Friday, March 17, 2017

Freshman (Part 12)

     Erica and Fang were parked on one of the sofas in Jane's shared room, bottles of Miller in hand.  Jane was on the love seat, talking on the phone.  She finished, hung up, and smiled.  "Dolly said they're gonna start playing at 9:30.  We should be there at nine, so Dolly can talk us past their doorman.  Usually they don't have a doorman, but on nights when they have live music, they bring someone in."

     Dolly, the lead singer for the San Francisco dyke-rock band Chromewagon, was more than pleased to meet Erica and Fang.  Chromewagon was playing at a SOMA bar called Zeitgeist, a place that was sort of the "official" bicycle messenger bar for the City.  Lenny and Bekka had told Dolly of the two recent Minnesota transplants, of Erica's relatively recent immersion into the hardcore punk scene, and of Fang and Erica's relationship, age difference and all.  The two also seemed to be heading for the Bay Area every other week, leaving Friday morning and returning Sunday night.  Erica would bring her typewriter with them, in case she was in the middle of something or she had inspiration.
     Just the idea of the band Chromewagon made Erica and Fang very happy.  Punk rock with aggressively lesbian lyrics and a five foot four lead singer whose wonderfully obnoxious behavior onstage was becoming legend in the Bay Area?  They had to see this. The hitch was, of course, Fang's age.  She was sixteen.  Erica was thirty-two.  San Francisco is not an "all-ages" sort of town, eighteen was the bare minimum, with twenty-one being an ideal age.  All-ages events were few, and dyke-themed all-ages events pretty much nil.  They had tried to get into some places by using the strategy of sweeping in like they owned the place, and had some luck.  They'd gone to Girl Spot night at the EndUp, the Bearded Lady on Potrero Hill, and one of the sex shops in the Tenderloin.  Fang had been carded at Wild Side West, the El Rio, and a dance club named CockBlock.  Good Vibrations, the women's sex toy emporium, had also asked Fang for ID.  Going to 924 Gilman St. every time they visited would get old quickly.
     Jane had been over to the City so she could hang out with Dolly and her fellow bicycle messenger friends a few times on weekends.  She'd bring the big bag of Ecstasy with her, as an ice-breaker: the messengers are a rather insular tribe if SF  Each time, she'd go out to party with the Chromewagon girls, and each time she'd hooked up with a girl, spending the night with her, and going home in the morning.  She'd been very careful to emphasize to the girls she'd hooked up with that she wasn't looking for romance, just a night of fun, so they'd better say something now before it was too late.
     The night before, Fang and Erica had been at the EndUp.  So had Jane's roommate, Kaitlyn, along with two of her friends.  Jane had played a rather mean trick on the three of them.  After listening to their vaguely homophobic concepts, they had asked where would be a fun place to go dancing in San Francisco.  Jane recommended the EndUp....  Knowing that Fridays were "Girl Spot" night.  The rest of the week, the mix was about sixty percent queer, forty percent straight..  Girl Spot was not only lesbian-specific, it was also one hell of a meat market.  Everyone was there looking for a hook-up, indulging their inner sluts.  And everyone assumed everyone else was there for the same reason.  You weren't looking for Ms. Right, but for Ms. Right Now.  Grabbing another girl's ass on the dance floor was just a friendly way of saying hello.  It was as if SF dykes wanted to prove they could be as lewd and horny as the fags.  On Fridays, the bathroom stalls were utilized the same way they were the rest of the week by cruising gay dudes.
     Erica and Fang went to Girl Spot with their eyes wide open.  They wanted to cruise, and they wanted to swing with one or more girls.  Generally, Girl Spot had a young crowd, Erica was at the upper end of the age range.  They would lie about Fang's age, saying she was nineteen.  The interest in swinging surprised the rest of us at first, we thought it might indicate a chink in the armor of their relationship.  Nope, they were as close and in love as always, they just wanted the sexual indulgence.....  And also the feeling of decadence, many of us suspected.  While Minneapolis had an open and out dyke scene, the dating mores in it were still like those one would expect from any Midwest resident.  In the bars, women swapped numbers, not spit.  Erica and Fang were not only very much out around home (their neighbors in the apartment complex know them simply as "The Lesbians," like that was on their mailbox) --- Minneapolis was a bit hostile to two women kissing on the street --- they also knew there was a big wide world of sexual activity out there, and wanted to expand their horizons a bit.
