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14 Dec 2006

knit one, purr one

We've all heard the old joke about lesbians and U-Hauls on the second date could that be one of the chief reasons for the dismal number of lesbian attendees at the recent Nation party in Phuket and the lack of lesbian places compared to numerous gay male ones even in major cities? Dinah Gardner ruminates.

This year, the lesbians got invited to Nation.

And out of roughly 1,500 tickets sold, how many do you think went to the girls? Maybe 50. Maybe a bit less.

So, where were all the dykes? Apparently at home with a ball of wool and playing with their pussy.

"When you lesbians get hitched that's it," says Marck, a 38-year-old Brit guy at Nation. "You shack up together on the second date, get a couple of cats, stay at home and knit and never go out again."

While Marck's assessment is a tad harsh - I've never been able to knit - those ticket numbers are telling. Why don't lesbians party like it's 1999? Why don't they like to get as deliciously slutty as gay men?

Part of the reason is simple economics. Women don't earn as much as men. It's not so easy for dykes, however butch, to go flitting off abroad in search of circuit party decadence. Buying cat food, in the end, may take precedence over those dollars in the jar reserved for Friday night boozing. Take me for example. On what Fridae pays me, I'm lucky these days if I can afford to get into a free event.

Maybe it's simply that we're not hot enough, suggests Jockie, a Canadian-Chinese dyke living in Beijing.

"We don't look as good with our shirts off after a line of coke," she says.

Now I'm as much a fan of the sculpted pec as anyone, but there is plenty to be said for having an equivalent culture of cute dykes disrobing in clubs.

According to The Stud, it's all to do with infrastructure.

"In the west, when gays were closeted, the way they went out to meet other gays was to go to clubs," she says. "At the same time that gay men were getting into circuit parties, gay women were going topless at drumming circles and going to feminist pot lucks. That's because the social institution surrounding lesbianism came of age at the same time as the second wave of feminism."

And Asia, she says, has taken its cues from the west.

"In Asia," she says, "you don't have the culture of women behaving badly enough to support a bar culture."

In Beijing, the main gay club is called Destination. It has a big, bouncy dance floor; MTV; a bar with special "homo" cocktails; an intimate lounge; cute flirtatious bartenders; a caf; and visiting DJs. The club is packed with a palette of men - all ages and degrees of cuteness - until 3, 4 am on the weekends.

The capital's most popular dyke bar happens on Saturdays only. Pipe doesn't have DJs, instead Shania Twain plays on a loop; you'll be lucky if the bar staff know how to mix a gin and tonic; the bar girls are sulky and very definitely straight; and the door in the toilets fell off three months ago and hasn't yet been replaced. Most of the clientele - spiky-haired tomboy teenagers and their femme girlfriends - have gone home by midnight.

"There just aren't as many places for women," says Clarice, a thirty-something dyke living in the US. "There are only a few bars for women even in San Francisco compared to hundreds or so for men."

So which came first? The bad bars, or the stay-at-home dykes? Are we such party poopers because lesbian clubs are lame, or did dyke bars never have a chance because girls just don't wanna have fun?

Fingers, a 33-year-old Singaporean dyke, says she thinks it's all down to biology. Girls aren't as pleasure seeking as men.

"I think this lifestyle (difference) has to do with the different levels of sex hormones in men and women," she says. "Gay men, after all, are still men. They are merely acting from biological drives and needs. Women operate from a whole different range of hormonal urges."

A sentiment shared by Fridae's founder and chief executive officer, Stuart Koe.

"(Nation) is driven by men meeting men; not just for sex, but it is driven by that," says Koe. "Women socialize via dinner parties with close-knit friends. They're more laid back, there's more depth to their friendships.

"Men are just a bit more hedonistic."

The Stud disagrees.

"People maintain that men like to have sex more than women," she says. "But I don't think that's true and I don't think that explains everything."

I'm with the Stud on this. We all like to have sex. Don't we?

"Simply, young gay men think with their pricks," says Clarice. "I don't think lesbians are fundamentally less sexual... just less prone to alcoholic exploitation and exhibition.

"I think lesbians, like many straight woman, are insecure about their sexuality and not so confident about expressing it publicly... having said that, I have seen some pretty raucous lesbians go at it in clubs."

Claire, an American dyke living in Beijing, blames it on "the ease of the penis".

