Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Wounded Butch

I recently enjoyed a good meal at a long table with several lesbians. Down the other end someone mentioned Biddy Martin's work, with which none of us, sadly, was all that familiar. (Ask this group about golf etiquette, however, and you're in business.) Biddy Martin, you may recall, is the newly appointed president of Amherst College, and she is also an out lesbian who has written provocative and dense academic essays about "the significance of being lesbian." Someone at the table mentioned that somewhere in Martin's work is something called "the wounded butch." What does that mean?!?! We all wanted to know, especially me, straining to hear across the length of the table, leaning forward like Rachel Maddow. No one had a good answer. Since then, in my efforts to be helpful and to engage some of my brain cells while otherwise caring for my beautiful infant son, I have done the legwork. Ladies, leave it to me to solve the mystery of "the wounded butch." (I'll explain later why I have placed a photo of Radclyffe Hall at the top of the page. But of course some of you smarties may already understand why she's there.)

I have Biddy Martin's books on order (as do apparently all the sisters in the lesbian vortex of Western Massachusetts), but in the meantime I found — via a search of the EBSCO academic database — the essay containing the wounded butch reference. The essay is called "Extraordinary Homosexuals and the Fear of Being Ordinary." Originally published in 1994, it argues against radical rebellion and "anti-normativity" in queer identity. It points out the anti-feminist tendency of queer theorists to assign lesbian desire as something that does not reside in the unappealing and asexual "maternal swamp of woman-identification." It cautions against railing so violently against mainstream society that we exile ourselves into wilderness. Had she published this just a few years earlier, it would have been helpful to me during the time I was choosing to wear my black leather motorcycle jacket to the civic board meetings I was covering as a young journalist. You know, might have made my entrance as an out lesbian into the working world less isolating and, ah, dykey. (A person fairly prominent in the profession once asked me, "Do you always dress like this for work?" At that moment I was wearing construction boots and khaki cut-off shorts.) Martin writes: "Implicit in these constructions of queerness, I fear, is the lure of an existence without limit, without bodies or psyches, and certainly without mothers, as well as a refusal to acknowledge the agency exerted by the givenness of bodies and psyches in history, or by the circumstances in which we find ourselves with others."

Examining this tendency toward "politics of rebellion" – and the impulse to consider ourselves "extraordinary" – Martin spends a good deal of time with a specific example: Aimée Duc's 1901 German novel, "Sind es Frauen" ("Are They Women?"), which follows the social interactions and political convictions of a group of educated lesbians in Zurich. These characters think of themselves as a third sex, which Martin explains was the fashion at the time among sexologists, who viewed masculine females as highly exotic creatures. Martin describes the lesbian characters as possessing "cosmopolitan rootlessness and alternative affiliations," which are initially celebrated but eventually rejected as the lesbians long for connection with mother and country. (I wonder, was Duc's choice of title influenced by Sojourner Truth's famous speech "Ain't I a Woman" delivered fifty years prior? Of course the answer those authors suggest is "no" for Duc and "yes" for Truth.) Martin explains that Duc's novel has been "hailed as one of the first 'positive' representations of lesbian love" — but not so fast, she says. The lesbians in the novel make a point to distinguish themselves from ordinary women, who were very much second class citizens. The lesbians wanted to think of themselves as members of the exotic, strong, and extraordinary "third sex," not the dimwitted, dour, and oppressed "second sex." Right? Who wants to be a plain old woman? Martin rightly refuses to gloss over the misogyny implicit in the novel's premise even if the lesbians live happily ever after.

