Monday, May 28, 2012

Same Sex in the City: A Book for the lonely

By Angela Thomas

On one random day, my best friend and I decided to take a bus and the subway to Philadelphia in order to escape the annoying bureaucracy of our school. We were planning on just doing homework in the parks like any other school student.

On our way to Rittenhouse Square Park, we stopped into the enormous Barnes & Noble to look at the extremely and unfortunately small Gay & Lesbian section. That’s when I discovered it; my dream book. It was sitting there amongst all the lesbian erotica, waiting for me to pick it up and take it home. However, that was surely not happening for $15.99 (and it was paperback as well!)

So what is this amazing book? “Same Sex in the City” by Lauren Levin and Lauren Blitzer.


 You see, I took a Chica Lit English seminar class this past semester and my goal was to find a lesbian chick-lit novel. Well ladies and gentlemen, I found it on that amazing day. A week later, I ordered it off of Amazon for a much cheaper price. I’ve been searching this past semester for a lesbian novel that included women like me; femme. I normally hate labels but I would say that I can be defined as femme. I enjoy shopping, shoes, clothing, make-up, perfume, etc. and reading about other women who enjoyed these things while also enjoying sex with women was tantalizing to say the least; a little of my own “erotica” in a way.

“If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it,” Toni Morrison is quoted at the beginning of chapter one. This quote was pretty much the mission of my “coming out.” Levin and Blitzer take me back to the days of scanning the aisles of Borders and not standing too close to the gay and lesbian section (but close enough to see what lesbian novels there were.) Even now, reading a novel about women in their middle 20s and their coming out process are hard to find. Never in my 25 years of existence have I ever read a novel’s first 17 pages and felt like crying “THANK YOU, UNIVERSE!”

What I really loved most about Levin and Blitzer’s novel is that they reiterate the whole “label-less” message. Although I can absolutely and confidently label myself as a lesbian, it isn’t always necessary to label yourself as any type of sexuality. Sexuality is fluid and sometimes not black or white.

Blitzer (left) and Levin (right)

 The novel also does an amazing job of not painting one picture of a “lesbian.” We’re all familiar with the Kate Moennig/ Shane image of lesbians but many times, lesbians can’t be defined as having a “look.” You wouldn’t believe how many times my partner and I would be at a lesbian nightclub, see two femme lesbians together, and squeal with joy. We come in all different sizes and shapes. What is appealing is that the book does not just pertain to “femme” girls. The text talks about all different “labels” of lesbians.

The novel reminds me a little bit about Dan Savage’s It Gets Better except this novel is geared towards women who are attracted to women. It is like one big “pow wow” of lady-lovers reaching out to other lady-lovers. However I have to disagree but agree with something the novel touches on and that is experimentation. At one point, Levin and Blitzer encourage women to get drunk and make out with their best friend. I know from first hand experience that this doesn’t always go over well. Experimentation is normal but do it carefully because you might hold someone’s heart in your hands. However, for first-timers, this book gives good advice on how to approach your first time with the same-sex.

 In this world, it is hard to feel a part of every day life, especially for the younger generation of the queer community. Books like Levin and Blitzer’s really help the youth realize that they are truly not alone. Pick this book up, read it, and realize that sometimes, things aren’t as they seem and usually, you’re not alone. 

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