Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2012-01-04

Lesbian Jack Kerouac Gay American Road Trip Part 5: Wyoming, Salt Lake City and Freedom

Dubbed the Lesbian Jack Kerouac by my BFF Brian for my propensity for long distance romance, “A girl in every port and on the road with a broken heart,” he describes me, I set out on a life-changing adventure in November of 2011. This is my tale of deep heart exfoliation via asphalt. Check out all the tales in this series at the Gay American Road Trip 2011 tag.


To Salt Lake City, UT from Longmont, Colorado via Interstate 25, Interstate 80–through Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

IMG_1060.JPG
Longmont is basically spitting distance from the Rockies. GORGEOUS. Majestic.

I left Cam’s at noon to pick up a prescription at a local drug store. I called my doctor because I just felt the slightest hint of an oncoming urinary tract infection and that is NOT CUTE on the road. She called in the prescription. Whatever it was went away quickly with the short course of antibiotics and I am glad I took action for my health instead of hoping it would go away on its own.

I enjoyed that the gas station in Colorado was blasting country music like we were in the South and there were lots of cute men in cowboy hats hopping in and out of pick-up trucks. This was my first time in Colorado. I drove through a few small towns outside of Fort Collins on the way to I-25 and stopped at a Goodwill looking for Double Chin Wins. Nothing doing. As I said in my yelp review, the pricing was great for end-users but not for vintage resalers–whoever is doing the pricing at the Goodwill in Fort Collins is very conscious of value, which is actually great for them. But I prefer thrifting where I get to determine what the treasure is, you know?

IMG_1065.JPG

Once on the highway I was still feeling the buzz of the love from Cam’s house and how nurtured I was feeling. I was enchanted by the expansive rolling beige hills of Colorado and just as I was about to enter Wyoming saw a big buffalo cut out sign. Thinking “It would be really cool if that was actually a buffalo ranch” BAM, there were buffalo. Roaming.

IMG_1070.JPG

When I-25 intersects with I-80 in Cheyenne, the freeway makes a great curve. I was so overtaken with the beauty of the sky there. I had a spiritual moment.

IMG_1071.JPG

There is something so incredible when the sky keeps going on forever like that. I felt lighter. I felt open. I felt that energy shift I had been longing for during the last few months of loss and change and grief. I felt free.


Cue MEN’s “Who Am I To Feel So Free”

My break-up in November was the last straw that sent me packing on this trip. I was sort of intent on it working through the holidays and the winter, figuring even if we weren’t forever times compatible we could provide some joy and comfort to one another in the meantime. That she dumped me out of the blue rather than work on things was a shock. It was also a complete blessing in some ways because it liberated me to do the soul-searching and processing I needed to in order to rise from the ashes of my life.

Cue June Carter Cash & Johnny Cash “It Ain’t Me Babe.”

IMG_1073.JPG

We had been monogamous and it was the first time I was in complete monogamy monogamy for several years. My fiance and I were non-monogamous with a few rules and didn’t really use it. And anyone I dated after that was never a girlfriend girlfriend. I had once been “secret monogamous” (so declared by a friend) because I was seeing someone and even when presented with ample opportunity I didn’t stray. So being for real monogamous for the first time was a weird mindset shift. If I was attracted to someone I might feel guilty or have to internally process that “Okay, we’re all gonna be gay for real long time,” or something. It’s not hard for me to practice monogamy but I am the kind of Femme who just wants the theory of freedom more than the practice. Monogamish.

My friend Heather weaves this great metaphor. I am a wild pony and I like my corral door to be open. Line the corral with lots of snacks, I’m not really wandering. But when the door is closed it just feels so closed.

So I had been feeling the effects of a closed door. Not necessarily in a bad way and not that I won’t be monogamous again. But this was three weeks after my break-up and I was still doing my internal conditioning of “You can’t act on this attraction because you are monogamous.” And then having to remind myself, oh, no, you got dumped. You’re free again.

And this freedom just settled in like clouds shifting in the sky as I drove through Wyoming that day. I felt good.

IMG_1075.JPG

It was stunning. Wyoming is beautiful country, I just can’t believe it honestly. That song Cowboy Take Me Away (cue Dixie Chicks) always always reminds me of it. I went through the Northern part of Wyoming when I was 21 and moving to New Jersey from California and was similarly struck with its gorgeousness.