Okay, so what about the wounded butch? The main character in the novel is a lesbian we would recognize as butch. Biddy Martin explains the butch is wounded — as all butches are, I think she wants us to understand — by the loss or unremitting threatened loss of her femme to an actual man. This loss not only breaks the butch's heart but also reminds the butch of the reality of her femaleness, which she has worked so hard to deny via "butch performances" and by embracing the separate third sex identity as a defense against feeling like a dreaded ordinary woman. Martin's argument is contrary to what we hear in most queer theory circles, and it makes sense to me. I also think it has important ramifications today in the increasing numbers of butches who identify as trans — a third, extraordinary sex if ever there was one. I say this because doesn't it seem as though trans men often want to remain in the lesbian community as "other" rather than stride off into the world of men? I wrote in an earlier post that a third sex, as I heard advocated by Leslie Feinberg (Stone Butch Blues) in the early 1990s, might offer a good option for butch lesbians who just don't feel like women. Now I see I might want to revise my position on that. Martin points out the anti-feminist perspective in this, and she also wisely fears that the lure of the extraordinary third sex will draw queers away from social investment and even the attachments of love. I think most of us — gay or straight — would recognize the benefits of maturing beyond the days of the rootless outsider, romantic as the solitary Shane McCutcheon might seem to be.

Which brings me back to Radclyffe Hall and her swaggering but miserable butch protagonist Stephen Gordon in The Well of Loneliness. After reading Biddy Martin, I see now that Stephen is a classic wounded butch. Stephen was supposed to be a son. She does not feel like a girl. She prefers to dress like a boy. She is considered abnormal. She loses the women she loves. She even has a disfiguring scar on her face! (Am I remembering that correctly?) If Stephen Gordon were a real person and alive today, I hope she would be able to marry a woman she loves, express her gender how she wishes, embrace the power of being a woman, and experience life as a big, triumphant, butch lesbian.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hello, sisters on the soccer field

If you have not been watching Women's World Cup soccer, you are surely missing out. It does not matter if you are a sports fan. It does not matter if you do not understand the rules of the game or why Americans call it soccer. ("Soccer" is actually a nickname of English origin from the late 19th century — so, we got it from Europe...) But, in any case, my lesbian sisters, if you are not watching a match here and there, you are missing an infrequent opportunity in the mass media to see strong women asserting their individual power in healthy ways and — perhaps more of a rarity — celebrating the power of their sisters.

There are only seven out lesbians in Women's World Cup soccer, according to AfterEllen. But while the small number of out players in the World Cup seems inordinate to the large number of pings on the gaydar, watching the matches can feel like a pride event. Trust me, sisters, you will feel validated and affirmed watching these fit female specimens run and kick and roar. Another fun thing to do is watch the player profile videos — particularly the magnificent Abby Wambach (pictured above, in two different types of "team" uniforms, including coverage in her hometown newspaper). Wambach is the alpha adonis of the US squad. Someone on AfterEllen said, "Watch this video and tell me with a straight face that Abby Wambach doesn't play for our team." See it for yourself and enjoy. You can also get motivated for your own workout by watching Wambach pump iron. And these two, Lori Lindsey and Megan Rapinoe, are highly skilled and very cute.

After viewing the videos, you might be surprised to learn there is only one out member of the US team, and that is the coach, 51-year-old Sweden native Pia Sundhage. (IMPORTANT UPDATE: Megan Rapinoe is apparently out, too. Yay!) Sundhage was an iconic professional player in her home country, and she now sets an important example in the world of women's athletics for avoiding life in the closet. AfterEllen reported that when Sundhage came out on Swedish television last year she said, "There has been no problem for me to be openly gay as head coach in the U.S.” This alone should compel you to support the US Women's National Team.

But, in case you need just one more reason:
How often do you see women hugging and kissing in joyous celebration on the front page of The New York Times?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lesbian wishes can come true

As lesbians, we are accustomed to wishing for things. We wish for equality and an end to discrimination. We wish for an alternative happy ending to Loving Annabelle. We wish Téa Leoni were a big ole lesbo. We wish Whitney would take her sleeve tat and join a remote ascetic community in which appearing on reality television is strictly forbidden. Sadly, we are accustomed to disappointment.

