Lesbian 101: An Introduction

I was at a Super Bowl party, bored out of my mind, because every lesbian in the room was paying attention to the game, and not to me. Every time I made what I considered to be a witty remark about the players’ tight trousers, I was shushed, and threatened with bodily eviction if I didn’t keep quiet.

Finally, the hostess thrust a musty book in my hand, and led me to a chair in a distant corner. “Read this,” she said. “Maybe it will teach you something about how to behave in public.”

The book was a 1945 edition of Emily Post’s classic Etiquette. It is a fascinating time capsule of a bygone era when it was unacceptable for a home to have any fewer than three “servants”; even the poorest households had a proper tea service; and “under no circumstances should an unchaperoned girl accept an invitation to a man’s hotel room.”

Actually, I agreed with a lot of Post’s advice, especially the stuff about servants. (Oh, how I’ve longed for a servant!)

And I thought that much of the book easily could be updated as a useful training guide for modern-day lesbians—that is, until I got to the chapter on “Modern Men and Girls,” and quickly flipped to a subhead titled “Petting.”

Post dispatched this subject with uncharacteristic brevity (especially considering that she spent an entire chapter detailing what one should pack for a weekend in the country). Here’s what she had to say about petting: “Petting is cheap, and pawing is common.” She declared that a nice girl never engages in either activity.

It was at this moment that I threw the book across the room in disgust. After all, life as a lesbian would be pretty dreary without petting and pawing. Petting is our chief objective, and pawing is unavoidable (especially after a few cocktails).

Without these diversions, all we’d have left would be softball, lite beer, and televised sporting events—none of which is compelling enough to keep me in this racket.

So, I have decided to use this column and my years of experience as a lesbian to create a behavior manual for our breed. Over the next several months, a series of columns will be designed in the fashion of plumbing and car repair how-to-guides in order to appeal to the literary interests of the typical lesbian.

These columns will discuss such topics as:

• How to handle the morning after a drunken one-night stand with dignity and grace (something I never have managed to do, but an issue I can address based on hard lessons learned from dozens of stumbling efforts).

• What to wear the first time you meet your girlfriend’s parents (freshly laundered socks and no leather).

• Acceptable topics of conversation for a first date (lesbians really need help in this area).

• The pros and cons of stalking (an activity that can be surprisingly effective if done correctly).

• Tips on analyzing ambiguously worded e-mails sent from a potential love interest (with special focus on the vagaries inherent in the use of passive voice).

• And so much more!

Whether you’re new to the lesbian game, or a tough old dyke looking for a refresher course, these columns will help you navigate your way through the often murky waters of acceptable lesbian conduct.

Or, at the very least, they will provide you with pointers on how to avoid abject humiliation and ostracism from the global lesbian community.

Hey! I wrote a book. You can buy Dateland on Amazon.

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