I'll admit it. I was trolling Craigslist: looking at apt. listings, jobs, and not looking for chicks, per se, but I did want to know if Mango, the infamous girlie "tea dance," i.e. afternoon party, was going on, and where better to find out than the "women seeking women section." That's where I stumbled across the following anonymous posting in response to someone who had written, "WOW! when i moved here i thought i would be in gay heaven. but i was very wrong. i moved here from an area in america where there are no open homos. i am from the upper midwest. i came here expecting something better than where i left."
While I can sympathize with the gal I've dubbed, "Disappointed from Dubuque," my beliefs are more in line with this savvy someone's response:
He he he. I'm so glad I'm not the only disgruntled dyke in town. : )
First of all, SF hasn't been "gay heaven" for a long time. Basically since the dot-commers chased a lot of community out. It's still more of a mecca for gay white men, but a lot of women and men of color couldn't afford to stay here. Some of us have been here long enough that we're either in rent controlled apts. or have had time to establish ourseleves in business, careers, or whatever.
Secondly, I've been here almost 20 years, but I grew up in a small town in the midwest also. I think what you desire out of the community is an unrealistic, idealistic fantasy. It sounds great, however, the fact is, we DO come from different backgrounds, religious beliefs (or non-beliefs), education levels, socio-economic classes, cultures, political backgrounds. We DO have different morals, standards, goals, and desires.
Not all of us think the gay marriage issue is the most important issue in the world right now. Some of us don't want to emulate heterosexual marriage. Some of us would rather put our energy and resources into other things going on in the world like all the innocent people being killed, and who we put into office, and AIDS in Africa, and alternative fuel sources etc. Some of our community are actually Republicans, and I for one, will never see eye-to-eye with them and have no desire to stand next to them in the fight for them to get married when I can't stand anything they represent.
There are thousands of "straight" bars in this City and people can choose where they want to hang out based on whether they are with like-minded people, the kind of music they play there, the dress, the bartenders etc. We, lesbians, [however] have limited places to go, and sometimes it's difficult because the minute you start talking to someone you realize you have absolutely nothing in common other than you're both homosexual. She starts talking about some kind of music you've never heard of, the latest reality show, the latest pop idol etc., but has no clue as to who Karl Rove is and doesn't care. Maybe all she's interested in is what kind of car you drive and when you tell her you got rid of your car and bike/walk everywhere in the City, she doesn't understand that it has nothing to do with your income level and rolls her eyes. Do I have to like that person? Do I have to support her?
Do I have to support the Republican woman who voted for the Governator and wants to cut back education, police and fire-fighter funding? Do I have to support the woman who can't hold down a job, has two kids at home but is out drinking and doing lines in the bathroom? (nothing against drinking and doing lines). Do I have to support the ftm who hits on my girlfriend and grabs her ass and acts more misogynistic than any of our straight male friends? Do I have to support the woman who approaches me and tells me her boyfriend is at home and wants her to pick up a woman so he can watch us? (unless you're into that).
Basically, I do not like all the lesbians or gay men in this City and don't feel any connection to them. I hate the Castro with all its homogenized shallowness. I love this City and have a lot of friends of all sexual identities, ages, races, and sexes, and we support each other in our goals and dreams and day-to-day troubles because we share the same ones. I do not share the same everything with the entire lesbian community so I cannot support the entire lesbian community. So ... that's my rant for today and now I'm going out to enjoy this gorgeous weather with the people—straight, bi, and gay—in my life. Hopefully you will find your group of peeps.
On the subject of gay marriage, I'm all for it ... but it's a mixed bag. I have concluded that for gay people of my generation and younger, it's not something we were pre-disposed to think about as a realistic possibility, and so we're not trained in the longevity department, i.e. we don't necessarily have the "'til death do us part" mentality. Sure, I know all about the divorce rate in this country, and yes, I know there are plenty of gay couples who have been together for years and years, but my personal experiences in SF lead me to believe that we homos are time bombs ready to go off at the slightest trigger when it comes to commitment.
I will allow for the fact that quite possibly it's just me. I haven't made it more than six months with anyone out here, with the average being about six to eight weeks. The one woman with whom I really thought and felt I could and would want to be with—we lasted about four months. When I relay these facts, people often say "well, you must be a commitment-phobe." Usually, they don't know that I had much longer relationships in my 20s. Years not months, i.e. real relationships. I don't know what the hell to call my experiences these days; to use the term "relationships" to describe my SF liasions would be stretching things wider than the elastic on Fat Albert's pants.
I also like the part Miss Anon wrote about how "maybe all she's interested in is what kind of car you drive and when you tell her you got rid of your car and bike/walk everywhere in the City, she doesn't understand that it has nothing to do with your income level and rolls her eyes." I recently was on the 5th or 6th date with a girl who seemed simpatico until I "forced" her to walk from 14th & Market to my place in the Mission—about 10 blocks. She got pissed, and whined the whole time, telling me I need to get a car. Then she exclaimed, "Walking reminds me of when I was 15 and didn't have a car." I responded, "Walking reminds me of the 15 years my mother slowly lost the ability to walk—before she died last year." You like that? I got plenty of 'em. War stories.
Sigh. Gay heaven. I don't know about that. Though, like Anon, I also despise the Castro, I'd much rather it exist than not. Put it this way: We have our freedoms in SF, that's for sure. I don't take them for granted, but they come with a high price as do most things in this city. I may sound bitter about it, and sometimes I am, but lately I've just been working on accepting the situation as it is and taking it from there. In other words, I'm working at making my peace with it: the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can't, and the wisdom to know the difference as they say. I hope "Disappointed" is able to make her peace with things here. I'll be rooting for her. Hell, I'm rooting for myself:
"One wonders. One doesn't quite understand. But the truth is that the intimacy and closeness was all an intricate hoax, an ingenious dream, a subtle but half-hearted mirage. That is what I thought once I'd entered the city. And so I concluded: don't be strong; don't be alone; don't be proud; it's your only chance ever to understand anything at all. Be fragile, be tender, humiliate yourself, and let the discoloration of dream close in on you. Do that, and oddly enough you'll remain healthy; you'll be yourself; you'll discover the best way to live in this particular most fruitless and tantalizing of possible worlds. The reality becomes a cruel dream while the dream fades into a tender man-made reality."