But not today! Today we are not forsaken. Today the gods have given us the news, or, I should say, the suggestion, that Ellen Page and Clea DuVall might have some kind of friendship or something. SheWired and Dorothy Surrenders have published photos of the two adorable ones striding together in Montreal. And Zimbio has the entire photo album. Soooo cute.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New York gets it right: Separate but equal is not the American way

Let's celebrate the passage of gay marriage in New York for the wonderful advancement in civil rights that it is. Let's thank NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo for being the champion of this cause. Let's recognize Rosie O'Donnell's hard-working brother, NY Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell, for sponsoring the legislation. And let's also offer a very special congratulations to the lovely lesbians in Manhattan who are displaying their rings beside the historic front page of June 25th edition of The New York Times.

Now, let's also urge President Obama to recognize that he cannot be a true advocate for equal rights if he continues to oppose gay marriage. President Obama says his views are "evolving," and he recently has stated support for civil unions. While I appreciate that he is making some progress toward promoting equal rights for all American citizens, I am baffled that he cannot see how he is essentially promoting a "separate but equal" policy. As we know, the US Supreme Court in 1954 determined that this country cannot have separate but equal treatment of American citizens because separate is, in the words of the court, "inherently unequal" and a violation of the Constitution.

Let me offer yet another perspective on how far behind President Obama is in his reluctant and late support of civil unions: Republican candidate for president Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah fought for civil unions in his state TWO YEARS AGO. And our Democratic president is just getting there now? And in sentiment only; he has sent no bill to Congress. Mr. President, it's time to move ahead of Republicans in your position on gay rights. Support equality. Support gay marriage. It's the American way.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A salute to out gay leaders in academe

We know that the academy attracts a lot of queers. Whether they are out is another thing. Last week, prestigious Amherst College named Biddy Martin, a nationally respected academic leader and out lesbian, as its president. Even though we have a long way to go, this can be seen as part of a positive trend in higher education.

Last year, a group of a dozen or so out queer presidents founded LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education, which promotes LGBTQ rights, scholarship, and advocacy. In March 2011, members of the organization served on a panel at the annual meeting of the American Council on Education, and they advised aspiring leaders in academe to be out and open with colleagues, search consultants, and the wider campus community, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. This strategy has apparently served Biddy Martin well, as she was celebrated with unbridled enthusiasm at Amherst.

LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education have posted a touching video on YouTube. The presidents and their partners offer inspiring stories about their success while being out. They say, "We're here to stay. We want to get to know you. Join us."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gertrude Stein is in the house

I'm sensing Gertrude Stein in the zeitgeist. There is a new book "Seeing Gertrude Stein" (University of California Press) and a show at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. In conjunction, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts will have programming celebrating Stein's immeasurable influence in the arts. Also, Stein is portrayed by the wonderful Kathy Bates in Woody Allen's new film, Midnight in Paris. And, since lesbians still often don't get recognized without some negative comment, a misguided writer in The New York Times Style Magazine recently referred to Stein as a "matronly frump" who has surprisingly turned into a style icon. Describing Gertrude Stein as a "matronly frump" is like calling Andy Warhol a homely virgin. It is so not the point. If that's all you can see about a genius whose influence in the arts is extraordinary, then you are really not qualified to comment. The rest of us can celebrate Stein, as SG did at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, where her portrait by Picasso usually hangs. But currently it's in the show in San Francisco. At least one of Stein's trademark waistcoats will also be on display.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Is this the real life? It's a boorish fantasy.

There are other lesbian websites providing extended witty recaps of the first episode of Season Two of "The Real L Word," which aired on Showtime last Sunday night. But I will strive for brevity. In the spirit of Dorothy Parker, I could just say, "I fwowed up." But I will elaborate. The show is terrible. Just terrible. It makes LA lesbians look grimy and inarticulate. Their behavior is boorish and depressing. As one writer at Autostraddle advises: "Watch this show like it’s a mockumentary and it’s actually really fucking funny." Indeed, I never thought I would say this, but Season One was better. I did not realize how good we had it with Tracy & Stamie and Jill & Nikki. At least those women seemed like reasonably educated people who practiced basic courtesy and hygiene. Okay, you could say, hey, don't watch the show if you don't like it. True. But, as I said at one particularly low point during the viewing at our house, "I feel like I'm monitoring this show rather than watching it." And that is because Ilene Chaiken is an important contributor to lesbian culture. Whether or not you like "The L Word" and its offspring, "The Real L Word," you must admit that whatever she does will make a significant contribution to how the world sees us and how we see ourselves.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Everyone is curious about Francesca Schiavone

