I’m married to a woman. I crush on her hard when she’s being especially cute, we have a great sex life and, yes, I really like her boobs. My big ugly lesbian truth, however, is that she’s the only woman I have ever been with. In this way, I don’t consider myself particularly adept at being a lesbian and I worry that I’m not properly representing my subculture.
When I meet someone new, I am acutely aware that I may be the only lesbian they know, or that they may be judging all lesbians based on my behavior. Such pressure, all of it self-induced. It’s important for me to come across as feminine yet tough, agreeable yet bold, and cheerful yet clever. In trying to walk this fine line, more often than not, I overcompensate and land with the resounding thud of...awkward.
During a recent trip to Los Angeles, my wife and took a class at our gym’s West Hollywood location. Though we’re used to seeing skinny moms with long hair and designer workout clothes who wear diamonds to spin class at our Upper East Side gym, West Hollywood was packed with models. The men were sinewy and hairless and the women wore crop-tops and lipstick. To the gym. We gawked and made plans to get burgers when we left since nothing could possibly make us feel worse than standing among these gods and goddesses.
Later in the locker room, we were both showered and wrapped in towels while deciding what to do with our hair when my wife realized she had forgotten to bring our face lotion, the one with SPF. As usual, this incited some bickering.
“I only reminded you, like, five times,” I said with attitude.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that’s the one you wanted,” she replied and rolled her eyes at me, her silent way of saying I was a brat and this was not the end of the world.
A post-workout blonde in a black hat and pink lipstick looked up from her phone. “Are you two sisters?” she asked me. “You argue like sisters.”
Not again. This had already happened twice on this trip alone (and let me assure you, we look nothing alike), and I suddenly felt modest as the naked genetic elite wandered past me with curling wands and eyeliner. My wife had disappeared. I sighed.
“No, she’s my wife.”
The girl’s face lit up. “Oh, my God,” she lauded, “that is so awesome.”
Her response caught me off guard. I’d said she was my wife, not my clone, and we were in L.A. I couldn’t be the first married lesbian she’d ever seen. The gays are not a closely kept government secret.
“Did you get married here in California?” she asked.
“No,” I inched away. “We’re from New York.”
She was thrilled. This was, like, the most awesome news she’d ever heard. I felt like a diamond ring she’d found in an empty locker. Something about my marriage was making her day.
We chatted for a moment more before I retreated to my row of lockers to smear on the wrong face cream and layer my jewelry back on. Later my wife and I were finishing our makeup and gathering our belongings. I didn’t realize the excited gay-friendly blonde was a few feet away from me blow-drying her hair. I took one final glance in the mirror and she turned, stark naked, her huge boobs turning with her, to ask me one more question.
“Is this gym really different from the one in New York?” Weird question, I thought, there are so many New York locations.
I was suddenly dangerously aware of two facts: She is not wearing a stitch of clothing and she knows I’m a lesbian. I opened my mouth to answer her. Words weren’t quite forming as I desperately tried to look at her. But where to look?
I wondered if this was a test. Yes. Clearly she was testing me to see if I could talk to a naked chick without salivating or talking directly to her boobs. The wrong reaction and lesbians could be banned from women’s locker rooms forever. The wrong reaction and I could be dragged from the gym by a smooth-chested male model and tossed out on my ass onto Sunset Boulevard to wait for my Uber in shame.
I babbled. I said something coherent enough that she smiled when I mentioned the mommy mentality at my gym. I tripped over my words as I attempted to gracefully explain that everyone here was gorgeous.
“Oh, I know,” she laughed. “It’s all full faces of makeup.”
Yes! I did some sort of giggle to show her I agreed with her for agreeing with me, then I grabbed my shit and rushed out.
“Nice meeting you,” I spoke as I walked away, catching up with my wife. I made my big-deal bug eyes. “Babe,” I was breathless, “Did you catch any of that?”
She was too busy looking around in wonderment. “No.” She shook her head. “Why? What happened?”
Oh, nothing. I was actually sweating like I’d just competed in the lesbian Olympics. I told my wife about the conversation with the naked girl and how I awkwardly talked on and on.
“Oh, I know,” my wife exclaimed, “I didn’t know where to look when I saw her, because, like, I knew that she knew that I’m a lesbian.”
Whoa. We walked outside. What a workout.