     Jane didn't see Kaitlyn until about five on Saturday.  She came home with one of her preppy friends who'd gone dancing with her.  They both looked tired....  And Kaitlyn seemed to be both happy and shell-shocked.  Her friend rated as "perky" anyway, now she was almost bubbling.  Fang looked at them and said, "Hey, you were at the EndUp last night;"
     Kaitlyn suddenly focused on the two new punk rock girls on the sofa, her expression belying her recognition.  Her perky friend said,"Hey!  You're the two who grabbed my butt on the dance floor at the same time!"
     "We couldn't help ourselves, that's one cute ass you've got, sugar," Fang replied.
     "Where's your other friend?" asked Erica.
     Kaitlyn's eyes darted around the room, and she said, "Uh, she's still in San Francisco.  She.... met a new friend last night, and they want to hang out together all weekend."
     "You'd think she'd at least come home for a change of clothes," said the perky one.
     Fang and Erica both began snickering and snorting.  Fang said, "Yeah....  I think having clothes on isn't on her mind right now."
     "You three seemed new at cruising," said Erica.  "Are you all fresh out of the closet?"
     "Uh....  It's kind of complicated," Kaitlyn muttered at the carpet.
     "One girl I was talking to said she liked that I was exploring myself and pushing my boundaries by going to that club," said Perky.  "She offered me a ride on her motorcycle, but motorcycles scare me.  Then she offered to escort me to the bathroom, she said it's quite an experience in there.  When I was in there earlier, it just seemed like a pretty normal ladies room, but....  Do a lot of girls change clothes in the stalls, and they need help from their friends?  All the stalls seemed to have two girls in them, and there would be clothes draped over the door to the stall."
     Fang burst out laughing.  Erica gave Perky an amazed look and said, "Oh....  Honey?  You really don't know what was going on in those stalls, do you?"
     "Um, I guess not...." Perky replied, looking confused.
     "Come on in the bathroom here with me and Erica," giggled Fang.  "We'll explain things."
     Jane said in a warning tone, "Sisters.... No.  Don't do it."
     "And how did your night go, Kaitlyn?" asked Jane.  "You're just now getting home, so it must have been a hoot."
     Kaitlyn actually gave a nervous smile.  "I, uh, I had a good time.  I spent the night at a girl's place I'd met, we were having too much fun and we didn't realize how late it was, BART had been closed for a couple hours before we bothered to check the time.  Um....  I guess all three of us ended up crashing with some girl we met at the club.  I guess I made a new friend."
     "Well, congratulations, girl!" said Erica.  "What's her name, who is she?  Did she put out?"
     "Her name is Dolly.  She works as a bicycle messenger in San Francisco, um, she's in a punk band called Chromewagon."
     The three punks all looked at each other in amazement.  Jane quickly gave a cautioning shake of the head to the other two.  Then she said, "Oh, Chromewagon.  We're familiar with them.  In fact, they're playing tonight.  Did you want to go see your new friend again?  We'll be driving into the City to a bar called Zeitgeist, you can tag along if you'd like...."
     Kaitlyn got very pink, and got quite flustered.  "No, um, that's okay.  I'm not sure how close of friends I want to be with her.   I have her number, I'll call her this week, I need to think about how I feel about her."
     Jane said diplomatically, "I understand that Dolly is a real sweetheart underneath a rough exterior.  Give her a chance."
     Fang added, "I've heard Dolly has a tongue like an anaconda.  I'd definitely give her a chance."  Erica punched her in the arm.
     Kaitlyn and Perky went over to Kaitlyn's desk and began talking in a quite and earnest manner.  Jane said, "I propose....  We head for the City now.  We anchor the car in one of the garages around Union Square, get some dinner, maybe walk around some, then take a cab to Zeitgeist when the time is right.  Is that sensible?"
