While it took me quite a while to officially ‘label’ my sexuality (a pressure that we should not need to feel so compelled to act upon), it didn’t take long to realise I wasn’t straight.
I have always found women totally desirable. I remember watching The L Word when I was fourteen – lots of the innuendo went over my head, but I was there for the inspiring and sex-fueled queer community that the show portrayed.
Little did I know that my coming out would not turn me into Bette Porter – a BMW convertible-driving art curator who wears immaculate pantsuits, with a raging sexual ferocity to boot.
A joke is told in The L Word’s first season that holds narrative weight – it’s referenced a few times over the course of its six-season run, and I didn’t understand it at all. “What does a lesbian bring to a first date?”, one of the core cast members posits to her fellow gorgeous queers.
“A turkey baster?” Another suggests.
Ultimately, we learn that the answer is not a turkey baster, but a U-Haul (AKA a moving van). While the more literal elements of the joke made sense to me, I struggled to comprehend why wanting to move in with someone quickly was synonymous with lesbianism, not love at first sight.
I learned recently that the joke was first told by Lea DeLaria (Big Boo from Orange is the New Black) at the beginning of her stand-up career. As I’m now very comfortably queer (with nearly an extra decade on my belt) the humour makes much more sense to me. Here is a lesbian satirically reflecting on this idea that we are obsessed with commitment – that two women in a relationship naturally results in more emotion, more feelings, and a desire for immediate security.
I get it. But it still feels complicated.
Lesbians exist in two very different ways in societal thought – we are sexualised, or we are chastised for this ‘need’ to U-Haul. It seems like we are not allowed to feel any in-between, and this is made all the more confusing by the deeply depressing stigma of the worst psychological phenomenon in the world: Lesbian Bed Death.
Listen to one straight woman ask four lesbians 14 burning questions in itunes, or here (post continues after podcast):