How to be a Lesbian in San Diego

We’ve got Hillcrest. We’ve got Gossip Grill. (Ok we lost Bourbon St.) It’s not too difficult to be a lady lovin’ lady in San Diego. Yet the girls are shyer, here. They are more difficult to spot amidst so many straights sportin’ hot-weather-ready short hair and music-scene-festive side-cuts & undercuts. Maybe it’s because I’m decidedly femme, but the issue I most struggle with is invisibility. I’m fighting the pervasive assumption from the old rich yuppies that run this city & its media (thx Fox news) that I don’t even exist, and then I have to go ahead and love long hair and girly clothes and ridiculous shoes.

1. The Easy Way

The simplest way to be gay here is to cut off your hair and wear plaid.

how-to-be-a-lesbian-haircut-plaid

2. SD Lesbian Uniform

Of course, plenty of us don’t want to do that. That is why we have an alternative uniform, the Basic SD Femme. Carefully select clothes that you could wear to the gym (but probably don’t because they’re your going out clothes), wring your hair into a messy but tight bun (do not use those tutorials you saw back when you used to read Seventeen mags; this bun needs to look like something a man would try to make), and then add all the makeup you want.

Oh, and flip flops. San Diegans always wear flip flops to the bar. Which I hate. Please stop. Bar floors have puke residue, and cigarette ash, and spilled drinks. Protect your toes. Wear a cute and ever-so-butchy pair of slip-on deck shoes instead.

sd-femme-lesbian-uniform

Thing is, I don’t want to wear this uniform. I don’t go to the gym (so why fake it), I don’t want to wear flip flops if I’m not at the beach, and I don’t want to restrain my glorious mane. Yes I have donned this uniform and yes it probably got me girls’ numbers, but that is beside the point.

3. Lipstick

To survive being a (femme) lesbian in SD, I had to get proactive. I had to learn x-ray vision. I brushed up on all the signs I learned from Effing Dykes; the asymmetry, the chin nod, smirking, gettin’ vibes. I don’t remember if this was an Effing-D thing, but one of my favorite “rainbow” flags is lipstick.

gay-femme-lesbian-lipstick-drawing

  1. Even straight women don’t really wear lipstick for men. They wear it because it’s hot. Lipstick is armor. Lipstick is alpha performance of femininity. Lipstick is “I know the secret and precious world of Barbies.” Lipstick is “I could be famous.” Lipstick is “so what if my boyfriend doesn’t like it because it means he can’t kiss me? I’m sexy af.”
  2. Queer women take that attitude one step further and pick a color that is just a little off-putting. Garish, even. Orange-red that ever-so-slightly clashes with her skin tone. Bluish pop-pink. Neon fuchsia.

If a woman is wearing lipstick, especially if it’s nothing but lipstick (no foundation, little-to-no eye makeup) and it could be described as “bold,” your gaydar should go *ping.*

4. Gay Eye Contact

Gaydar isn’t just sitting on your figurative instrument deck, passively scanning all that surrounds you and emitting a soothing bell noise whenever it finds a match. Gaydar is something you do. The best way to use it is to try some prolonged eye contact. Just look her in the eyes, and try to send her the telepathic message, “I know you’re gay.” She’ll then know you know she is gay and will telepathically respond, “I am super gay.” Here’s me, initiating eye contact with you:

note the upturned chin and smirk

note the upturned chin and smirk

A straight woman’s reaction will look something like this:

gay-eye-contact-comic-straight-1

gay-eye-contact-comic-straight-2

 

She doesn’t understand why you’re kinda staring at her awkwardly, so she looks away almost immediately.

A queer woman, however, keeps on looking back:

gay-eye-contact-comic-1

gay-eye-contact-comic-2

gay-eye-contact-comic-3

 

Or, for the extreme version:

 

Advertisements

How to Be a Regular

“You don’t understand,” server Max at K’nB Wine Cellars said.  “We thought it was their first date. The way your mom was laughing at your Dad’s jokes. We thought they were a brand new couple. We were betting on whether they would last or not.” He took my empty glass to get me a new IPA, waved it around as he talked. “To discover they actually are married, for like years, and they have two functional kids-”

“Well.” I interjected with a smile.

“Whatever, Sami. LIke you guys are in college and you’re pretty good kids. Anyway it blew my mind.”

