The Top 9 Rules of Seduction in Lesbian Cinema

 
 

Rule # 7 Be a damsel in distress.

It's the oldest trick in the book of feminine wiles: Act helpless in order to garner the attention you require. We may sneer at it when we see it in the most conventional of straight movies, but look how hard we all fell for it in Bound (1996).

Mob moll Violet (Jennifer Tilly) makes eyes at newly paroled maintenance worker Corky (Gina Gershon) when they first meet in the elevator of a luxury apartment building. Thanks to the thin walls that separate them, Corky knows more than she cares to about the most intimate aspect of Violet's life. But she doesn't really get to know her neighbor until she gets a distress call from the building manager. Fair Violet has lost an earring down the kitchen drain and needs a big, strong, wrench-wielding, handy dyke to fetch it.

In a one of the most memorable cat-and-mouse games in lesbian cinema, Violet plays the clueless card in order to get Corky on her knees and under her kitchen sink. Corky disconnects the pipes in search of the lost jewelry while stealing sidelong glances at Violet's thighs. Sure, Corky knows it's a ruse and that sex kitten Violet intentionally tossed her own earring down the sink, but what difference does that make?

When the earring is retrieved, Violet insists that Corky stay for a drink. ("A beer. Naturally.") The drink leads where drinks often do, and Violet soon learns that she's not the only one with an ulterior motive. By the end of the snappy, violent ride that is Bound, the lovers have successfully double-crossed the mob for a few million bucks and ridden off into the sunset together. (In a monstrous, shiny new truck. Naturally.)

Rule # 8 Liquor her up.

Bombshell actress Mia Scarlett (Mia Riverton) sets surgeon Julie Wong's (Elaine Kao) hospital aflutter when she visits to prepare for an upcoming film in Georgia Lee's Red Doors (2005). The medical personnel bask in the presence of an actual celebrity, while quiet, un-Hollywood-savvy Julie watches with curiosity. She's never heard of Mia Scarlett, but she's not above slyly checking out the cheesecake photos of her in the magazines strewn about the nurses' station.

As it turns out, the interest is mutual. Mia vibes out the cute but closeted Julie, but can't seem to make Julie realize that she's attracted to her. So she ups the ante by inviting Julie out for drinks, then goes behind the bar and prepares Valencias for them both. Showy, seductive Mia relishes the opportunity to explain the origins of the drink, which involves setting orange slices aflame (and some "cold gin"): "It's also called the Flame of Love because Frank Sinatra had one," Mia says suggestively, "and fell in love."

Later, when Mia mixes Julie a frothy White Russian and deftly wipes a bit of milk foam from the tip of Julie's nose, the mood has definitely heated up. Maybe she's intoxicated by sultry Mia's come-ons, or maybe she's just plain drunk — but Julie is finally able to meet Mia's direct, sexy gaze and start to deal with her own sexuality.

Rule #9 Bare it all.

In her lesbian icon-making turn as a queer supermodel in Gia (1998), Angelina Jolie (who won a Golden Globe for this role) plays Gia Carangi as reckless and seething with sexual magnetism. Naturally, she finds herself wildly attracted to her sensible (and slightly prissy) makeup artist, Linda, played by Elizabeth Mitchell (ER, Lost).

When the boring catalogue photo shoot is over, the smarmy Eurotrash photographer invites the models to stay behind and make some "art" (or, as he says, "aht"). Everyone bails except for Gia, who is more than happy to undress and climb the chain-link prop fence like the feral beast she is — but only if Linda stays to watch.

And Linda watches all right: Her nervous fiddling with makeup brushes throughout the shoot speaks volumes. When the sleazy photographer commands Linda to strip down and pose with Gia, at first it seems unlikely that she will comply. But like the rest of us, she can't take her eyes off of Gia/Jolie, who hypnotizes her with a steady, vampiric gaze. It's not long before the formerly straight Linda is naked, pressed up against the fence in the studio — and later on, up against Gia. Is this movie the reason there are so many lesbians on America's Next Top Model?

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