I’ve missed you!
And it’s warm out! It’s finally warm out!!
Chicago’s beaches are open and sundresses are in season and the question “But do they have a patio?” is now the only determining factor in whether or not I’m going out.
Each summer I make up a new motto, and this year, my summer motto is: Fuckit, it’s too hot for a bra.
Around here, it’s not quuuuuite summer yet, but that’s because – little known fact! – the first day of summer is different depending on which city you live in.
*Did you know?*
The Actual Scientific Date That Summer Begins is the first day after the first night of Pride.
As my friend Mikal says: “It’s just not summer until somebody’s getting their stomach pumped.”
Emergency room workers across the country celebrate the date.
They know when summer’s here.
The traditional Pride cocktail guaranteed to land you in the ER, btdubbs, is:
90-degree heat + sunburn + parade dehydration + alcohol + sex with strangers + no sleep, along with a few ill-thought out uppers and several morning shots of espresso.
We are a responsible people, but dang if we don’t let Pride break our stilettos in the gutter and heatstroke us in our assless chaps each year.
Here in Chicago, regardless of the piercing sunshine and balmy breezes and exposed tattoos on hot girls biking by, I’ve been feeling kind of… blah.
What was wrong with me?
I didn’t know. I couldn’t snap out of it.
I mean, I was having fun! I was getting vitamin D!
I was writing a lot for Rookie, my hair was getting lighter from days outside, and I had just started running again.
In other words, life was great – my “blahs” made no sense.
For heaven’s sake – in one month alone, I was lucky enough to go to:
* The International Mr. Leather Competition,
* A reading with Alison Bechdel where I was thisclose to her and then afterwards saw her on the street going into a cafe right by my house – later, upon intense questioning of the baristas in the cafe, I learned that she’s a regular there.
Noooobody mind me, juuust sitting here sipping my soy latte…noooo particular reason I’m here….
* A buncha queer dance nights,
* Midsommarfest in Andersonville, where Timothy Maxwell Thumperton took 1st place in the annual pet parade (yes, hello, I’m five years old)
* The annual Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend in Las Vegas, aka the Superbowl of Burlesque.
[Miss Indigo Blue winning 2011]
I just came back from that!
And as I got ready for the show each night in Vegas with my Minneapolis burlesque girls, and they displayed their new eyeshadow finds and rhinestone tiaras and shared news about state-of-the-art advancements in the field of glitter…
it hit me like a bolt from the blue.
I realized what was missing in my life, what was causing my strange uneasiness and vague sadness.
I missed high-femme-ing it up all the time.
In Chicago, I walk everywhere, so I’ve ceased to wear high heels altogether.
My hair’s all shaggy and needs a cut; my nails haven’t been glossy red in ages.
Sluts, I currently only own one bra, and it’s beige.
Being at the burlesque festival, with its explosion of vintage swimsuits and elaborate pin curls and feather fans and wigs and sequins, was like remembering myself.
Like surfacing from the sucking mud of my own murky Lake ToneItDown.
I missed fake eyelashes and polka dots and enormous gold hoop earrings and checked gingham shirts tied at the waist.
I missed heels with crystals making them sparkle; really elaborate garter belts; cherry red lips that kiss off onto everything.
I missed it! I needed it! That used to be me! Where had I been???
Sometimes you really need glitter to bring you back to center.
Anyway! Refreshed and revived!
It’s so totally on this summer, sluts.
When I got back from my five transformative days in Vegas, I wandered, unknowingly, into a hotbed of discussion.
It seemed that June’s unseasonable heat had put some gayelles I know in heat, and…the results were volcanic.
Relationships were erupting like liquid hot magma. (How many heat references can you find in the last three sentences? I count 5.)
The topic on the table was – and still is, y’allfags – cheating.
OK heads down hands up: Who here is a cheater?
It’s OK. No one can see you. You’re alone at your computer.
And what do I mean when I say ‘cheating’?
Because this is where the hotbed of discussion comes into play.
Here’s a very summed-up version of the sitch:
Two long-standing lesbian couples. Everyone’s friends with each other. Two of the girlfriends start sneaking around…with each other.
The queergirls who are accused of cheating with each other maintain that they did not, in fact, cheat.
Their girlfriends, um, felt otherwise. (They know I’m writing about this, obvs. They asked me to ask you faggettes what you think.)
The girls accused of cheating seem to be skirting the issue of cheating with technicalities, saying things like, “Well, we never actually fucked.”
You know. The way some (ahem) of us Mormon kids continued to claim we were virgins, because oral and intense fingerbanging “didn’t count.”
And why is this my business, anyway? It’s not.
What’s it to me?
Who cares if some friends of mine are cheating on each other?
