Earlier this week, afterellen.com ran a post about seven common misconceptions people have about lesbians. I am sure there are more than seven, maybe as many as, oh I don’t know, variations and subtleties of vanilla flavours, or of white paint.
The first common misconception is that lesbians are good at sports. Maybe that’s the first one because (STEREOTYPE ALERT!) afterellen.com is American and reflects how Americans sexualize sports.
Granted, there are sports puppy lesbians: hockey, soccer, tennis, squash, volleyball, curling, softball, baseball, skateboarding. But seriously, all of us? I think not. Still, I pondered sports, me and my friends.
I played lacrosse for two summers as a teenager because I had a huge crush on a girl and she asked me to play. I did not know how to play but her offer to teach me, coupled with a pout when I initially said no thank you, was enough for me to cave in and yes. Let me say this about that. I sucked big time.
Coming out… my chosen sport was, well, women. I did not suck at that.
Then I settled down, got a group of friends and oh my gosh, didn’t someone suggest we play softball. Not a chance. This time, group pouts. Okay okay! So the team with my nearest and dearest got a token aspiring cheerleader. Me. At our night games, time out was called for make-up and hair fixes. I sucked. Pom Poms were SO not me.
Then, I took a real boxing class with a real Golden Gloves boxer for three years. I did not suck at that. And I finally learned how to skip rope!
In Canada, since everyone skates and plays hockey or soccer anyway, we have slightly different stereotypes. Our primary misconception is this: a lesbian wants all women. Oh please. Want is SUCH a strong word.
Personally, I do not want every single woman that crosses my path. Luckily, I walk on the right side so that crossing my path is darned near impossible. But when faced with this misconception I do feel the urge to disclose my, hmmm, wants so that the one who might think I am hot for anything female — including her — can put her mind at ease. And it answers the same questions men have too, easing their mind about the safety of their wife or girlfriend, because being a lesbian is ONLY and ever about sex, (growls me) as I continue itemizing my womanly wants of women.
- I want brilliant, attractive women who can dance, cook, love to read stories and poetry out loud in the bath or in bed, speak at least one other language, love music, art, and adventure, are curious about the world, are thoughtful, fair and kind to living creatures including people, know the alphabet forward and backward and its full potential, and are comfortable being an iconoclast.
- I want a woman who is strategic, present in the moment, fun, and funny; who makes great espresso and can talk about anything; lives in the paradox that is herself, someone with amazing hands, a killer smile and a mind like no other and who is okay being wanted by someone who only wants her to be herself and not a reflection of me, AND
- did I say has a killer smile?
Now if I walked into a room full of the women that I might want (did I mention killer smile??) I would be done in a heartbeat, but that would STILL not prove the misconception true, because it would be THAT roomful of women out of ALL the women in the world, and I would be too busy picking myself off the floor and making the rounds to prove anything, anyway. Besides there are other misconceptions, to be sure. For example: how lesbians hate men (um, no) how lesbian sex is 100 per cent risk free (um, no), that being a lesbian is just a phase, all it takes is a real man (nope).
Oh, and I have a new personal favourite misconception: that we are a homogeneous community as in “The Gays”.
“I really enjoyed the party. The Gays are so much fun!”
That’s like saying “everyone from Newfoundland is a comedian.” Oh wait….that turned out to be true. But still, when did we become such a distinct, homogenous group known as — The Gays — that makes us such a mainstream OTHER? Can’t you just SEE the sitcom??
SIDEBAR: Most people can only think within their own frame of reference, so when they think of relationships, clearly, there’s a ‘male’ and a ‘female’ and to people who have no exposure or knowledge, a lesbian is little more than a female male, a straight guy in drag, and don’t all straight guys want all women all the time? But do people think about what they are thinking? They can’t or they’d know how dumb it sounds when what they think they are thinking is said out loud. I am inclined to think a misconception in this context after all is just a fancy word for stereotype, or a fill-in-the-blank, plug-up the gap because it’s illegal to say, “I don’t know anything at all about this. Can you tell me?”
I’ve been pondering this misconception thing. Perhaps all out lesbians can collaborate on crafting drop dead brilliant responses to these misconceptions that we distribute by Lavender Express to every lesbian everywhere so that for the next 3 years, everyone who is asked the same questions, gets the same responses, word for word. Consistently. Anywhere in the world. In all languages. Everyone will know what we want them to know. And those 10 people will tell 10 people who will tell another 10 people and pretty soon, our recruitment officers will be asked fewer dumb questions!