Gays prefer clubbing because "it's easy for them to go out and get blowjobs in a club bathroom. Girls just can't do that. Or do that as easily," she says.

I want to disagree, but then I think about that toilet in Pipe with the door off its hinges.

If we're not hot for exhibitionist and casual sex, what are we into?

According to Clarice, we want someone to look after us.

"I think lesbians just want different things from a relationship than guys," she says. "Even if they pretend to long for someone hot, what they really want is someone who won't abandon them... and that's hard to find that at a disco."

And once we find that, we're out of the loop.

"Once we get in a relationship," adds Claire, "we're just content to sit at home and watch movies. We get into this pattern."

Maybe Marck's right. I ask Fingers if she'd like things to be different.

"It is not up to me to wish for anything 'unnatural'," she says. "Let sleeping dogs lie."

I thought it was cats?

Reader's Comments

1. 2006-12-14 18:21  
"And Asia, she says, has taken its queues from the west."

argh - someone please fix this homophonic error!

2. 2006-12-15 00:45  
Shania Twain on loop can never be good!
3. 2006-12-15 01:13  
This is already just too complex.

There are too many factors, probably a lot not even mentioned.

But maybe,yeah, ok-- we're all gay but we still drag the male/female wants and needs with our DnA...

Hold on...

What's the word from the ladies anyway? Are gay women cool with gay men? Is there an issue on this?
4. 2006-12-15 02:08  
"And Asia, she says, has taken its cue from the west."

There are much better ways to write that paragraph. The idea got lost in the maze of words but then what would a non-journalist know? ;)
5. 2006-12-15 11:16  
Why should lesbians attend Nation VI when it was announced that it would be Fridae's last circuit event?
6. 2006-12-15 13:06  
I thought that lesbians played sudku now and had given up knitting.

It is so hard to keep up with all the trends...
7. 2006-12-15 15:48  
Interesting insights and quotes, esp background info like "feminist potlucks." It's just that the story reinforces all the existing stereotypes of both gay men and lesbians. I didn't really find a story in it.
8. 2006-12-16 05:14  
Interesting topic. I think i spoke about it in my own blog before, because i have noticed this difference in lifestyle too. It just amazes me on how different we are compared to the gay men. I just came back from my girls' night out and seriously.. even my straight girlfriends were not really dancing as compared to the straight men.

I think, it does have something to do with the biology than whether or not we feel confident with ourselves. I used to party a lot, but right now.. i really don't feel like it anymore and my friends are no more as "dancy" as when we used to go to zouk through the whole week and work the next day after a 3 hours nap in between... =)
Comment #9 was deleted by its author
10. 2006-12-16 10:54  
I am gay and I find nothing wrong with the lifestyle of lesbians. Nation, though was supposed to be pro-gays and lesbians, are actually a 100% gay event, judging from the venue and activities. So why should we expect lesbians to support it with their hard earned money ???

I find it very shallow that someone should comment that gays should be slutty even if they get hitched. And that lesbians should behave like us. Well, that explain why HIV is a serious threat in the gay community but not the lesbians.

I think that the lesbians are evolving in their lifestyle and it is for the better, while we gays are evolving towards the animal, more primitive lifestyle ..... doomed .... towards extinction.

I cannot speak for the lesbians as I am not one, but for majority of gays, one thing for sure, we will lead a lonely life as we age.

Our "glamorous" lifestyle in the end will be just a freakshow.
11. 2006-12-16 16:44  
What an incredibly prejudiced offensive article! Where is the factual content? Maybe Lesbians just dont like Nations' attitudes, style, poor service, poor music? ...dare I say. I'd expect less arogance from Fridae. This is more like bar chit chat than "news".
12. 2006-12-16 17:28  
it excudes a rift between lesbians and gay men. is it there? is it rampant?

if yes, then can;t we all just get along, since we're all on the same boat?

if no, are there chances of it going concrete? then find a solution for it.

nothing's gonna happen if everyone keeps on complaining.
13. 2006-12-17 00:33  
i agree with gymhotbod on post #9.
and i think the reputation part comes in.
why lesbians got better reputation than gays...
14. 2006-12-17 01:42  
I do have the same view as this sentence : "Once we get in a relationship, we're just content to sit at home and watch movies. We get into this pattern."

