This is my ode to the softball lesbian.
It’s no secret that I’m the most wildly-unathletic lesbian to ever exist in this cruel, cold world. When I was a kid, I used to lay awake at night tossing and turning, fearing the day that we would be forced to play softball in gym class. I didn’t understand the rules of the game but was too embarrassed to speak up and ask. I didn’t want to expose how dumb and unathletic I was.
Plus, I always had crushes on the girls that were really sporty. I was pretty sure I was a full-blown lez around the ripe ole’ age of 10 and I was becoming alarmingly aware of my type: The Softball Lesbian. I didn’t know anything about the “softball lesbian” trope back then, but I innately understood it if you know what I mean. I could sense that certain girls in cleats and jerseys, were probably going to grow up and realize they were gay AF. And according to Facebook, my adolescent gaydar was on point. Most of them are surefire dykes.
I swooned over the girls who wore their hair in neat, slicked-back ponytails, the girls who ran faster than the boys, the good girls all rosy-cheeked, and healthy, lightly tanned from a lifetime spent outdoors, playing sports. They just seemed so together. So perfectly North-Eastern. Forever adorned in L.L. Bean, taking home straight A’s to their proud parents, the captains of “Color War” at sleep away camp. They wore sludgy-green fleeces in the fall. North Face puff coats in the winter. Lacrosse sticks popped out of their JanSport backpacks as they confidently strode down the school hallways like they owned the place.
They were so fucking cool.
I was the exact opposite of the softball lesbian. Not only did I fly out of the womb terrible at sports, I looked (and still look) deranged with my hair in a ponytail. My entire life I’ve worn my hair down, in long, distressed mermaid locks. Sometimes I even stick a flower in it, for additional drama.
This look is not conducive to playing sports, going to the gym or anything else that involves breaking a sweat. It’s conducive to drinking wine in a chic indoor restaurant, with the windows sealed shut, so my already wild hair isn’t made too wild by the slightest gust of wind. As an adolescent, I never rocked sensible clothing, like fleece when summer turned into fall. Even though I come from uptight East-Coast stock, I’m a slutty Cali girl at heart, and I would freeze to death in the fall, still sporting summery crop-tops and mini-skirts that would get me sent to the principle’s office. I was never the captain of Color War at the all girls sleep away camp I attended my entire childhood.
I was always more fucking weird than cool. I’m still more fucking weird than I am cool.
I might not have been a softball baby lesbian, but I certainly ~hooked up~ with them, early on. The first softball lesbian I hooked up with was at sleep away camp. I figured if I couldn’t be the color war captain, I would have sex with the color war captain, you know?
We did it in her bunk bed at 2am. She lived in safe quarters, a separate set of cabins non-patrolled by the angry sexless lesbian head counselor because she was a CIT (Counselor-in-training. See? I was scandalous and hooking up with girls older than me from the jump). It was the first time I’d ever had sex with anyone, male or female, and it was spectacularly awkward.
She was one of those cool already-out of the closet teenagers, and I was still testing the gay waters by telling everyone I *might* be bi, even though I wasn’t bi, I was fully gay but I wasn’t ready to hand in my straight-girl card just yet. I knew that being gay meant no pretty girl perks and as someone who was raised by a gorgeous cigarette model, I knew all about pretty girl perks (I quickly learned they weren’t perks at all. They were burdens that were demeaning, condescending, blazingly sexist and generally horrible—but that realization was to come several years later).
I’m proud to say I lost my lesbian virginity with a softball lesbian. It was a great way to lose it. Wrapped up in clean cotton sheets, squished into a twin bed, Bright Eyes softly playing some super Emo love song in the background, graffiti scrawled across the wood planks.
I remember curling up next to her, taking in her scent (she smelled like “Secret” deodorant and “Pantene Pro-V shampoo and conditioner in one”) feeling really safe in her muscley tanned arms.
