Dateland: Outdoor Adventures


Yesterday, I signed up for a weekend wilderness retreat for women. It takes place in October and allows you to select a bunch of activities designed to deepen your appreciation for nature. I registered for five classes, including a bird watching class! I’ve long suspected that the birds in my backyard are plotting some type of conspiracy against me. And I want to keep tabs on their scheming.

“You’re an idiot,” my girlfriend responded when I told her that I signed us up for the retreat. “Last year you dragged me to Alaska. And now this.”

“But it’s only $200 for five activities!” I trilled.

“That just proves how stupid lesbians are,” she said. “They force you to spend the weekend in nature and then they under-charge for it. Can’t we just take the money and buy a decent bottle of champagne and skip the nature nonsense? The cavemen lived outdoors and look what happened to them.”

“I don’t think it’s being organized by lesbians,” I said, studying the website. “See, ‘woman’ is spelled in the regular way and not with a ‘y.’”

My girlfriend rolled her eyes and pointed at a picture on the website. “There’s a drumming circle. It’s a bunch of dykes, you imbecile.”

“But Jesse sent us the invitation, and she’s straight,” I explained.

“Jesse is gayer than you are,” she said with a sigh. “Just because she hasn’t slept with a woman doesn’t mean a thing. She’s obsessed with you; she has season tickets to hockey games; and she’s a vegetarian.”

I squinted my eyes and studied the photos of the women on the retreat’s website. They were clad in lesbian-like fashions from L.L. Bean and Farm and Fleet. They seemed manically happy in each other’s company and there wasn’t a man in sight.

“It really is getting harder to tell who’s a lesbian and who’s straight,” I said. “Remember back in the day when a straight woman went to great lengths to avoid looking gay? I remember this big, mannish girl from Northern Minnesota. She was built like a refrigerator box. Nothing girly about her. Yet she insisted on dressing in pink and pearls just to telegraph the fact that she was straight. I didn’t realize you could wear pastels aggressively until I saw her lumbering down the street in Easter-egg colored culottes.”

“Yes, well now it’s cool to be a lesbian,” she said. She emphasized the word ‘cool’ in the fashion of those anti-drug films we were forced to watch in 7th grade health class.  “Everyone wants to be one. I blame Ellen Degeneres. They think there’s nothing more to being a lesbian than dancing around like a fool and wearing sneakers with dress slacks.”

“How have you become so bitter? You used to love lesbians,” I said. “You’ve certainly slept with enough of them. (She was a musician in the late 1980s. ‘Nuff said.) I’d think you’d celebrate the fact that straight women want to embrace us.”

“But they’re embracing the things I don’t like about lesbians,” she said. “The outdoorsy stuff. The endless droning on about sisterhood. The mournful folk ballads. The bad haircuts. They don’t want to do what’s really awesome about being a lesbian—which is the sex part. They just want to co-opt our freedom and not have sex with their husbands.”

“Well, there is still something straight women do better than lesbians,” I said, pointing at the website. The outdoor retreat will be taking place on the grounds of a luxury resort and spa. There is time devoted to facials and massages.

“We don’t have to campout? Pampering is a required activity?” my girlfriend exclaimed. “I stand corrected! This thing is being run by straight women. OK, sign me up.”


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