The top search phrase leading to the Sapphist Gazetteer this week is "francesca schiavone girlfriend." Alas, I have no idea whether the adorable Italian tennis champion has a girlfriend—much less whether she is a lesbian—but I can say that we in the lesbian realm appreciate how cute she is. Look at the smile! So alive. And let's congratulate her on making it to the finals of Roland Garros, the French Open. Good luck on Saturday, Francesca! For two thoroughly charming tribute videos, click here (with nothing less than a Lou Rawls soundtrack) and here.

BTW, the only out active player I know of is Amelie Mauresmo. She retired two years ago, but she is attempting to come back to professional tennis. ESPN reported that she had been granted a wild card spot in mixed doubles at the French Open this year but was not allowed to play because "she is no longer in the sport's anti-doping program." Not sure what that means, but we'd love to see her back on the tour.

In the meantime, you can get your lesbian tennis fix by watching our beloved Martina Navratilova doing French Open commentary on the Tennis Channel. The Tennis Channel recently aired a wonderful documentary about Martina's amazing life story, "Farewell to a Champion." It's worth tracking down on your DVR. Personally, I was moved to tears. And my admiration spiked. Also, ESPN not long ago produced a terrific film "Unmatched" in its "30 for 30" series on the legendary rivalry between Martina and Chris Evert. In this clip, Martina talks specifically about how hard it was being out at that time. Chris Evert was the all-American girl next door, and Martina was portrayed as the bad guy. "Here I am this big, muscular lesbian from a Communist country," she said. "And the headline was, 'The good vs. the bad'. Here I was this villain, and it hurt."
But in the end, Martina, you are the hero.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mixed LGBT reaction over Chaz Bono

Chaz Bono is receiving a not entirely positive reaction from the LGBT community on the publication of his new memoir and a documentary about his transition from female to male. But this should not be a total surprise. Transmen who embrace the gender binary and surgically transition from female to male have an uncomfortable presence in the lesbian community. This is understandable: If the lesbian community is dedicated to celebrating — and fighting for the rights of — women who love women (in all their diversity on the genderqueer spectrum), what do we do when one of our own (transmen usually originate in the lesbian community), determines she is not truly female and chooses to legally and surgically become a man? There is concern among some lesbians that the decision to transition — rather than live as a butch lesbian or other genderqueer female— has an undercurrent of misogyny.

Perhaps more surprisingly about Chaz Bono's case is that even the trans community appears conflicted. A recent column on a leading lesbian website, Autostraddle, explores the reasons why Chaz's story is not an ideal representation of the experiences of most transmen. Sebastian, a columnist who is also a transman, expresses concern that Chaz seems too hung up on the medical procedure as the key to his transition. Specifically, Sebastian objects to the notion that simply taking testosterone and having your breasts removed automatically makes you a man. His column also points out the troubling result that, as a man, Chaz now espouses sexist male stereotypes, as if he has become an outdated cliche of manliness:
"According to the film, after T[estosterone], Chaz lost some softness, became angrier, less tolerant of the annoying things 'women do' (like 'chit chat' or 'worry about how fruit should be set out on the table for brunch…'), less sweet, more stubborn, and always needed to be right – traits his partner said were typical of men. I’ve never bought into this concept that men and women are so inherently different and that it is so much a result of our physiological makeup that changing our testosterone and estrogen levels can seriously alter who we are mentally and emotionally. I mean honestly this is absurd."

