How had I ended up at this full moon party with all these rich young women?
When I looked across the room and saw my roommate, Baby Dyke, I knew the blame lay squarely on her.
The hostess of the party was a friend of Baby Dyke’s friend from work. The work friend had invited Baby Dyke, then Baby Dyke had invited me and Big Mamma and a handful of other slightly dirty, more-or-less punk, full-on-lesbian or somewhat-bisexual, women-loving-women. I guess Baby Dyke didn’t know the rule about guests of guests not inviting guests.
The first indication we were out of our league was the gate…as in gated community. This was perhaps my first foray into a gated community, but I knew it was where the rich and fearful resided.
Not to worry, Baby Dyke reassured me when I questioned our entrance into a gated community. The house wasn’t actually the home of the hostess. The woman was simply holding the party at her parents’ house. That was supposed to make me feel better? As if somehow the woman’s parents were loaded and she had access to their house, but she was working class like those of us being brought in by Baby Dyke?
We found the house and entered. The house was huge, as I’d suspected it would be, and tastefully decorated. I’ve since been in houses as fancy, but that night was a first for me.
I don’t remember being met with any hostility. All of the friends of the hostess were very polite. I realize now, they weren’t the children of the uber rich, but they’d obviously grown up with access to advantages I’d never had.
We started the evening with sangria in the kitchen. The drink was served in delicate tea cups. I remember Big Mamma laughing about the little teacups disappearing in her big hand. She was a little more somber later when she said she’d spent the whole night worried some part of her big self might smash something expensive.
We took our tiny cups of sangria out onto the back deck where we were treated to a stunning sunset view of the hills.
It’s so nice to be able to see the hills, one of the friends of the hostess gushed. So many people don’t even know they’re here.
How could they know they’re here? I wondered. If the hills are surrounded by gated communities, only people living in the gated communities can see them. But being Southern and all, I kept my mouth shut.
To this party I’d worn a polyester blend, blue and white checked housedress with a zipper up the front. I can’t remember if I’d carefully chosen this dress to wear to the party of if Baby Dyke had breezed into our home and told me I was going to a party at such the last minute that this dress was the best ensemble I’d been able to pull together. If I wore such a thing now, I’d look like what I am: a middle-aged, fat woman wearing something loose and comfortable. Back then, I was young and thin enough to believe I looked cute in old lady clothes.
The dress, or course, had been bought used. More specifically, the dress had come from the dollar bin at a really hip little second-hand store near my house. Finding the dress in the dollar bin (one step away from the rag bag) definitely marked it as not quite as hip as the other items in the shop.
I thought the dress was a reasonable party outfit. It wasn’t a dressy party. Baby Dyke and Big Mamma were wearing trousers and masculine shirts. The friends of the hostess were wearing casual summer clothes. Nobody looked too fancy.
Did you get your dress at The Gap? one of the friends of the hostess asked me.
For years, I’ve laughed at the woman. How could she possibly think the dress had come from The Gap? Nothing about the dress indicated The Gap.
Now I wonder if maybe she knew as well as I did that the dress had not come from The Gap. Although I thought of The Gap as a place where rich people shopped, perhaps she thought she was putting me down by suggesting my dress came from a place where middle-income people shopped for poorly made clothes. I don’t even know. I was absolutely naive about the ways of the rich and thought the young woman was just dumb. If she was sending a cutting insult my way, it was lost on me.
Oh, no! I told her. I explained I’d gotten the dress our of a dollar bin at a second-hand store. Any judgment from her went right over my head.
At some point, someone suggested we sit in a circle of chairs on the deck and enjoy the cool night air. I can’t remember if we went around the circle and introduced ourselves, but I do remember someone suggesting we play a kissing game. I don’t remember who exactly suggested the kissing game, but I’m pretty sure it was someone from Baby Dyke’s crew. We weren’t just dirty, punk, women-loving women. We were dirty, punk, horny women-loving-women.
For me, bisexuality was new enough to be exciting. I was still nursing a broken heart after being dumped by my boyfriend, and I thought perhaps a sweet new girlfriend might ease my pain. Alas, no sweet lady ever offered me any sexual healing.
In any case, whenever I was invited to play a kissing game, I was ready to participate.
The hostess and her friends seemed a little hesitant. Maybe they’d never explored the loving of women. Maybe they had explored it and decided it was not for them. Whatever their previous experiences with women, they all agreed to play the game.
As my fuzzy memory clears, I think it was Big Mamma who suggested the game and explained the rules. She pulled a big slice of pineapple from the bowl of sangria. We would pass the pineapple around the circle mouth to mouth. When the slice was passed to a new gal, the woman doing the passing would bite off the chunk of fruit she’d been holding in her teeth. When a woman was presented with not enough pineapple to bite, she and the woman who’d gotten the last chunk had to kiss.
The fruit started moving around the circle. When it came to the woman to my right, I turned and used my mouth to take it from her. There was only a small piece of the fruit left, and I knew I’d get to kiss the stranger to my left.
I turned and showed her there wasn’t enough pineapple for her to bite. I swallowed what was left and puckered up, but my kissing partner balked. I don’t know if she didn’t want to kiss me in particular or any woman at all, but her quick no offense in my direction did little to soothe my fractured self-esteem. She must have wanted to kiss someone in the group because she had agreed to play, but she obviously didn’t want to kiss me.
A second piece of pineapple was put into play across the circle. There was much giggling and whooping as women put their mouths close, separated only by a bit of tropical goodness.
The fruit made its way to the woman on my right. Again, there was only a small piece of pineapple to take from her. Again, I showed the small piece of pineapple to the woman on my left, chewed it, swallowed it, and puckered my lips. Again, she who was meant to kiss me balked. This time she accused her friends, You set me up! This assurtion was maybe true, since they’d started the pineapple with the same woman as the time before. She again lobbed a no offense or two in my direction, but she’d already shattered my fragile ego.
If she didn’t want to play, she shouldn’t have played. If she didn’t want to kiss me, she should have sat next to someone else or hid in the bathroom. It wasn’t like I was going to stick my tongue down her throat or expect her to marry me, but I suppose she had no way of knowing my intentions.
I don’t know how the hostess and her friends ended up feeling about the party, but the evening was pretty much a bust for me.
Images courtesy of https://openclipart.org/detail/282925/sixties-groovy-female-symbol and https://openclipart.org/detail/176576/red-lips.