Lesbian Dad

And we’re off!

toastie Today the voting begins for the Best Lesbian Blog of the Year Award (after a thorough perusal of the finalists, you may vote here). I thought a right fine way to kick it off would be to provide my own (admittedly idiosyncratic, certainly under-informed) synopsis of the blogs on offer.

This lesbo bon mots depot, I’m honored to report, is among the finalists, for which feat I owe untold numbers of you a hearty thank you. If you’re reading this post, then you’ve found your way to this blog, and I’m going to guess you might have been here before now, too, and (therefore) you know a bit of what we’ re up to. I say “we,” by the way, since while thus far I’m the only author of the posts (despite my standing offer to share the mic), the ongoing dialog among commenting readers contributes a big portion of the blog’s value. To me, certainly. In the event that you’re an LD newbie, allow me to direct your attention to this Best of list, and if that’s not enough, this Son of Best of list. Posts collected on those lists represent a range of goings on here, from the sacred to the profane.

Now on to the thumbnail sketches, with an emphasis on the thumbnail, since most of these are blogs I just found about after seeing them copiously nominated in the Lesbian Blog of the Year Award comment stream.

First up, Dorothy Surrenders: “Part Dorothy Gale. Part Dorothy Parker. All Friend of Dorothy. A gay gal’s guide to pop culture. Why let the boys have all the fun?” Authored by Dorothy Snarker, who describes herself as “misanthropic, but in a nice way.” A hilarious, tartly written romp through pop culture, populated with copious previews of L-Word episodes, commentaries on Hollywood hotties, and insider scoops galore. All this with wit that would certainly make the inimitable Ms. Parker smile. She’s also not without sober, broader cultural analysis. Brava.

Next up, we have Hahn at Home. Her tag line: “Sure I put the milk in the cupboard and the backpacks in the fridge, but that’s normal, right? Being 46, single-parenting teens, working full-time plus, and trying to date gets a bit distracting…even in the paradise called Sacramento.” She is saucy, and self-possessed. One part Dear Abby, one part Kate Clinton. Others who have read her for longer than I have would be able to round this portrait out better. Her topics range from her own foibles, to those of friends, to her kids, to the community and world around her.

Blogs encompass many genres– they’re a medium, after all, rather than a genre. Still, the ones I tend to like function the way a good newspaper column does. In high school, I would read Art Hoppe and later Jon Carroll in the San Francisco Chronicle every morning, over my milk-and-sugared-up Folger’s crystals instant coffee and my well-buttered sourdough toast. Hahn at Home provides the same kind of consistent, big-hearted slice-of-life. One nominator called her “the lesbian’s lesbian.” I love that. I am voting for her because hers is an engaging, compassionate voice, and because she has one more kid than me and one less grown-up in the house to help corral them, and lord love me I want the good karma my vote might get me by the time my kids are teenagers like hers.

Next in alpha order we have Sugarbutch Chronicles, “the sex, gender, and relationship adventures of a kinky butch top.” Author Sinclair Sexmith goes on to say that SBC “is a personal writing exploration of sex, gender, and relationships, and attempts to celebrate queer theory, sexuality, gender, and culture in ways that are expansive rather than restrictive, liberating rather than limiting.” All in an elegant graphic design package, too. Back in grad school (which for me, happened in the 1990s), I’d have been thrilled to run across the stuff she writes about. She discourses plenty on gender (here’s a recent e.g., “re-valuing masculinity”), and writes up the sex landscape (both real and imagined) with gusto and aplomb.

Now, a decade out of grad school, I’m still thrilled she’s writing what she’s writing, particularly about the complex topographies of gender. It’s just that my world is kids-diapers-kids-diapers. I once swaggered down those mean streets, a heart-sick gentlemanly butch looking for love, or lust, or something in between. Now when I walk those streets, my head is down and I’m looking for the My Little Pony my three-year-old daughter dropped out of the stroller a coupla blocks back, and now she positively will not tolerate another moment without it in her clammy little grasp. The thrill of the hunt I get these days is writ small, basically as small as my one-year-old boy, who scampers and squirms the moment he sees me whip out a clean diaper. Diapering him is no less challenging than an Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling match, and it makes the prospect of diapering a baby wolverine on amphetamines look very attractive. I got me some hot butch mama / baba friends, sexpert gals (one of ’em advertises her sex shop on SBC!). I secretly imagine that they find or make the time to live the salacious life we all used to live (or some of us wished we lived), back in the era Before Kids. But I’m just sayin’ that in the Butch Yoga class I went to with said hot butch mama sexpert, we both fell asleep when we got to the “lie down and breathe deeply for a few minutes” part of the session. I’m just sayin’. Toddlers are hell, man.

Finally, I give you This Girl Called Automatic Win. If Reise, author of Automatic Win, hooked up with Sinclair (hey, it’s feasable; both live in NYC), I would imagine they’d keep each other busy for weeks, if not months, ordering out and not being seen by friends for a very long time. I base this on the energy I glean from Reise’s blog (how does she find the time?). Ebullient, hilarious, very verbally zingy. A pop culture junkie, which predilection she humors in a spin-off blog dedicated to a blow-by-blow of each L-Word episode, complete with the incredulous dialog of her Greek Chorus of chums. I now feel as if, between Dorothy Snarker and this gal, I have no need to actually ever watch an episode of The L-Word. It would surely pale in comparison to these online tribute-lampoons.