Sebastian also argues that Chaz is a troubled person who apparently thinks that changing his sex will magically improve everything in his life. According to Sebastian, transitioning is more complicated than that, and he says this point is the one thing that makes the film worthwhile.
"Becoming Chaz is pretty honest about how little Chaz ultimately has figured out. He’s still early in transition and is a recovering addict and comes off very adolescent in his dealings with the rest of the world. He plays a lot of video games, doesn’t seem to have very many friends, struggles with his girlfriend, and as far as I can tell, hasn’t held a job. His transition didn’t solve all his problems, and I value a film that honestly portrays that reality."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lesbians for Gingrich

As conservative politician Newt Gingrich announced his depressing candidacy for president this week, The New York Times published an article outlining his many hypocrisies, including wrapping himself in the so-called "family values" flag whilst living a reality of infidelity and multiple divorce. Clearly, Newt is not the star of the Gingrich children. That honor goes to his sister, Candace Gingrich, who made headlines in the 1990s when she came out as a gay rights activist while her brother was leading the right wing charge as Speaker of the House. And I'm happy to report that Candace Gingrich-Jones (now married to Rebecca Gingrich-Jones) is still working on the side of justice as an associate director at the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest civil rights organization for LGBT equality. You can read Candace's unmitigated thoughts about her big brother's anti-gay and anti-progressive views in an open letter she published on The Huffington Post a few years ago. Here's an excerpt: "The truth is that you're living in a world that no longer exists. I, along with millions of Americans, clearly see the world the way it as — and we embrace what it can be."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lesbian moms have got it going on



Today we pay tribute to all the lesbian moms out there (SG and her beloved included!) Happy Mothers' Day!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Field hockey sisterhood

I confess I'm completely absorbed by the royal wedding. In an effort to forge a connection with the event, I am looking to the playing fields, to that celebrated tradition in sisterhood: Field hockey.

Kate Middleton will soon be a princess, but she once could be counted among chicks with sticks. Indeed, she was captain of her high school field hockey team — just like the Sapphist Gazetteer! Here, you can see Kate showing good form in the middle of the action, and, at left, the Sapphist Gazetteer is apparently catching her breath... But never mind that. I think it's charming that we both favored the jaunty headband.

Oh, and my other connection to the royal affair is this handsome Henry VIII "tea bag tidy" that I bought at the Tower of London a few years ago.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Our dear Cate falls under Merkin's myopic gaze

It is an established fact that Cate Blanchett is a favorite of the sapphists. In an international poll of lesbians few years ago, she was voted among the top ten sexiest women in the world (alongside other lesbian faves Kate Winslet, Rachel Weisz, Emily Blunt, and Keira Knightley). Most recently, the Effing Dykes blog made a passing reference to Cate's stature in the lesbian realm: "What does Spring mean? Spring means all the lezzers take off their sweatpants, press 'Pause' on the scratched-up DVD of Elizabeth, and start winding fresh grip tape onto their bike handlebars." In addition, Anne Hathaway has said Cate Blanchett is the one actress for whom she'd go gay—even the straight girls are into Cate. Lastly, like many good lesbians, Cate (who is not a lesbian) has mastered passing as a man, as evidenced by her portrayal of Bob Dylan in I'm Not There. So, yes, we sapphists feel a bit possessive of our magnificent Cate.

