I hope you’re sitting down.
I hope you’re sitting down and you’re having a nice afternoon and work isn’t pissing you off and you have an iced latte and at least two Excedrin Migraines, ’cause…
Let’s just jump right in, shall we?
Kelly, The Straightest Girl in the World, recently called me.
At 2:32 a.m.
She’s getting married in Seattle soon.
Which would be fine if she didn’t have boundless energy and four fat binders of wedding ideas and magazine clippings she’s been collecting since she was 7 years old.
So…sometimes Kelly calls me at midnight with color theme concerns.
Sometimes she calls me during work meetings to discuss the pros and cons of adding a particular Taylor Swift song to the reception dance party playlist.
But this time, Kelly called me with this little gem:
Q: Ok, Krissie, so Jason and I were walking at Greenlake tonight and I was holding Jason’s hand, and all these lesbian couples were walking by, and Krissie, I am not kidding you, they all were like, seriously touching – like, way more than hands.
And I started to think about all the gay girls I know, and how they’re always touching one another, and then I was just like, are their relationships just really passionate? Did they just finish fucking? Why do lesbians always hang all over each other?
What’s with all the PDA?
A: Oh god, why me?
Kelly, sweetmarybabyjesusinawoolyjumper, my first and instant gut reaction answer for you is:
Lesbians do not fucking touch one another more than straight people.
You just told me that you and Jason were holding hands.
You were touching your boyfriend!
Agggh my head hurts.
Kelly, straight people are the norm, and therefore their behavior is mostly invisible to other members of the norm.
You just notice lesbians touching “more than” straight people because we’re very fucking visible when we touch.
Because there are less of us and our very coupled existence goes against societal norms, you. see. us. and you notice us touching each other like normal people in a relationship and your heterocentric brain translates that into “God, lesbians touch each other a lot.”
Every time you see us, we’re fucking touching, right?
Maybe you only register us as a couple at all because we’re touching.
Before you saw us touch, we could be friends.
Nice, neutral, non-threatening, never-ever-have-sex friends and wouldn’t that be lovely if all the queers would just kind of be more discreet and not touch each other in public and I’m not against gay rights but why do they have to be so obvious why can’t the queers just go the fuck away and shut up??!!?!
Ok, Kells. I know you’re not the enemy.
Let me calm down a minute.
Even though I don’t think gay girls in relationship participate in more public displays of affection than straight girls in relationships, I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.
It’s quite possible we are, as a people, majorly more into it, and I just never noticed.
I’ve seen some serious dyke PDA, I’ll give you that.
But I’m not sure it’s A Thing.
But sluts, then I started thinking about Gay Idol.
The other night, because Alma and her girlfriend are working on doing more lesbionic things, they talked me into going to watch the kickoff of Gay Idol at T’s Bar.
Gay Idol is like American Idol, but for queer barflies.
Because singing Broadway songs in a spangly outfit and doing dramatic hand motions on national television isn’t nearly gay enough.
Convincing me to go took some doing, as:
1) We had an early meeting at work the next day.
2) I was picturing queens belting out ballads (Aynd IIIIIIIIII-eeee-IIIIIIIII! Whiiih-eell alllllllways LOOOOOOVE youuuuuuu-ooooo!). And sequins be damned, nobody likes a ballad at the karaoke bar.
3) Am I the only person in America who hates Glee?
Anyway! When I got to the bar, I was sulking.
Certain it was going to suck.
But…there were tons of dykes in there!
Scads! Legions of lesbians!
I should have known.
Never underestimate the power of the phrase “karaoke and beer specials” when it comes to roving packs of gayelles.
It’s just starting to get warm in Chicago.
This is when the dykes come out.
And they all looked so hungry.
I was thrilled.
As the night wore on, and the crowd got more inebriated, the songs started sounding better and better.
When I found myself, cider in hand, hollering along to 4 Non Blondes’ What’s Going On, I knew I was drunk.
I looked happily around.
With my new, tipsy eyes, I was looking for evidence to back up Kelly’s claims.