I remember comparing our arms. Mine were scrawny and pale, while hers were strong and honey-colored. They looked good together. Maybe this is due to some deep-rooted, internalized femme-phobia I have yet to confront (don’t fret, I’m in therapy), but I felt as if my softball lesbian could protect me from all kinds danger. Like, if she had the brainpower to strategize her softball games so perfectly, she had the brainpower to rescue us if evil forces were to take over Camp.
Evil forces never took over camp. Mid-August I went home to Connecticut and never saw my softball lesbian again.
The first girl I ever seriously dated was a softball lesbian. We were adults, but I could immediately tell she had played sports in school. The moment I laid my mascara adorned eyes on her at the local gay bar, I envisioned her wearing mitts and cleats.
She had that relaxed, comfortable in her body, way about her, that all sporty girls have, regardless of their height or weight. She was dressed appropriately for the climate. I noticed a gym membership card dangling from her key-chain. I felt my heart flutter. I took a deep breath and approached her. A week later she asked me out.
On our first date, I said to her “I bet you were the captain of the softball team in high school.”
“How can you tell?” She asked, alarmed.
“Because you just have that healthy athletic energy, AND you’re very, very sharp and very, very disciplined. You seem like a leader.”
“Ugh, such a stereotype, but yes, it’s true.”
“I wish I was the lesbian softball playing stereotype,” I confessed. “If you’re going to be boxed in by society, it’s best to be boxed in as an athlete. I’m boxed in as some bratty femme.”
“Is that true?” She asked, raising a sexily unmanicured eyebrow at me (softball lesbians always have the best eyebrows).
“Is what true?” I slugged back my champagne.
“Are you a bratty femme?” She slugged back her beer.
I thought about this for a minute. I gazed at my vintage Chanel clutch as I contemplated my bratty femme-ness. I ran my fingers across the buttery leather and wondered if the champagne I was sipping on was real champagne, like from Champagne, France. I also wondered if she was going to pick up the bill because I was very short on money. I had blown my last paycheck on a spree at Sephora.
And then it hit me, I was a bratty AF femme. In fact, I embodied the bratty femme. If there was an award for the brattiest femme in all of the lesbian-land, I would win.
“Yes,” I answered. “But, I’m balanced out by lovely softball lesbians, like you.” I batted my (faux-mink) lashes at her.
And it’s true. I rely on the softball lesbian to keep me grounded and stable.
Which is why I was fueled with a strong desire to write this ode to the softball lesbian. They’re constantly made fun of in the media, forever deemed unattractive and unstylish, but you and I know that’s simply not true.
In fact, softball lesbians are the backbone of the gay community. They’re the girls who created awesome lesbian sports league, that are so direly important to our community because they’re one of the few events that don’t involve drinking. We would drown to death in booze if it wasn’t lesbian sports leagues, sobering us, forcing us into the sunshine.
They’re always the first to help me hoist my heavy bag onto the ferry when I’m going to Fire Island. My bag would be on the dock, still, if it wasn’t for the help of the trusty softball lesbian.
They understand the importance of playing by the rules and give us lesbians a good, dependable name. It’s the reason people love to have a lesbian doctor or personal trainer. They keep us employed!
They get me out of bed on Sunday mornings when I’m hungover because it’s their genetic makeup gives them the urge to do something healthy after drinking, like go for a walk in the park. I would still be in bed, smoking cigarettes, self-loathing if it weren’t for all the softball lesbians I’ve dated. I probably would still smoke cigarettes if it wasn’t for them. Softball lesbians detest cigarettes.
They’re also fantastic bed. All those years on the field has really taught them how to move their bodies. Plus, they’re competitive. A softball lez won’t stop going down on you until you orgasm. In fact, one orgasm isn’t usually enough. They want to make you cum multiple times, which is fine by me.
So thank you, softball lesbians. And even if you’re relentlessly teased on stupid sketch comedy shows, just know that your community loves you. That this bratty AF femme loves you. And I’ll be cheering for you, when you win the lesbian softball tournament, along with my army of bratty femmes.