Issue 334

Lesbian 101: An Introduction

I was at a Super Bowl party, bored out of my mind, because every lesbian in the room was paying attention to the game, and not to me. Every time I made what I considered to be a witty remark about the players’ tight trousers, I was shushed, and threatened with bodily eviction if I didn’t keep quiet.

Finally, the hostess thrust a musty book in my hand, and led me to a chair in a distant corner. “Read this,” she said. “Maybe it will teach you something about how to behave in public.”

The book was a 1945 edition of Emily Post’s classic Etiquette. It is a fascinating time capsule of a bygone era when it was unacceptable for a home to have any fewer than three “servants”; even the poorest households had a proper tea service; and “under no circumstances should an unchaperoned girl accept an invitation to a man’s hotel room.”

Actually, I agreed with a lot of Post’s advice, especially the stuff about servants. (Oh, how I’ve longed for a servant!)

And I thought that much of the book easily could be updated as a useful training guide for modern-day lesbians—that is, until I got to the chapter on “Modern Men and Girls,” and quickly flipped to a subhead titled “Petting.”

Post dispatched this subject with uncharacteristic brevity (especially considering that she spent an entire chapter detailing what one should pack for a weekend in the country). Here’s what she had to say about petting: “Petting is cheap, and pawing is common.” She declared that a nice girl never engages in either activity.

It was at this moment that I threw the book across the room in disgust. After all, life as a lesbian would be pretty dreary without petting and pawing. Petting is our chief objective, and pawing is unavoidable (especially after a few cocktails).

Without these diversions, all we’d have left would be softball, lite beer, and televised sporting events—none of which is compelling enough to keep me in this racket.

So, I have decided to use this column and my years of experience as a lesbian to create a behavior manual for our breed. Over the next several months, a series of columns will be designed in the fashion of plumbing and car repair how-to-guides in order to appeal to the literary interests of the typical lesbian.

These columns will discuss such topics as:

• How to handle the morning after a drunken one-night stand with dignity and grace (something I never have managed to do, but an issue I can address based on hard lessons learned from dozens of stumbling efforts).

• What to wear the first time you meet your girlfriend’s parents (freshly laundered socks and no leather).

• Acceptable topics of conversation for a first date (lesbians really need help in this area).

• The pros and cons of stalking (an activity that can be surprisingly effective if done correctly).

• Tips on analyzing ambiguously worded e-mails sent from a potential love interest (with special focus on the vagaries inherent in the use of passive voice).

• And so much more!

Whether you’re new to the lesbian game, or a tough old dyke looking for a refresher course, these columns will help you navigate your way through the often murky waters of acceptable lesbian conduct.

Or, at the very least, they will provide you with pointers on how to avoid abject humiliation and ostracism from the global lesbian community.

Hey! I wrote a book. You can buy Dateland on Amazon.


Corrections to MCIL Feature

We, the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living [MCIL], would like to thank you for taking the time in writing an article about our GLBT Support Group with Disabilities in Lavender Magazine [Feb. 15-28] entitled “Metropolitan Center for Independent Living: Beyond Handicapped.”

However, there are a couple errors, such as: Galen Smith is a “he.” Also, our Support Group meets on the first Tuesday of the month from 6 to 7:30 PM.

Sheila Faricy
Manager of Independent Living, Peer Mentoring, Ramp Project Program, Transition and VA Programs Metropolitan Center for Independent Living

Letters are subject to editing for grammar, punctuation, space, and libel. They should be no more than 300 words. Letters must include name, address, and phone number. Unsigned letters will not be published. Priority will be given to letters that refer to material previously published in Lavender Magazine. Submit letters to Lavender Magazine, Letters to the Editor, 3715 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55407; or e-mail

BECAUSE Is Back: Midwest’s Premiere Bisexual Event Resurges

The popular urban myth goes like this: One can be either a Beatles fan or a Stones fan, but not both. Sometimes, Elvis subs for the Stones in this equation. However, the real oddity is that this cultural divide places the Beatles firmly at one end of the music spectrum, and gives them an antithesis. It’s illogical, of course, to create a nemesis for something as complex as music. Though we pride ourselves in our logical abilities, our human brain is far from infallible.

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Style for the Undersized

On The Runway Section

Even in today’s fashion-forward society, it seems that outfitting babies, toddlers, and preschoolers remains an untamed frontier—the wild west of fashion, you might say. No rules. Parents shopping around amuck, dashing from one homogenous big box store to another, waving their credit cards, and paying little attention to anything. Snatching up something that has been mass-produced in a third-world country, so it can be mass-marketed as style—when, in fact, it’s the farthest thing from it.

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Very Barrie Adds Style to the Office

One of the newest and hottest galleries is open for business. Very Barrie, named after owner Barrie Lawrence, is not only one of the hottest, but also unique in its mission. Very Barrie provides something most galleries don’t—the opportunity for all artists to display, promote, and sell their artwork. It was designed specifically for artists, collectors, and general customers to allow a wide variety of styles from which to choose.

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National and World News

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Put A Little SPRING Into Your Wardrobe

On The Runway Section

Neon Brights
Martin + Osa

214 South Avenue
Vibrant colors are a top trend for spring, and this orange polo will really brighten up your wardrobe. Pair it with a classic jacket to add a little pop of color to your work week.

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The Best Men and Women for the Job

I have to admit, when I first read about the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute (GLLI) Presidential Appointments Project (PAP)—to make sure plenty of GLBT folks are in the new administration—I thought it was a bit presumptive. Don’t we have to win the election first? And then I thought, we might as well be prepared. I’m sure many of the other “special interest”-type communities—African Americans, Latinos, people of faith, labor, etc.—are starting to line up for jobs. We should be, too—after all, it’s all about visibility, isn’t it?

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Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Several leading male literary lights of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance were queer, but their Sapphic forerunner, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, is less well-known. Bisexual and of mixed race, she also crossed boundaries of literary genres. Dunbar-Nelson was born Alice Ruth Moore in 1875 in New Orleans. A precocious girl, she entered a teacher-training program at Straight College (now Dillard University) at age 15.

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Talking the Talk

A game played at a baby shower I recently attended required each guest to change a baby doll’s diaper while watching football on television. I slipped out of the living room. Sure, I can change a diaper with my eyes closed. But watch football? No thank you! The game had been created cleverly to address a challenge to be faced soon by the mom-to-be, an avid football fan—and, I might add, a damn good softball player. In short, she’s an all-round jock.

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