By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
How about my high school sweetheart, the one I loved for years, and even knowing she loved me back, almost never slept with? I remember asking a friend in college whether he had sex with his girlfriend of several years (this was an important question in our fundamentalist South), and he said, "Laura, we've been together since high school." Yeah, well, so had we, and so would we, off and on, for years. Depending on how you count, we made love three times, maybe four.
Call us sorely in need of a diagram. With The L Word, we'd have had one, though I'd argue those actresses have way longer arms than I do. We'd have had a diagram for living too: Move to a city. Get hitched. Find jobs. Buy a house. You can do it.
The Queer Issue:
Kids today, they have no idea. A high school girl from Mississippi, same as I once was, wrote an article for The Advocate this spring about the troubles she and her girlfriend face at school. Twenty years ago, we could scarcely show our faces, let alone face our troubles. We had no gay magazines, no gay TV, no gay anything. The whole world was straight, even Richard Simmons. We had one known lesbian in my junior high, and I spent several months in eighth grade trying to bring her to Jesus.
Little did I know Jesus was coming for me, in the form of that blue-eyed girl one seat over, or years later in the form of two women on-screen trying desperately to stay together.
I'm not saying The L Word or its companionsfrom Queer as Folk to The O.C.have brought us all to paradise. Too many Americans still think it's their birthright to deny us any rights at all. I don't much relish a visit home, and I may never feel 100 percent comfortable around straight girls.
Another dozen or two episodes and The L Word may go the way of women's professional soccer. These worlds of ours still seem so vulnerable. For now, The L Word lets us, and women in particular, cash the big checks and drive the fast cars and live in the perfect houses and drink perfect drinks in that perfect California weather. We're in a better placeeven if it's just Bette and Tina's bed on a Sunday night.