The dark club was thumping to "Don't Cha," the annoying yet irresistible new song by the Pussycat Dolls. The periphery of the dance floor was packed with groups of women swaying and nursing drinks, leaving the center to a young girl-girl couple that was dancing nasty, all into each other.
Out back, a crew of middle-aged women was sitting around on couches, casual and then some. One short woman with a graying pixie cut was sprawled across another like a sack of potatoes.
I headed over to the bar, where the friendly barkeep, Pooch, fixed me up with a Captain and Diet. His pour was generous, which was convenient, because Esmerelda and Alexandra, my tour guides, were an hour and a half late.
Then Esmerelda called my cell phone. "We're on LST," she said.
"Lesbian Standard Time."
It was 1 a.m. at the weekly lesbian party at Elements Nightclub (3073 NE Sixth Ave., Wilton Manors, 954-567-2432). Pooch made good company, dishing up a scoop on the mass cultural invasion of lesbian culture. Here's something I had never considered. "Sometimes," he said, "swinger couples come into the bar looking to pick up lesbians."
Finally, Esmerelda and Alexandra arrived, and the conversation slipped right into the lesbian-bisexual divide. "Dude, I'm bisexual," said Esmerelda, a lanky, beautiful woman in her mid-20s who sports short dark hair. When pressed to break it down, she said she feels 60 percent of the love for the ladies and 40 percent for the men.
"The thing that sucks about being bisexual," she explained, "is that people think you're promiscuous. Lesbians don't want to date you because they think you're going to bring a man home, and straight men think you're into threesomes. I've put bisexual ads up on the Internet, and all I get are pictures of men's penises."
Alexandra, who has love only for the ladies, did nothing to console her. "I wouldn't date a bisexual woman because you never know when they're going to go back to men."
Then Alexandra dragged me over to an attractive lesbian couple in their late 20s who both agreed with her assessment of the bicurious to bisexual female. "Socially, it's easier for them to be heterosexual," Door Diva Kelly said, "so ultimately that's what they're probably going to choose."
With her acronyms and tardiness, Esmerelda was the stereotype of a lesbian: Do whatever you want, dress however you want, arrive when you want. Her attitude was, "Go ahead, superpatriarchal societal structure, impose your notions of female propriety and time schedules on the world all you want. But forget about me."
A man-free existence sure seems OK to me, I thought. God saw fit to make only one Ralph Fiennes -- and that flesh prison for a pulse that calls himself your boyfriend ain't him. Thus, many straight chicks consider the possibility that they could swing the other way. We're sentient, ladies, and that's what makes us so fascinating to each other. Taking this one step further, wouldn't it be so kick ass to wake up in the morning, turn to your lover, say "Ugh, I got my period," and have her reply, "Wow, me too"?
You could touch fingers together, look into each other's eyes, and agree, "It must be the pull of the moon."
It's almost like we're made for each other, and not for men at all. If we could just pop in an Indigo Girls CD, get matching tattoos, and walk our mini-pinschers down to the local coffee shop, then we'd never look back on the prospect of having to explain our utter complexity to the numb male mind again. Right, ladies?
My other companion, Adam, a gay man, insisted that every sophisticated woman should have a lesbian relationship for at least one year. Indeed, I would have trouble counting on one hand the number of my hetero girlfriends who haven't at least made out with another chick. A lot of them have gone a lot further.
Just as I finished pondering this, a blond, tall, athletic chick in blue jeans pulled up to the bar. She was kind of hot. "Dude, was she just looking at me?" I asked Adam.
"She was totally checking you out," he answered before she put three drinks in her hands and dipped inside.
"You should go talk to her," Adam nudged.
"'Cause I'm not even gay, remember?"
The woman disappeared inside the club, and at that moment, the pressing matter of bladder pressure made me head for the sloth-paced line to the ladies' room. Lo and behold, my future ex-girlfriend in blue jeans was about five feet away on the dance floor with a dread-headed chick, who was dancing all over her.
To me, it seemed the whole dance was done with The Price Is Right gesticulations to show that this chick was one hot ticket. So I gave her a look, and then her friend stumbled around a bit and landed right in front of me with one foot planted firmly on the ground and one hand on my waist. She looked me in the eyes like the mother of all fucking wingmen, and we both laughed.
It was a good icebreaker. Yeah, maybe chicks are better flirts than men, and maybe I could be another tourist of lesbian culture.
The following week on a Friday, I headed out to Beach Betty's (625 E. Dania Beach Blvd., Dania Beach, 954-921-9893),a fun bar with a switched-on DJ, 'round midnight. The 40-strong crowd hanging alongside a full-wall mural beach scene was consistently middle-aged women in casual dress, significantly less clubby than the girls at Elements.
"I was married for years," said a 34-year-old bicurious woman of Debbie Downer disposition. "Now, I'm on the fence. I'm still figuring this shit out."
"Call me Scratch," insisted the woman, who was in a black, buttoned-down shirt with brown eyes and wavy brown hair pulled back into a tight ponytail.
Scratch said she's still working on coming to terms with her bisexuality: "I've been dealing with this for less than a year."
"I had a catalyst. Somebody had a big crush on me, and that unearthed a lot of stuff I didn't know about myself. Then, when I actually decided to be with her, she didn't want anything to do with me. It's been a hard year."
Understandably. "You'll be over it in a couple of months," I assuaged.
"Try a couple of years."
In her experience, she said, "Whether they're straight or gay, women are looking for a white knight. When they figure out that the person they're with is vulnerable, they don't want anything to do with them. Women are harsh."
Haley is a diminutive, 32-year-old lesbian with stylishly jagged shoulder-length blond hair and brown eyes. "It's like Kissing Jessica Stein," Haley explained. "Most curious chicks don't go all-the-way gay. They'll do it, but it's just not them."
Haley continued: "I've only had sex with a man once. The guy was great, but I was like, 'When is this going to be over?'"
After this conversation, Scratch asked me, "Are you sure you're not curious?"
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