4-5 years later my parents still go to K’nBs and though he no longer works there, Max is one of my friends, whose notorious “cabin” parties I’ve frequently attended. And he’s gone to baseball games etc. with my parents and a QOTSA concert with all of us.

My mom’s unrestrained laugh is still a familiar sound there, even infamous; from far away her cackle alerts the staff to her presence. In their heyday, my parents have been whisked to tucked away tables on packed nights, bought drinks by staff, and had coasters thrown at them. All of the perks of being a regular — of being customers that helped support this business when it first began.

This is where my parents met. Well, that's what K'nB Wine Cellars believed for the longest time.

This is where my parents met. Well, that’s what K’nB Wine Cellars believed for the longest time.

Become a regular. Find a local bar just starting to establish itself. Go on Mondays because you need a beer to recover from the trauma of restarting your work week. Go on Tuesdays because you wish you came with an appetite on Monday and really wanted to try those sliders but, tomorrow, I’ll be back tomorrow. Go on Wednesdays because you’re halfway to the weekend and they have that special on craft drafts. Go on Thursdays because, why the hell not?

Tip well. Tip 20%. Get too drunk and tip 30%. Fuck it, 40%. Tip so much that they apply every possible discount to your order because they’re expecting your big tip and it almost embarrasses them to be treated so well.

Get free french fries when they screw up someone else’s order and have extra. Get free french fries when they screw up your order. Tease them for screwing up your order. Be teased for being loud and drunk. Be asked about your life, work, family. Bring dates and exchange knowing glances and feel like a hotshot.

And, most of all, smile when they remember you like a rum pineapple with lime.

The usual?

Yes, please.

Why does a party lifestyle blog need feminism?

Why does a lesbian need feminism? Why does a lesbian going out to a gay bar during San Diego Pride week need feminism? I mean, I’m categorically sexually disinterested in men, I’m in an environment which should not have friction or competitiveness or predation between women and men, and this week is, in theory at least, all about solidarity in our minority status as LGBTers. So you’d think I could take off my feminist hat and just enjoy my Adios, right?

Actually, my interactions went fairly well last night. The only example I can truthfully give is that a friend-of-a-friend started to tell a story and stopped at the word bitches, “Sorry, I always say that word. Anyway these bitches…” So, at least he was aware. Fuck though, I hear the most misogynistic crap come out of the mouths of gay men.

Part of me wants to give them a break. If the world has been trying to force-feed you women on a platter like they’re juicy delicious burgers (every Carl’s Jr ad, ever) and you finally want to express your right to want something different in life by proclaiming, “ewwww vaginas,” who can blame you, right?

I’m full of empathy until gay men I’ve barely met spin me around like I’m a little doll (ok, sometimes I like that because my shoes are awesome — but it doesn’t matter if I like it; he should get my permission first) or whistle at me in a drive by or slap my butt or (and, of course this happened) touch my crotch. They basically do this because there’s some sort of agreement between gay men and straight women that she can treat him like a little pet –hashtag gaybestfriend!! — in exchange for a boost in confidence from his (male) approval, and he can…well I’m not sure what he gets out of the arrangement but I’ll have to talk to my gay male friends and get back to you. Perhaps the social mobility through her straight world? Anyway, whatever the deal is, I think it’s a weird and kind of fucked up relationship. And it certainly doesn’t work for me when I’m assumed straight and so desperate for validation from a man that I will accept it gladly from one who isn’t even sexually attracted to me. More willingly, even, because I’m not expected to “pay out” for the favor.

Even when I attempt to retreat from the pressures of the straight world — when I try to go somewhere where I’m not going to be bombarded with cheesy pick-up lines or creepy staring — even at a gay bar, my interactions are still colored by the gender roles which filter and mutate into my environment. Sure, I’ll be able to relate with a gay man on many points about our shared queer space. But there are still going to be moments here and there where his viewpoint as a man means he’s going to trample over me. I will grant a few jabs because of my femme privilege — in that I blend into the straight world so easily and by choice of appearance or whatever he might not. But, I think there is a point where a negative attitude against women goes beyond the objection to the oppressive straight culture and into just mirroring sexism from that same culture. There are moments where I am made the object of a joke, or I have to witness a drag performance which is overly mocking of women rather than gender roles in general, or I’m actually molested, or I see other women treated this way. These things remind me of why we need feminism.