I'm content and do not go out to meet other new girls now, compared to the times before i have gf..
15. 2006-12-17 07:50  
while we gays are evolving towards the animal, more primitive lifestyle .

This is telling me....
16. 2006-12-18 12:54  
Up for Post #9 gymhotbod . I guess reputation is not an issue in gay life; growing old is. Seems like it is better to be a slut than a oldman. I really dont know what has gone wrong in the mentality of most gays; it seems like gay life is short lived - and after 40s, you better have enough $ to see you through the golden years. So sad and I wonder if this is a curse?
17. 2006-12-18 15:54  
I was in Wellington, New Zealand, over the weekend. On Saturday night, the girls bar, OUT, was heaving with partying dykes.
The mens bar, had 4 guys playing snooker.
Go figure.
18. 2006-12-19 20:25  
This was a fun read! Good job Dinah!
19. 2006-12-20 05:40  
20. 2006-12-20 12:55  
Men hunt. Women nest.
21. 2006-12-20 18:13  
While I no longer am the first one on the platform and ripping off my tshirt to latest dance throbbing hits, I am a long way away from knitting or other lesbian domestic pursuits.

My partner and I do have 2 cats/pussies but we still love a good boogie on the dancefloor.

Dinah has raised many interesting issues but what I found interesting was that she postulated that dykes don't seem to like partying because very few attend Nation. First of all, girls will be girls and boys will boys.....and naturally dykes will want different things in the parties they attend, but to say that they only enjoy sit down dinners or knitting or raising pussies is really misrepresenting the dyke population out there.

I have been to a Nation myself and found it to be a HUGE let down. The music was patchy - too many DJs in a short time, the queues for drinks was nightmarishly long and there weren't any women friendly places.

I would like to ask - how many dykes does Fridae have on its events team? They would do well to take a leaf from the successful events being run for lesbians around the region - Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand. Singapore for one has two parties which involve alcohol, dance music (no shania twain) and half naked girls!

22. 2006-12-20 20:00  
FHD, but the girls' event at Nation this year was organised by one of the 2 party organisers you were referring to with heavy promotion to the partygoers in Singapore. The other party organiser organised 1 or 2 other girls' events at Nation while it was still in Singapore. And the results were equally dismal...
23. 2006-12-21 01:02  
I know a lot of lesbians who like to go out and party, here in Hawaii--fun girls I love to hang out with! But there is a big difference between men and women and I believe it's also true of gay men and lesbians: men are biologically programmed to to out and spread their seed. Women are biologically programmed to stay home and be nurturing. I don't mean that's all there is to any of us, or that it's true of all of us to the same degree--just that no matter who we're attracted to or whatever else we do in our lives, those hard-wired tendencies will make themselves felt.
--Douglas in Honolulu
24. 2006-12-21 06:06  
What a fun story to read!

Even more fun are some of the random postings following it! LOL..
Comment #25 was deleted by its author
Comment #26 was deleted by its author
Comment #27 was deleted by its author
28. 2006-12-23 14:54  
Hmmm interesting topic but I don't see what's wrong with feeling comfy at home with your loved one. There is more to just the next great big party happening.
29. 2006-12-24 15:03  
hey all lesbians shuld/do go out...!!!

AND as to IF/WHETHER we want/need/look for as much sex... as the guys do.... is a no-brainer...!!!!! of course we do..!!!! we also have sex-drives/urges...watever u want to call them...!!!

also.. the no of women who look for "quickies".. may NOT be on record... but they ARE/DEFINETLY DO EXIST.....!!!!!!!! in loos/wherever... and "they ain't shy about it baby....!!!!!"

as to the comment that "we" want someone to take care of us.... hullo....? don't all of us do...??? its basicv human nature... to have someone tell u... that they loveu.. wanna b with u... and there are some many long time/term relationships around.. hey are all u grrls blid...
so go on get with the program....get there and get out....both to "come out" and go out....

show the world that we exist.. as human beings.. with the same needs/desireswants/hopes and dreams....

hola all....
30. 2006-12-28 00:51  
This article is too sexist! I could have gone to Nation if I did not have an important assignment. Not true that women earn lesser than men. I have friends who were unable to apply leave and friends who could not book tickets at the right day.

Fridae always writes about how the public love to stereotype and generalize about the local GLBTcommunity , thus we lesbians would expect such not to happen to us within the GLBT community.

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