That girl walking our direction. She was checking me out while we were dancing.”
“Oh shit” I thought as the girl approached our table. I looked at T feeling bad for her. We didn’t want to insult anyone in this new place and neither of us knew what to do. The girl stood in front of me, leaned across the table looked directly at me asked, “Do you want to dance?”
Having no idea how to say no, I blurted a barely audible, “Okay.” I looked at Tanya, her face now relaxed, her eyes wishing me luck.
I followed the girl to the dance floor and we danced. I spotted our hostess across the floor and danced in her direction. The girl leaned in and asked if I had a girlfriend. “I’m not gay” I tried to yell over the music. “Then what are you doing here?” I stepped closer towards my friend, grabbed her arm and pulled her towards us. “I’m here with her and some other friends.” She looked unconvinced and I contemplated how to make an exit. Thankfully, the music changed. It was a slow song. “Thanks for the dance” I said as I started to walk away.
“What? Where are you going?”
“I’m going to the bathroom.”
I turned and walked away and headed to the restroom. Once in the stall, I breathed a sigh of relief. I’d made my escape. I’d return to my friends and tell them the story. I opened the door and walked out of the stall and standing there waiting was the girl.
I was in a sitcom. This was some Jack Tripper/Three’s Company kind of scripted hilarity. She could not possibly have been standing right outside of my stall door, could she?
She could. She was. She asked me to go dance again. I said thank you but no in the nicest way I could think of. She wasn’t happy, I wasn’t either. Being manhandled at clubs I was used to, being followed into the bathroom I wasn’t. I left the restroom and quickly walked back to the table and told my friends about what just happened.
“She’s harmless. Just a little aggressive when she wants someone.”
That was not our last night at “The Moon” and “The girl” only bothered me one more time. A night about two weeks later, when I had invited the guy I was dating to meet us, She gave up after we made out in front of her.
We spent almost every weekend there during that summer. It was a break from the usual pressures we felt getting ready for the weekend. Our heels, club wear, and uncomfortable shoes took a hiatus as we enjoyed nights of just dancing and laughing with friends with no need to dress to impress.
We had some crazy nights, and on one of those nights I even kissed (a peck) a girl and realized that no, I didn’t really like it. Anti-climactic, no?
The thing I hold dear to my heart and mind from that summer is the fact that we didn’t let our fear of the unknown stop us from experiencing something that was different from what we knew. Because of that we made some lifelong friends whose lives take the very same twists and turns all of our lives take. They love, they lose, and they hope, and in that aspect their lives very much mirror some parts of The L Word.
So as I sat and watched the series and the Scandal-like drama unfold for the ladies of the L this weekend, I was reminded of days gone by and just how rich and full of experiences my crazy life has been.