Just because it is to a lesser extent does not mean it should be ignored. Party environments can of course amplify misogyny — hello booze and hook-up culture. But environments which are expected to be safe can still host some of my most uncomfortable moments. Even a party thrown by a particularly enlightened bunch of hippies. Not every moment is going to be puppies and rainbows, but as long as the risks are so dire (rape, violence against women) I’d like to not be reminded of them. Not when I’m trying to get drunk on blue liquor, especially.

And that’s just the gay bar. Like I hinted at before, booze and hook-up culture makes for some pretty desperate maneuvers (and upsetting behaviors) at any party. All I really need to say is I live in a world where telling a man that I’m a lesbian does not turn him away; it turns him on.

There is no escape from the restrictive narratives which police gender. There is no escape from the entitlement that many men feel they have in regards to women’s bodies. Not even parties, and especially not parties in a lot of ways. People are trying to get drunk and fuck, after all. So long as I am surrounded by people who are trying to have sex with each other, and our larger cultural example of how to negotiate around sex and gender is so broken, I am going to be a witness, collateral damage, and/or a target of sexism. And I’d like to help fix that. So I can drink in peace.

A Primer on Concealable Flasks and 2 Alternatives

height-profile-alternatives-to-classic-concealable-flask-liquor-alcohol-shots

Disclaimer: I’m not really one to let moralism get in the way of partying, but I do have to say that if you can’t afford to buy a couple drinks at your local bars (and tip!) then, please, stay home on facebook and “like” pictures of all the people you wish would have sex with you.

On the other hand, I am not going to wager $20 cover on an event of dubious potential, expensive drinks, and no-reentry.  If the music sucks, at least let me spike your weak fucking $9 cocktails with the whiskey I hid in my socks. Bonus for you, my sweet venue: if I look like I’m having fun, maybe other people will be tricked into thinking they are also having fun.

Anyway.

classic-flask

First, we have our classic bootleggers flask. This one has been vandalized with a sticker. If you are wearing actual boots, and I mean big, badass boots with buckles and shit, you may be able to get away with this one. Most likely, however, you will be caught and this will be confiscated, and you will be sad because it is made of actual metal and you probably paid some dollars for it.

disposa-flask-disposable-plastic-flask

The next logical step is the plastic flask. This one is black, so it can hide in a very dark corner of your purse. It is a little bit smaller, perhaps because the makers know you want to hide it. The advertising on the front claims it can hold 5 shots.

disposable-flask-disposaflask-claims-to-hold-5-shots

However, the makers of DisposaFlask are lying liars or else they are in cahoots with the people who pour weak fucking cocktails, because I’m counting a shot as a plastic liquor mini bottle, and it don’t add up. Technically, a shot in this country is measured at 44ml, but it’s much easier to divide by 50. The DisposaFlask is not labeled in ml or even oz so I did a quick science for you:

disposaflask-holds-150ml

I’m rounding down to 150ml as a penalty for lying liar behavior. Also, and I’m just throwing this out there: look at that meniscus. (I just wanted to say meniscus in my head. Meniscus.)

disposable-flask-disposaflask-actually-holds-3-shots

That gives us 3 shots. This explains why I always finish off this flask feeling vaguely not drunk enough.

1-flask-equals-almost-5-shots

An 8oz flask does in fact hold nearly 5 shots.

pocket-shot-whiskey

Now, neither of the hardbody flasks are easy to hide on us squishy-body people, which is why the makers of Pocket Shot invented this delightful little packet.

pocket-shot-equals-1-liquor-mini-bottle-shot

The Pocket Shot is exactly the size of a regulation liquor mini, and it is definitely squishy. It will snuggle up to your skin and/or skivvies in all sorts of places. Squirrel away a few of these, and if security finds the one in your shoe at least they won’t find your nut-stash. P.S. they are fun for hookup partners to discover in your bra (true story).

The downside is that these guys are a little expensive, and of limited variety. I mean, I’m not against putting a plastic-encased mystery “W H I S K E Y” in my body, but you might want a flavor you can trust.

And so that brings us to… the DIY disposable concealable flask

infantino-squeeze-pouch-for-babies-freshly-squeezed-feeding-line

What is that? Why, it’s a squeeze pouch. For babies.

