Singled Out: Lesbian Labels
Entertainment publicist Mona Elyafi ponders lesbian roles including the lipstick lesbian, stone femme, butch, soft butch, stone butch, dyke, baby dyke, Chapstick lesbian, boi and the Judas of lesbians the hasbian.
"Mona, you've got to help me PLEASEEEE," were thefirst words that came out of my friend Pam's mouth. Slightly over-melodramatic in her delivery --if you ask me -- but sincere enough to pique my interest.
"What do you need?" I replied.
"I'm updating my Match.com profile and I need to add a paragraph describing what kind of lesbian I am," she proceeded to say.
That's it? That's what's warranting this desperate emergency phone call? Surely she had to be kidding. It's amazing how people like to use my time! I so need to recuperate my life, or else get one.
"Don't roll your eyes, I'm serious," she insisted now nearly on the verge of begging.
I had to give her credit for knowing me so well and being able to see (through the phone) my face immediately strike an aggravated expression of horror - soliciting my writing skills for an internet dating profile is hardly an attractive advertising platform to promote my creative genius.
"How long is this going to take?" I questioned, primarily concerned that I was about to lose some precious time I privately set aside to indulge in a Dynasty marathon viewing of all-thirteen DVD episodes composing the entire Season One.
In all honesty, at the core of my mental indisposition to tackle such a topic was really the fact that I had absolutely no expert advice to bring to the table. I've only been out for a decade and haven't accumulated enough lesbian lifestyle mileage to merit this premature graduation. What on earth possessed Pam to suddenly appoint me as an authority on what kind of lesbian she might possibly be? Granted, we're very much alike, but for God's sake, I don't know in which category I belong to!
Not to make this all about me - although I kind of have to - but seriously, what type of "woman who likes women" am I exactly? As I considered all the fancy available options offered in the so-called universal lesbian catalog one urgently pressing philosophical sentiment invaded me verbally captured by three consonants: WTF!
"Holly shit! There're going to revoke my membership," was the self-engaged mental monologue occurring in my very confused brain.
If only I had known ahead of time that becoming a lesbian was going to be as much of a headache as picking a pair of jeans, I would have hired John Galliano .What can I say? If my ass has to get kicked to the curb, I'd rather get the boot in Dior.
Has anyone noticed how complicated it is nowadays to buy a pair of jeans? It is used to be as easy as 1, 2, 3 or more precisely as easy as 501. It was simply a no-brainer. You'd walk into store get your original Levis 501 and wear them until the fabric pretty much was worn out. And the only executive decision you had to make was whether you wanted a light or dark wash, a button fly or a zipper- PERIOD. Now purchasing denim is as confusing as figuring out what crop of lesbian best describes your style because there's just too many fancy fashion features to consider. Blue Jeans not only come in different styles -- boot, skinny, flair, classic fit, relaxed fit, straight leg; different waist cuts -- high rise, sit on the waist, low rise, ultra low rise; but also different shades - stonewashed, sandblasted, scrubbed, whiskered, antique, vintage.
Comparatively, the business of being lesbo has been sliced up into compartmentalized caricatures of styles, looks, brands and types that attempts to label how lesbians should or should not be defined as. And here are your top 10 lesbian idol contestants: lipstick lesbian, stone femme, butch, soft butch, stone butch, dyke, baby dyke, Chapstick lesbian, boi and the Judas of lesbians the hasbian.
more on next page...
How on earth am I supposed to find the perfect fashion that best suits my wardrobe and fits like a second skin when I can comfortably sport a little bit of this and a little bit of that? Indeed, for the lesbians likes of moi who falls somewhere in the "neither nor" and "either or" blind spot or gray area, having to settle on a single specific definition of myself is perplexingly debilitating.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a wishy-washy fashion cut, I'm just one of those lesbians who make you go "hmmm." I'm to the lesbian clique what metro sexual is to the gays -- you know the type that has some wonder: Is she? Possibly? Definitely? Not really? Occasionally? Maybe? While others opt for the quick and easy "wait a minute, I think she is, she's wearing a Speedo ... or maybe she's just European?"
Ok, I'm not gonna lie, I wear Speedos but only because I am a competitive swimmer.
There's always more to people than meets the eyes. Personally, I don't dress to look like who I am, I dress to emulate how I feel and select my clothes to answer to one basic question: what mood am I in today? Do I feel feminine, sexy, sporty, boyish, boardroom bully, business suit bitchy, masculine chic, hoochie mama, Gucci or Prada?
While I absolutely understand the incessant need to group discernibly different things together as one solid equivalent for identification sake, I also refuse to slot myself into a defined category and be identified in terms of my attributed label instead of my uniqueness. Last time I checked the sticker on my car was not saying, "I am an honor graduate of the who-gives-a-fuck school."
Yet, being recognizant of the fact that life simply demands order, as a compromise for my sisters from another mother who are stuck somewhere in the middle, I have found a convenient neologism that might help in the classification of our "in between" specie: GLOSS (Glam Lustre or Sometimes Subtle). Yep, I'm a lip gloss lesbo - that elastic substance that puts the stretch in the jeans.
Because I don't buy lipstick, don't like the taste of Chapstick but never go bare and settle for the subtle glossy barely there; I am never "made-up" but do wear make-up; I swear by the gods of eyeliner and mascara and my skin is only touched by Nivea; I don't wear dresses, don't do minis, but an occasional skirt might come handy; I don't fashion thongs and wire-bras but I'm still a sexy mama -- I have a secret, it's Victoria! - I don't dab myself in men's cologne and find women's perfumes too strong, for my "scent of a woman" galore, I am simply an Addict for Dior; I wobble on stilettos but kick ass in high heels; I don't sport lacquered red nails, don't wear frou-frous in my hair; I accessorize but don't excess-orize.
I'm not ambiguous, I'm psychologically androgynous - I equally juggle between femininity and masculinity. I'm not an antagonism but rather a conundrum.
I can blur, blend and merge; I am always on the verge. I'm not Kate Moss, not quite Carrie-Anne Moss, definitely the boss, yet malleable enough to be tossed.
I am a "crisscross", a lesbian lip gloss!
After all this headache and two hours away from Dynasty that I'll never get back, what I concocted for Pam as a bottom line final description - and the only profile item she really needed - were the following lines:
"Please provide a current photo of yourself taken within the last couple of hours."
Miss the last Singled Out? Read it here!
Mona Elyafi is the founder/CEO of ILDK Media - a boutique entertainment public relations agency specializing in personal publicity, special events, media relations & corporate/brand communications. www.ILDKMedia.com