Since this was the end of November, the weather was shifting and there was visible snow. It was sort of exciting. I stopped for gas often, every 100-150 miles instead of every 200-300 miles as I had previously (my tank will get me 350-400 miles but I am a girl scout and I am prepared). I was stopping so much both because of my peeing needs and also I kept fearing there would be some long loooooong stretch of highway with no gas stations. Wyoming is long and the cell service is somewhat spotty at best.

IMG_1078.JPG
Sounds tasty. It was the day before Thanksgiving.

IMG_1083.JPG
I love a great sunset–best part about driving East to West is watching the sunset everyday.

So the gas stations had snow on the ground and it was really really cold. Macy had on her sweater. We kept going toward Utah. The best part about this part of the midwest is that they typically have Diet Dr. Pepper in their soda machines. It is my favorite fountain beverage and hard to get outside of the surrounding Texas area.

IMG_1084.JPG

I stopped at a Sonic for some tater tots for dinner, lost the screw in my glasses when I changed out of my contacts, did some girl scout macguyvering looking around for an eyeglasses repair kit in my car (found it). Took Macy for a good walk in a Wyoming strip mall, atop some rocks overlooking the glowing highway.

I entered Utah and it was pitch black. The drive of I-80 to Salt Lake City is super mountainous and scary. Lots of “look out for deer” signs and twisty turny stuff. I had never been to Utah but was freaking out more about the road and whatnot to notice.

IMG_1085.JPG
This is still Wyoming.

I switched my audiobook to the more upbeat Bossypants by Tina Fey. I gripped the steering wheel. I made it to Utah by 9pm. I was road worn.

Cue Starkville by Indigo Girls. A song all about being road worn and love lorn.

I sat in that hotel room (super grateful for the microwave and fridge so I could enjoy leftovers from Cam’s lasagna) and felt all buzzy from Diet Dr. Pepper, updated the music on my ipod and wrote a very hysterical and lengthy email to a friend. Sadly determined my drive the next day was another 12 hour stretch. My previous Salt Lake City to Bay Area projection had been incorrect. I wanted to make it to my mom’s house in the East Bay by dinnertime but wasn’t sure I could physically wake up in time to get on the road by 6AM.

I decided to let the goddess decide (no alarm set) and fell asleep watching an infomercial for the genie bra. [Which, by the way, doesn’t actually make those women’s boobs look great. You’re better off with a well-fitting real bra or wearing a sports bra. I am not sold on the genie bra.]

I was buzzy and road worn, but I was free.

NEXT STOP: East Bay!

2011-12-30

GAY SEX WEEK: The Queer Date-Not-a-Date

Hi friends and welcome to the resurrection of NATIONAL QUEERFATFEMME.COM GAY SEX WEEK, where I am going to talk about GAY SEX to increase LGBT presence in the media. I previously addressed how to find other people to have gay sex with you. We discussed some cheap or free sex-ed resources in how to have better GAY SEX. I posted a great automatic make-out playlist. Today we’re celebrating the Queer Date-Not-a-Date.

In my post Nobody Ever Died of Awkward: The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Battling Insecurity and Asking People Out I address the complexity and agita of the Queer Date-Not-a-Date.

When I ask someone out I always use the term “date”. I encourage you to do that, too. My friend Megan Beene used to complain about the “Lesbian Not-Date” syndrome where you’re hanging out with someone and you’re not sure if it was/is a date.

In the last year and change I have come to embrace the magic of the Queer Date-Not-a-Date. I use it as a tool for good and not intentional game playing ambiguity and I think you can, too.

The first time I initiated a Queer Date-Not-a-Date in my real life I had a friend who I had a mild crush on. If my crush was on a graph charting how I felt about her in level of romantic intensity it would roll like ocean waves up and down. I never really understood if that meant we should go on a date or not. Something told me I shouldn’t ask her out and, despite my staunch belief that Nobody Ever Died of Awkward, I just thought it best to wait.

IMG_0843.JPG
Kitty Glitter from Rebel Cupcake: Cat Party. Darlinda, Just Darlinda, Fancy Feast, Miss Mary Wanna and me!

It occurred to me that we had never once spent time one-on-one and we should experiment with that. I asked her to dinner without any context and created intentional ambiguity on my part by not saying “I want to go on a date with you” and simply saying “I want to go to dinner with you.” Not “grab” dinner or anything that was intentionally casual. Just “go to dinner.”

I had a great time. I really loved connecting with her face to face outside of the regular venues for our friendship, and I also learned a lot about her over the course of the dinner that I didn’t know and realized we were so not meant to be dating.

IMG_0845.JPG
I really just want Miss Mary Wanna to be the first thing that pops up in a google image search of Gay Sex.