Infantino makes a squeeze pouch “feeding line” (are they children or are they livestock??) so that yuppie parents can package up custom applesauces, vegetable purrée, and other goo for their toddlers to quaff. It will set you back about $15 for a box of 50 pouches. I will demonstrate in pictures how to alter this fine product to smuggle liquor in your underwear.

photo-grid-concealable-flask-diy

Wow. This photo grid is exciting. Isn’t it just ready to go up on a Pinterest board? This is How I Spend My Summer. But the branch clipper photo kind of says it all:

turn-infantino-squeeze-pouch-into-concealable-disposable-flask

The elegant minimalism. The textures: pristine factory plastic, rusty blade, raw clipped edges. So much narrative implied in one photograph, and yet, the mystery. Congratulations, parents; I’m using my art degree to teach my friends and internet strangers how to repurpose baby products to get drunk cheaply at concerts.

infantino-squeeze-pouch-for-babies-holds-2-shots

Your DIY concealable disposable flask holds two minis. My confidential expert consultant says she can hide 4 of them in the crotch of her jean shorts. Impressive.

alternatives-to-classic-concealable-flask-liquor-alcohol-shotsA final photo for your comparison. Enjoy.

 

What did I snap last night? I will never know…

I am hangoverAs I am writing this, I am hungover. I am hangover. Hangover is a philosophy, a way of being, in which fears and anxieties are either muffled, too heavy with the poison in your blood to run rampant over you, or they are amplified with the urgency of vomit.

Currently, luckily, it is the former right now.

I have missed this inner peace. My mind is quiet, because the party monster’s reign is now over. I move slowly, I am dim. I no longer rage with the fires of the night and the overwhelming need to make out with women who are probably very straight but like the attention, I can tell, because you are laughing too loud and you keep looking at your friends and you’ve only felt me up like once this last hour.

BUT I am plagued by one thought. And that is, What did I snap last night?

Yeah, I went to Flick’s last night. I only had 3 drinks! 3 very “my bartender missed me and also I am at Flick’s” drinks. Also I think they were running out of orange juice.

what did I snap last night

This is what you already saw today if you are my snap friend.

Aside: You guys, you guys, you need to make #whatdidisnaplastnight a thing. I am begging you.

I am telling myself that the majority of my snaps looked like this:

snapchat too hot to handle

Actual snap. Sorry my sweet snapchat bestie, I know I made this just for you, but it is the only evidence I have. Because I clicked the download button. Because I am a narcissist.

But I know in my heart there was at least one like this:

snapchat too drunk to handle

Disclaimer: This is a snapchat re-enactment. That is not my drunk handwriting. I always write that bad.

I am forced to contend with the realities of having Facebook at my drunken fingertips. I am now part of the reality where my work life and my social life intersect in one device. I am an idiot who thought it was a good idea, while drunk, to delete the threads from my boss and my coworker so that I wouldn’t accidentally text them, and now have only black holes rather than hard evidence to appease the anxious feeling that I may have sent one of them something at 3am. I didn’t. I’m just paranoid. So very paranoid.

FYI Handcent SMS has a privacy box that forces you to enter a passcode before you can view texts by specific people, and I DEFINITELY had the time to get around setting that up TODAY.

The hangover is not my only consequence. What happens in my Vegas doesn’t stay in my Vegas when I always have an internet-connected camera in my pocket.

I have also chosen to put my real name on my writing. I have to hope this choice will make sense when I reflect back on my life, that I am right that society will continue to grow toward more honesty as privacy becomes harder to protect and more and more people add to the digital scrapbooks of their lives. Privilege check here (femme, financially secure, white, thin, etc.): it’s easy for me to be ok with decreasing privacy because I have the luxury of being able to live life openly — I have support networks and quite a lot of societal approval for my lifestyle, even with me being gay. Not everyone is so lucky.

I teeter between the reality that my personal experience is lost enough in the fire hose that is social media that I am safely invisible, with the fantasy that I’ll be so famous my “wild” behavior will be permissible. I have to balance the assumption that my boss doesn’t have the spare time to Google my name with the belief that she wouldn’t care if she did anyway. She was young once. She knows.