     This logic worked for Erica and Fang. They pulled on their leathers and split.

     At the Zeitgeist, they found Dolly hanging around outside, smoking a cigarillo and waiting on them.  They went to the door, where Dolly explained these three were friends, they're on our guest list, don't worry about their IDs.  The doorman shrugged and stepped aside.  Once they were situated at the bar, Jane cut straight to the chase.  "So Dolly, you went to Girl Spot last night, and had a guest when you went home.  It turns out you hooked with my roommate.  How in the hell did that happen?"
     Dolly made her eyes go wild and said. "Argh.  Argh, I tell you!"  She shook her head and said, "It happened for various reasons.  First of all, I've been horny as shit lately.  Second, the bartender was flowing me these massively huge Long Island iced teas, so I had a good buzz.  And third, I really misread your roommate and her friends.  I had them pegged as young stuff, just starting college somewhere and fresh out of the closet.  I swear, the EndUp better start at least pretending to check IDs, it was obvious those three weren't twenty-one.
     "The three of them seemed all nervous and giggly, totally obvious they'd never been around a dyke scene before.  They stuck together real close for a while, then they seemed to drift apart.  Your roomie sat down next to me at the bar, so I started talking to her.  What the hell, she's cute, and if she's here, she'll be up for some action.  It was really obvious she was high as shit, I think on Ecstasy.  I bought her a Long Island.  We started talking, sorta providing bios.  I learned she's got the unbelievably yuppie name of Kaitlyn, she's from Irvine, she goes to Berkeley, and...."
     Dolly reached over and punched Jane.  "What was that for?" Jane asked.
     "Sugar pop, you sent three rich little yuppies in training to Girl Spot while they were high as hell on Smiley Ecstasy.   Three straight girls.  Your roommate leans over and says like it's some sort of secret, 'Is this a lesbian bar?'  It took me a second to recover from this statement of the obvious, but I said as politely as possible that yes it is, on Friday nights anyway, and if she was unaware of this fact, why did she come here?  She's all, 'Oh, my roommate told me this was a great dance club, she may not have known it's a lesbian club one night a week.  And now that we're here, we just figured we'd stay.  At least we won't have drunk guys hitting on us all night.'
     "I told her that they'll be getting hit on by drunk girls, not guys, but they would be getting hit on.  The little darling says, 'Oh, that's okay, I can handle that.  I've never been around lesbians before, so I'm curious  Are you a lesbian?'  Jesus, I'm not big, but I'm still goddamn butch, and I was wearing a 'Sisters Unite' t-shirt with a pink triangle on it.  I assured her I was, and, uh, did she have any questions?  Why yes, she did.  First off, she wanted to know why I'd decided to become a lesbian.  Congratulate me, Jane, I resisted the urge to punch your roommate off of her bar stool.
     "Now, I like to think I have a degree of patience.  And I did.  I explained it wasn't a decision, it was how I was born, more or less.  I'd never been attracted to guys, and trying to force myself to be when I was young was misery.  It's not a choice to be a dyke any more than you can choose your eye color.  She seemed to take this at face value, and not try and debate the subject.  She also wanted to know how dykes can spot other dykes, so I explained about gaydar.  Then, holy shit, she wanted to know how two women have sex together.  Oh Christ.
     "I told her that I'd be willing to show her the ropes, if she'd come back to my place with me.  She sort of stared at off into the middle distance for a few seconds, then says, 'Oh, okay, but not right now, I wanna dance some more first.'  Whoa.  I'd been joking, I ever expected that response.  So we went out on the dance floor for another hour, she found her two friends and told them she was going to leave with me, and we took off.   Normally I'd be all about getting my hands on an ass or my tongue in a mouth when I'm on the floor at Girl Spot.  With her it was, like.... She's not just naive, she's totally clueless.  I mean, if space aliens who had no previous contact with humans landed on Harrison Street and walked straight into Girl Spot, it would take them three seconds to think, 'Hey, this is a dyke club.'  Your roomie and her friends had to double-check.  What the hell?