Therefore, it was only natural when Cate Blanchett's fabulous face appeared on the cover of The New York Times Style Magazine last Sunday that I would set aside a delicious moment to savor the piece. But, it was not to be. Soon the bitterness of Merkin emerged. Unfortunately, Daphne Merkin wrote the article in the Times. Even before Merkin spewed that dreadful, infamous, sapphobic column about Rachel Maddow in the Times in 2009, she had been persona non grata in the lesbian community. I've even wondered if the whole Stacy Merkin/vagina wig plot on the L Word was a slam on Daphne. I mean, "the vagina wig" character on the L Word was a controversial magazine writer named Merkin. Coincidence? In any case, if you were lucky enough to have missed Merkin's "Butch Fatale" piece about Maddow, AfterEllen sums it up in all its ugliness:
"[Daphne] Merkin has been the subject of much criticism over the years for her ignorant remarks about lesbians, and women in general. After all, she gave up trying to please us gays years ago. 'I'm tired of protecting the sensibilities of the gay community,' she wrote in a 2007 post... Butch Fatale is a no-holds-barred attack on dykes disguised as some sort of complimentary, 'Oh, look — some lesbians have style now' trend piece. Merkin, whose experience with lesbians seems to come from reality television and Perez Hilton, decided to consult an expert for her piece: her gay male friend: 'I don’t think that much about lesbianism,' says a young gay male friend of mine, unwittingly stating the problem in a nutshell. 'No one thinks that much about lesbianism. Who cares?' It just gets worse from there. Merkin goes on to say male homosexuality celebrates 'prettiness and youth,' dating gay icons back to the Greeks. When she thinks of lesbian icons, all she can see is 'Fran Lebowitz, looking surly and bored.' "
Can you believe the Times actually published that? (And, by the way, Merkin wishes she were Fran Lebowitz.) Now, we see that the latest person with whom Merkin is unhappy is Cate Blanchett. It seems Merkin did not get what she wanted from Blanchett—a deep emotional connection, apparently—and so she writes this big complaint about their lunch at the Chateau Marmont. The other major theme of Merkin's piece is hunger. While Cate eats her boiled eggs and spinach, Merkin devours Blanchett with her eyes. Daphne's description of her lunch companion makes Cate sound like a sweet dyke. A sampling: "her bright blond crown of boyishly cut hair," "her face is bare of makeup," "her nails are unmanicured," and, she has "finely chiseled biceps." In addition, "Blanchett is whippet thin and wearing black jeans," "her bone structure is a gift from the gods" "her skin is luminous and poreless and the color of a pale peach," "not to mention her generous mobile mouth."

For the love of God, Merkin, just kiss her already.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Work that skirt

I stand corrected re Pantsuit Madness. I should know better than to question the sports knowledge of M, who has supplied me with examples of coaches who choose to work the skirt on the sideline rather than the pantsuit (e.g.: Sherri Coale, Oklahoma, and Coquese Washington, Penn State).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Send a little love to our friends in Japan

It's easy to give a donation to help those suffering in Japan. Just text the phrase REDCROSS to 90999 on your mobile phone, and you'll give $10 to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Or, you can go to Lady Gaga's online store and order a "We Pray for Japan" wristband. It costs $5 and all proceeds go directly to relief efforts in Japan.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pantsuit Madness

Yes, it's March, and you know what that means. An important, if unofficial, competition is underway on the nation's basketball courts. The lady coaches are going head-to-head with their sideline sartorial skills. It's Pantsuit Madness!!!

In all seriousness, I do want to talk about this. And celebrate it. Not just because I happen to find these women rather sexy. But because there is basically nowhere else in the mass media where you will find such a concentration of strong, confident women striding around, giving orders, and wearing butch pantsuits.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that all basketball coaches in pantsuits are lesbians. But many of them are. And, as far I can see, only one of them is out—Portland State's Sherri Murrell, at left. The rest are closeted because we all know that, despite the heaps of lesbians in women's athletics, homophobia in college sports is rampant and vicious.

Professor Pat Griffin, an expert on the topic, wrote on her LGBT sport blog, "Of course, there are lesbians coaching Division 1 basketball teams. Even though they are closeted, everyone knows they are there." ESPN magazine also recently published an article on the problem. "Some women's college basketball coaches use subtle vocabulary to 'dis' certain programs. But there's no polite way to say this: Their homophobia is polluting the recruiting trail," the article said. Incredibly, it also touched on the topic of anti-gay recruiting being used against legendary coach Pat Summit, who, it must be said, in addition to being the NCAA's winningest basketball coach ever, male or female, is a masterful wearer of the pantsuit.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lady Mary


I'm afraid I'm too busy to muster up much, but, speaking of Downton Abbey, this photo of Lady Mary Crawley, played by Michelle Dockery, is worth a great deal of study. Also, Lady Mary looking rather butch with top hat and intensity. And Lady Mary with a teacup full of quiet desperation. If you can spare 3 minutes, you should watch this video of Lady Mary — it has a sound track of Juice Newton's Angel of the Morning, which, honestly, makes it very special.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Lesbian guide to snow removal

Considering the fact that I am now an expert on snow removal, I feel qualified to offer these guidelines. In addition to the approximately 56 snow storms I've lived through this winter, I also have years of experience in the northern climes, including a childhood in New Hampshire (where they know how to clear the roads, if not adequately fund public education).

