Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ladies, Thank the Lesbians

At parties, my spouse and I are often mistaken for friends or roommates because we share mascara, and we have long hair.

We are players of board games and readers of used books, the latter being our foremost weakness and indulgence. We have a private definition of "dirty" that is completely unrelated to sex. Overhead lights, with their dull flicker, are dirty. Sleeping past ten is dirty. Drive-through meals, video games, thick eyeliner and crooked bathmats: dirty. Hopefully, such a list does not reveal a simmering core of elitism, but rather a domestic suitability that is nonpareil and deeply satisfying.

We are perfect valentines, but there is a catch.

Because we are two girls, we are regarded as single. It doesn't matter if I place my hand on her lower back when we walk; it doesn't matter that we wear matching wedding bands. When we measure our options for Valentine's Day, we consider the fact that we will probably be the only table of two women at the restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia where we live. We factor in the sympathetic glances we'll receive- poor things can't get a date - and we predict that a server might ask us, "Leaving the boys at home tonight?"

No, in fact, we did not leave the boys at home.

Consequentially, I implore straight girls to hesitate before demanding chocolates and flowers. Perhaps part of the valentine can be what other people see when you are together. When he pulls your chair out for you at a restaurant, people will assume he is your date. If he buys roses, people will know he is bringing them home to your delicate hands.

I am well versed in all of the reasons this should not matter to me. I do not need strangers to validate my relationship; I do not need to see myself on TV to feel important. The fact is that I am not particularly bitter when no one can tell that I'm on a date with my spouse. Leaving the boys at home tonight? is one of our favorite jokes. The source of my frustration does not come from marriage to a woman; rather, it comes from my friendship with men.

In some ways, one of the greatest things about being a lesbian is men. Friendship with men is not always free of sexual tension, but there is a level of relaxation, even of giddiness, that comes from people who are not categorically doomed to be either competitors or predator and prey. Additionally - and for this all straight women should be grateful - men practice their good behavior on their lesbian friends. They are considerate to the point of insanity; they are freer with compliments, because there is no context for immediate suspicion. They notice our shoes and jewelry. They take our arms on stairs; they never, ever walk through doorways before us. Clearly, I am not the kind of lesbian who resists the roots of chivalry; on the contrary, chivalry can make my day. Dearest straight girls, let chivalry be your valentine, or let your valentine be this: if you link arms with your boyfriend and walk down the street, everyone will see it for what it is.



Anonymous said...

thank you ladies, i forget sometimes how easy we have it.

Anonymous said...

And a Happy V-Day to you as well

Hannah Miet said...

Great Post : )

lauren said...

this is an awesome post!