Similar to the situation I describe in Nobody Ever Died of Awkward, where I maintain friendships gratefully never brought to the date place even though I asked one time, the result of this Queer Date-Not-a-Date did not produce any awkwardness and our friendship actually blossomed.

As a queer New Yorker, I tend to meet people I maybe want to have gay sex with in group situations. Dance parties. Community organizing. Consciousness raising groups. Conferences. Queer witch solstice gatherings. I am in my thirties and tend to make decisions about who I want to do it to or go on dates with using a little more thought and pondering. Maybe at one time in my life, even two years ago when I wrote Nobody Ever Died of Awkward, I would just know right away that I wanted to have a date with someone. Now it is much more appealing to me to just have some intentional time with someone and figure out whether a date is even appealing. I don’t always know right away.

IMG_0640.JPG
Here, Elvis santa is deciding about her ambiguous relationship with this elf on the rebel cupcake stage.

The Queer Date-Not-A-Date can be any kind of ambiguous activity a deux planned by you or the other party. Maybe they ask you to hang out and you’re not sure if the intention is a date. Maybe you plan intentional time one-on-one without stating a date intention. When the hang out is over there will be more clarity.

Once you are on the Queer Date-Not-A-Date, it is easy to turn it into a date or cross the threshold. Using the powers you have to push through your insecurity (remembering Nobody Ever Died of Awkward) you can then state your intentions.

I was on a Queer Date-Not-A-Date with a foxy out of towner. We were set-up on a touristy hang by a mutual friend and after several hours of awesome hang out and her dropping a Steel Magnolias quote (WHAT) I set my hand on her thigh and asked if she wanted to come home with me. It was clear to me what I wanted at about 2 AM, but prior to that I didn’t know.

154111_1586396592124_1602070801_31356906_549001_n
That time Heather and I produced Steel Magnolias. We’re working on Queer Breakfast Club now.

Sometimes it can be really fun to just go out with someone, hang out, and flirt a bunch without the pressure of a date date. Flirting is fun! It helps you feel alive, joyful and desired. Not every flirt needs to have dessert. And if you want dessert you can just ask. The Queer Date-Not-A-Date is good practice trusting your instincts. It’s also good practice to learn to love the questions as much as the answers.

In the last year and a half I’ve been in the first period of my life where I am not actively or passively looking to date. I have done so much emotional and spiritual work on myself (and have made a lot of significant changes internally) that focusing externally on date stuff isn’t my priority. Imagine how much time you would have on your hands if you stopped stressing about being single or getting dates and just enjoyed your single life and the sex that happens upon you? I have that time and have devoted it to spiritual and emotional pursuits.

You might recall I dated Cougar for four months this year, and she successfully asked me out by requesting a super low-pressure “hang out.” I thought our hang out might be a Queer Date-Not-A-Date because I had previously inquired as to her relationship status to our mutual friend, but wasn’t intending to do anything with the information. I think, had she asked me on a date date, I probably would have freaked out and said no or “yes, but not right now.”

She did the work, reaching out, being flexible and easy to schedule with (helpful for me given how busy I can get) and then busted out a crudite platter as a good host. We had the vibes and at the end of the evening I knew I wanted to go on a proper date with her. It was on from there.

We broke up in early November and it is one of those sad but for the best sort of things. I’m back on the bandwagon of not actively pursuing romance until after I finish a personal emotional spiritual goal. But who knows, when the next Queer Date-Not-A-Date happens it might be the right time for romance or sex or whatever.

I like to go out on proper dates. I love courtship. I love that queer courtship rituals are what we make of them. And at this point in my life I just like to see what the energy brews up between me and other folks and how that’s going to play out. I’m embracing the ambiguity of the Queer Date-Not-a-Date and love using it as a tool for good.

***Special warning–I think the Queer Date-Not-a-Date should be used only when you are being ambiguous in a well-intentioned way. If you just chronically don’t know what you want it’s super unfair to string people along. If you really don’t know what you want, take time out and do the emotional work to get to know yourself well enough so you learn what you want! Also, remember this adage “If you can take it or leave it you should leave it. Make room for something new and magical to take it’s place”***

**************
I am welcoming a new Blog Benefactor on board this week! The Queers in the Outdoors 2012 Calendar is a super foxy, sexy celebration of sex in the outdoors!

It’s a homemade, zine-esque wall calendar with 12 illustrations of queers getting it on in the outdoors. Proceeds from the sale of this calendar go to the legal fund of this artist, a queer who was arrested and fined $1085 for having outdoor sex. I especially like that the images show a variety of queer presentations, genders, abilities and sexual, uh, situations.