When I was young and spry — particularly on the crest of coming out — I’d have felt, reading Automatic Win, that a life of lesbianism could be downright fun. Rather than what I first thought it was, in 1982 when I came out: a blighted but inevitable path which no one I knew was treading except my sweetie and me, surrounded as we were by theoretically bisexual, understanding and supportive straight friends. All power to the internet, sisters. But the madcap world Automatic Win depicts — memorably rendered by Reise in loose, inventive language, undergirded with a wry self-deprecation — is, alas, quietly but determinedly slipping into my past. Reading her gives me a blog’s-eye-view of the Younger Generation, the lesbo Sex In The City set. Only the more hipster version. With far more text messaging. And irony. And about ten years younger. The fact that I use a retired HBO series (one I never watched, even!) as analogy here should seal up the argument about my being hopelessly out of touch.

I will now indulge a digressional reverie illustrating the last moment in history I might have been counted among the peer groups of either of these two last blogger gals:

    The sun set on my swinging single days about a month before I hooked up with the mama of my children. I had trekked to New York City’s 1994 Pride celebration with a caravan of Lesbian Avenger gals. We began in Minneapolis, picking up more Avengers and doing actions along the way. In Philadelphia we joined up with a merry band of Avengers from the south who had done a similar action-packed Pride Ride, but along a southern route. We all provided extra hands (and whatever other body parts were needed) to support the New York Avengers on the Dyke March, a herstoric event, only the second one to take place that city, all following the national Dyke March in D.C. in April 1993. San Francisco and Minneapolis Dyke Marches launched in ’93 as well.    

    (By the way, if you were at the D.C. Dyke March in ’93, and caught one of the lollypops that read “Lick homophobia” or “Homophobia sucks,” you and I had a moment of connection, since those lollypops were from us Mpls gals, and there’s a good chance you caught one that I prepared. And if you found yourself puzzling at our banner — “Militant lesbianism, not military imperialism” — you can blame me. I’m not a gifted sloganeer, I admit.)

    Few activist experiences will match my listening to legendary Maxine Wolfe teaching us young pups Unpermitted Demonstration March Marshalling Skills 101 in the training the night before the ’94 NYC Dyke March. Direct action knowledge dropped from a major Old Hand. She said a lot, but I remember the essence: “Keep them talking. As you talk to them — without touching them, by the way, they do not like to be touched — inevitably, twenty thousand women will continue to move down 5th Avenue past you.”

    After the Dyke March, Avengers held a huge party/fundraiser at a bar located on the border of SoHo and the East Village. I staffed the kissing booth there for a bit (dedicated fund-raiser that I was), and finagled my very last canoodle, pre-beloved, via nonverbal persuasion that night on the dance floor (how else?). I will demur on the details of the finagling, but I am proud to note that she was a major leagues hottie who has gone on to fame and fortune as a New York Times reporter. I’m a sucker for a dark-haired, smarty-pants siren doing a little participant observer research on lesbian activism.

I would hate to know how old these last two blogger gals were, the night of my gal-on-the-make debauchery, the last such night I would know before I entered the era (!) of my beloved (as coincidence would have it, a dark-haired, smarty-pants, major-leagues hottie siren herself). Had Reise or Sinclair lined up at the kissing booth that night — say, as precocious early bloomers who weaseled their way past the bouncer with some combination of bodaciously fake I.D. and Crocodile Dundee-esque mind-control capabilities — I get the feeling I’d have freaked out and abandoned my station.

Now, a decade and a half later, I’m simply glad that they have access to a keyboard and the World Wide Internet. I’m also glad that Dorothy Snarker and Lori Hahn are out there too. This year’s group of finalists for the Best Lesbian Blog of the Year Award, myself included, is written by the white part of the Lesbian Nation’s rainbow [Major ed. update! Dorothy Snarker is a kimichi mama!  Shet my mouth!] (though I’m glad it hasn’t only been thus; witness last year’s finalist Tina-cious). But if you can overlook this unfortunate caveat, the topics these blogs take up certainly shed light on a variety of topics and life truths of interest to lesbian gals today, of several generations and several persuasions. None provides daily political news and analysis (that would be Pam’s shop, and she gets plenty of deserved recognition, or Dana’s, for the parentally inclined). But each is either marvelously diverting, or telling of some aspect of contemporary lesbian life, or both. Come March 8th, I’ll be glad to celebrate — and send a virtual toaster oven to — whomever racks up the most fan votes.

P.S. Since I am among sisters here, I won’t get my knickers in a wad about whipping up votes, etc. It’s already an honor and a thrill. I will, however, promise threaten to post my senior high school photo — femmed to the teeth, I’m afraid — if I actually get voted into first place. Har! Which says more about the confidence I have that I won’t actually draw the most votes than it does about my comfort splashing images of myself in femme drag all across the World Wide Internet.

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