Last night I was out in the gay bars in the West Village recruiting lesbians for my beginner tango classes. I must say I was delighted to discover many fine specimens of the butch variety. These handsome women hold promise for becoming good leaders. I was however extremely disappointed in the fem turnout. In fact, the only person to be found in a skirt last night was a Drag Queen! I did finally spot a real fem in a club. She wasn't wearing a skirt but she was showing a lot of cleavage. Don't you know it, she turned out to be straight. One of the butches reassured me by saying: "You know what they say about straight women, right? STRAIGHT to BED!" Yes, I know first hand that this is true but my mind being on business and gender politics rather than sex, the comment did not really put my mind at rest. I am worried that all the fashion mavens on the L Word are not penetrating the lesbian community deeply enough. (at least not on the East Coast.) I am hoping that the T word might trigger a resurgence in Womanly attire among the lesbian population.
I remember the good old days of the Dutchess, the Sahara, and Bonnie & Clydes. (Legendary lesbian bars that like Palais de Glace and other historical tango clubs - no longer exist.) In those days, butches wore suits and carried knives, and fems were HIGH FEMS in skirts and heels. I'm talking over 30 years ago in my coming out days but I know that in the 40's and 50's the scene was even more pronounced. And last night it dawned on me for the first time why I hang out in heterosexual tango clubs these days instead of gay & lesbian bars. The milongas remind me of the way queers used to be. A place where men are men and fems are fem.