Queers in the outdoors! Getting it on!

The calendar images are too Not Safe For Work for the blog, but clickie through and enjoy! And then buy a copy of the calendar for only 6 to 20 bucks sliding scale!! Support a great cause and promote sexy queer magic times. Makes a great gift for radical queer Capricorn birthday celebrants.

Thanks for your support of the blog, Queers in the Outdoors Calendar!

2011-11-09

New Episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket

My friend Fae stopped by today and mentioned she hadn’t seen a new Lesbian Tea Basket recently and I realized it’s because I haven’t posted them to my blog! How negligent.

IMG_0822.JPG
Me doing an Outfit of the Day photo in what Leslie deems a “classic model pose.”

Darlings, cozy up to your computers and watch two sorta bummed episodes. I have mentioned previously that my job of three years is ending (second layoff in 3 years–where are the small business bail outs, Obama!?!) and quite suddenly last week my relationship of four months ended. Ironically right after I bought a box of tea, so it’s tea associated.

IMG_0814.JPG
Leslie’s version of this pose.

My life is no stranger to upheaval these last few years. Lately I have been sad and feeling my feelings about these unexpected transitions but I also am ultimately hopeful. I’ve also decided to use this precious time while I’m looking for a new day job to take off on a post-layoff, post-break-up road trip. Opening my arms wide to beautiful adventure, seeing all the many dear friends I am so lucky to have scattered across this country and spending a few days in Palm Springs with my gorgeous Grandmother.

Grandmother and Me and Macy

I’m going to do some research for my memoir about my step-mom (with a more in-depth trip to come, hopefully with funding and a documentary camera). I am going to see the Grand Canyon for the first time, hang out in Austin and Atlanta and enjoy life with renewed vigor.

My dog Macy is coming along with me and it is all falling together really well. The Heartbreak MFA suggests throwing yourself into a big art project and this road trip feels like that art project.

IMG_0808.JPG
Leslie says this is the “classic fashion blogger” pose. On one leg and staring down at the ground like you’re looking at a puppy.

I’m sure there will be more Lesbian Tea Basketing, but in the meantime please enjoy these newish episodes from this past month!

Lesbian Tea Basket #15: Consolation Tea

Lesbian Tea Basket #16: Lipton’s Herbal Ginger Tea and Sunbeam’s Electric Tea Kettle

I highly recommend this electric tea kettle.

2011-10-05

Mailbag: Can I Meet Single Hotties at Rebel Cupcake?

Hi Bevin,

I happened to come across your blog and find it fun. I’m average weight but queer. I am interested in attending one of your Rebel Cupcake parties. Do you have a mailing list that you can add me to?

339988_10150332648589386_512354385_7678222_1081249159_o.jpg
[All photos by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake. These are from the John Waters Rebel Cupcake on September 9.]

I have another question and am a little embarrassed to ask it but here goes… Do you get at least a few unattached butch women showing up to your parties (and I mean very butch)? I don’t know how to meet these kind of women and they’re my favorite.

Thanks,

[Name Withheld]

324225_10150332637034386_512354385_7678132_1441914222_o.jpg
Diana, AfroTitty and Bev.

Hi [Name Withheld]!

Thanks for your compliment about my blog! Rebel cupcake has two ways to stay in touch–there is a Facebook group (if this link doesn’t work search for the group named, aptly, “Rebel Cupcake”) where you’ll be automatically invited to each event and a text list where I text you once a month and remind you about the party. The text list gets in for $2 off the cover price to all of my events.

As for your question about unattached butches, the thing to know is lots of the folks in the queer community, while they may present masculine of center, don’t always identify as butch. You might find some of them attractive if you like butches but it is always best to let other folks tell you their identity preferences instead of assuming. I met my GF at Rebel Cupcake and she is not butch identified. But she looks and acts like a fag, which is how I like my women.

338249_10150332644949386_512354385_7678176_2092594058_o.jpg
This is the John Waters quote I wished I had used in the pool in Atlantic City.

Folks all along the gender spectrum and body spectrum find a home at Rebel Cupcake.

Also lots of other folks met their sweethearts at Rebel Cupcake (butch or otherwise). So yes, lots of unattached folks but it is a really low-pressure easy environment and not explicitly creepy or cruisey in a non-consensual way. Sometimes I poll the audience during the show to ask who is actively looking for action. I once got scolded by a regular because I forgot. Anytime I am nearing the end of the show and it looks like I’m forgetting, please remind me! I love a gentle heckle.

