Clinton A. Johnston
[Maud sits in a chair facing the audience. Shes a feminist in her late 30s.]
I have finally come to a decision.
You know what I am really sick of?
Not just lesbians, mind you. In and of themselves, lesbians are fine. Some of my best friends are lesbians. Hell, all of my best friends are lesbians, and I have absolutely no problem with what they do to themselves and to each other. No, what really sucks is what they do to me.
What really sucks is that some time during the 90s, it suddenly became cool to be lesbian. They went from being reviled to being hip. Hell, they were positively au courrant. Now, usually I would not begrudge a group their coolness, but a strange thing happened. It seemed like when it was decided that they were cool, it sucked all the coolness from the rest of us.
For instance, at the Womens Center, theres this attitude that says you can only be a real feminist if you keep your sexual appetites "in house", as if to know a man somehow taints your purity. Why is it that every revolutionary movement starts acting like Catholicism once you scratch its surface?
And the killer thing is, its all still because of the Patriarchy. Men get turned on when two women feel each other up and get scared when two guys do. So suddenly, whomp! Lesbians are in movies, in television shows, on MTV, everywhere. But try floating that little piece of analysis past people at the Womens Center. Try floating that little tidbit past Grace.
Grace is my partner at the Womens Center. No, not that kind of partner ... and not even that anymore. Shes not my partner. Grace is my boss.
Three years ago, we co-founded the Center, took it from a room in the basement of the public library into its own building where we raised our own money, patched our own roof, organized our own volunteers and set ourselves up as a testament to womans power and self-determination. Last year, for all my hard work, for all I have sweated and bled into that place, our board made up mostly of Graces friends and ex-lovers (the same people) turned around and thanked me by naming Grace the Centers first executive director. I was made Senior Program Manager or Volunteer Coordinator or whatever consolation post one gives Trotsky-esque rejects like me. When I asked one of our board members why, she said, Grace had more of the leadership character they were looking for. Read: Of the two of us, she's the only one to have given birth to something without having known a penis. And now, due in no small part to my continued hard work over the last year, everyone's calling Grace, our savior. So, I think, great. Now she's the Virgin Mary and the Messiah. Bet that beefs up her resume.
I even get it at home. My fifteen year-old daughter, Carly, has cut her hair, cut her tee shirts, cut her classes, and is hanging out with the neo-dyke crowd at school. When I ask her if she's got anything she wants to tell me, she just says, nothing that I would understand. Nothing I would understand? I was flirting with alternative lifestyles before she was even born. In fact, its because I was flirting with alternative lifestyles that she was born.
I mean, I just feel like Im getting it from all sides. At home, I have my daughter who, I swear to you, only last year wanted to marry every member of N'Sync. Now shes acting like shes Melissa Etheridge. And at work, I have my partner sorry, my boss telling me that my personal, professional, and spiritual life would greatly improve if I would just accept that the only worthwhile thing a strong man can give me, I can also get from a strong set of batteries especially when they both run out eventually.
[Building to a high point]
Understand, this is the woman who categorizes her lovers by using types of Girl Scout Cookies. This ones her brown "Peanut Butter Patty", and that ones her chocolate-covered "Thin Mint". And thats degrading, disgusting, and racist, and yet she gets the jobs, and she presumes to tell me how to run my life. And Im trying to ignore her, and she just keeps talking. And I try to just get my work done, but shes undoing my blouse and talking about Carly and whispering in my ear and touching my breasts and telling me how much Ill like it and stop! Stop! Its just too much! Its all too much!
So much that its not until that night when I hear myself screaming at Carly for wanting $100 to get matching tattoos with her little friend that I realize whats just happened.
So, Ive finally come to a decision. Tomorrow, I have an appointment with a lawyer. Try running that past Grace. Shell probably say that Im a reactionary heterosexist. The board will say Im a vindictive traitor for brining suit against my own organization. And Carly this is going to kill her. Grace is her new hero
And its not fair! Because its not about politics, and its not about titillation, and its not about expanding sexual identities. Its about someone being selfish and cruel and taking what she wants regardless of the feelings and rights of others. But even though Im in the right, I lose my job, my friends, my family, and she she gets to be cool."Cool Lesbians" IS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND MAY NOT BE DOWNLOADED, TRANSMITTED, PRINTED OR PERFORMED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR
"Cool Lesbians" debuted March 15, 2002, performed by Annaliese Moyer.