Unabashed women who love women have finally crashed the dominant culture’s private party.The L Word is here. Hot throbbing dykes to watch out for have come out of the underground comics and onto the screen.
Since Goddess Ellen first outed a lesbian character to TV-viewing America, we haven’t seen much dyke life on the tube. We see gays, but they’re all guys. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy slipped in (excuse the expression) because it makes straight guys more appealing to straight women. Will and Grace, after all, are a man and a woman. Even homoerotic Queer As Folk are mostly menfolk.
The L Word is about lesbians — a whole, tight-knit community totally enmeshed in each other’s lives, loves, and fashion choices. The women are implausibly well-off and urbane with more lesbian chic than any lesbians I know. The L Word is cheesy, predictable, and histrionic just like a soap opera should be. Lesbians have been so starved for a reflection of ourselves in the media, we don’t even mind that these TV lesbians are played by non-lesbian actors, except for the one true lesbian who, ironically, plays a bisexual — she’s kd lang’s real-life ex, which only a few lesbians and very astute gay men even know (or care).
Xenophobes (folks afraid of difference), and of Xena herself should be afraid of The L Word. Very afraid. The L Word lesbians definitely threaten the sanctity of sanctimony. None of the characters have booked flights to Massachusetts to get legally married … yet. But in one plot line the main couple needs some sperm and a man to supply it in a cup. These days, lesbian mom wannabes can buy the stuff from a cryobank. But The L Word lesbians do it the old fashioned way — get a guy-friend to donate sperm, then zip it across town at body temperature to the hopeful mother-to-be. In my hometown lesbian community — about nine months before the first big dyke baby boom — you could hardly encounter a lesbian armpit that wasn’t warming a vial of fresh semen.
I ran sperm for my friends Faith and Darlene. The donor was a good candidate — HIV negative and willing to butt out after making his contribution. He completed the anonymous questionnaire: height, hair and eye color, musical proclivities. Other than a few details, the moms wouldn’t know who he was and vice versa. I was the go between.
Darlene’s temp had spiked that morning — an event we had come to call a standing ovulation — and she and Faith hit the freeway. As soon as my friends got to town they checked into the designated fourth floor hotel room, while the donor entertained himself two floors below. By 8 pm I was riding in the floral-carpeted hotel elevator with two billion spermatazoa.
I tapped our secret code on the Room 406 door. Faith unlatched the lock and greeted me with a hug — long enough to convey affection, yet brief enough to sustain the motility of my little companions in a jar. Darlene was all set, and we hoped her egg was in the mood, too. Faith did the honors (one fateful squeeze of the turkey baster) while I chanted impromptu prayers and blessings along the lines of Go! Go! Go!
The three of us hung out on the bed for an hour, time for even the slowest pollywogs to make it upstream. Darlene rested on her back with her legs propped against the wall, hoping one of the little buggers had the wherewithal to knock her up.
Tina assumed the same position in the insemination episode of The L Word. In the televised couple’s private moment, just like ours 15 years ago, a merry band of lesbian friends sits on the bed together, making a baby. Maybe next year we’ll get a moment like that during the Super Bowl halftime show.
For all the dirt on The L Word, go to www.sho.com/site/lword/home.do