333693_10150332645449386_512354385_7678182_1364164572_o.jpg

Rebel Cupcake is up for some awesome GO Magazine Nightlife awards. One is for Sexiest Vibe (what happens on the smoking deck stays on the smoking deck), Most Eclectic Crowd, Best Queer Party and I am nominated for Best Emcee. Anyone on the internet can vote, and voting is open until November 5th! Please vote for Rebel Cupcake!

333557_10150332624839386_512354385_7677987_1992041420_o.jpg
Look! It’s Rebel Cupcake favorite Bambi Galore! Rebel Cupcake is also home to lots of Femmes. And we encourage the wearing of sexy clothing and burlesque.

I think Rebel Cupcake is a great place to meet people regardless of whether you are looking for a sweetheart, a meaningful overnight relationship or just friends or meet no one and just dance (though usually I try to introduce myself to everyone who is there between 10 and 11 before the show starts, thus if you are there early I might meet you). The smoking deck is not very loud, it is easy to strike up a conversation, there are grottos to chill out in and the performance at 11pm is meant as a way for me to break the ice for you. PLUS the photo booth is a great way to stay in facebook touch with the folks you meet.

332016_10150332635274386_512354385_7678112_1282331816_o.jpg

Also Rebel Cupcake is really fun and it’s an explicitly body positive dance party which is not really common. Support the queer nightlife that supports you!

291052_10150332636014386_512354385_7678121_691234004_o.jpg
(Sometimes there is a discount for wearing costumes but there is always discount for being on the texty list.)

And if you are really interested in explicitly Butch-identified extremely Butch and you mean VERY Butch women, I suggest the NYC Butch-Femme socials. Story dropping time–I know someone who went to those socials explicitly hunting for her future Lesband* and she totally found her dream Butch. I am not saying anything about how Butch anyone who goes to those events are because I haven’t been in a long time, but I bet if there is a VERY Butch woman really looking for the Femme of her dreams she would probably go to those. But I hope she’d also show up to Rebel Cupcake.

Hope to see you there!!

xoxox,

Bevin

329742_10150332641459386_512354385_7678154_1015909452_o.jpg
I look a little crazy in this photo but I feel it was in the theme.

*Lesband: Addition to the queer lexicography. Lesbian spouse who is maybe not all the way husband identified. My friend Lauren and I came up with this when we were in college and I was exploring my new lesbian identity and wondering “HOW DOES IT ALL WORK???”

2011-10-03

Pre-Order Sissy Calendar by Elisha Lim Now!

You might freak out about your 2012 plans if you think about them now (I do), but what better way to queer up that freak out than to pre-order a subversive gender queer celebration of femininity in the form of Elisha Lim’s latest project SISSY: A 2012 Wall Calendar.

“[E}very month brave and beautiful queers talk about sequins, glitter, femininity, insults, courage, happiness and femme pride.”

sissy erika.jpg

“This is about the international queer community, and models from London, Berlin, Montreal and Toronto each express their own identities, which I kept in their own words.”

sissy sze yang.jpg

“This is also a Universal Calendar, so it doesn’t state weekdays and can be re-used to preserve special events every year.”

All pre-orders are $20 and get you a calendar, two greeting cards and you get to support an incredible, dapper, queer, talented Canadian artist.

32123_438857388153_543828153_5599671_5049740_n.jpg
Photo by Quito. From L-R, Heather, Silas, Elisha in the white shirt, Bevin’s back, Nogga.

Don’t spill the beans (she doesn’t read my blog) but I’ll be buying my sissy fag identified girlfriend a copy of this calendar for Smokey Mountain Christmas or yule or whatever we’re going to celebrate.

2011-09-18

Travel Report: Rehoboth Beach, DE

After the debacle that was our trip to Atlantic City, when Cougar and I decided to skip town for a couple of days for her birthday (9/11, never forget) I suggested we go gay. Fire Island was a possibility but with room rates hovering at $120 and above we thought we could get a better bargain someplace else.

IMG_0598.JPG

It occurred to me I’d never been to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, despite wanting to go for over a decade. When I lived in Philly my fellow queers went often, I think it is similar to the relationship New Yorkers have with Fire Island–daytrippable and hella gay.

