In the spirit of lesbian camp bonding, I told my new crew about my situation — nonmonogamous, not sure how to feel about it — which seemed to pique the interest of beer bathing suit girl, because she would soon afterward follow me into the impossibly tiny bathroom, bursting in on me mid-pee. By this point, I was — somewhat unintentionally — quite drunk. But there was another part of me that was very much not into it, especially when the makeout gave way to other things and people started banging on the bathroom door.
I was also, literally, developing a pretty bad sunburn. I made my way up the tiny laddered chute to the deck, bouncing against the walls like a pinball, and immediately moved as far away from the bathroom as possible. Later, when telling friends what had happened, I did laugh about it — one told me it sounded like something pulled straight out of The L Word , which, true — but I was also a little mad at that girl, and even more so at myself for being so sloppy.
The consent element there was indeterminate; I had willingly gone along with the hookup, at least for a little while, though I remain uncertain about how much I really could have consented while drunk-peeing in a bathroom the size of a broom closet.
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Bad sex happens. Even with lesbians! I was going to move on, get over it, and go back to enjoying myself. Before I left, I talked to a few of my reporter friends about it, just in case a hookup opportunity should present itself and I decided to partake for, um, research purposes. We decided that my Olivia story fell in some sort of weird journalistic in-between, just like my own job does.
And the thing a lot of women on the cruise were looking to experience was, yes, getting laid. Instead, I found singles and couples of various ages and gender presentations looking for something extra, something different, something more. My lesbian friends and I have often complained about how much easier it is for our gay guy friends to hook up with abandon — they have way more bars, and they all have back rooms! On Grindr, you can just ask someone to skip right to the sex. That is, in fact, the norm. One of my friends was in a hot tub, in the middle of the day, when she noticed that the women across from her were having sex in the same hot tub she got out immediately.
My friends Jamie and Matie, for their part, were determined to make things happen. At our evening activities, Jamie was frequently flagging , via colored handkerchiefs placed in her back pocket. She and Matie also hung up a white board outside their door and encouraged their neighbors to invite them to their play parties. They had a very sweet exchange with a curious anonymous neighbor who wrote them a note, inquiring what a play party is. It was only on our last day at sea that I discovered a Public Posts board, tucked away by reception in an area that most guests definitely would not be walking by every day.
Afterward, I had lunch with Dana and some of the other Olivia staffers and asked them about it — why not make the Public Posts more prominent, MichFest style? Especially since the younger people at the first Gen O event had explicitly asked for more sex content.
Olivia had run sexuality and intimacy workshops before, and at the lunch, the staffers floated the definite possibility that they will again. Tisha, the cruise director and VP, met her wife on an Olivia cruise. When my partner jokingly warned me, before I left for the cruise, not to fall in love with a hot older butch — seriously, we joked about this — I thought, Fat chance. Not only because I had no intention of falling in love with anyone else, but because I thought hooking up with hot older butches would remain the stuff of my fantasies.
I even reported out an entire article about intergenerational lesbian relationships a few years ago. I have a lot to share. The lesbian bars and events I frequent in New York — the gay capital of the world! The older women I did meet tended to be coupled up. It was Monday night, at the Deck 11 elevators. The only thing Lynette said to me, in the brief window after introductions and before we went our separate ways, was that my accent made me sound like an American newscaster.
I was high on my newfound karaoke fame, and she was, by far, the most beautiful woman in the room: tall, dark, and striking, dressed all in white. But I walked right up to her, catching her alone, and asked if she wanted to take me home. When we left, wobbling down the sea-bucking hallways, she offered me her elbow, a gentleman from the first.
All our nights together have swirled together in the strange, heady flux of my memory. I was lying on my bed, on top of the covers, shivering slightly. Lynette stood over me, her head cocked to one side, a slight smile on her face. We stayed that way for a while, just breathing, as if waiting for whatever would happen next. Lynette is 53 years old , though she looks at least 10 years younger.
She was born and raised in London to Jamaican parents. This cruise was the gift Lynette gave herself in the aftermath. She was starting over. My Capricorn groundedness makes us a good match, allegedly. She plays the drums, loves cars — like, posts-on-car-forums-level loves cars — and follows tech news.
She cares about clothes and buys a lot of hers vintage. She just got a tattoo commemorating Liverpool, her beloved football team. Once, after I came in her hands, I burst into tears yeah, I know, big dyke energy , and she held me tightly in her strong, sure arms.