     "Okay, so I didn't make a pass on the dance floor 'cos I didn't want to scare her.  But now we're headed to my place on Fell Street, after she's essentially told me she wants a hands-on course in girl-on-girl hanky panky.  I got us beers at my place and decided to sort of double-check on what she was interested in.  I don't need some rich kid yelling that I got her drunk and molested her, she had me kind of nervous.  She was being outgoing and talkative and honest, but that was from the Smiley.  So I asked her, "You really don't have any idea about how two women fool around?  You've never seen two girls together in porn or anything?'
     "She says, "I've never seen porn.'  Okay, then.  So I offered to show her, on videotape, what two women do with each other, and that sounded fine to her.  So, I shove the tape 'Becky's Friends' in the VCR and let it rip.  I gave her the remote and told her that if she had any questions, hit pause and I'd try to answer her questions.  We watched the first two loops in near silence.  I kept looking over at her, trying to gauge her response. and she was rapt.
     The girl finally pauses the tape and says, 'Oh, okay, that makes sense, but do girls kiss each other like girls and guys kiss?'  I thought to myself, 'Fuck it,' I got next to her and told her I'd give a demo and she could judge for herself.  Ba da bing, we're making out.  We got as far as getting topless when she tells me she doesn't want to do anything else, she's just not sure if she wants to or not.  Okay, I'm totally blue-balled, but I keep my cool and say that's fine, I don't want to pressure her, and thanks for the make-outs.  We talked some more, but she's on Ecstasy and I'm not, I've been drinking, and with no action to keep me going, I'm fading.  I finally told her I need to crash, and she can sleep with me in my bed, I'll behave, or she can have the sofa...She chose the sofa, but said it was because she wanted to watch more of the video.  I won't lie, I was hoping she'd watch the whole damn thing, make a decision, and join me in my bed.  Nope, no such luck.  What she did was watch the damn video over and over.  I'd wake up a little and realize I'm hearing parts of the tape that have already played once or twice.
     "I got up around eleven, and the little chick was still watching the same tape!  What the fuck?  So I asked her what the fascination was, and she started the sort of super-intricate, meaningful stuff you expect from anyone high on Smiley, you know? Something about a 'pattern of synchronicity' in the loops, like small behaviors that show up over and over, and must have some meaning.  I told her, 'Yeah,  they mean Becky Page has done enough of these scenes they're kind of rote to her by now, so she's got it down to a routine.'  We went out and got some coffee and food.  It was a little creepy, when she'd look at me, it was like she was seeing, I dunno, a talking walrus across from her or something.  She looked awed and confused, like she couldn't quite believe I was real.  So while we ate, the chick told me she still had no idea whether she was into girls or not.  I asked her what her gut told her, and she said that was the problem, her gut, her head, her heart, all of them were totally up in the air.  I got thanked for being cool and not pressuring her, and she would at least like to be friends with me.  Okay, fine.  I told her the truth, which was it's obvious she's totally new to the scene, no worries, glad to help, blah blah.  And what I'm thinking is 'I'm so fucking horny right now I could melt steel with my snatch, bitch, come back to the apartment with me so I can teach you the secret handshake.'
     "Wow," said Jane.  "You know what, Dolly?  I think between the two of us, she probably had the most adventure she's ever had in her life in the last twenty-four hours.  She'd never taken Ecstasy before, and her life has been so sheltered until leaving for college it's not funny.  She's from some snooty gated community in Irvine, old-money family, with a cook and nanny and maids and shit.  She had never cooked, used a microwave, shopped for groceries, done laundry, used a coffee maker....  It's pretty damn scary if you think about it, to have reached legal adulthood that insulated.
     "It was kind of mean to send her and her friends to Girl Spot, but the weekend before there had been quite a bit of ignorance and casual homophobia being spouted by those three.  Racism too, but I'll burn that bridge when I come to it.  My attitude was 'Fuck it, and fuck them, I'll give them a serious crash course on being a horny young dyke.'  I figured they'd be back before BART shut down, with Kaitlyn screaming at me for sending them there.  My hunch?  All three have a bi-curious streak, which they've had buried under years of upper-crust behavioral reinforcement.  What remains to be seen is whether they decide to go back, or start fooling around with each other, or what.  My own bisexuality is no secret....  Oh shit, what if one of her friends tries to hit on me?  If Kaitlyn did, I'd laugh in her face.  After the way she's treated me so far this year?"
