It occurs to me that when faced with choices in life, those moments of having to make decisions, of choosing a path, a direction, a way to go, a commitment to move one way or the other, that the choices lesbians have to make are simple. For example;
– come out, or not
– sleep with her, or not
– live together or not
– get a pet, or not
– get married, or not
– have children, be a parent, or not
– shave your underarms or other places, or not
– pierce, or tattoo, or not.
Those choices will be made, of course. But so many, many more await you. Allow me to elaborate.
Depending on your age when you KNOW your mind, body and soul are for women, and IF you haven’t fallen in love with your best friend, you might have to choose what category of lesbian, or tribe you belong to in order to call the right recruitment office.
Rocker chick lesbian? Indie-pop, folk singing lesbian? Hip-hop, crumping, street dance lesbian? Disney movie lesbian? Skater girl lesbian? Art school lesbian? Ethnic or multicultural lesbian? Crystal-packing new ager from the Isle of Lesbos practicing the newest free-spirited dance in communal kitchens decked out in the latest in pine and tapestry interiors type of lesbian?
You might be the tofurkey and birkenstock and organic cotton, fair trade coffee and chocolate, drinking only filtered water and folding yourself into small spaces with the grace of a ballerina type of lesbian.
Or, if you are one of the millions of MBAs out there that happens to also be a lesbian, you can choose the professional, and often invisible lesbian tribe, of budget meetings and downsizing, of conferences and too much bad coffee and rubber chicken and long hours, a house, car, annual vacations and a retirement fund. (This tribe is generally middle and upper tax brackets, and is related to the predominantly white American tribe that does the Dinah Shore golf thing because goddess knows there is no such notion as … um … CLASS structure based on income or education or vocabulary in the lesbian world.)
In case you think that’s it…hang on. Other decisions await you on where to situate yourself in the lesbian world. The choices of identity are endless!
A boi, a butch, a dyke, a femme, lipstick lesbian. You can also choose to be a lesbian Domme, a lesbian submissive, a top, bottom or reciprocal, a lesbian celibate (YES, there are those).
If you are a fan of Ayn Rand or compartmentalizing in general, you could opt to be a queer feminist, or even a lesbian separatist or simply a political lesbian.
Pets are a factor, but decide if you are a lesbian that will wear cat fur or dog fur.
Others on the lesbian picklist? An academic lesbian, a lesbian architect or engineer. Lesbians who know every rice pilaf recipe from here to Morocco, and lesbians who’s only food source is what comes from a microwave; lesbian gamers, lesbian skateboarders, lesbian prostitutes, lesbian musicians, lesbians sober for a day, a year, a decade, lesbian cops, lesbian writers, lesbian bloggers, lesbians in health care, lesbian geeks, nerds and programmers, lesbian artists, lesbian ministers, lesbian designers or that rare species, lesbian bureaucrats.
You can also decide to be a lesbian example or a warning: There are lesbian researchers, farmers, veterinarians, and professional sports puppy lesbians. There are EVEN lesbians in Cirque du Soleil, lesbian card dealers in Vegas and Monaco. There are lesbians in jail — either as inmates or guards; lesbian lawyers, in the offices of companies that hold a world monopoly on genetically modified food. Lesbians have also chosen to be in the army, navy, airforce and in space, now on the speaker’s circuit. (Air kisses to Roberta Bondar).
There are lesbians who are good people. And lesbians who are not. It is a choice.
(After cataloguing all that I am not sure if I should put lesbian FIRST at all. Lesbian Writer Tribe? Or a tribe of writers who are lesbian?)
What, oh what, is a good lesbian to do?? (Bad ones already know what do to.)
Skip all that stuff. Skip the stereotypes and assumptions and categories and labels. Life is too long and too short to worry about conforming for more than a minute, and over-specialization is ONLY going to serve to significantly limit your field for dating, sexual exploration and relationships.
Besides, lesbians have far more important choices to make.
Consider laundry detergent: most of us start out using what our maternal unit used at home. But then came along the green movement and all of a sudden marketers put a batch of information on the containers and now — if we want to save the earth and the 700,000+ species on it from a certain destruction — we have to think about the stuff that gets our clothes clean.
And we have to think about gas mileage that a new car might get. Or the electricity being sucked by things that now never truly turn off, or how far the food travels, or how much money to put aside for retirement, and to choose what to wear to work that won’t tell but won’t hide either.
We have to choose how many dates to fit in over the holidays, the best way to introduce your new someone to family, if and where to go for vacation, what company to work for, what books to read, what colour to paint the hallway, to flirt or not to flirt, paint toe nails or not, colour hair or not, work out at a gym or run, what wine to have with dinner, what to make for dinner to impress her on your third date. You choose to go for the mammogram or not, you choose to NOT go through life assuming everyone is like you, and always check your assumptions. You choose to be helpful and kind as a way of being and to rise above the common denominator of passive living; choose — or not — to give your time and ear to people who need you; choose to feed your inner self and make time for you. You also choose — or not — to be on speaking terms with your ex because it’s what most lesbians do. (Why? I ask)
You choose what to do to manage your broken heart.
There are other choices lesbians face: picking a coffin when you have to bury a parent, a friend a lover; choosing to work things out or leave; choosing to be a good boss, a better friend; health over harm; choosing to be in relationship with her, with friends and family and still be who you are, and how you are that remains true to you across all categories and all tribes.
Or course, you can not choose a thing. Let life unfold and be what it will be, with you as a cork on the ocean, a feather in the wind, a passing thought. That’s a choice too.
Lesbian choices, indeed.
*** PS: If I have missed a tribe, please let me know. My ethno-anthropological-socio-sexuological study of the Lost Lesbia tribes is just beginning. .