So we packed up the car and departed for our near-four hour journey South. It was an easy drive down the turnpike but the tolls were pretty killer–all told we spent $43 round trip. Though of course the journey is sometimes the destination and I like road trips. We had no traffic but I did get pulled over by a cop just outside Rehoboth for touching my phone (to check the GPS, I swear!) but got off with just a warning.* We debated her gayness vis a vis being let off with a warning but I think she was just being nice to us because we were tourists looking for our motel.

325116_271687246183663_100000271697699_1048803_50370200_o.jpg

We checked into our motel, the Crosswinds Motel. It was cute, very low amenities (no pool, no king size beds) but nice touches like a Keurig machine in the room instead of crappy hotel coffee maker, an ipod dock alarm clock, earth-friendly toiletries and full basic cable.

Dinner for Cougar’s birthday was diligently researched via Facebook poll and we chose Nage. Super unpretentious but classy bistro with amazing food. They were really accommodating about us sharing dishes and we enjoyed the truffle mac and cheese, filet mignon (prepared perfectly), and a butternut squash risotto that was too sweet for my taste. All told it was a decadent meal and a great value for the money. No sales tax at restaurants!

339842_271688522850202_100000271697699_1048829_694088183_o.jpg

We spent our evening walking the boardwalk, though it appears in this sleepy beach town the sidewalks roll-up around ten. We managed to sneak into the classic arcade just before it closed. I got in a game of two of my favorites–Ms. Pacman and Big Buck Hunter.

325116_271687256183662_100000271697699_1048806_2092979129_o.jpg

Mostly though we stood on the beach looking at the full moon on the water and the sandpipers running after the nibbles left at low tide. I am so into the ocean as a site of reflection and spirituality.

The next day we decided to do some shopping so we walked around the downtown area. There were a lot of cute beach stores, a great skate and surf shop, and it was such an unexpectedly beautiful day we ended up going out on the beach and laying out. One of those moments where the surf was so enticing Cougar lept into the water in her clothes (forgetting sunscreen, though I am hyper-vigilant about my use of SPF 3,000) and I lay under a piece of clothing listening to the surf and meditating.

IMG_0592.JPG

Cougar is very into candy stores and although I don’t love candy I do love salt water taffy so I decided to do a taste test. I would buy a few pieces of salt water taffies (I prefer honey, chocolate, molasses, peanut butter, or cinnamon flavors) in each candy location we visited to try out on the ride home. Candy Kitchen was open late the night before but I didn’t love their taffy. Dolle’s was really good and by far the freshest and the coolest boardwalk aesthetic.

IMG_0602.JPG

Snyder’s had a great selection (four kinds of salt water taffy) though none was made on site. But the Taffy Town taffy Snyder’s sells was seriously the best taffy I have ever had. The cinnamon bun flavor tasted like cinnabon frosting, buttery and delicious. Plus Snyder’s was a super gay store with lots of Wizard of Oz kitsch.

IMG_0605.JPG

Cougar was craving cupcakes and we went out of our way to find the cupcake store. Meanwhile I was commenting that I wanted a snack but I didn’t want it to be a crazy sugar fest. Right next door to the cupcake bakery was this place called Annie’s Bannanies and it really changed my life. A bannanie is this frozen banana put through a processor that spits it out like soft serve ice cream. All the toppings are made with agave syrup. It was totally delicious. I wish they had a bannanie stand in Brooklyn.

IMG_0606.JPG

We made a stop at Out Wear to support the gay businesses and both of us ended up buying gay souvenirs (Cougar got some bear colored suspenders and I got a gay rainbow decal in the shape of the continental united states). I was actually surprised at how few gay Americans I saw in Rehoboth. We saw a few couples and groups but mostly it was hetero-appearing families. But the gay presence was enough that I didn’t feel like we stood out at all being in our Femme/Fag duo, and a lot of shop keepers smiled at us in recognition.

IMG_0611.JPG
Out Wear is next door to a store called Dolphin Dreaming. SO GAY.

Before we left town we hit a couple of outlets. Primary on my list was the QVC outlet. I love QVC, though I do not have cable. For a long time when I did I would DVR the Quacker Factory shows because I really love bedazzled and blinged out sportswear and Jeanne Bice, the designer and creator, was absolutely entertaining to watch. Quacker Factory is a thing–if you see someone wearing Quacker designs you say “quack quack” to them.

tumblr_lbdrf2PnHa1qcy5gm.jpg

I’ll never make the mistake again of not checking the hours before a visit to a store–they closed at 6 on Mondays! We made it there at 5:58, shocked to see them closing. I did manage to sweet talk my way in and got my mitts on a Quacker Factory faux layer twin-set bedazzled on both front and back (Jeanne never scrimped on bedazzling) for Christmas. I felt like the Goddess and the spirit of the recently departed Jeanne Bice herself were looking over me in that moment, leading me to find the perfect item for 50% off in under 2 minutes. I may wear this piece every Monday in December.