     Dolly's face shifted from attentiveness to mild shock.  "Oh.... shit.  Dammit.  Jane, uh, I know she does find you physically attractive>
     "Oh?" Jane asked with raised eyebrows.
     "She never said your name, but she did talk about 'her roommate' a bit, and uh, she said she knew her roommate was bi, and had a great body, but was also crazy white trash.  She even mentioned the blue mohawk, and you flashed through my mind, but I was thinking, 'What are the odds?'   But then again, how many freshmen girls with blue mohawks can there be at Berkeley?"
     "I think I'm it."  Jane sighed.  "One of the reasons I chose Berkeley was I believed there was a solid underground culture, there'd be a lot more punks and freaks. societal levels.  Nope.  Maybe twenty years ago there was, but now....  It's preppy central.  They're the only ones who can afford tuition these days.  The city of Berkeley has a high population of freaks, but they're not students."
     "Actually, some of them probably are college students, but they're attending classes at one of the Peralta Community College district campuses," observed Dolly.
     All four got fresh beers and went out to the "patio," a large outdoor area next to the bar where a stage was set up.  The rest of Chromewagon was loitering around, their sound check completed.  Jane made introductions and general conversation started, Erica and Fang explaining they were Minnesota exiles recently relocated to Los Angeles.  They stuck with the fib about Fang's age.
     Chromewagon started their set.  The song "Heavy Petting Becky" was still in their set list, and still drew a great response from the crowd.  The audience was about even between boys and girls, but it was a Ladies Night slam pit, the guys staying out and letting the girls have fun.  About halfway through the set, Jane left the pit, sweaty and in the mood for a Miller.  She got her bottle and went back outside, angling toward the rear of the patio.  Then she froze: standing on top of a bench, watching the band, was Kaitlyn.  She was holding her fingers to her ears, but was watching the show with great interest.
     Jane walked up unnoticed, so she gave Kaitlyn a tap and a wave.  Kaitlyn looked far more surprised than one would expect, but she jumped off the bench next to Jane.  "You decided to show up!" Jane yelled in her ear.  Kaitlyn shook her head and gestured that she didn't hear her, so Jane tried again.  No luck.  Jane gestured for Kaitlyn to follow er inside, where it was far quieter.  They went to a space between the bar and the pinball machines.
     "So you're here," said Jane.  "You should have just ridden with us.  I guess you wanted to see Dolly again after all."
     "I...."  Kaitlyn stared down at her wine cooler bottle.  "I just....  I wanted to see her, and see what her band is like.  She talked a lot about her band last night, and I guess it's what she wants to do with her life, so I wanted so see them play.  They're really loud."
     "Live rock and roll usually is," Jane pointed out.  "We'll be hanging out with Chromewagon after their set.  Um, I wasn't forthright with you earlier.  I do know Dolly, she's a friend of Bekka's and Lenny's and mine, they have a song about Becky Page.  I sorta felt it would be uncomfortable if I'd told you, 'Oh, I already know her' when you said who you'd spent the night with.  Well, great, we're gonna be partying after their set, you can come along and talk with Dolly some more."
     "I, uh....  I don't want to talk to her.  I'm hoping she doesn't see me, I was gonna leave as soon as they finished playing.  I mean, I do want to talk to her, but not tonight, uh, I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about her.  Last night was really....  Jane, if I tell you something, you can't tell anyone else in the world, I'll kill you if you do."
     Jane smiled, "You made out with another girl for the first time last night."
     "How did you know?" Kaitlyn gasped.  "Did Dolly tell you?"
     "No," Jane fibbed.  "Call it an inspired guess.  Hey great, you go, girl.  Did you two fool around?"
