“Dinah Shore’s dead. She died back in ’94. And, actually, the word is that she hated her snooty little golf tournament turned into a spring break for lesbians. Refused to acknowledge it.”
Whether Dinah Shore smiles down appreciatively at the thousands of lesbians that invade Palm Springs every March under banners bearing her name, or whether she considers us one giant, collective zit on the ass of her legacy, we’ll never know for sure. But, more importantly, few of us seem to care.
We think of Dinah in the way she thought of us—not so much.
“Who the fuck was Dinah Shore?” is a question I was asked a few times by the inebriated the year I went to the infamous party known simply as Dinah. And it’s a fair question given that one of Shore’s major contributions to society was a hit from the 40′s, unfamiliar to most lesbians—a little ditty called “It’s So Nice to Have a Man Around the House.” Not exactly “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?”
The Q & A usually went something like this:
“Dinah was an entertainer,” I told one young woman.
“Was she at Stonehenge?”
“Hmm.” I thought about that. “Maybe. But I think you mean Stonewall.”
“No. No, I mean Stonehenge.”
“Oh, you’re talking about the Great Stonehenge Lesbian Upheaval?” I asked.
“No, she wasn’t there; that was Dinah Washington.”
I shouldn’t toy with the young, drunk and naïve who are trying to wrap their foggy heads around the stupid name of an event we all love so much, but I can’t help it. It’s amusing and more than a little interesting to me that the Dinah Shore Weekend lesbian blowout is named after a woman who not only did nothing fabulous for the lesbian community, but also never publicly supported us.
As The L Word‘s Alice pointed out, Dinah didn’t embrace the ‘Lesbians Gone Wild’ aspect of her golf tournament. And perhaps for that reason alone the annual lesbian group grope should be renamed The Dinah Score Weekend.
I’m kidding…sort of. I know that names tend to stick, especially the less flattering ones. I also realize that Dinah Shore was no enemy, no Jerry Falwell, and that the Dinah Shore Weekend isn’t the Jerry Falwell Commemorative Anal Sex-Travaganza Weekend. But it’s bizarre just the same that we cling to her name as though we want to rub her dispassion in post mortem, or as if we owe her something for her indifference.
The only common denominator between Dinah Shore the person and Dinah the party is a golf tournament that very few people care about (the Kraft Nabisco Championship) and that’s hosted by an association (the LPGA) that can’t even bring itself to admit that lesbians exist. And I think that’s weird. Where’s the love?
There is none.
Portia de Rossi would have to carpet-bomb the Mission Hills Country Club and then dance naked on what’s left of the 18th green for anyone at the Dinah parties to put down their cocktails or stop throwing balls in the hotel pools. And it’s extremely likely that after being given the details of the explosion, an LPGA spokesperson say, “Really? Portia DiRossi’s a lesbian? We didn’t know that and, well, we don’t really want to know.”