The other day I bumped into a friend of mine from high school whom I had not seen since she wrote the letters “K.I.T.” in my yearbook. After our awkward hug hello, the immediate question to follow was, “So what have you been up to?”
In the course of 10 minutes standing on a busy street corner, we summed up our lives, CliffsNotes style. She immediately tells me she is married with kids, and she is working at some law firm with three last names that I couldn’t possibly ever recall. The conversation then turns to me, and I have the always-awesome task of coming out — again. I tell my former classmate where I am working and that I am now living with my girlfriend of three years. I then wait for an awkward and befuddled face, and on cue, it arrives. After the momentary shock settles in, she becomes more intrigued than anything, and thus more conversation ensues:
“How’d you meet her?”
“I thought you might be gay in high school!”
“Did you like anyone in our grade?”
And then the dialogue I wasn’t expecting:
Former classmate: What kind of lesbian is your girlfriend?
Lesbian: Um, I’m sorry. What?
Former Classmate: You know, is she like an Ellen-type person, or more like a Portia de Rossi? Or is she like k.d. Lang or like that woman on Bravo with the gym?
Lesbian: Jackie Warner.
Former Classmate: Yes! Jackie Warner. See, you know!
While I could understand the curiosity surrounding her questions, I found it remarkable that she asked them. I mean, she told me she was married, and I didn’t launch into a litany of male celebrities: “So what’s your husband like? Is he a sloppy-sweatshirt-wearing kind of guy like Adam Sandler? Is he a baldy like Bruce Willis? Or does he have a full head like that McDreamy fellow?”
I guess as much as I was shocked by her candor, I couldn’t be offended by what she asked me because I admittedly have asked those sorts of questions of my own friends. How many times have you had to describe your ideal woman to someone using words like femme, butch, boi, androgynous, chapstick, lipstick or sporty?
Perhaps now, in place of those terms, it is easier just to use celebrity equivalents. So instead of saying something like, “I am attracted to femmes who are a little sporty,” you could say, “I’m looking for a Bette Porter with a splash of Dana.” There you have a perfect visual and you know who you are getting. (And good for you, I might add.)
I know some of you may be getting mad at me and want to remind me that we are all individuals and very unique and shouldn’t succumb to any pigeonholes or stereotypes — and I totally agree with you. I understand that no one wants to be put in a box (they are cramped and often uncomfortable), but boxes can aid in describing the general style a person has, which is helpful in the art of attraction. You aren’t defined by this box; you are just painting a broad-spectrum image of yourself.
Given that some people (like my former classmate) wouldn’t know who Dana or Bette are, but would know who Ellen is, I was curious if any of you could describe yourself to someone using an out lesbian celebrity.
Let’s put it to the test. Which of these celesbians best describe you and your style?
Ellen DeGeneres: You hate wearing dresses, but you love a cool pantsuit paired with your favorite and most comfortable pair of shoes. (Comfy footwear is key.)
Portia de Rossi: You wear makeup almost every day of the week and wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without your hair done. You love feeling pretty because, gosh darn it, you are.
Jackie Warner: You work out and you want people to know it. You add a sporty edge to glamour, and you proudly admit to having more product in your hair than Ryan Seacrest.
Daniela Sea: This shirt may be made for a guy, but you look 10 times better in it than any dude does. You pull off androgyny with sexiness and style.
Tegan or Sara: Music drives your life and your clothes. Beat-up concert tees, Converse sneakers and asymmetrical haircuts keep you on the cutting edge.
Rachel Maddow: You prefer a classic, low-maintenance look because you have natural beauty and intelligence. You are perfect as-is; too much more would ruin it.
Sheryl Swoopes: You love a good game of anything. Athleticism is your thing. By day you work hard in your sweats, but by night you definitely know how to glam it up when you are off the court.
Missy Higgins: Mix your favorite pair of jeans with an array of cute tank tops, and you are good to go. Your style is simple, but trendy. You would rather spend your time healing mother Earth and eliminating your carbon footprint than shopping in any mall.
Do any of these women or any combo of these women represent you? Do any celebrity lesbians that aren’t on the list?
I’ll get the ball rolling: I would say I am a Missy Higgins with a touch of Tegan and a sprinkle of Sara. Now it’s your turn.