Other things she calls me, in her unfairly irresistible British accent: cheeky bint, missus, girl, my dear, my love, my darling. Per the rules of our loose nonmonogamous agreement, I FaceTimed with my partner about what was happening on the cruise, first telling them about the catamaran girl and then, in so many words, about Lynette. I was the one who seemed to stress this rule the most. I was less confident.
Lynette and I had only just met, but in the emotionally intense bizarro world of the cruise, where relationships of all types seemed to develop at warp speed and I was feeling enough emotion for 10 lesbians combined, I liked Lynette very, very much. A lot of it was, obviously, physical, chemical. But there were other things, too, that were harder to explain to other people or to myself.
Candy Cane Thrills
One of the first things I loved about her was observing her get dressed after she showered: her careful routine of lotions and gels and aerosols, her selection of a different wristwatch for different outfits. I loved grabbing her waist by the belt loops, loved playing with the silver cross she wore around her neck. It sounds shallow to imply that, in the beginning, I fell for her simply because of her style, her stuff. Together they made up the way she wanted to be seen in the public eye, the way she wanted to move through the world.
She was not a boy but a full-grown butch who, at 53, was confident in who she was and what she wanted. By that, I mean b-o-i kinds of boys who may or may not identify as such : nonbinary dykes, twinky tops, Titanic -era Leo DiCaprios. They are determined — via commitment to a bachelor-esque lifestyle regardless of partner status, and a refusal to even once go to therapy — that they should never, ever have to grow up.
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I think there was also a part of me that liked tempering my fastidious long-term planning, my conventionalism, my seriousness with their wild spirits, their rejection of every social expectation. Queer bois, with their embrace of pleasure above most all else, in their refusal to adhere to the rules of heteropatriarchal capitalism — why grow up if it means becoming a cog in the machine?
At least I barely wear any makeup! My frivolity was never out of hand. And I prided myself for that, for the ways in which I deliberately limited myself.
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What right do I have to indulge in my own gender trouble? Traumboy Summerhall, 8. Traumboy is as much about identity and appearances as about a misunderstood occupation. The delivery is more Jack Dee. Davies bosses us about schoolmaster-style, takes apart the lyrics to Busted songs and fails to perform his autobiographical musical about child abduction in a carpark. One or two gags are over-explained, and it gets a bit scrappy towards the end.
So why is she still single? One man in the audience is grilled about his sex life and obliged to mime oral sex on stage. This is a woman who loves sex, loves glamour, loves herself and wants the world to know it. If this roof-raising performance is anything to go by, they soon will. In the closing stages she weighs up how to be hopeful for your kids at a time of climate crisis. For a show made under the shadow of the apocalypse, it is full of love and defiant joy. Parading her sex life, friendships and militant subjectivity across the stage, Enemies Closer is a leap forward from her best newcomer-nominated debut , and also sends up the black-and-white nature of modern judgment.
Hearty Summerhall, 9. The trans artist hunts for safety in a burning world where trans bodies are policed, activism is commercialised and violence is fuelled by fear.
The Time I Went On A Lesbian Cruise And It Blew Up My Entire Life
She sharpens the knives protruding from her shoulder blades and builds herself a den to protect herself from the violence outside. Hearty, both furious and vulnerable, pays tribute to the trans artists who have paved the way for work as bold as this, and lays the ground for those that will follow. Micky Overman starts her show with a tease, withholding where she comes from while delivering non-identity-specific standup on childhood and body image.
Then she relents; the rest of her show ribs the very idea of national comedy. Charismatic, frank and just a little dotty though far less than she seems to think , she stakes a confident claim to the starring role in her own. Here, she delivers an eerily weary Mercy Seat, loosens up the macabre Red Right Hand and makes even the most fleeting characters in his tales come alive.
He cuts to the big issues his self-loathing, our hunger for connection, the imminent end of the world and addresses them seemingly without guile.
In between, he drops non-sequitur gags which may be a key to something more significant. One oddity tumbles on top of another, each animated with hyperactive thrust by Demi Lardner — and underpinned by fine writing. But among those moments are some of the funniest on the fringe. Lardner has a confidence and explosive vitality all of her own. You need something to distinguish yourself from the herd, and Zach Zucker of clown duo Zach and Viggo certainly has with this new show in character as a washed-up American standup, Jack Tucker.
The thread running through the show is that the venue is out to get them, snagging them on hooks and throttling them with the mic lead. There are unpredictable reveals and a few smartypants manoeuvres.
Related Candy Cane Thrills - a collection of five festive erotic stories
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