Dear Ms. Behavior:
I’ve been dating Angela for a couple of months. She’s smart, attractive and extremely fun – which is not necessarily typical of the garden-variety lesbians I’ve encountered. I’ve been okay with her seeing other people, until she recently told me she was seeing a 28-year-old who was also seeing another 28-year-old. Initially, Angela said that the 12-year age difference (she’s 40) is too much for a serious relationship, but now she seems entranced with having this young woman all to herself. I’ve found myself to be the jealousy-bait in this whole thing, i.e., “if you’re seeing your little 28 year old girlfriend this weekend, then I’m seeing Stella.”
So, my question is: Should I wait this out? I have a feeling that once Angela’s obtained her Class of ‘2002 obsession she’ll have won and it won’t last and I can go back to weaving my woman-catching web of charm and mystery. On the downside, she drives a HUGE SUV, and while it’s great to make out in – I’m a little put off by the sheer mass of her vehicle.
If you want an exciting chase and maybe some hot sexual intrigue, fine. But if you’re plotting to wait it out with the hope of having a serious relationship with Angela, forget it. Since Angela apparently thinks of you as bait (and worse, always-available bait), her perception probably won’t change even if she and Lolita break it off. It’s also a bad sign that Angela has let you know how much she likes the other woman; if she were truly interested in you, she’d probably hedge her bets and keep it to herself.
But you’re right about the huge SUV. Lesbians who drive massive vehicles tend to be hyper-athletic and bossy–not necessarily good girlfriend material, unless you’re into that sort of thing. But a friend with a big truck is a beautiful thing. Let Angela rescue you from snow banks and take you on off-road trips to the sand dunes and mountains. If you quit making out in the truck, Angela can use it to help you haul your furniture and lingerie once you capture a girlfriend who actually adores you.
Dear Ms. Behavior:
I appreciate your column and read it religiously. My question pertains to the inequality within our community. By that I mean that as lesbians, it seems that we are not treated equally by our brothers. To keep this short I’ll share only one example: Whenever I go out to a gay/lesbian bar and the bartender is male, I never get fair service. If a man walks up to the bar after me, he always gets faster, more attentive service. It appears that the bartender is strained to even look at me, let alone ask me what I’d like to drink.
It is a catch-22 situation. Women/lesbians are accused of poor tipping, yet we frequently receive rotten service. So, why tip that kind of service? Plus, if we are assertive and say something, then of course we are labeled”bitchy” and the cycle continues. How do you suggest handling this inequality within our own community?
Ms. Behavior will start with the assumption that you’re not the kind of lesbian who sits at the bar with nine friends who drink a total of 36 beers, eat 45 meatball heroes, split the bill to the penny based on who got the most meatballs, and then tips two bucks. She’ll also assume that the bartender is not a shallow, crotch-gazing party boy.
With those as givens, if you’re reasonable customers, you should get decent service. If you don’t, poor tipping with no comment is not the solution; it only perpetuates the perception that lesbians are cheap. (It’s also an excuse for lesbians who really ARE cheap to feel justified about their bad manners, and for gay men who dislike women to feel that the bad service was warranted.) So, if the bartender snubs you, say something direct, but stick to the situation at hand, describing why you’re displeased.
But please do not try to educate the bartender about the entire cultural, political, and socioeconomic structure that perpetuates the oppression of your sisters. Don’t, for example, remind him that lesbians only get 49 cents for every dollar a man earns. He doesn’t care. And if you annoy him, he may not wash your glass properly.
© 2012 Meryl Cohn. Address questions and correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org.