I remember the first time my parents gave me dating advice quite vividly. Level with my mother's gaze, she imparted unto me the same knowledge my grandmother had imparted unto her as a youth, and probably her mother to her. Propped in her lap, and all of five years old, an agreement was forged. "Marry a nice, rich, Jewish doctor and we'll be happy." With that wisdom- and my Hello Kitty purse - in hand, I began seeking out the future Jewish doctors in all corners of my kindergarten classroom.
Although Jordan Schneider, the scrawny boy in the corner with his plastic stethoscope seemed promising, it was hard to commit to someone who clearly had more of an interest in picking his nose than in marital security. I was truly at a loss for prospective husbands.
After rebounding from my initial discouragements, I decided I would stick to playing "doctor” with Danielle, a much cleaner, cuter Jewish five year old, who never hesitated at lifting up my dress during our games of "let's make a baby!"
But really, I’ve gotta hand it to my mother. Dating advice aside, she truly molded me into the lesbian I am today. She insisted on me opting for the Barbie remote-control jeep over the hotwheels racetrack. She encouraged high-energy sports, like cheerleading, instead of softball. And she made certain that I played acoustic guitar, instead of the drums.
As far back as I can remember, I've been happy to embrace my femininity. So when I came out at age fourteen, I naturally fell right into the girly-girl-liking-girly-girl crowd.
We called it “lesbian lunch.” The gay ladies of Nova High School would all gather together on the couch of the debate classroom and talk about homework, homecoming dresses, and hot women.
The first day I was invited to eat with the group, I sat down next to a tall, thin, dark-haired beauty, and instantly understood why she was the girl every girl wanted to date. Then I looked around the circle… there was a gangly blonde with big tits and an even bigger attitude; she wore tight t-shirts with boy-cut jeans. There was the girl with the rainbow-bead necklace, a bi-curious J-Lo look-alike, and a sweater-set sporting shy girl who I soon found out added to our numbers, but not so much to the conversation.
And then there was me. I was the freshman lesbian girly-girl, and for the first time in school, I fit right in to a tight-knit group. I would eat with these girls every day, passing notes about crushes, while gushing about the L word and the rumored lesbian cheerleaders. We infiltrated lesbian bars with our older sisters’ ids, and had our first sexual experiences with 'experienced' women. We made friends with a notorious lesbian who taught us how to walk down the street hand-in-hand without fear, sporting the, “don’t fuck with me, my girlfriend’s hotter than yours” attitude.
I spent four years living in what I’ve come to call a “femme centric” lesbian circle before I moved to the Midwest for college. It was in Chicago where I began feeling like nobody took me seriously. Every time I came out, which for me is multiple times a day, somebody had something to say. Whether it was a group of cynical lesbians or obnoxious straight men, it honestly began to feel as if being feminine constantly reduced me to a bisexual fantasy or a copout to the queer community.
After college, I moved to New York City. But even in New York, I pause for a second before I ever go to kiss a girl in public. I know that however genuine my feelings are for her, there is still an overwhelming stigma that taunts femme-femme couples-- there’s no way that two beautiful, young, feminine women could be in a serious, committed relationship. Every time I hear, “Yea, ladies, can I join in?” and, “You two just need a real man to show you how it’s done,” I hate to admit it, but I miss high school. I miss the simplicity and the somewhat utopian reality I used to live in.
… I mean, after Michelle passed me a note telling me how cute I looked in my Snoopy costume for the winter musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” it still took a minute for me to realize exactly what that invitation to “hang out at the cast party” really meant… but when she kissed me, making her the second nice-Jewish girl I’d kissed, it was clear that yes, girls wearing pink can also sport a rainbow bead necklace and listen to Ani DiFranco. My fourteen year old self was delighted.
One night, when I was out with my ex-girlfriend, a beautiful lesbian with dark hair and blue eyes, a man came over and asked her a question. “Have I seen you in something?" I was standing beside her, my arm around her waist, as she said, “No, I just moved here.”
He asked, “Are you here with anybody?”
She shifted her weight against me. “This is my girlfriend,” she said directly. He then turned to me. “Does it piss you off that I am hitting on your girlfriend and you’re standing right here?”
I smirked, grabbed her waist a little bit harder, and we turned to walk away. This was nothing new. Then I glanced back at him. I, a 105lb, 5’2’’ lesbian, had nothing to say to the dude who hovered above me. But I did wonder... had I been a 250lb, 6ft tall man, how much more would a punch to the face hurt than a kick in the gut with my size 7 stiletto?
This is my Girl on Girl story.
-JODI SAVITZ, DIRECTOR