I used to think (and still kind of do) that my “hangover anxiety” comes from all the dopamine and serotonin and other fun brain chemicals I “used up” the night previous. I am worn out so I am too weak to fight off the anxiety. I also realize I am worried about what I may have done, how I may have bulldozed over someone else’s feelings because I desired the drunken spotlight. “You have no regrets if you never remember,” might be true, but I have a vivid imagination. I know myself, what I can do. So, I chase after the tails that squirrel away from me in the darkness, that disappear into the void like snapchats.

I have to admit, though, a smartphone can be very helpful for my lifestyle.

Beer fridge reminder

If this seems particularly lazy, please know that I meant to say freezer, but under the pressure of having to talk continuously into the mic thingy or else it cuts you off I slipped up and said fridge.


In my new tradition, here is your Flower the Skunk moment of the week:

Flower the Skunk Wish He Said (but Didn’t)….

IMAG0487_1No, your friend is right. You do not get to say the N word. You do not get to say it in a joke, you do not get to say it with a “z” at the end. Nope. You are a white girl and I am a white girl and neither of us get to say it.  This is not a freedom of speech issue, this is a you are making yourself look fucking ignorant issue.  No one is commenting on your post because you have made us all feel uncomfortable.

“What did I do last night?” A Detective Story

by 

cancer-neck-pain-dying-trashed-slept-on-bathroom-floor

My little brother — cosmic-cowboy hole-in-the-brain child of the same kooks that made me — was in town last week. I’d been hesitant to take him out since the last time I’d had drinks with him in public our parents found me sleep-standing against a wall and him shouting fuck tha’ po-lice.

But Katelyn makes a good drunk wrangler (we call her The Handler) and I figured if things started going to shit I’d make use of the zipties I inexplicably had in my purse.

I took him on a test run to a beach shindig where I didn’t know anyone (seriously, no one — the host found me on Facebook and just invited me, like some sort of party talent recruiter). His standby favorite, Steele Reserve, was only available in a three pack so we were playing with fire, so-to-speak. Indeed, with a literal flaming blade he did burn his hair. Yet, he struck down the beach with such furious precision that I was sure he had the beast, his party-monster, tamed. (I can’t speak for mine, however…)

sword-fire-poi-beach

The next night I took him to Fashion Whore, where two of our mutual friends were modeling. My brother asked if he was dressed well enough, and yes the holes in his pants look less like trendy distressing and more like he’s been living in a Berkeley co-op for the past 3-4 years (he has), but his screen-printed and studded leather jacket is a masterpiece. It should be placed on the shoulders of a little girl, photographed back-stalwartly-turned to the camera, and used as his next album cover for Butch Nasty and the Blackout Kids.

Brother + friend dropping Magnums.

Brother + friend dropping Magnums.

I’m not sure if the designers are geniuses or just sewing seashells to women’s clothing they got at the thrift store, but the event felt larger than the artsy-craftsy charm of its pieces. May Star is not short of brilliant for organizing this one; the U-31 crowd was thicker than the usual Ruby Room Merrow group and I’m not the only one who enjoyed watching my friends strutting (and dipping, and gliding, and dancing, and vamping) on the runway. Good show.

I think because my brother spent most of our bar excursion outside to smoke — out of sight, out of mind — I felt comfortable enough to quit monitoring his alcohol intake. And mine. By the end of the fashion show I’d made it through the better part of the third iteration of my “whiskey coke” (Pro Tip: A plastic flask extends the life of an $8 drink). I left it unattended with at least a finger left of pure Evan Williams, so when the busboy swiped it I felt like the universe owed me a drink. A friend of mine was completely neglecting some sort of Red Bull poison, and by the time he left I was basically obligated to finish it. The universe decided to teach me to watch what I ask for, and also provided a full vodka soda. I mumbled something about being a garbage disposal and downed both.

We made it back to a friend’s house, and I don’t remember much there. Luckily drunk-sami became a smartphone photographer so I’ve managed to reconstruct memories of Jenga and flogging.

jenga smile gif

flogger-smile

What no one remembers is if I knocked over all of the Jenga pieces on accident or on purpose.

