Hey there, seafood lovers!
I just got back, late last night, from an extremely random trip to Fort Lauderdale.
I had less than 24 hours notice before I got on the plane.
And…and..how did I not know that Fort Lauderdale is a gay haven?
Why does no one tell me important secret gay location knowledge?
How is it possible that there could be a place in the United States that’s not the Castro or Boystown or Provincetown where businesses fly a gay pride flag right alongside the American flag and I not know about it?
Fort Lauderdale was fun as hell.
I went on a sightseeing cruise down the river and gawked at all the billionaires’ homes.
I ate sushi naked at 2 a.m. while watching reruns of The Quacker Factory on QVC in my hotel room.
And I took early morning stand-up paddleboard lessons from a cute surfer named Ashley.
I found her carrying a surfboard down the beach.
She had muscles and was as brown as a seal.
She looked like she’d been born in a bikini.
I’d been standing at the top of the beach, taking pictures for work and being jealous of the cool surfer girls splashing around in the water.
It was time to go.
As I packed my camera bag into the rental car trunk, Ashley walked up, surfboard in tow, to where I was standing in the parking lot.
She lifted her board over her head and started to heft it onto the roof of her Jeep.
Her biceps popped.
It was now or never.
I made my awkward move.
Me: (hovering) Oh…wow. That’s a big surfboard. Do you need help?
Ashley: (vigorously strapping the board to the top of her Jeep) Naaaah. I’m used to haulin’ this thing around. It’s for stand up paddle boarding. A beginner’s soft board.
Me: Ohhh are you a beginner?
Ashley: Nope, I teach lessons.
Me: (bambi eyes) You dooooo???
Eee hee hee.
Ashley picked me up the next morning at the asscrack of dawn, surfboards piled on the top of the Jeep, her friend Tiffany in tow.
I was in a real surfer girl’s car!
With surf bumper stickers! Headed for the waves!
It was everything Blue Crush said it would be.
Ashley told me to keep an eye out for dolphins and turtles during the lesson.
Tricks, it was so beautiful.
Empty white beach.
Just me and my aching shoulders, propelling myself across the clear turquoise water, the steady swish of the paddle and the sun glinting off droplets of water on the board.
One with the elements.
This was where I was meant to be! This was what I should be doing with my life! Fuck Chicago! Fuck freshwater lakes with no waves! Let’s move to the fucking coast and surf and be tan and eat fish tacos and be freeeeee!
As dawn streaked its rosy fingers across the sky, I saw a huge sea turtle drift beneath me.
I shrieked with excitement and fell off.
In the water, I suddenly realized Ashley never told me whether or not sea turtles bite small pink toes.
And then…I panicked.
Thrashed around like a freaked-out tuna, trying to get back up onto the board.
Finally I scrambled back on and lay there, dripping and panting, with all appendages accounted for and Ashley and Tiffany doing a valiant job of not laughing.
Don’t you think it’s about time for some Basic Lesbian Body Language???
Everybody feels all languid and sexay, and we need gaydar.
Let’s get our gaydar juices flowing!
And then put them over shaved ice!
Oooh that is nasty.
I’m not deleting it.
Let’s pack a fundamental dyke-spotting tip-off into our pockets.
Today we’re talking about something a bit hard to define:
Don’t you scoff at me.
Don’t you roll your eyes.
This is waaaaay more important for your overall gaydar toolkit than something small, like plaid or carabiners.
This is huge.
Queers are a confident people.
Oftentimes, when meeting a possible queermosexual for the first time, you’ll notice something:
Extra-long eye contact, held for just a fraction of a second longer than normal.
A handshake that lasts just a quuuuuarter of an instant longer than your average handshake.
A directness of speech.
An projected inner strength.
Think about it – cocky butches all over the place.
Solidly calm business-woman dykes.
Rowdy lesbians dancing.
What is it?
What do they all share?
They are comfortable with themselves.
Which makes you comfortable with them.
Sometimes, when I’m meeting someone for the first time, I notice the confidence they’re projecting and go “hmmm.”
Because so many gayelles are excessively confident, female strength always makes me check my gaydar.
Now, before you get yer panties in a twist: Obviously, not all strong women are dykes.
We are not even playing this game.
Let’s do a quick STANDARD DISCLAIMER:
Not all women who seem confident/project confidence are lesbians.
Not all lesbians are confident, by any stretch.
This does not apply to everybody.
I am not saying that straight girls are not confident.
I am not saying that at all.
There are millions of confident straight women on this earth.
I am merely stating that lots of dykes I meet are incredibly, mind-blowingly confident.
I knew this one was going to be hard to spell out.
But it’s important for our getting-laid-skills to try, don’t you think?
Spotting the queers by fashion alone can only get you so far.
You need body language.
That…that…je ne sais quoi.
Bear with me, mos.
Lesbians, while a quirky and nuanced people, are increasingly defying generalities.
It’s getting harder and harder to pin us down as a people.
What makes us tick?
What turns us on?
What are we like, in general?
Is there an ‘in general’ anymore?
I say yes.
In general, most lesbians I’ve met have projected quite a bit of confidence.
A can-do (heh) attitude.
I don’t know about you, but confidence gets me every time.
Once, when I was working at the Blue Moon Coffee Cafe in Minneapolis, a baby dyke walked right up to me, smiled, and said:
“Hi. My name’s Casey. I think you’re beautiful. I don’t know if you like girls, but if you do, I’d love to go out with you sometime.”
She slid a piece of paper with her number on it across the bar to me, fucking winked, and sauntered out of the cafe.
Casey was 19 years old, and her confidence took my breath.
This confidence thing is vast and sweeping, obviously.
There are plenty of lezzers who slump, hunch over, mumble, give you limp fish handshakes, and won’t look you in the eye.
But in general, as a people, I say we grow out of it.
For the most part.
So…what’s up with all the swagger?
but maybe comes from having to deal with being a gayelle on a daily basis.
If you can handle being gay - if you can tell your family and live through it, if you can deal with the daily jokes, curious questions, comments, and general onslaughtery of unlooked-for reactions from people at home, at work, and at school about who you are and who you love on a daily basis…you get strong.
You have to get comfortable with yourself quickly, ’cause no one else is throwin’ out the welcome mat.
Magazines don’t think you exist.
TV and movies would rather pretend you aren’t here.
Unless you’re nonthreatening, like Ellen, or unless lesbian sexuality is good for ratings, like that incredibly painful Britney-Madonna kiss.
The U.S. government, except for a handful of gorgeous states, thinks you should shut the fuck up and be grateful they’re thinking about domestic partnerships at all.
And that’s just on a basic level.
Let’s hope your friends and family are cool.
I think that’s where this particular type of confidence comes from.
You go about your day.
Do you faggettes know what I’m talking about, here?
Am I crazy?
Do you think dykes project a certain kind of confidence, or am I just seeing things?
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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.