At last, a relationship book for lesbians that tells it like it is....
The journey from sexual curiosity to finally coming out can be confusing without proper guidance and empowering role models. In Same Sex in the City, Lauren Levin and Lauren Blitzer provide women—gay, straight, and bi-curious alike—with firsthand insight into the advantages and challenges of being a lesbian. In prose that is at once honest and uplifting, the Laurens relate their own experiences and those of the women they interview, as well as offer serious advice, titillating anecdotes, and a positive attitude for girls who know they're gay—and for those who are wondering about their sexuality but are not yet sure whether their Prince Charming is really a Cinderella.
Part confessional, part informational, Same Sex in the City covers the gamut of lesbian life—from dating to heartbreak, and from hooking up with straight chicks to raising a family. It's the book that millions of women have been searching for—a relationship guide that will help every woman come to terms with and celebrate her sexuality, whatever it may be.
Lauren Levin, a native Minnesotan, worked at Paper magazine before becoming a top account executive at Google. Currently a fulltime writer, she resides in New York City. This is her first book.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. :
Lesbian, the Label
Labels are for filing. Labels are for clothing. Labels are not for people. -- Martina Navratilova
You dress to the nines and enjoy an occasional manicure and pedicure. Wear flannels and tapered jeans everyday? No way. Sure, you find women hot. . . but doesn't everybody?
You don't look gay. You don't own any power tools. Guys check you out. Nobody would ever guess you've fantasized about your friends. . . or even fallen in love with them. Sure, you've had feelings for guys. Yet, you wonder what it would feel like to kiss a woman.
We've been there.
For years, we stood by our gold Prada stilettos, Citizen blue jeans, little black dresses, and pink Polo shirts. . . in the closet. We'll be the first to tell you, there's a hell of a lot more room in your closet once you come out of it. Being gay comes from within. It's not the stereotypical cropped haircut that makes someone gay. Just because we enjoy a weekly blowout and rocking little miniskirts doesn't mean we crave men. Our Prince Charming is, rather, a Cinderella.
In our pre-introspective teen years, we would have cringed if you told us we were gay. Us, gay? Hardly. Lesbians? No way, no how. Something about that label made it sound like we'd contracted some horrible disease. Sure, at the tender age of fifteen, we fell in love with our camp counselors. . . but, what girl hasn't fallen for her camp counselor? Women flirt with women. Girls develop girl crushes. It's only natural.
Yet, as we grew older, these lezzie crushes were more intense, and more frequent. Neither of us ever had super-serious boyfriends, but we have had sex with men. We've slept with men and women for the same reasons: because of desire, because we wanted to try it. And don't get us wrong, we enjoyed sex with men. But not like we do with women. Take it from lesbian comedian Lea Delaria: "It's not that I don't like penises, I just don't like them on men!"
Society leads us to believe that all women fall into one of three boxes: straight, bisexual, or gay. Yet, no one talks about the fact that many of the girls who say they fall into the straight box have chowed box. Just look at Marissa's bi-curious experimentation on The O.C. Or turn on MTV and watch any season of The Real World. Girls who experiment with their sexuality are all over the place, it's natural and it's normal. Girls kissing girls is no longer taboo. It's hot.
Research has shown, time and again, that women's sexuality is remarkably fluid. And there is a gray area, where many women choose to live and love. You may not look as "dykey" as, say, Chastity Bono or k.d. lang, but that doesn't mean you love women any less than they do. Some of your friends may have never been with men, some have never fantasized about women, and plenty are probably right in between.
Nowadays, people are even coming out of the closet as "asexual." Oftentimes, they first associate as gay, or at least people think they are gay for their lack of getting any. Soon enough, however, asexuals throw their hands up and admit that they are happy alone and don't crave physical intimacy with either men or women.
Despite our general aversion to labels, when push comes to shove, labels can actually be a good thing. It's nice to be able to identify and socialize with others whose desires are similar to your own. If labels didn't exist, there would be no "gay pride." In the end, labels are just a matter of preference. Our friend Sloane prefers to be called "queer." She feels the word queer implies that there is some discrepancy in her desires. She's not straight, but she's not gay, either. She's just a little "off," and thus identifies as queer.
Entering a gay bar can make you feel as though you need a dictionary to weed through all the diverse labels. You'll hear terms like "boi," "lug," or "dink" tossed around carelessly. When we were both rookies on the lesbo scene, we had no idea what any of these words meant. So here's a quick primer:
A boi is a girl who looks like a boy. She may even look so much like a boy, you'd mistake this boi for an actual boy. . . and that is exactly her intention.
