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:

 

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How to Spike Your Shoes + a Tale of Violence

If you came here from the google and just want the tutorial for how to make spiky shoes without using goddamn power tools, jump here.

I have mixed feelings about my interest in fashion… in that I know it’s incredibly shallow at times but I’m not a moralist so I know I don’t really need to make an arbitrary value judgement about being shallow.

If I am going to justify my interest in fashion, which is mostly an obsession with shoes, I will say…Jeffrey Campbells kick ass. At least when they are on my feet they do.

I went to my friend Mindy’s going-away party (sniff, we will miss you Mindy). It is probably the last time I’ll see her apartment, which I will also miss, sliced in above a Thai restaurant in Hilcrest. I took my gas mask photo there for her Apocalypse rager.

I wanted to impress Mindy because she is stylish and has an adorable laugh, so I wore these boots of kicking and stomping:

jeffrey-campbell-spike-black-wood-quilt

I was having a pretty good time until some misogynistic monster told the story of forcing an underage girl to walk home with jizz in her hair. Even in his account, she very clearly said not to do that, but he thinks no means yes and he even rubbed it in for her. This guy was basically who everyone thinks Tucker Max is, but actually an asshole. I mean, so is Tucker, but he knows he is. This monster I met last weekend pretends to be self-deprecating as an excuse to tell stories for attention in which he is always the hero and women are unfortunate victims. Because, you know, sorry, that’s just how men are lol haha what-a-riot no fuck you.

“I bet she’s traumatized for life,” I said.

I was possibly also cranky because I was sober. I’ve been trying to be nicer to my liver. Aside: I have been really hungry lately and I realized it is because I’m consuming less liquid calories.

By about 2am I’d ironed out most of my crankiness talking to a new friend on the couch about his job at Alesmith and how I really ought to give the new Skrillex album a chance. I mean normally I would be like oh no, sir, my DJ friends told me never to Skrillex but this guy could make even Skrillex sound appealing, is what I’m saying.

I was quite enjoying the conversation when a new guy walked into the party with his dudes, put on Bubble Butt by Major laser, and asked me to dance.

“I’d rather not,” I said, and my Alesmith friend waved his hands, no thank you. Bubble Butt said if we refused him, he’d shake his bubble butt in our faces.

Now I’m no stranger to butts in my face, but I don’t like stranger butts in my face, and this guy didn’t even know my name. I mean, please, people, don’t put your butts near my body parts without a proper introduction!  I raised my right foot high, a clear message, I thought, that if he proceeded with shaking his bum-bum near my nose, it would only meet boot.

Yeah, I shoved him with my shoe, pretty hard. Then I caught Katelyn’s eye and we high-tailed it outta there. My only regret is that I didn’t stay long enough to say, “Oh, I’m sorry, are you butt-hurt?”

I immediately scored two new pairs of Jeffery Campbells at the PB Buffalo Exchange. For my protection. Against butts.

jeffrey-campbell-usa-americano-damsel-paint-white-lita

DIY Easy Spiked/Studded Heels

These are pretty quick to make. I finished mine in the commercial breaks between watching Breaking Bad. Did you see the last episode? Holy fuck, what a phone call.

You’ll need…

  • Screw-on spikes. Spikes are expensive. Try Amazon, maybe. Mine are like these.
    screw-on-spikes
  • An awl. To avoid using power tools, we’ll make the holes by hand. So keep that in mind when picking the shoes – are you strong enough to stab ’em? I got one from Ace Hardware San Carlos Hardware for $4
    awl-it-is-stabby
  • A screwdriver with a plastic handle
    screwdriver-plastic-handle
  • Shoes. If you want to do pumps like me, you’ll need to choose a pair with a seam down the back, because I am not strong enough to stab through 12 layers of plastic/fabric/plether/suede/whatever-the-fuck so I’ll just go in-between the stitches
  • Maybe some super glue
  • Maybe like some felt dots or something

One

bushmills-whiskey-reed-ginger-beer-cocktail-mixed-drinkPour whiskey over ice and splash some sours or ginger beer or nothing on it. This is always step one why do I even have to remind you??

Two

spikes-close-up-shoesTake a good look at the shoes and plan where you’re going to place the spikes. I opted to go in between the seams, with 4 spikes in each shoe. Space between them makes them look more menacing. I didn’t need to mark my holes, because I can count stitches relatively well, but if you need to do that probably some white out or a pencil, right?

