Moving gayly forward from All the Cool Girls are Lesbian, it seems natural to slide into a warm, meandering tangent into Lesbian Cool and what that might be.
I’m not talking about that ineffable cool quality mind you, the thing I use to pull you from across the room to enter the edge of my personal space where you offer me your heart on a platinum platter complete with a fork, a white linen napkin and a finely sharpened steak knife, all before you even learn my name — should I choose to tell you. Not that kind of cool at all.
I am talking about the other kind of cool, the one that is a subjective thing influenced as it is by family, age and culture as well as by ethnic, education, artistic, sexual, religious and class sensibilities and played on by media, music and fashion. (The influences can be positive or negative but are inescapable whether growing and evolving from them, or rejecting them as in rebelling against and negating any such influence.)
The thing is, anyone can buy the clothes, listen to the music. Read the books. Cook the food. Get the dog, cat, car. Be at the right bar. Live in the part of the city, and in THAT city. Wear the lipstick, uniform, boots; dig the poetry, watch the lesbian soaps, wear the ribbons, drink champagne, eat dark chocolate. Choose femme, boi, sk8ergirl, gamegirl, rocker. Green the space, go organic, watch Glee, pine and petition for L word — The Movie, get tattooed, pierced; get pregnant, married or both; get a motorcycle, play War of Warcraft, go to the Dinah Shore golf tournament or a lesbian cruise thing.
Is any of that stuff cool for more than an internet minute? Is any of that anything more that a Costume of Cool, an arrow of attention pointing at wearer and posture like a billboard to shout, I have the ability to choose and take part in cool things? No. So I’m not talking about that amusing, fleeting, manufactured, marketed, magazined, tweeted, facebooked, Hollywood, (North, South, Bollywood or Tokyo) affected kind of cool.
To my mind, Lesbian Cool is what the costume covers up, and so, this past week, I invited various women to my home to take part in informal one-on-one interviews and a couple of small focus groups to get at what they feel best describes Lesbian Cool. I have distilled all the data to get to what’s germane about Lesbian Cool.
Are you ready?
Lesbian Cool is a combination of attractiveness, slight aloofness, a grounded sense of self, intelligence mixed with smart cheekiness and a good sense of humour, and an emotional maturity that allows for a slow, luxurious trip into intensity without the unnecessary drama. It’s a confidence that’s easy and real and you see it in how she holds a wine glass. You hear it when she speaks; that sharp, smart intelligence presented as a gentle, embracing thing: although you discern that it could nail you to a wall or distance you in a heartbeat should she choose to do so. There is NOTHING cooler than a lesbian whose intelligence is tempered with humanity, and self-understanding (unless of course she drives a Ferrari, reads poetry out loud in bed, slow dances with you in the kitchen as you take a break from making dinner together and lets you draw on her with body crayons.)
According to my small group sampling, Lesbian Cool is also in details: the unobtrusive overstitching of her shoes matches the overstitching of her watch band. How she looks at you over her glasses: not quite librarian, but close. Someone who lives the lesbian kama sutra and tantric sex for lesbians.
Lesbian Cool under of the Costume of Cool is a process of discovery. A book with many stories. Ones you want to read over and over, finding something new every time, losing yourself each time, thinking, how cool is THAT? How cool is she?
And how cool is it that she is who she is and shares herself with you so that you can share yourself with her? Goddess knows there is truly nothing cooler for lesbians than that.