Before leaving town we decided to hit the beach one last time to watch the sunset at Cape Henlopen State Park. Usually an $8 per out of state car entrance fee but free at sunset time. It was gorgeous and I had a great time looking at the sand for shells and stones.

IMG_0628.JPG

IMG_0614.JPG

IMG_0636.JPG
I love nearly deserted beaches!

As we were passing through the Northern part of Delaware on Route 13 we spotted a Ross Dress For Less that was open until 10PM! We stopped and I bought some Delta Burke undies at deep discount prices–one of our favorite Designing Women makes some great plus size lingerie.

No sales tax in Delaware makes it a really great shopping destination, the soft sands on the beaches make it a really fun place to hang out, the gays make it a friendly and welcoming place for the gender blenders. I’ll definitely put it on my list of places I’d like to rent a house for a week.

IMG_0597.JPG
Cougar getting beaned by a wave.

P.S. Cougar is going to be featured in Curve magazine in October with her Breast Cancer book project, CHAMPION: My Photo Journey With Breast Cancer. I’m so proud! I think my lesbianism is rubbing off on her, since she’s in a lesbian magazine now.

*Thus marks my second cop interaction around touching my “pink cellphone” in the car and herein lies a problem with my flamboyant accessories. Also I need a blue tooth device of some kind.

2011-07-27

Visible Homophobia

Remember after Pride when News 12 interviewed me about gay marriage and how they reported as news at 11 that I was single? Well, it was with great pleasure that I gave twitter the exclusive breaking news about my relationship status changing.

280048_10150253209499386_512354385_7080789_4095782_o
Photo by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

At the time of the news report we had started seeing each other but it was early. “Don’t worry, I’m not afraid of the competition,” she texted me after she saw the report.

We met at Rebel Cupcake when a mutual friend of ours brought her along to the party. We’ve been hiding in plain sight, running in different crowds in NYC.

Cougar is kind, attentive, clever, perceptive, sweet, hot and treats me really well. She also has really great style.

cougar2
Photo by DrivenByBoredom.com.

We’ve been having a lot of fun together and are both always up for adventure. We decided to celebrate a month of dating by going away for an overnight. I suggested Fire Island, since I love a good gay beach day, but she suggested the more adult and swanky Atlantic City. AC is only two and a half hours away from NYC and it seemed like fun.

thehotel_01

Cougar found this really cute hotel that is total gay bait. The Chelsea. I mean, it’s lit with purple lights, like a gay batman signal. It’s exceptionally well-decorated with a 1950s/60s era theme. Our room was gorgeous, with a fuzzy leopard print chair, a corner ocean view, and not one but two vanities (perfect for the Fag/Femme romance).

There are two pools in the hotel. The rooftop pool is very swank, with each set of reclining chairs two-by-two separated by planters for a bit of privacy. There are also private cabanas, a disco ball dangling above the pool and a poolside bar. I mention the set-up of the place as an adult area as it is relevant to the following story.

Cougar and I got into the pool and went to the deep end because there were a couple of children swimming in the shallow end and I didn’t want to get splashed. We floated around for awhile treading water and chatting and then settled next to the wall on the side of the deep end, Cougar with her back to the wall and me with my arms around her neck floating about a foot away from her (imagine a Junior High slow dance). We were talking and punctuating sentences with smooches the way you do when you are being affectionate.

IMG_0028

The kids had started bringing their splashing to our end of the pool, getting out and jumping back in, creating a lot of waves. Three teenagers had also gotten into the pool, a visibly heterosexual couple was also showing affection.

All of a sudden this woman comes over to me and Cougar and leans down to us and says “Excuse me would you stop gyrating and making out? My children are in this pool. This is a hotel. You should get a room and go up there.” She had a couple more snide remarks that I can’t recall. Her tone (and content) were extremely condescending.

I was flabbergasted. I had no idea what to say to her or whether her comments had merit. Of course any romantic mood fostered by the adult playground of Atlantic City or the adult setting of the poolside bar was completely ruined by what she had said. I said to Cougar “Were we doing something wrong? Don’t talk to her, I don’t want this to get bigger.”

