Lovers Lovers Everywhere
By K. Pearson Brown
As I was scanning the crowd and whispering to my girlfriend, “Which one is she?” at the recent Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center’s Women’s Night at the Beverly Wilshire Hilton, a sequin-clad lesbian leaned over and asked, “Are you spotting celebrities…or exes?”
We were busted. We had been checking out my girlfriend’s second-to-latest ex who was wearing a new girl on her arm along with, as my girlfriend was delighted to observe, an extra 25 pounds.
The Center’s annual soiree, a gathering of 800 Los Angeles’ coiffed and coutured lesbians, is the town’s primo lesbian event for running into old flames, which made my girlfriend and I muse about how lesbians tend to “recycle” lovers.
My straight male co-worker who carefully follows the plotlines of The L Word lamented that Bette and Tina fell victim to this pattern, although he was heartened that they reconciled at the end of the show’s second season. But the reality is many of us do not get back together, and we feel doomed to a life of lesbian serial monogamy.
I wondered if Yahoo! News intentionally composed a photo essay on lesbian recycling when they posted a photo gallery of Ellen Degeneres after her sweep at this year’s daytime Emmy’s. As I clicked on “next,” I was led from snapshots of Ellen snuggling current squeeze Portia de Rossi to an identical pose with Alexandra Hedison to yet another with Anne Heche. Clearly celebrity had not exempted Ellen from the lesbian recycling syndrome.
On stage at the Center gala, while we all held in our tummies beneath our body shapers and enjoyed our traditional formal gala dinner of chicken and wild rice, we were treated to a preview of the lesbian rock musical, “The Break Up Notebook,” adapted from playwright Patricia Cotter’s hilarious, poignant play about the emotional aftermath of a lesbian divorce.
When I saw the play two years ago, it struck a cord with me as I watched the leads, one played by Jane Lynch, known to most of us as the manipulative lawyer and seductress of pregnant Tina on The L Word, act out the histrionics, heartache and recovery following the two-and-a-half-year life cycle of a lesbian relationship. The scenes were all too familiar to those in my own life, as I had just experienced my own romantic split, after two-and-a-half-years.
To look on the bright side, there is strength in numbers. As gay activist Donna Redwing pounded the podium and proclaimed a few years ago at a Human Rights Campaign gala, “We are an army of lovers…and ex lovers.”
We can’t ignore that there are exceptions. At this year’s gala, the Center honored Robin Gans and Sandy Sachs, the founders of Girl Bar, Los Angeles’ longest-standing lesbian entertainment enterprise which has thrived for 15 of the 17 years of Robin and Sandy’s relationship.
Another honoree of the evening was director Donna Deitch, who made the 1985 seminal chick flick, Desert Hearts, the sexy story of a soon-to-be divorcee who checks into a Nevada dude ranch and is lassoed by a young female lover.
During her acceptance speech for the Center’s Creative Integrity Award, Deitch teased the audience with the prospect of a sequel that would tell what happened after the two protagonists rode off together on a train in the film’s final scene.
Some may speculate they shared two and a half years of lesbian bliss before the train wrecked; or, forever the optimist, I fanaticize that today, they may be celebrating their 20-year anniversary, enjoying a Coke and listening to a jukebox playing Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.”