You know when you get a new magazine and you go through it, methodically ripping out all the little postcards?
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You know how you shake your new magazine open, rolling your eyes as all the cards fall out, going, “These are so annoying. Who the fuck falls for this?” ?
I fall for it.
They’re for me.
I’m the reason those little cards exist.
I’m the reason you can’t have a blissful, smooth, uninterrupted glossymag reading experience.
Those cards were put in your magazine to reach me.
I am the intended audience.
They totally work.
I examine each one, going, “ooh, that is a good savings! Only twelve dollars to have 15 issues sent to my door?” and promptly sign up to receive two years worth of Maxim.
On the first of the month, our mailman parks his truck outside the door and wearily straps on his back brace.
Vogue because I need it.
Bust because it’s Bust.
GQ for CJ.
Dwell so we can see what other, richer, more creative hipster yuppies do with their ecologically friendly, 600 square foot loft.
You cannot be in Dwell unless you have a child under the age of six riding a tricycle across your repurposed-original-oakwood-floorboards-that-were-beautiful-and-would-you-believe-this?-right-under-the-linoleum-when-we-bought-this-place living room.
The Ensign to keep tabs on the Mormons.
Cosmopolitan to infuriate me and raise my blood pressure to new, rage-y heights.
The Economist to lay out when company comes over.
Lucky because I need to know about new lip gloss developments.
Glamour because I got a year for $1.
Isn’t getting mail just so exciting???
Anyway! The point of this is:
y’allfags, starting this weekend, it’s Officially Summer.
And as I was lounging in the bathtub, paging through the stack of magazines propped on this little thing:
I started noticing a theme.
Bikini season! What to wear! Tone up for swimsuit season! Bikinis! Sexy one-pieces! Cute cover ups! BikinisbikinisbikinisBikinisbikinisbikinisBikinisbikinisbikinis!
And I suddenly remembered a plaintive lil’ letter I got way back in March.
Slushy old March, when swimsuits were nothing but a softly coconut-scented daydream.
Here’s the letter:
Hey there, Effing Dykes author!
I’ve got a very important question for you.
My wife and I are going crazy trying to find her something for swimwear. She’s an adorable 115 lb boyish girl, and can’t find men’s board shorts that don’t make her look like she just stumbled out of her dad’s closet.
On the other hand, she’s certainly not comfortable in the exclusively pastel ‘n tiny options offered to “the fairer sex”.
When it comes to the top, she says she’d be more comfortable topless than in a bikini top, which NYS laws don’t allow.
Trying to find a women’s surf shirt without flowers on it is utterly impossible.
I’ve scoured the internet looking for suggestions, only to find wretchedly composed articles using words and phrases like “tankini” and “modest coverage swimsuits”.
So my question is:
How the hell does a skinny little prince of a lesbian find good swimwear? Or…what looks good on said prince? Do you have any suggestions? Anything you’ve noticed that stands out in your mind? Maybe even just a point toward the right direction? Help? Pretty please?
OMG you gays it’s summer and Jenny’s little lesbian princeling needs our help!!
WHAT SHOULD WE DOOOOOOOO?
Inspired, I started flipping furiously through all my new magazines.
Surely, somewhere, there would be swimwear options to satisfy Jenny and her boifriend.
Two hours, 17 minutes, 11 gallons of lukewarm bathwater and one dropped-then-hastily-dried-with-a-hairdryer cell phone later, I still hadn’t found a solution to what I was now thinking of as:
The Swimsuit Situation.
If you don’t like girly shit, what the fuck are you supposed to wear at the beach?
I’d never thought about it before.
I mean, femmes (femmes who like really femmey stuff and are comfortable being mostly naked in public) have it easy.
There are shitloads of options.
Bikini. Adorable one-piece. Sarong.
Even if you’re not extra thrilled about showing skin, there’s options.
But what about the rest of the lesbians?
A lot of non-femmey dykes have no problem with swimwear, either.
Plenty of gay girls never even give this issue the slightest thought, as they have been rocking the Classic Lesbian Beach Outfit since the dawn of time.
Oh, what, you don’t know the Classic Lesbian Beach Outfit?
Like everything else worth knowing, it’s in here:
Recipe for Classic Lesbian Beach Outfit:
- Slightly-above-knee length boardshorts.
- Bikini top.
- White men’s ribbed tank top for a cover up.
- Some kind of short wooden/leather/shell necklace.
Don ingredients at the end of May, feeling free to mix in:
wraparound sunglasses, aviator shades, visor, leather or rubber flip-flops/shower shoes.
- Marinate in outfit until end of September.
- Attend backyard barbecues, beach parties, pride events, and outings involving boats.
- Flash gang signs during pictures while holding Coors Lite/PBR.
- Upload to Facebook.
If you see a woman sporting the Classic Lesbian Beach Outfit, the likelihood that she’s a homo exponentially increases.
But take heed, gayelles!
If all the components of the Classic Lesbian Beach Outfit are there, but the board shorts are mini board shorts, like these:
all bets are off.
They’re board shorts, yes. But they are short shorts, exponentially lowering the chance of gayness.
She could be a femme, but further investigation will obviously be needed.
But…what about the dykes who won’t wear a bikini top – drawing the eye, as bikini tops do, to breasts?
Many (not all) of our people have body issues.
A discomfort with putting ourselves on display.
And most of the time, it’s no problem – we’re dressed.
We’re dressed well, goddammit.
Clothing, while obviously important to all people, is of special importance to queers, as it gets all extra-wrapped up in our gender and social identities.
Especially butch, boi, and androgynous-type queers.
Swimsuit season strips everything bare.
I never really thought about it before, but it must make a lot of dykes feel incredibly vulnerable to don swimwear and suddenly have PLENTY of emphasis placed on rather, um, emotionally loaded body parts.
When I googled “lesbian swimwear”, I found this gem of a comment from someone named SCAllen under a rather unhelpful article on butch swimsuits:
“Bottom line, there is no butch way to wear a swimsuit and still look your usual hardcore awesome butchy self. By its very nature, a woman’s swimsuit calls attention to curves and breasts and, well, femininity, that is in paradox to your butch identity.”
In other words: if you’re anywhere on the spectrum of “not happy to put on a bikini top”, you’re fucked.
Going shirtless is illegal.
And I don’t know about you, but when I think ‘one-piece’, I think Lands End.
For butchier boob-holdage, you’re left with sports bras.
But sports bras at the pool are so obviously sports bras at the pool.
Buttondown Hawaiian shirts, as Jenny mentioned, are so…difficult. And unswim-like.
So covered in sunsets.
I was coming up empty-handed for answers.
But no worries!
Fortunately for me, I live with CJ, a veritable fountain of sartorial knowledge.
She’d be sure to set me in the right direction.
I forgot that CJ is about as self-conscious as naked two-year-old raised on a womyn’s farm commune.
She runs around in literally the smallest, white, semi-see-through string bikini commercially available in America today.
Hot, but bah.
The Sartorial Butch had everything but swimwear.
My other butch/boi friends had no suggestions other than the Classic Lesbian Beach Outfit.
Cai actually laughed at me when I called and said, “Why don’t you also solve world hunger while you’re at it. Yeah, that’d be good.”
I was at my wit’s end.
But then, at the last minute, a miracle occurred.
I stumbled upon this:
Click on the link, friends.
It’s exhaustively researched.
It has links to shopping websites.
It holds the key.
Jenny, tell the lesbian prince, ok?
And all y’allfags:
what do you wear when it’s time to hit the pool?
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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.