I did a show recently with a folky friend of mine.
It was his CD release party, and it was a bit of a different crowd for me. Only a smattering of dykes. I am more than all right with this; in fact, I welcome the opportunity to tell stories to all kinds of people.
It is always fascinating for me to see how my words impact when delivered outside of the queer urban comfort zone. In some ways, for me, this is really a test of the material’s true merit, a measure of a story’s ability to speak to things common and human in all of us.
I have been heart-struck by a trucker with a giant belt buckle telling me the story of his own grandmother after a show. I am continually amazed at how art and music have the ability to carry me across bridges I would otherwise never have the courage to step onto. I often count my blessings for the people and the places writing and storytelling have taken me to.
Anyway, last week I found myself stacking chairs and cleaning up after the show at one o’clock in the morning with a whole bunch of folks I had never met, and a smattering of people I didn’t know very well.
I turned to pick up an abandoned purse and that is when I saw them. Two straight women I had been talking to earlier, now sans boyfriends, full-on tongue-kissing each other, one with her back pressed up against the now quiet stage, the other’s hips grinding into hers, all four hands moving, askew on various ass cheeks and bits of bare skin where shirts had been pulled back. The keyboard player and the drummer were watching nonchalantly as they coiled cables and zipped up road cases.
I felt a bit of a lurch in my jeans and my mouth went dry.
Maybe my mind has been permanently tainted by pornography. Perhaps the patriarchy has twisted my libido to respond to this kind of heterosexual girl-on-girl action. Whatever the reason, I must admit I like it when the straight girls have one too many beers and get to groping each other after a gig. If this makes me bad, well then, I am terrible.
Maybe I need to revisit my assumptions. Maybe they are not all that straight. Maybe they do this kind of thing all the time when I am not around to witness it. Maybe I should have minded my own business and looked away. But I could not and did not.
There was something about that kiss, something about how it was public, in front of me and the boys from the band. Something about how that kiss didn’t include the boys and me, yet we were not excluded either, that made it hot. For me, at least. I didn’t process it after with the band, so I really don’t know.
I remember the first time I saw two butch men kiss each other. It was 1990, and I was almost 21 years old.
I was walking down Beatty St, outside of the gaybourhood, in the middle of a sunny afternoon. Two big muscle–bound dudes in faded Levis and tight T-shirts were going at it right there in the street, leaning into each other in a doorway. One guy had his hand slipped into his lover’s back pocket, and I could see the muscles in his forearm flexing as he squeezed the guy’s ass cheek and pulled their two bodies closer together.
I remember that kiss because it was my first. I had seen plenty of women kissing in the dark at women-only night at the Lotus Club on Friday nights, or at the Gandydancer, but this was the first out in the open in broad daylight man-on-man action I had ever seen in real life.
What struck me was the sameness of them. Two butch men. It seemed like the gayest thing I could think of. It was so powerful it froze my feet to the sidewalk. I had to tear myself away, afraid they would notice me standing there and staring.
Of course they never even looked up. They were busy.
It was the sexiest thing I had ever laid my eyes on, and it remains on my list still today.
Lately when I get a couple of scotches in me, I have this experiment I like to do. I like to find two hot femmes and see if I can talk them into kissing in front of me.
I usually barter. I find a butch friend of mine and I offer to neck with my butch buddy for them if they will return the favour. It has worked more than a couple of times, and it works for me on so many levels.
In addition to the surprising pleasure of necking with another butch, I get to see two hot femmes tangle tongues, right in front of us. Red fingernails tracing a scented neck, a dress just short enough to catch a flash of ass cheek when one leans into the other, two colours of lipstick mixing on a Kleenex or a cigarette butt. The curls of one tangled for a split second into the curls of the other. Laughing and batting of eyelashes.
Hot, right? And again, for me, it is in part because of the sameness of the two of them. Not that any two femmes are alike; that is not at all what I mean.
It is, I think for me, the queerness of it all. The Adam and Steve of it all. All those hot possibilities. All the straight world’s assumptions of what lesbians look like, and what they do in bed together somehow turned upside down, little legs kicking in the air.
Does finding this so hot make me bad? I certainly hope so.
Loose End appears in every other issue of Xtra.