Cougar went to the restroom and I continued to float in the pool, stunned. I typically react to hostility by letting people stew in their own juices and not giving them the benefit of a response. Usually people who are mean or aggressive are also insecure–they will imagine the worst possible response and their imagination is likely the worst thing they could do. When I realized she hadn’t said anything to the heterosexual teenage couple I became livid and wished I had something clever to say in the moment.

Cougar went over to her and talked to her. I couldn’t hear what Cougar was saying (but I could totally hear the woman as her response became shrill) and decided to get out of the pool and just leave the area. I was so upset.

Later, Cougar recounted what she said to the woman, which was (in a calm voice) “If you would like to talk about this like an adult I am in room 1814. We were nowhere near your children and not doing anything inappropriate. You have no right to speak to us like children. If you had a real problem you could have addressed it with hotel management.”

The woman got defensive. She asked Cougar if she had any children, to which Cougar said “That’s none of your business,” and then she tried to backpedal and say that her child came up to her and said she felt uncomfortable. Cougar repeated again, “If you want to speak to me like an adult, I’m in room 1814,” and walked away.

At the time I was really upset by the incident and didn’t express this to Cougar at the time, but the more space I get to think about this I am really proud of Cougar for standing up for herself/us with that woman. Especially knowing the woman didn’t bring her affection policing didn’t to those teenagers.

IMG_0057

Adults should get to be affectionate in public. Gay adults should get to be just as affectionate as straight adults. I don’t feel we were being at all lewd or inappropriate. We were far more like playful otters in that pool and not at all like the people on Jersey Shore.

otter kiss
Otters showing affection.

Atlantic City is a city for gambling and drinking. The hotel we were staying at isn’t exactly kid-friendly, if it had been a child promoting environment I would never have wanted to go there for a getaway like that.

I kept running through whether the Chelsea hotel is gay-friendly or not. Perhaps other than the decor, it isn’t. I mean, if it had been overtly gay-friendly, in that way where establishments have gay rainbow stickers on their doors or overt diversity policies, would that have stopped that woman from trying to police our queer affection? Caesar’s Atlantic City advertises an explicitly gay-friendly environment. Do people run into this at Caesar’s? Would she have policed us if there had been other queer couples there as well?

IMG_0056

And I also wonder if she even knew we were queer or how she was perceiving us? I fly under the radar a lot, despite being 100% out of the closet, because my gender is flamboyant but on the normative spectrum for a lady. I’m also a lot more visibly tattooed in a bathing suit than I was a year ago. And maybe it was fatphobia?

Cougar doesn’t fly under the radar. She had a double radical mastectomy* which just made her already dapper gay good looks even more androgynous and people throw her shade in the ladies room a lot. She’s also super swishy in that way that I’m sure some well-meaning stranger will tell me “Honey, do you know your boyfriend is gay?”

Regardless, that woman was entirely out of line. If she had a problem with people smooching, she should have taken her kids to someplace expressly for kids.

I was upset about the incident most of the evening. I kept looking around suspecting everyone of being homophobes and searching for my people. My people who were sadly absent from Atlantic City. It was depressing.

I walk the world typically thinking the best of people and try to remember people are doing the best they can with what they have at any given time. And I also understand that this kind of stuff happens all the time, it’s really difficult to live life and prevent it from happening and I would rob myself of a lot of experiences if I kept my life exclusive to a fat queer bubble. And that’s certainly not what I want.

However, I know my gay dollars are important and I do prefer to patronize places that are explicitly queer-friendly. So there’s a balance.

cougar3

It’s so interesting that everyone I’ve told this story to has had a different idea about what they would have done if they were me in that situation. I had a straight friend who said she would have just taken her top off. Someone else would have suggested she take her children and leave us to our gyrating. Another person suggested a John Waters quote, which I had thought of in the elevator going back up to our room and wished I’d had at the ready.

279842_10150253209414386_512354385_7080788_3923008_o
Sometimes my life looks like a John Waters movie.

I’m content with how things worked out, night of being upset aside. When I was able to dissociate from the incident for later processing, I had a wonderful getaway with my wonderful girlfriend. We looked at the ocean, I won $30 on a slot machine called “Kitty Glitter” and we had really good stuffed french toast for breakfast.

COMPLETELY UNRELATED:

I wrote an article on Autostraddle.com about the value of getting a prenup. I feel that a strong prenup makes for a strong marriage ready to stand the test of time. It’s also got the best title of any legal article I’ve ever written.

If You Ain’t No Punk Holla Gays Need Prenups GAYS NEED PRENUPS

Check it out!

*Cougar is working on this amazing book project called Champion: My Photo Journey with Breast Cancer.

Powered by WordPress