I’ll tell you why:
Because in this particular situation between friends, I was the Secret-Keeper.
You know who the Secret-Keeper is.
She’s the friend that everyone tells their stuff to; the friend who hears both sides of the story.
I knew what was happening.
I knew who had slept with who.
And I didn’t say anything to anybody.
I just – I didn’t know what to do.
When you know your friend is cheating on someone who is also your friend…do you tell?
Is that your role?
Or is your role to listen without judgement, and wait for the problems-that-aren’t-your-problems to resolve themselves?
I chose the latter option, and now I’m kiiiiiind of spending a lot of time on couches with friends shaking their heads at me going, “I can’t believe you knew and didn’t say anything.”
And what, dear god of all things gay, do we define cheating as, anyway?
How do we define cheating in lesbiqueer circles?
Assuming you don’t already have an agreement with your main squeeze about being open….
Does ‘cheating’ just mean ‘fucking’?
Cute. How do we define fucking? Remember when we were so confused about that way back in 2009?
Is it kissing someone else? Making out at a club when you’re in line for the bathroom? (Who does that? Nobody I know.)
– Is cheating like, admitting to someone that you like them?
– Is it cheating to gchat with your admitted crush?
– What about texting? What about snuggling?
– What about ‘platonic’ dinner dates where there’s an undercurrent of sexual tension?
– What about deep, drunken, late-night conversations up on somebody’s roof where no one does anything but OMG DEEP EMOTIONS AND FEELINGS are shared?
What do y’allfags think about this???
My friend Alma maintains that cheating is anything – anything! – you wouldn’t do if your partner was right there.
That feels a little Draconian to me.
Like when I was 13 and bought my first-ever CD with my own money (it was RENT, you jealz?) knowing full well that there were words like “mucho masturbation” and “bisexuals” embedded in the lyrics, and my mom insisted on sitting down in the living room with me and listening to the entire musical, start to finish.
Determined to show her how worldly I was, and trying to be blase while the characters sang about AIDS and lesbians and drugs and working in strip joints, I quietly died of embarrassment in the living room for over two hours.
When the last ringing note of RENT had pealed out over our stereo, Mom rose, silently and tight-lipped, from the couch and headed down the hallway, tossing over her shoulder “Next time you buy music, imagine listening to it with your mother and Jesus in the room.”
I still can’t play a record without picturing Jesus sitting next to me on our green family sofa, flipping through the album lyrics with my mom.
So I think Alma’s definition of cheating is kind of intense.
You can’t do anything with someone else that you wouldn’t do around your girlfriend without it being cheating?
What if you start to like a new, cute lil’ dyke and she likes you and oops you maybe kiss once and then stop and then feel really bad about it and never do it again?
What if you make out a bunch and then stop, because you suddenly really realize the consequences of what you’re doing?
And, my lawd, what about emotional cheating?
The kind of thing where you like someone and she likes you back but nothing happens because you have a girlfriend, but you still share stuff that lovers would share?
Cute texts, secrets, presents – is it cheating?
Or is it just cute texts and secrets and presents?
Where do we draw the line?
[thanks Rose S]
In college, I took Human Sexuality (to learn! for science!), where I was startled to learn from a textbook that:
#1) Lesbians, gay men, and queer-identified couples unfailingly rate themselves as the happiest (how? in what way? how do you measure happiness?) types of couples (there’s that confidence I love about us); and
#2) An enormous portion of lesbian relationships are formed from the ashes of cheating.
I seem to recall the textbook calling it “mate-poaching,” and me thinking “oh I like that they have a fancy name for cheating, college is wonderful.“
The gist of the idea is that when two people are in a relationship, another person comes along and mates (yes!) with one of them, and the coupled partner leaves the nest to follow the new person.
Yeah, so…cheating, right?
And that seemed, well…fairly accurate.
Obviously, I understand that all kinds of couples cheat – not just gay ones.
But maaaaan it seems like I know a fuckload of cheatin’ lezzers.
For me, at least, the mate-poaching theory explained so much when I read about it.
At the time I was taking the class, I was in the process of letting go of one relationship and starting a new one, before the old one was, um, completely over.
Which is a shameful pattern of mine.
That I share with about 10 bazillion other dykes.
Tawnya calls ghey girls who do this “monkeys”, because they keep hold of one branch of the tree while swinging to a new branch.
I dunno, mos, I just – there are so many lesbigay couples in my life who started out as cheatin’ partners and then went public with it.
Is it the same where you are?
Does it seem like everyone you know has cheated?
Have you cheated? Or been cheated on?
Do you even think cheating is bad?
Did you start a relationship with someone by sneaking around? And are you happy now? Has it led to shocking amounts of drama?
I’m seriously extremely interested.
Really – what’s cheating to you?
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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.