Lugs, on the other hand, are a rare breed found mostly in small women's colleges in the Northeast. These girls are "Lesbians Until Graduation," who take advantage of the spirit of experimentation and self-discovery that four years of higher education affords.
Dinks are a breed of homosexuals who are "Dual Income, No Kids." Dinks can be men or women and are usually rather wealthy. With no kids to support, they have money to spend on things like real estate and, say, Marc Jacobs.
Whichever way you chose to live your life, be sure that your happiness is the first priority. The rest will just fall into place.
I am a proud femme lesbian and a JAP-WASP mixed breed. Like most girls, I dress in a way that makes me feel comfortable and attractive. In my case, I just so happen to dress like a lot of the straight girls I work with.
Shopping has always been one of my favorite hobbies. When I receive my paycheck, I have to try hard not spend it all on shoes. I fit in with the rest of the young NYC man-hungry women on the prowl, except that while those women search for a rich Jewish husband, I search for a nice Jewish wife.
At first glance, I am not what I appear to be. The discrepancy became more apparent than ever my first day on the job at a fashionable women's magazine. The moment I set foot in the Condé Nast cafeteria, I heard the shuffle of Manolo Blahniks and Jimmy Choos. As foreign as the cafeteria was, at least I was familiar with the clickety-clack of expensive heels. Come on, now, I grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I know my shoes.
I felt nervous in the enormous cafeteria. In fact, nervous is an understatement. I was petrified. I looked like all of the women I had seen walking in and out of the Condé Nast building, but there was something different about me. I felt intimidated, scared, and painfully gay.
The buzz of "Omigod" and "You look sooo cute" filled the perfume-laced air. Blondes of all shades and brunettes alike swarmed the fresh fruit display, home to healthy low-fat yogurt and granola. My eyes widened and wandered as I got lost in this sea of Theory pants and YSL shirts. Each woman, more beautiful than the next, walked by me. They shot dirty looks at other women who either weren't dressed to par or looked better than them. The cafeteria literally reeked of criticism, jealousy, and the latest designer fragrances.
I walked through the cafeteria in a daze, as eye candy raced by me. Damn, these women were beautiful. But, as gorgeous as these fashionistas were, not one really appealed to me. What was lacking in most cases was depth. I don't like petty women. As my thoughts turned romantic, I alerted myself that, hello, these women are all straight! There were the obvious straight girls who sported gigantic engagement rings, and then there were the girls I assumed were straight because of how they dressed. These girls literally woke up at four a.m. just to straighten their hair more perfectly than Frederic Fekkai could do himself.
However, as I stared at a particular blond bombshell, I realized I was making the same assumptions that I don't like people to make about me. Maybe not every woman who works for Condé Nast is straight. I sure as hell am not, even though I look it.
The majority of the women at work never even thought to question my sexuality. Boys like me, so therefore I like boys. They figure everyone is straight unless they don't look straight. Thankfully, I can offer these people some enlightenment. I hope women can look at me and see that it's okay to like women and be in touch with your sexuality. It's okay to take care of yourself and want to look fabulous. Sexuality dictates whom you love, not how you look.
When I went to college, I was straight. Well, as straight as any eighteen-year-old, open-minded, sexually charged female could be. I attended the University of Vermont, and my freshman year was miserable. I smoked too much pot and involved myself with way too many lame eighteen-year-old boys who didn't appreciate who I was. They wanted more than I was willing to give and, in general, were one big snooze fest. Before my first spring break, I began looking for a new place to call my own.
Growing up, I'd kissed girls. Mostly for the pleasure of sixteen-year-old boys, who got hard at the mere sight of two legs and a skirt. I was the go-to girl for girls who'd never kissed girls. There was a night in my parents' basement when three cliques of girls were hanging out. A couple of the girls had never kissed another girl before. I was nominated to initiate them in to the girl-kissing world, and I was fine with that. I loved kissing, for God's sake! And other than passing thoughts, I'd only had one sex dream, about a girl I hardly spoke to in high school. But, it was a really hot dream. To this day, thinking about it makes me blush. I had no inkling that I'd ever date or fall in love with a woman. I dated baseball and football players!
Anyway, I left Vermont for a small women's college in northern California. This school was the answer to my prayers. Mills was a liberal haven, with a small campus and no boys to annoy me, for at least another three years. I was free! I started playing basketball almost right away. I played on a team with seven other women for one season. We didn't score a lot of baskets, but we had a good time, and it was a great way for me to meet people. Interestingly enough, the basketball season included a few different couplings. First, the forward was dating the point guard. They'd been dating since high school and came to Mills together. They broke up, and the forward found solace with the shooting guard. Six years later, the forward and the shooting gua...
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