The Lesbian Guide to Snow Removal:
1. The lesbian in the house should lavish praise on the lesbian who is outside busting her ass.
2. Proper gloves should be worn. Not the fancy green leather gloves, which will leave an unsightly stain on the fingers once the wetness has soaked through, which it will.
3. Pancakes or some other type of hot breakfast should await the lesbian who is outside busting her ass.
4. Keep a box of Kleenex near the door. Even if you are one of those girls who knows how to blow her nose into the snowbank, you should not do that.
5. The first order of business should be to clear a path for the dog, who does not want to step in snow deeper than 1/18 of an inch.
6. The rarely worn baseball cap that you consider kind of stiff and dorky (a la Dad's style) but is big enough to fit over a knit cap and protect from falling snow may elicit a surprise compliment from the neighborhood hip-hop guy who passes by. When this occurs you may realize you look a little like Turtle from Entourage.
7. If you have a snow blower, you should name her and refer to her using feminine pronouns. "Alice B. Toklas" or "Mary Cheney" are good choices.
8. Choose appropriate topics to discuss with your shoveling neighbors, who will tend to be male. FYI, "My feet are cold," is a conversation stopper.
9. Pause occasionally to look up at the sky.
10. When you come inside, stomp your heavy, dyke-style boots in a ceremonial ritual to signal the completion of snow removal and the commencement of hot breakfast.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let's take a moment to appreciate Elizabeth McGovern

Speaking of Downton Abbey, we should take a moment to appreciate Elizabeth McGovern. In Downton Abbey, the wildly popular British television series, McGovern plays the wealthy American mistress of an English great house in the early 20th century. The series is currently airing in the US on PBS's Masterpiece, which means I have been enjoying Maggie Smith deliver such memorable lines as, "What is a 'weekend'?" But back to Elizabeth McGovern, who is all sidelong glances, squinting inquisitions, and breathy understatement. "We will discuss that later," she says of her daughter's behavior as a corpse lay scandalously on her daughter's bed. She is fabulous in this production. And the hats! Also, I think it's worth appreciating McGovern's history in queer roles, including Moira, the underground lesbian rebel, in the film version of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and Ellen Doubleday, Daphne du Maurier's intense and flirty but ultimately unrequited love interest (her publisher's elegant wife) in Daphne.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You are going to love Jayne Dooe

If you need a little lift today, check out Jayne Dooe singing "Hell Yeah I'm Gay." Just look at her smile! That is a beautiful smile. Jayne Dooe is a politically aware LA-based hip hop artist. I admit I'm not much of a hip hop fan, but this is a song everyone will love. "I just wanna be me/Last time I checked this country was free." The video is pure joy. (And you can buy the song on iTunes.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Profusion of chefbians

Our girl Tiffani Faison is doing well in the current season of Top Chef All Stars, but she apparently is fresh out of a job in Boston. The Boston Globe reported this morning that Tiffani's employer, Rocca, in Boston's South End, has closed. Tiffani said she plans to stay in Boston and hopes to run her own restaurant. Book me for a reservation! This is a good opportunity to review the profusion of lesbians and queer women on Top Chef. By my count, there have been at least six in the show's eight seasons. Due to this prevalence, the gals at AfterEllen coined the term "chefbian." Likewise, the site foodnetworkhumor.com recognized the pervasiveness and called for a new rule banning "annoying, whiny lesbians who complain about everything." What? We don't whine! We don't complain about everything! Okay, maybe sometimes we do. But only when the patriarchy deserves it! Anyhoo, the sexy chefbians are pictured above, from left: Josie Smith-Malave, Ashley Merriman (my favorite because she is a NH native and just so adorable), Jamie Lauren (#scallops), Tiffani Faison, Lisa Fernandes, and Preeti Mistry. BTW, if the gals at foodnetworkhumor.com spent more time with lesbians, they would know that Sara (of Tegan and Sara) is spelled sans "h."