     "No," Kaitlyn muttered at the floor.  "Um....  I didn't know how.  I mean, I sort of knew, I could kinda figure out what two girls might do, but uh....  Dolly showed me a video of your friend Becky so I'd understand, it was a bunch of different scenes with Becky and other girls.  So now I at least know what it looks like.  I mean, I wanted to fool around with Dolly, I guess, but I wouldn't know what I was doing, and that would have been really humiliating."
     "If you told her you were totally new at having fun with girls, I'm sure Dolly would have been very patient and helpful," Jane said encouragingly.  "Everybody has a first time at doing anything.  With two girls, it's even easier, because all you have to do is think, 'Well, what would I like to have done to me?' and then do it to her.  You've got the same parts, and they work the same, just do what you know would feel good to have done to you."  Jane waited a couple ticks and said, "Have you always had an interest in girls?"
     "That's just it, I don't know," Kaitlyn replied.  "These days you can be gay and it's not a big deal, I guess, so I don't think if I was interested in girls I'd be shaming myself over it, but....  I honestly am not sure.  I've known girls I thought were sexy, but other than kissing them, I didn't know what to do with another girl.  Until last night, at least.  After I started watching the video of your friend, it was like, 'Oh, okay, that makes sense.'  I felt kinda stupid for not figuring out what to do on my own, you know, like using your mouth and stuff."
     "So how did things go last night?" Jane asked.  "What did you think?"
     Kaitlyn briefly gathered her thoughts and replied, "When we first got there, we were really high on those pills you gave us.  It was like, we were inside for five minutes when it suddenly struck us we'd only seen, like, five guys, and two of them worked there....  And even then, it took us a few minutes that this was a lesbian club.  At first we were thinking it must have been Ladies Night or something.  Then we realized the girls dancing were, um, getting friendly with each other, and girls were making out with each other in the booths.  They've got this big patio there, so we went outside and talked it over and decided, hey, we've never been around real lesbians before, we can maybe learn something if we stay.  None of us really felt worried about, I dunno, getting molested or attacked or anything.  We stood out because we were dressed totally normal...."
     Jane cut in with a chuckle.  "But you weren't dressed normal.  Not for there, anyway."
     "Okay fine, we were dressed normal for college students.  Jeez.  Anyway, the three of us figured we'd all learn more if we split up and had conversations with lesbians one on one.  So we each sorta wandered off   I went on the dance floor, dancing by myself.  It was weird.  Lesbian girls would sorta groove up to me, and we'd start dancing together, and after a couple minutes they'd put their hands on my waist or hips.  I'd smile and shake my head, trying to tell them, 'Not interested.'  They's smile and nod and drift off.  They weren't pissed that I was sort of turning them down.  I think that's one of the big things for me, and why I felt so comfortable, I never felt any sort of pressure or intimidation at that club.  It was obvious that any girl I talked to would be hoping they could fool around with me, but that's the same as guys at a club or party.  These girls were, like, aggressive, and it was obvious what they wanted, but they didn't seem pushy or intimidating, like guys would.
     "I went to the bar and sat down next to Dolly, and....  I knew I was in a lesbian club, but I wanted to hear someone actually say it, so I just straight up asked her.  It was obvious she thought it was a stupid question, but she was polite.  I figured she already thought I was an idiot, and I'd already told her I'm straight, so I started asking her what it was like being a lesbian.  Um.... I asked about, you know, how two girls fool around, and she said something like, 'I'll take you back to my place and give you a beginner's course, if you'd like.'  And...."  Kaitlyn gave Jane s shy smile.  ".... It was like I had a flash go through my head that said, 'Go for it, she'll be cool if we start messing around and I want to stop, you'll be safe with her.'  So, I said yes.  We went and danced some more, I found my friends and told them I was going home with this girl, and we'd talk the next day."
     Jane was amused.  "It's a good thing you met Dolly how you did.  If you met her tonight, after seeing her on stage, she'd probably have scared you, huh?"
     Kaitlyn giggled and rolled her eyes.  "Oh my God.  She's a totally different person when she's with her band.  I'd have been terrified."
     "So what attracted you to Dolly?"