Lesbian couples touch each other more than straight couples.
I’d…I’d schhhow her.
This crowd wasn’t helping my case.
A woman was sitting in her girlfriend’s lap. They were making out. Copious amounts of tongue.
Two girls were deep in a heavy-sounding conversation at the table to our left.
It appeared the conversation could not be conducted without intense eye contact and arms thoroughly entwined.
A skinny older dyke’s hand was making endless, tiny circles on her (very young and very pretty) girlfriend’s back, possibly due to the close proximity of about seven sporty dykes at the next table.
A femme reached casually into her butch’s back pocket, fishing out ones to tip the bartender.
Two girls stood up, walked to the door, and proceeded to hug the longest, most drawn-out, extra-meaningful goodbye hug ever. Eyes closed.
You guys, there was neck nuzzling.
Shit. Well, maybe it was just these lesbians.
Or maybe it wasn’t.
The next day, in a panic, I called Tawnya with my findings.
Was it possible? Are lesbians incredibly PDA-y and we had never noticed?
She snorted, “Whatever. Don’t listen to Kelly. She’s just seeing yellow cars everywhere, ignore her.”
Me: Okay. (pause) What?
Tawnya: It’s like when you buy a yellow car – suddenly you start seeing them everywhere. They were always there, but you’re only now registering them. You’re Kelly’s yellow car – her lesbian friend. She’s learning about dykes through you. Now she sees them everywhere. Totally notices them.
Yellow car theory! Of course!
I don’t know how credible Tawnya is as a source on PDA, though, as I once saw her lick the sweat running down a boi’s shoulder blades on the dance floor before introducing herself.
I was slowly coming around to Kelly’s side of the argument.
Maybe dykes do touch each other a lot.
Is it a territory thing?
Like a “back-off-males-and-other-ladyfuckers, this-is-my-girl-and-isn’t-she-hot-and-I-can-touch-her-anywhere-I-want-and-look-I’m-touching-her-right-now” kind of thing?
Is it because lesbian relationships can change around often, especially when we’re young, and we’re reassuring ourselves that we find each other exclusively wildly sexually attractive through touch?
Maybe we only do it a lot when we’re in a gay-friendly place.
Lots of mo’s aren’t into PDA at all, but for the ones that are…you really have to watch it.
Be out in the wrong place, you can get your head bashed in.
Even hand-holding can be tricky for us.
Dan Savage has something interesting to say about this:
For same-sex couples, taking a lover’s hand is almost never an unself-conscious choice. You have to think about where you are, whether you’re safe, and you have to look. By the time you determine you’re safe, you’re not even sure you want to hold hands anymore. The genuine moment has passed, but you’ve invested so much energy and angst that now you can’t not take your lover’s hand. You wind up holding and the only reason you take your lover’s hand is to prove that you can.
Maybe we’re only extra PDA-y in safe places, where straight people are the minority for once.
Maybe it’s such a fucking relief to be in a gay bar with other gays that we…go a little overboard.
Or maybe this is all purely personal preference.
I don’t know if y’allfags noticed, but Blogger has been down – completely out of commission – nearly all week.
Typing furiously to finish this post up, I called CJ, who’s in Minneapolis for a few days, to see if she had any thoughts about lesbian PDA.
Ready for her exact words?
“Ha! We’re totally more touch-y! Dykes are handsy, what more can you say?”
Mmm…I can’t tell.
I’m on the fence.
Maybe lesbians touch each other more. Maybe we don’t.
This clearly is going to require years of intensive studying.
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Krista Burton is brand-new to Chicago. An ex-Mormon from Minneapolis, she writes a blog called Effing Dykes (www.effingdykes.blogspot.com), which is about activating your lesbian gaydar. She spends most of her time staring longingly at enormous dogs, riding her shiny orange scooter around town, and trying to bake gluten-free cake that doesn’t taste like gluten-free cake. She’s a staff writer at Groupon, and loves girls, inappropriate footwear, and hip-hop songs with filthy lyrics.