Senator Tom Coburn (Republican-Oklahoma) recently warned of “rampant” lesbianism in the Oklahoma public high school bathrooms. When I read this report, I immediately phoned my editor.
“Chief!” I cried in my best Roz Russell impersonation. “Ya gotta put me on this story! I’ll go undercover, and find out what’s going on in those bathrooms.”
Although I’ve been in the newspaper business for 20 years, I only have produced one piece of investigative journalism. I was staffing the classified desk when a reader phoned in a lost pet ad after her iguana had wandered away from home. I spent weeks on the trail of that iguana until I finally found it, lounging near a pond on a golf course.
I arrived in Oklahoma City, and hit the first high school south of the airport. Thanks to my girlish good looks, the principal merely licked her lips in delight when I told her that I was enrolling in school after getting expelled from Catholic prep for being “bad.” I looked appropriately slatternly in a short plaid skirt and a carelessly buttoned oxford blouse.
When I asked where a girl could enjoy a cool drink and a smoke, she stared directly down my moist cleavage, and nodded toward a door with a fading stenciled sign that read “GIRLS.” I pushed through the door, and took in the overpowering aroma of stale smoke and cheap hairspray.
Like Proust’s madeleine, the smell transported me back to my own adolescence, which was rife with smoldering Sapphic sexual tension that never was fulfilled.
I closed my eyes, and harkened back to a sultry suburban evening, when a blonde friend with large breasts and a taste for peach Schnapps inched closer to me on an antique wicker swing in my parents’ backyard. Just as our eyes locked, and we entered a silent but intense understanding of destiny met, our boyfriends returned with a vile green liquor they had liberated from a neighbor’s pool house.
As I leaned against the hard, cool cinderblock in the school’s bathroom, dreaming of what might have been if that faraway evening hadn’t devolved into communal fits of explosive green vomiting, the bathroom door squeaked open with a kitten-like mew. In walked a girl with an intense brow and thick glasses. She took one look at me, rubbing suggestively against the wall, and scurried into a stall.
“I’m new in town, and looking for a good time,” I purred through the door. She burst out of the stall, yelling, “I’ve got to go to the nurse.” I frowned, wondering if she found the school nurse sexier than me. I repositioned myself on a window ledge, swinging my bare legs, and admiring my scuffed saddle shoes.
Once again, I found myself drifting back to my own school days. I smiled wistfully, as I remember my literature teacher, who had artfully spiky hair, and had a habit of stroking my palm when she returned by homework. She was, in many ways, my dream girl—high-strung as a French poodle, smart enough to keep me pining for years, and with a penchant for sighs of deep longing. I often would catch her gazing in my direction, but I never was sure if she was looking at me, or staring middistance at some desire just out of her reach.
My revelry was broken when the bathroom door slammed opened. I’d soon discover that what Senator Coburn said was absolutely true!
(Stay tuned to next column to find out what happens in that bathroom.)
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