     She stared at the pinball machine briefly, then said, "I guess a few things.  Okay, it's obvious she's a lesbian --- is the word 'butch' the right word to describe her? --- but she was also still feminine.  She'd been really nice to me, I knew she probably thought I was the stupidest girl on the planet, but she was nice to me anyway.  And, um, I just thought she was attractive.  With her short hair and the way she dresses, she kinda looks like a boy, you know?  like a good-looking thirteen year old boy.  But she's also good looking as a girl, too.....  Like she appealed to my instinct to be with a boy, so I'd be more comfortable.around her.  And like I said, I could just tell she would be cool and understanding with me.  She knew I was straight, and it didn't seem to bother her."
     Jane sipped her beer and stated,"You should talk to her tonight, just to say hi.  I'm sure she'll be happy to see you."
     "I dunno.  I haven't worked out how I feel yet, you know?  I really can't decide if I'm,into girls or not.  When I think about it, my feeling change every ten seconds."
     With a level gaze, Jane said, "You know, you are allowed to be friends with a lesbian.  Just friends.  If anything, you sort of owe ti to her to talk a bit, you need to tell her exactly how you feel.  It's only fair, after all, she was open with you about her life.  Tell her, 'I like you, but I don't know if I'm a dyke, or bi, or straight, so we need to only be friends for now.  She'll understand, and accept that.  Okay?"
     "Okay," Kaitlyn nodded.  Jane gestured with her hand at the door to the patio, and they went back out to watch the rest of Chromewagon's set.  At the end of the final song, Dolly did a stage dive into the crowd, topless.  The fans surfed her for a while, cheering, then deposited her back on the stage  She yelled the usual thanks-and-goodnight routine, plus telling people to buy t-shirts, they had a new design.  Jane and Kaitlyn stood to one side while Dolly distributed handshakes, high-fives, hugs, and several deep kisses.  Dolly saw the two standing there, so she walked up and said, "Small world, eh?"
     "Hi, Dolly," said Kaitlyn, with a forced smile on her face.  "Jane said your band was playing tonight, so I thought I'd see was it was like."
     "What did you think?  I'm sorry, we were a little listless tonight, just sort of going through the motions."
     "Are you serious?" exclaimed Kaitlyn.  "I was expecting you to get injured at least six times!"
     Jane snickered.  "Being around hardcore punk, you learn just how forgiving the human body can be."
     Kaitlyn suddenly blurted, "Look Dolly, um, at first I was trying to think up a big speech to say to you but then I realized that was stupid, uh, so I'm just gonna say that I think you're really nice but I kinda need to work out my feelings right now and would it be okay if we were just friends?"
     "Of course, that's fine with me," Dolly said, slightly baffled.  "If you're not into me, you're not into me, and no big deal.  I'm always happy making a new friend."
     Kaitlyn was visibly relieved.  "Thank you.  It's just, I'm not sure how I feel about girls, and I don't want you to think I'm crazy or a bitch or something....."
     "Oh, honey."  Dolly put her hand on Kaitlyn's shoulder.  "Look, when we met last night, I can't lie, I was horny as shit.  And hey, here's this fresh young thing who wants to talk to me.  At first I thought you were just closeted, but I realized after a while you were just beginning to work out how you felt.  Like you'd only realized you liked girls that afternoon.  So, I told myself to not pressure you, don't be pushy, and see how things go.  If we'd gone to bed together, great.  If not, oh well.  It was obvious you were just barely processing the idea of being attracted to other girls, and I didn't want you to think that I was some sort of dyke predator if we were alone together
     "I'm glad we made out --- I like how you kiss, by the way --- but you're working out things that most girls work out when thy're twelve years old.  Did you grow up in a really repressive household, conservative Christian parents and all that?"
     "No, my family didn't go to church at all, except on Christmas and Easter.  It's like, growing up, people around me seemed to feel that being gay or lesbian was weird....  But not bad or wrong or evil or whatever.  From what Jane was saying, where I grew up must have had lesbians around, and gay guys too, but you wouldn't know just by looking at them.  So when I realized I found other girls attractive, I didn't have a big moral conflict or anything.  But I keep going back and forth, thinking girls are sexy one minute, then not feeling that way the next."
