What I Loved About Hanging Out With Lesbians
Even though they never went through on their threats to drag me to a strip club
My first wife, Linda, was a lesbian.
Still is, hopefully — I’m sure her wife, Carol, would appreciate that! Deb (my current wife) and I got invited to their wedding last year, and they’re a wonderful couple.
Thirty years ago, however, Linda and I got divorced because it turned out Linda was not, as she’d assumed, a bisexual who just had not met the Right Guy yet. (I was supposed to be the Right Guy. Turned out there was no such person. We are not the first couple this has happened to, nor the last.) Since I had just gotten out of the Navy and was not employed, Linda offered to let me use her guest room to stay in until I got a job and back on my feet. Sure, I could hang out for a few weeks. I had a decent resumé in computers, and this was the San Francisco Bay area, home to Silicon Valley, so it wouldn’t take long.
Some might remember there was a recession in 1990/1991? It wasn’t a very big one. Unless you were unemployed and looking for a job. From that perspective it was kind of a big one.
So for nine months I hung out with the lesbians.
The core group was Linda, Tish (woman who replaced me), and the Debs (Deb1 and Deb2, ex-Navy couple who are still together thirty years later, and were also at Linda and Carol’s wedding last year). They were my buddies, my support group, my drinking mates. We would occasionally be joined by women who were current or former Navy as they were passing through on the way to new duty stations or jobs.
Tish was the lone civilian, but she worked at the Navy yard up at Mare Island as a nuclear engineer. Since I was a former nuclear submariner, we had things to talk about, and Tish’s stories from her day at work would be followed by “oh that reminds me when…” anecdotes on my part. Nights at the dinner table would sometimes lead to Linda taking the dirty dishes into the kitchen while mumbling about “fuckin‘ nuke engineers, man,” or something like that. (Linda was an English major in college. Carol gives her grief about that. I like Carol.)
I found that hanging with lesbians released my inner masculine side. As in, I never indulged in dirty jokes or leering looks or other severely straight guy-type behavior with other men, but somehow when I was with a bunch of women, it felt more natural. Especially when they were the ones starting the jokes and the leers.
Although I might get called on it. “Don’t stare at her!” Tish would tell me, smacking me on my arm. “I didn’t even notice her until they were staring!” I would protest, pointing at the Debs. “Don’t—” Tish would start on the Debs, until checking out what the fuss was about. “Oh my GAWD, are those even REAL?!” “Boob job, definitely,” opined one of the Debs, “probably for professional reasons.” And then we’d be off on speculations of the unsuspecting woman’s profession.
I also flirted better with lesbians. Okay, maybe I should say I didn’t suck as much when I flirted with lesbians as when I flirted with straight women. Timing is everything, when it comes to banter. When I would (try to) flirt with a straight woman, there might be the casual innuendo, the double entendre, the meaningful gaze. And I’d be thrown off for a second or two, trying to figure, “Is she serious? Or busting my chops?” Ruins the game.
Flirting with a lesbian, it wasn’t a question. Yeah, she was busting my chops. Fine, then, I’ll see your innuendo and raise you a brazen remark. Oh fine, thinks she, I’ll meet that remark and raise you a bald-faced proposal. Take THAT, buddy!
Flirting with lesbians was fun. Even when they had to explain what they’d just propositioned me to do, and I’d blush.
At one point there was discussion about going to a strip club in San Francisco. “Jack, have you been to a strip club?… Seriously? Never? We should take Jack. Which one should we go to?” They were talking about taking me to one for my birthday, but they actually took me out on a tour boat to Alcatraz Island. Still educational, but in a different way. “I told them you’d be too embarrassed,” Tish told me later. “I didn’t think it was appropriate for your birthday. And you said you’d never been to Alcatraz.”
In response to the Prism & Pen prompt: