My Intergeneration

For Lesbians, Age Counts Less Than Attitude. At 50, I'm a Non-Recovering Punk.

So we decided to take our show on the road. Sister Spit started raising money frantically and bought two vans. Those same cheering girls kept dropping their money in the bucket from working at the Bearded Lady café, the Lickety Split moving company, and other Bay Area businesses. I had always wanted to tour in a van and sleep on floors and live on what I make. Well? I was 25 years older than everyone else, and didn't everyone drink and I didn't anymore? Drugs? And everyone looking for girls?

We did 30 cities in 28 days, sleeping on the floor in anarchist bookstores and tattooed girls' apartments. In Cambridge, my hometown, the lines of girls were wrapped around the block and up and down the street. Boston girls are a little less varied than in San Francisco, a little more tame, it seemed. Many of them were recovering from very good girls' colleges. Lots of the Sister Spit girls are working-class like me, and to shoot our wry and explosive wad of lyric culture here on a Cambridge stage was the sweetest success. I have never felt so proud in my life, standing there about a block away from where my mother was born, being a member at last of a utopian cadre of female outlaw optimists, teeming butch/femme talent, total tattoos and fearlessness, gaudiness, booziness, and flaunting a complex sexuality that would embarrass anyone's mother.

At home, I have a great girlfriend. Karin is 32, white-haired (for real) since her teens, and now a Jean Seberg-looking novelist educated by wolves at Vassar. Not a Spitter at all—and she often rolls her eyes at what I like. We're constantly working out the generation gap in reverse. Karin likes classic rock; I want Le Tigre. "Don't get mean," she pushes back. "You knew I was old when you met me."

The author (fourth from right) and the women of Sister Spit.
photograph by Rebecca McBride
The author (fourth from right) and the women of Sister Spit.

Karin was aboard for the Boston show. But we were going to Buffalo and she was heading for P-town. I kissed her goodbye and got back in the van.

I was 46 on that tour. I'm 50 now. I just had to wait to be young.


Eileen Myles's upcoming novel,Cool for You (Soft Skull Press), will be published this fall.


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