Attention self-identified straight women who have at least one lesbian friend: Do not — I repeat — DO NOT get possessive over your lesbian friend when she's trying to get laid.
Don't hold her hand at a Pride after party. Don't act bitchy toward the girl she's crushing on when you're meeting her for the first time. And don't you DARE get all up in her grill when she's flirting with a lesbian she likes in the lesbian bar.
The lesbian bar is a mecca for the queer girl, and it's sacrilegious for you to disrupt the sexual connection between two Sapphic women in their place of sexual worship. I don't bust into your church and screw with the sanctity of your relationship with your chosen higher power. I'm just asking for the same respect.
Ten years ago, I was a baby dyke living in sunny Los Angeles. My parents didn't even know I was gay yet; that's how much of a baby dyke I was. I was best friends with a 21-year-old actress I had met in an acting class, Lena from the midwest. She described herself to me once as “wildly heterosexual.” You couldn't watch a commercial for aftershave or flip a page in a magazine without her pointing to a hunky looking guy and purring, “I had sex with him.”
It made sense. Lena was stunningly gorgeous. She had this amazing, waist-length, blue-black hair that glittered more fiercely than the Malibu ocean, and her long body was curvier than the windy roads of the Hollywood Hills. All she had to do was pout her bee-stung lips and BAM — men flocked to her in droves.
“I'll come wing woman for you at the lesbian bar tonight!” she screeched to me over a Saturday morning coffee. I was newly single and desperate to be out and about on the scene. The bad news: I didn't have lesbian friends yet. And I would be going to the sacred lesbian bar for the first time.
Little did I know a straight girl was about to sabotage my chance at hooking up with the hottest girl my young eyes had ever borne witness.
I happily accepted Lena's offer. “Thank you!" I squealed, picturing all of the sexy lesbians I would inevitably see later in the night. Lena will be such a great wing woman! I excitedly thought to myself. She's magnetically beautiful and straight as an arrow, so it's not like she's competition or anything. Plus, she's a fearless actress who will talk to anyone! This is going to be perfect!
“I'll be the best wing woman ever!” she squealed back, wrapping her creamy arms around me, as if reading my mind. She smelled like Bobbi Brown Beach, which smells nothing like the beach but is super lovely anyway.
Cut to 10 pm, and the two of us are blissfully sipping on shitty vodka at a dimly lit lesbian bar.
“So, do you see anyone cute?” Lena asked. She was dressed very “dyke chic” in skinny black jeans and a sheer white button down. I found this terribly cute. Aww, how sweet. Lena traded in her tight Herve Leger bodycon dress for a pair of tattered denim just for me! I dreamily sing-songed to myself. What a good friend!
I looked around. “Actually, yes,” I answered as I spotted an insanely beautiful girl creature sitting all alone at the bar, nervously playing with her phone, running her fingers through her trendy page boy haircut. “Should we go talk to her?”
Lena and I skipped across the bar.
“Hey,” I shyly squeaked to the mystery girl with the hipster hair. “I'm Zara. This is my friend Lena.”
Lena stuck out her hand. “We saw you were alone and we decided to make friends.”
The mystery girl smiled. It was a slow, seductive smile that it took its time making its way across her face. “Aw, thanks. I'm Blair,” she said.
Our eyes locked. It was instant sexual chemistry. I basked in the magical feeling of lust as it washed over my sex-deprived body.
“Hey there, Blair. Why don't you let us buy you a drink?” Lena chirped.
Shit, why hadn't I thought of that? Damn, Lena was good. I shot her a grateful look as she confidently ordered a round of tequila shots for all of us.
I downed my shot and began firing questions at Blair. She grew sexier and sexier with each answer. She was originally from France (swag). She was an architect (swag!). And she kept intensely staring into my lips like she wanted to kiss them (swoon!). Lena was leaned up against the bar, smiling like a lesbian wing woman angel sent down from homosexual heavens to help me, an awkward baby dyke, score the girl of my dreams.
I was just starting to feel confident in my flirting skills when out of nowhere, Lena threw a protective arm around my shoulder.
“Zara, I want a cigarette. Now,” she demanded.
I was caught off guard. Lena's voice sounded different. Her sweet golden eyes looked like they had dangerous flames burning inside of them.
“Uh, OK. Um, do you want to go out for a cigarette with us?” I nervously asked Blair.
