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Singled Out: Dinah'mite Dinah'mics

Singled Out: Dinah'mite Dinah'mics

Entertainment Publicist Mona Elyafi reminisces about her journey from Dinah Virgin to Dinah Ho in three easy steps.

I have to apologize to my dear mother for disappointing her last week.  She called me all the way from France last Tuesday morning in a panic asking me why I haven’t emailed her yet the link to Singled Out.

“Where’s your column?” were the first words she belched out.

 “I’ve been looking everywhere on and can’t find it,” she proceeded to say with a slight hint of exasperation. So much for the usual warm greeting of “how are you? Is everything fine on your side of the planet?”

Nope! My mom wanted her column and she wanted it yesterday. In her defense, I absolutely know that her benign tantrum was purely motivated by the motherly joy she has in vicariously living my life through my writing -- it somehow bridges for her the geographic distance that separates these two huge continents between us.

“So where is it?” she insisted, not ready to capitulate quite yet.

Well the reason mommy dearest couldn’t find my damned column is simply because I didn’t write! How could I? Believe me it was not for lack of trying but honestly I was mentally and psychologically unavailable, not to mention physically indisposed.

Why you may ask? Evidently because I was attending THE landmark event in the not so secret life of the American – and international – Lesbian: The Dinah.

I have to admit that I had no intention this week about writing about my trip to the sunny oasis. Not only did I feel -- and still do -- it would borderline be a conflict of interest being the publicist for the event, but I also thought, with all due respect, it’s none of your business. However, as I was driving back from Palm Springs to the City of Angels --somewhere around 4:00 in the morning, I changed my mind.

As impressively depleted, affirmatively buzzed and monumentally fatigued as I most definitely was, I yet found myself overwhelmed with immense feelings of serenity, gratitude and accomplishment. No it was not an epiphany, just a “f’ing” exceptionally awesome feeling.

Ironically, it was in the pitch black night that for once I got to see clearly how the many bumpy detours that have so far defined the map of my life are taking me to my targeted destination -- because things do indeed happen for a reason, and as cliché as the saying sounds, it finally made sense to me.

With that in mind, the reason why I do want to talk about the Dinah is not to report on everything that is in a very cliché way expected to happen but rather to tell about the unexpected – and by unexpected I do not mean the behind the scenes but the beyond the seen.

The first time I ever attended the extravagant annual lesbian pilgrimage was in 1999. Back then, not only was I a novice lesbian but a crippled one too. I was suffering from severe back pain – caused by what was months later diagnosed to be a dangerously protruding herniated disc -- which sort of left me handicapped from the waist down.

Yep! I officially became a Dinah Virgin looking like the hunchback of Notre Dame – needless to say, I didn’t score high on the scale of popularity and didn’t quite get the attention I was going for.  But if anything, passively witnessing the level of fun these hordes of wild ladies were certifiably experiencing was enough of an entertainment in itself and a delicious eye-candy consolation prize to totally distract my mind from the excruciating pain insistently throbbing in my lower back.

In the end, what my first Dinah did was not only give me a few days of solace but as well reassure me that there was nothing wrong with me being gay. It surely showed me that apparently there were a handful of women in the same boat as me and quite ready to throw me a lifeguard buoy was I ever to drown in my emotionally fearful transition from the safety shores of straight-land to the perilous waters of queer-dome. It gave me a sense of identity, a feeling of belonging and symbolically marked my official entering into the lesbian … DINAH’STY!

Fast forward to 2006, I returned to the Dinah for the second time, but this time absolutely pain free and not so much the clumsy, goofy lesbian ingénue I once used to be -- at least I thought I did a good job pretending I was not too clueless. Nevertheless, very much by default, I, technically, was then a veteran and deservingly enjoyed the new expert title of “Dinah Ho.” Mind you, in a matter of seven years, I had not merely graduated in status but also managed to upgrade my socio-demographical rank from JUST Mona “the customer” to Mona “the PR Girl.”

I made my auspicious come-back to the Dinah courtesy of my sexy lesbian client who was participating in the highly hyped L Word fashion show.  While my client was parading her “America’s Next top Model” bootay on the runway, I was busy doing the “rock of love” dance trying to win the heart of the in-demand Bachelorette - who somehow seemed to have saved that last rose for me.

Needless to say, she gave me more than that symbolic single beautiful rose. Ironically, wasn’t it Brett Michaels via Poison who sang “Every Rose has its thorn?” – as they say: live and learn! In retrospect, what my second Dinah escapade did – beside prove that I could be a professional cougar -- was not only teach me that I could madly fall in love with a woman but that my heart also had the ability to love unconditionally.

It absolutely showed my narcissistic superficial Gemini twin that beyond good looks, the many other ingredients composing the recipe for a successful relationship all fall under one common denominator …DINAH’MICS!

Cut to 2009 and rewind to last week, I embarked once again on the messianic Palm Springs exodus for Dinah # 3. This time, by some divine intervention, I showed up with absolutely no baggage – my back was solid as a rock and my “once upon a time broken into million pieces” heart was fully mended without a single trace of a scar.

I was once again attending under the professional marquee of “publicist” yet I didn’t bring any clients with me – the Dinah was my client. It was probably best that I was mad enough to never stop for a second to ponder over the magnitude of such a humongous project because had I been aware I was about to climb Mount Everest, I would have possibly given up – although probably not. What can I say? I have a masochistic fanciness for suicidal missions!

What my third Dinah experience did was provide me with a euphoric sense of personal purpose and meaning in life that no words could possibly describe. Most importantly, it metaphorically brought me home full circle by showing me that despite what seemingly looked like un-patchable cracks, crippling setbacks and insurmountable detours, I could bounce back.

I now know that as unpredictable as things may at first hand seem to be, nothing really happens randomly in life.  

While the Dinah may, for a vast majority, be synonymous to the stereotypical “girls gone wild” scenario, for me it certifiably has a much deeper philosophical meaning. What the Dinah has come to epitomize is the basic philosophy of what life is all about for me: to always have the ability to see past challenges and obstacles, trust that your weaknesses can become your strengths, and always do things with a smile.

Because when things, good or bad, are bursting in life, the explosion always sounds better when it’s … DINAH’MITE!

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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