A Seasoned Lesbian’s Guide To Surviving Fire Island

You WILL fall off the boardwalk at least once.

Photo by istock

This weekend, lesbians hailing from all walks of life will collectively gather on the glittery beaches of Fire Island’s Cherry Grove for the annual LezVolley tournament. For those of you dykes who’ve been living beneath a dyke rock (no judgment, we’ve all taken a stint or two under the ole’ dyke rock!) LezVolley is the premier Sapphic sporting event of the summer.

I mean, a bunch of hot queer women playing volleyball against the stunning backdrop of the regal Atlantic Ocean, the tri-state sun shining it’s golden rays against their glimmery (sweaty) bodies as they get all riled up and sexy and competitive? Sign. Me. Up. Babe.

Photo by Shea Carmen Swan

Now, let’s get real for a moment: I don’t play volleyball. I merely watch, titillated and tan, chasing the perfect daytime buzz as I slug back my champagne whilst basking in the sexy view. And if you’re not signed up to play either, you can join moi, beachside. (Message me! Even if you have social anxiety. I have booze to quell all that — not that I’m promoting self-medicating, or trying to glamorize mental illness, I’m just being a real-ass bitch).

Big bitch energy. 📸 @megwhites

A post shared by Zara Barrie (@zarabarrie) on

LezVolley (the brainchild of the legendary Danielle Stanziale and Kristine Bungay!) is only three days away and I can’t wait. Between me, you and the family, I’ll confess that I’ve been trolling their Riverside Park practices all summer long, and these ladies are getting good. The competition shall be as stiff as the Tequila Soda I ordered the other night at Cubby (thank you to bartender extraordinaire Lil’ Deb).

drink happy thoughts! // specials all night!

A post shared by Cubbyhole bar (@cubbyholebar) on

Since LezVolley is so popular I have a witch-vibe it will soon serve as the Dinah Shore of the Eastern Seaboard, it shall be teeming with baby gays this weekend. Baby gays, who perhaps, have never, ever in their short-lives braved the ferry to the mecca of Cherry Grove. And while you Fire Island virgins might be so ectastic for your first gander in the Grove that you’ve been gabbing in your baby dyke group chat for months about this epic weekend to come, you might also secretly be a little nervous. After all, Fire Island is wild, unchartered territory for you, isn’t it?

Well honey, don’t worry. Cherry Grove/The Pines happens to be this seasoned lezzie’s spiritual home (with exception of East Hampton and Ibiza), and I’ve provided you with a complete lesbian big sister survival guide!

1. Put your ferry ticket in a safe goddamn place.

When you get on the ferry they’re going to give you your ticket BACK to the mainland too. Put it in a safe place, darling. Don’t get all excited and misplace that golden ticket back to reality. For you and I both know neither of us have the money to blow on another ticket we’ve already paid for.

2. Slather your skin in SPF. 

I know you want that body to get bronzed baby, but that Fire Island sun is deceptively strong. Especially when you’re swilling back drinks for seventeen hours. At least wear 15, OK?

3. EAT CARBS.

You will not survive the boozy wrath of Cherry Grove on a diet of Adderall and vodka sodas, alone. The only way to survive this fabulous island without keeling over, or completely embarrassing yourself, is by eating carbs. I recommend Cherry Grove Pizza or the penne all vodka at Island Breeze.

4. Don’t disrupt a drag show.

Have some respect. Don’t hop on stage while a queen is performing for the masses. Don’t be the annoying girl shouting things out, disrupting the precious craft of drag. It’s an honor to be in the presence of Logan Hardcore, Brenda Darling, Tina Burner and the rest of the talented queens we’re blessed to watch perform on this gay island.

5. Take out cash and hide your credit card.

Most places are cash-only, so make sure you take cash out and store your credit card in a safe place. It’s not fun to have to venture back to the Grove mid-week to pick up your card at The Ice Palace. I’ve been there and it’s a walk of shame that will cost you money and make you miss a day of work.

6. Figure out your sleeping arrangements. 

People spend a LOT of money on their shares and book them months in advance. It’s against the official Fire Island etiquette to ask anyone to spend the night on their couch. Figure out a place to stay the night before you get there.

7. IF YOU DON’T HAVE A PLACE TO STAY THE NIGHT, GIVE YOURSELF A CURFEW.

If you’re day-tripping it do NOT, I repeat DO NOT miss the last ferry.

8. Live a little! Have a mudslide at the Ice Palace.

We are just living our lives babes 💋🔥

A post shared by Zara Barrie (@zarabarrie) on

It’s so high-calorie it’s the equivalent to having a meal! Which you likely need!

9. Don’t get drunk and swim in the ocean. 

The rip-tides are no joke. This is the Atlantic, baby, not the rooftop pool at The Soho House.

10. Try not to fall off the boardwalk.

You might fall off the boardwalk, as it’s a right of passage every queer will embark on in their lives, but just make sure you scan that body for ticks afterward.

11. Don’t get drunk try and sneak into the Belvedere.

The amount of drunken lesbians that attempt to sneak into the men’s only Belvedere hotel is embarrassing! Let gay boys be gay boys and let them be nude and sexual in peace, baby.

12. If you get drunk and think your girlfriend is flirting with someone, let it go.

You’re probably just drunk and have sun-poisoning! Do not get into one of those classic, melodramatic lesbian brawls whilst in the tranquil island of love and peace.

13. Be open-minded and nice to everyone, this island is NOT FOR ELITISTS.

Don’t get all city-snooty now. You’re not in Williamsburg. This island is for gays from all walks of life, not just trust-fund hipsters in skinny jeans, so knock it off with the judgment, baby.

14. If you don’t like gay men, get the f*ck over it, this island is teeming with them.

If you’re one of those lezzies that detest gay men, don’t come. For this is their land too, and my favorite part of Fire Island is all the gays and lezzies co-existing in harmony.

15. Hookup with everyone.

Now is the time to get it on with people you might never cross paths within the city!

16. Except for your best friend’s girlfriend.

However, as free-loving, as this island is, don’t get too free-spirited and hook-up with your best friend’s girlfriend.

18. Or the scary lesbian’s girlfriend.

And by “Scary Lesbian” I mean any lesbian’s girlfriend. For we’re all scary AF when you start making moves on our girlfriends.

Have fun, babies!