Dykes for Dummies: A Cultural Guide
The hard part is over, right? Now all you have to do is meet other Lesbians, make new friends, go on dates, etc. WRONG! Welcome to culture shock. Every social network has it’s own bizarre customs, etiquette, rules, and taboos. This community is no different.
I’m speaking from firsthand experience. As a dyke-in-training, I’d like to share some past & present adventures on my quest to un-code this culture. If you’re a neophyte too, feel free to come here to compare experiences and know that you’re not the only one fumbling around in an unfamiliar world. If my situation doesn’t apply to you, sit back & enjoy the ride.
Where do you start?
I hadn’t a clue. But what I did have: an open mind, internet access, and a home in a gay Mecca (gay Mecca – any area with a large concentration of gay people. Better known to straight people as a big city, or a resort town with too many antique shops and rainbow flags.).
My plan was to go to gay bars and seek out lesbian events. While surfing the ‘net for activities, I stumbled upon online dating sites. I was thrilled to discover that women were using them to make friends as well as search for potential dates. But what kind of personal information do you post on a gay site? I ran a search of women in my town, NYC, to find out. I already knew that I was different from most Lesbians, being a Catholic Republican who works in finance. But hey, New York is a big city. There have to be some women who are like me, right?
As I viewed one profile after another, I could feel a sinking feeling in my stomach. I was learning what I didn’t have:
1) an affinity for cats, Wicca, or radical left-wing politics
2) the ability to write poetry, novels and protest songs
3) an aversion to capitalism, and any events involving alcoholic consumption
I’ll never fit in. They all seemed to be of the same mindset, which was miles away from my thinking. I’ll be an outcast - I’m doomed.
But I also caught myself giggling. A lot of these profiles seemed pretentious and unbelievable. Under the education section, some women listed more degrees than a thermometer and expected the same from a potential partner. “Intellectual”, “Spiritual”, “Citizen of the World”, and “Great Sense of Humor” were adjectives and catch phrases that the website should have charged extra for their over usage. It seemed illegal in the “Favorite Books & Movies” section not to mention a Virginia Woolf title or an obscure foreign flick. This set loved all genres of “sophisticated” music. Of course, Country music was not popular here. I couldn’t help thinking that most of them never actually listened to the classical music they listed.
I didn’t despair. I decided to take a silly approach. Why not put together a profile that would be the antithesis of what I read? How many of these women really did have a sense of humor?
So I had some fun:
Favorite book: Phone Book (Manhattan Yellow Pages can double as a stepstool)
Favorite Movie: hmmm, I’ll make up one: “Godzilla vs Rodan”
Music I Like: Classical Music like “The Chipmunks’ Christmas”
Music I Don’t Like: Anything sung by William Shatner
Favorite Foods: Anything I didn’t cook
I wasn’t a complete wise guy. Interests are good conversation starters. So I stuck in some serious stuff. Guess what? My profile worked. I have made friends and actually got asked out on dates (still do). I was myself. I didn’t try to “fit in”. And just as important, I didn’t forget to have fun and not take myself too seriously.