Before Blaire had the chance to respond, Lena swung her head around, looked Blair in the eyes and shot her the Girl Look of Death. You know exactly what I'm talking about, right? It's the terrifying look girls give other girls when they feel threatened: They lower their eyes and slowly check out your whole body, and appear both repulsed and humored by what they see.
“Sure.” Blair curiously raised her eyebrows and followed us outside.
And that was the beginning of Lena's downward spiral.
As we puffed on our cigarettes, Lena kept gabbing to me about personal things, inside jokes, and past memories, making a big show of excluding Blair from the conversation. Every time I attempted to bring Blair into the fold, Lena would roll her eyes and stick out her lower lip in frustration. She was being a textbook bitch and I had no idea why. Was the "wildly heterosexual" actress with the heaps of men falling at her feet suddenly jealous that I was getting attention? From a f*cking lesbian, none the less?
Finally, Blair left for the bathroom.
“Why are you being so RUDE?” I put my hands on my hips.
Lena put her hands on her hips. “I'm NOT. I'm being your wing woman!”
“No. You're acting like a deranged ex-girlfriend.” I stamped out my cigarette and stared at the cracks in the pavement.
“That's NOT true!” Lena fell into me and wrapped her arms around me. It was a stifling hug, rich with possessiveness and thirsty desperation.
“You know what? I think I'm going to let you guys hang out alone tonight. It was nice to meet you." I heard Blair softly say behind me. I wrangled myself out of Lena's embrace. Of course, Blair had to come back the moment Lena was clutching my body, like we were star-crossed lovers finally reunited.
“Wait! Don't go! Let's have fun!” I said, peeling Lena's stiff arms off my body.
Blair's pale eyes turned to ice. "Honestly, it's clear you have two have a history. And I don't do drama."
“Oh my God! She's not my EX! She's straight!” I shouted as my tequila buzz flat-lined. Then, I watched the hottest dyke I had ever seen walk away from me.
On the taxi ride home, my headache intensified as I reflected on the unfairness of it all. Maybe beautiful Blair would've been the LOVE OF MY GODDAMN LIFE. Only now I would never know.
I can't explain the depths of how hard it is to meet someone when you're a lesbian. Either you already know everyone or have already dated everyone in the scene, and finding fresh lesbian blood is as rare as finding a unicorn on a crosstown bus.
Straight girls, I understand your feelings of jealousy. You're not used to seeing your lesbian bestie bestow other women with her attention. Maybe you didn't even realize that queer girl culture is as hyper-sexual as the heterosexual culture, and it's making you question everything you've ever known to be true about the queer community. Maybe you're confusing your lesbian friend's flirtatious actions with another woman as some kind of a personal rejection, or maybe you're feeling sexually invisible for the first time ever.
But did you know that throughout a gay woman's life, she's almost always sexually invisible? Rarely are there romantic prospects for us at work, weddings and college reunions. We go out all the time knowing we're probably not going to get laid.
You need to take a deep breath and realize it's not about you tonight. In fact, it's never about you in the lesbian bar. Every other bar is about you. The world is your bar, baby. You can meet a man while pumping gas into your car. You can meet a man on the freaking subway!
We lesbians have to fear for our safety if we so little as check out a woman on the train. We will worry that maybe she's straight and we've made her feel uncomfortable. Or maybe she is gay, but the tough-looking guy next to her is a homophobe and will harass us if we dare to flirt in public. Think I'm being dramatic? Just last May, a lesbian couple was beaten unconscious by a homophobic 27-year old man on New York City's very own Q-train.
Our safe spaces are lesbian bars, which are fabulous, but very limited. Lesbian bars are shutting down at an alarming rate, so it's a real treat for us to be in one.
Oh, and one more thing: Maybe you feel attracted to your lesbian friend at the lesbian bar because it's new for you to see her FLIRT and it's kind of exciting and sexy, but that's not fair. It's not fair because a) she's your friend, not a dating prospect, and b) it's not nice to ruin her chances with a fully realized queer girl because MAYBE you want to experiment on ONE drunken night.
If those feelings of attraction begin to overwhelm you throughout the week, then maybe talk to her about them. Sober. After you have had a clear moment to process your newfound attraction to her.
In the meantime, let the lesbian hit on the lesbians in the lesbian bar. And remember: Tonight is for her. So sit back and let your lesbian friend shine in the lesbian bar. After all, that's what a true wing woman does.