The rest of the evening I pieced together by various clues. “Babe, why was there a towel by my head on the floor where I slept?” I was apparently making spit noises and giggling, like a giant frothy baby. Solution: towel. I also found a pillow in the bathroom and glimpsed a memory of a puke-filled toilet bowl through the camera-shutter flashback that is my recollection of traumatic happenings. I’m not much of a ‘vommer,’ be the urge from alcohol-intake or flu, always choosing to bunker down with my suffering over the violence of becoming a projectile-mechanism for my own stomach soup. I’ll do anything not to succumb to the porcelain gods’ demands for sacrifice.

Cigarettes, however, are a poison that my body won’t accept. My accusatory finger began pointing like a dowsing rod. Clearly I had an accomplice, since I know full well what cigarettes do to me. I wouldn’t stick another of those emetic sticks in my mouth after half a clove produced an embarrassing wet arc on the Brass Rail smoking patio. I wouldn’t…

cigarette-makes-me-puke-textOh, right. I totally would.

Guys don’t totally suck (I learned on my birthday)

(Hey guys, I got Prismacolors for my birthday! Enjoy the new doodles.)

I can’t say the last 7 days were uneventful — I had a birthday and 2013 became 2014 — but there isn’t a whole lot I’m willing to share on a website with my real name on it (Summary: lots of booze & bangin’). I do have a little story for you:

On my birthday, I discovered that the place I always think is Redwing but is not Redwing is also not Livewire. Nope, it’s Nunu’s.  But, you can’t blame Kateyln for taking me to the wrong, “U-shaped bar with booths,” because that, Livewire is.  Eh, it’d work. Never expecting much for my birthday, I put up check-in on facebook like my bat-signal and waited to see which friends would show.

I really mean I don’t expect much for my birthday. It’s the 27th of December, and I’ve spent most of those in a car ride to grandpa’s house in SB. My parents made the day special by letting me have the newspaper first and sometimes we’d pick up In’n’Out.  As I’ve gotten older, my birthday has become less of an addendum to Christmas in a bad way (hello child, you are getting a COMBO present and it is clothes!!), and more of an addendum to Christmas in a good way (combo present: DSLR!!!). First off, no one forgets my birthday checks. Also, I haven’t completely abandoned my childhood fantasy that all the lights and tinsel are put up just for me.

The “wrong” bar and my general lowered expectations for birthdays should have set me at unease, but maybe I just feel like I can do anything in a pair of Jeffrey Cambell’s and 1000 square inches of electric-grape leather. Maybe I could even accept free drinks from strangers.

electric-grape-leather-80s-comic-strawberry-blondeThe first person to show up was Katelyn’s bestie. She brought me a wrapped gift that was very obviously alcohol.

no-wine-gift-in-the-barYeah, no, that had to go straight to the car. The two girls left me in the bar to attend to my whiskey and a PBR tall can. I finished the former and took taxes from the latter. Just standin’ here by myself, looking gorgeous and bored. Twiddle thumbs.

Two dudes approached me and the first one said, “Hey, Sarah?” Close enough, and with my face-blind-ish-ness I assumed he knew me. We very quickly established he did not. I’m really good at talking about myself so I slipped in seamlessly that it was my birthday. (I’m lying; I announced it without context like a proud 5-year-old.)

He immediately offered a birthday shot. The way he did all the talking, I figured he was trying to wing-man for his shaggy-haired friend. I thought I knew what was going on there. Whatever, I could take his alcohol and reject his friend. Leather. 6 inch heels. It’s my birthday.

And then something kind of magical happened. The three of us took our shots of bourbon. My friend Marina arrived. He saw I wasn’t alone anymore, and told me he was glad to meet me, he’d be over by the pool table. He was glad to meet me. Past tense. As in he just bought me a shot and would be leaving me alone. I gave him a big hug I was so pleased.

I don’t want to undercut the rarity of these kinds of occurrences. I don’t want to dismiss the damage my gender faces at the hand of institutionalized sexism and asshats. I’ve certainly seen my fair share of bullshit. But something about that moment felt very….normal. Like it happens every day. Like 2014 is going to be different for me.

It’s the serenity that I felt that I treasure most. I know I’ll have to continue sharpening my skills of graceful rejection. I know someday some guy is going to put his hands on me and act like I was asking for it. But this little moment, this freely given shot, makes it worth it to keep my heart open.

Thank you, Bryan, wherever you are, for giving me something special for my birthday.