     "How long has it been that you've been attracted to girls?" asked Dolly.  "Since you started college?"
     Kaitlyn looked embarrassed.  "Um....  About five minutes after walking into the club.  This is probably gonna sound stupid, but....  It had never occurred to me that I'd think girls were sexy.  I knew lesbians were girls who had sex with other girls, but it was, um....  It was a really abstract concept, you know?  I'd never thought about the actual act, and I'd never processed that I'd find girls sexy myself.  The idea never came into my head at all.  I figured there would be some sign that would tell me if I liked girls."
     Jane snickered.  "A major sign would have come when you were in seventh grade, and in the locker room after gym, surrounded by other naked girls.  That's when you would have started browsing.  Nothing, huh?"
     "No.  I mean, I can see a girl and think, 'Hey, she's sexy.'  But that doesn't mean she turns me on."  Kaitlyn took a drink of beer and continued.  "When I first got to the club, I was totally confused.  It took me a minute to process that there were almost no guys, and all the girls are being real, real friendly with each other, and kissing and making out and dancing together all dirty-style. That was my first epiphany, the idea of being a lesbian was no longer abstract.  It was like being at the sort of parties I'm used to, everyone acting the same, but it was all girls
     "Then I had another epiphany.  First I thought, 'What if a lesbian makes a pass at me?'  And what went through  my head next blew me away, 'cos I thought, 'Well, if it's that girl right there, I'd be happy.  Or that girl, or that girl, or that girl....'  I was looking around and seeing all these girls and thinking that I'd actually really like making out with them, they were hot.  That was the clincher, right there.  Before, I could think a girl was sexy, but it was a really.... I guess 'objective' would be the right word, it was an objective opinion.  I'd never looked at girls and thought they were hot, the same way I'd look at guys, you know?"
     Kaitlyn gave an embarrassed smile.  "What hit me after that was, hey, I'm hundreds of miles from home.  My parents aren't around, and neither are my friends, or neighbors  If I did decide I wanted to, you know, make out with another girl, I was in the right place.  I wasn't going to really pursue it, but if it happened, great.
     "There was no one around to criticize or judge your actions," Dolly observed.  "Given what a meat market Girl Spot is, I'm surprised you weren't totally intimidated."
     "I think....  it  had to do with the drugs Jane gave us.  Um, I'm not racist, but there are, like, zero black people in Irvine, where I'm from.  Every other time I'd been on BART, I'd always be really on guard when we went through Oakland.  Like, I'd get paranoid if a couple young black guys got on at a station and sat near me.  But last night, it seemed totally natural to start talking to anyone near us, so I started talking to a black guy who got on at the MacArthur station.  It just seemed like the polite and normal thing to do.  I wasn't afraid.  Okay, he's black, and he has that gangster-rapper style to him, but so what?  He's just another guy on BART, so why not be friendly?
     "And it was the same at the club.  Why would anyone want to hurt me?  Why not be friendly with the girls here?  And if one, you know, expresses an interest in me, why not maybe make out with her?  I think I'd have left after ten minutes if I hadn't been high.  But I felt really in control or the situation, you know?"
     The drummer stepped up and said the van was out front, time to start moving gear.  Dolly and Jane jumped on the stage to grab equipment, Kaitlyn following.  She saw the Marshall pre-amp sitting on a stack, with a handle on top.  Her logic must have said, "It's got a handle, how heavy can it be?"  She grabbed it and tried to walk off, and the weight caught her off-guard.  Jane made a diving catch, preventing the damn thing from crunching into the stage.  She held it out to Kaitlyn and told her to use both arms.  Kaitlyn struggled it out under her own power, barely.  After that she was given cables and microphones to move.
     Once the van was loaded, the band went back in for their last comp'ed beer, then everyone headed to the bassist's place on Potrero Hill to party  A good time was had by all.  And Kaitlyn ended up going to Dolly's place again that night
     What she'd learned the night before, she decided to put into practical use.

1 comment:

  1. I don't expect any reply, but I feel bad reading what turns out to be a lot of work in this new year and not saying anything.
    It was a good read. Thank you.