Three

stabbin-shoe-with-awl-lookit-my-glitter-nails-spikesPlace the tip of the awl in between the seams from the outside of the shoe. Place the plastic handle of the screwdriver inside the shoe, and use it to help you make a clean hole without denting the shoe and also so you don’t stab yourself. Go slow so you don’t break the stitches, and push inward with the awl while twisting. Like you are killing something through its eye-socket and you want it to suffer.

If you do break a stitch, you can be paranoid and put a drop of super glue on it though I’m pretty sure the screwed-on spike will hold everything together.

Four

Screw that spike on. Do I really have to explain this? Tighten it with the screwdriver, too.

Five?

The way my particular shoes fit, I can’t even feel the screws, but if they rub on your feet in an uncomfortable way you could try a felt dot or a piece you cut from a gel insert to add space between your precious foot and the screw. Or you could just suffer for fashion like everyone else, duh.

candies-suede-spike-gray-heels-DIY

Map of Hillcrest – San Diego’s “Den of Sin”

My friend hunched over someone’s iPhone. “Drag Queen Fight Dinner Theater,” he said, and laughed. I thought maybe they were watching another La Fuente brawl video. I haven’t been to La Fuente since I ordered an enchilada and got a sauce-drizzled lukewarm tortilla wrapped around dry, unmelted, shredded cheese. I was not drunk, so this was not tasty. But when I was there awhile back I watched one queen push another hard enough to fall — which isn’t saying much as they were both wearing heels taller than mine.

He started naming other places. “Babycakes. Church of the Holy Tank Top.” They were looking at a map of Hillcrest. “Let me see,” I edged in, close.

This map was hard to find the next day until I typed "Hillcrest map gay" into the Google

This map was hard to find the next day until I typed “Hillcrest map gay” into the Google. Click for full res. Or view original source here, on Facebook.

“Gossip Gril is Vagina Stronghold?” I said, unimpressed. “More like where I go to remember I hate lesbians and cigarettes.” My friend replied, “That’s where go to remember I love lesbians and cigarettes.” I laughed.

Cursory stalking suggests Raanan Rosenfeld is indeed a gay man, which might explain this marker on the map he created. I’ve noticed that the kinds of gay men I meet at bars (read: soused) get this mentality of women as walking breasts and vaginas. This is not unlike the inebriated straight men I meet. Though while both groups are thinking, “Yay boobs; omigod I love boobs,” the former either say or imply eww in the direction of my genitals. Once, at Flick’s, a man cooed at me. “Oooooh,” he palmed my crotch, “What chu got down there, honey?” I made this face:

Hi, do I know you, crotch-grabber?

Hi, do I know you, crotch-grabber?

I think he assumed I was straight, so in his mind I deserved a bit of light harassing for coming into his boy bar. I’ve noticed gay men like to test people who enter LGBT spaces. I’ve watched many a straight man be forced to play gay chicken. It’s amusing when it’s not me. Misdirected passive-aggressiveness aside, I love these dens of sin.

Rosenfeld totally missed #1 on Fifth, and I think “Mama Testa. Perverted Tacos.” is a bit of an intellectual shortcut. Still I have to agree with “Shitshow Strip.” So please check out his graphic designer page and be nice and stuff. I am well familiar with that strip of street and its jumbled boozy bodies – and the shouts of, “woo, party!”

My dog died this week, so I looked forward to “Ruining” my “Thursday Morning.” Not to say that I drink to grieve… Monday night Katelyn asked if I’d like to drink and I sullenly replied, “No. I don’t drink to deal with my problems. I drink to give myself problems.”

But by Wednesday I knew it was time for a Gay Gambit. First, go to Gossip Grill and stew in the haze of cigarettes on a cramped ribbon of patio. The trick is to order your drink first, then pass the token to a friend. If you order both drinks at the start, you’ll end up with two tall beers and two bright tokens. Then you’re trapped in a sapphic sardine tin for two drinks instead of just one.

Then graduate to Flick’s, where wells are $2 each. They’re plastic cocktails, so double-fist. I tip on every drink, and by the end of the night when I’m expecting a flimsy screwdriver the bartender hands me a real glass, complete with cherry. I end up over-drinking. Sometimes it hurts your liver to be a regular.

Finally, the gambit ends at Rich’s. It’s the only Rich’s night without cover. I walk the club, determined to prove I am still in control, still able to march without stumbling. Everyone around me is dancing-off the cheap booze they drank for Welfare Wednesday. I think I drank too much, because I woke up in bed at 6am still wearing my jacket and purse…