When I first came stumbling out of the dark and lonely closet I was wildly, wildly, unprepared for this mysterious, new lesbian party underworld I had haphazardly been tossed into.
For starters, I had no idea what the term “pillow princess” meant. The whole U-Haul joke went flying right over my thick head and I was convinced it was merely a cheap shot poking fun at the slew of lesbian truck-drivers peppered across the southern regions of America (I lived in Florida, where one in every seventeen truck drivers is a dyke). I would spend my Friday nights googling “how do lesbians have sex?” because I had no idea what the actual definition of lesbian sex was (I’m still not entirely sure).
But one thing that truly took little ole’ baby dyke Zara by surprise was the intensity of the lesbian party culture. Especially in the summer. I quickly discovered that lesbians go into a deep hibernation during the winter — but by the time Memorial Day weekend rolls around, they collectively crawl out of their domestic caves, eager to bask into the sparkling sunshine, feeling refreshed and ready for trouble.
I was cursed with a low-tolerance and heavy social anxiety, a dark combination that all too often leads to embarrassing blackouts followed by debilitating early morning shame-spirals.
Not only that, but despite the efforts of my teen self, I’m not a mean girl. I’m elitist about my clothes, my hair, my makeup, and the food I eat, but not about people. Lesbian party culture can be so elitist, it can make the Soho House seem like your friendly neighborhood bodega. It can be so utterly cliquey it can make the middle school cafeteria feel like a safe place. But most jarringly, the lesbian party world can be extremely territorial. Especially towards fresh, attractive meat new to the market.
All of this can feel very daunting to a new, sweet lez.
But don’t fret my sweet little dyke sisters. See your lesbian big sister (me) is no longer a new, sweet lez. She’s a seasoned, acne-scarred lez who is here to help you survive the hard-partying, cold, cruel world of lesbian summer culture. In fact, you’ll find most parties aren’t as cruel and cold as they appear to the naked eye! Some can be warm and fabulous!
And as long as you to stick to these 8 expert rules, you’ll be as golden as the Fire Island sun, shining its gorgeous rays across the regal Atlantic Ocean.
1. Know what drinks jive with you and stick to that.
If I drink whiskey, I cry. Do I want to be crying vulnerable mascara tears down my bloated face after I’ve been tossed into a teeming sea of sapphic sharks? No. I don’t.
But you know what kind of liquor makes me feel sexy and confident and never, ever turns me into an emotionally unstable train-wreck? Tequila. So I like to set myself up for success and stick to tequila like the respectable Jewish girl I (sometimes/rarely) am. When it comes to partying it’s extremely important to know thyself.
Oh, and when that cute babe with the Justin Beiber haircut offers to buy you that shot of fireball, always politely decline. Trust your lesbian big sis on this one, for she’s *still* shame-shuddering over her dramatic public crying incident at Girls In Wonderland.
And that was almost ten years ago…
2. Don’t get caught up in the bitch scene.
I don’t care if you’re in London, New York, Los Angeles or Juno, Alaska. There will always be a snarky crew of lesbians clad in distressed skinny jeans, who do nothing but chain-smoke and talk shit and throw shade. Stay away from these girls. Don’t let their swaggy-leather-jacket prowess lure you into their dark, vicious orbit. There are plenty of swaggy dykes who aren’t afraid to smile, who don’t take themselves so f*cking seriously and are like, actually kind.
You don’t need that reality TV drama energy in your life, you need real friends that you can count on when shit goes down. And shit will *always* go down. It’s part of the ebb and flow of life, babe.
3. Ask people questions about their families, their jobs, their love lives, their hopes, their dreams…
I highly recommend cultivating deep and meaningful relationships with the girls you party alongside. I know the glitter and the girls and the drugs are fun, but you need some substance too (substance that’s not illegal).
One thing I always did was ask the party girls questions outside of the whole “do you know where we can buy cocaine?” and “is your hot friend in the boots single?” banter. I would ask the glitteriest party girl about where she grew up, what she did for work, what her real passions were. I began to care for the party girls in a very real way and they began to authentically care for me, which is immensely important in party culture. When people are drinking and doing drugs in a sex-fueled environment, all kinds of shady things can happen. Your wallet can magically disappear. The mean lesbian from out of town can try to physically fight you for merely exchanging a sultry glance with her ex.
You need a strong crew of women who will look out for you and that you will also look out for. Over time, these women will become true gems in your life. You will watch each other grow up. You will support each other through heartbreak and career highs and lows! Most importantly: You won’t look back on your hard-partying days as nothing but empty memories full of vapid people you had nothing in common with except the fact that you were all gay and liked to drink.
4. If you’re trying to be friends with a group of girls, don’t hook up with any of their exes, no matter how drunk and horny you are.
Dear Lesbians, just because we have sex with each other, doesn’t mean that girl code doesn’t exist. If you’ve newly been adopted into a Sapphic friend group, do not, I repeat do not, hook up with one of these girls’ exes.
I don’t care if the girl’s ex is so hot she puts Carmen from “The L Word” to shame. I don’t care if she has more Instagram followers than Ruby Rose. I don’t care if you’re as drunk as Tara Reid in the early 2000s. There will always be a cute girl to bat your lashes at, lock lips with or take home to your studio apartment in BedStuy. When you’re new to a group of friends, they don’t owe you their loyalty yet. Reveal your integrity and strong character to them by being an upstanding dyke who understands the concept of boundaries (for few do).
5. Like everyone. Trust no one.
If you’re anything like me, when you’re feeling wildly insecure, you’re overcome with a slew of bitchy thoughts about other people as a means to protect yourself from the sting of rejection. Get over this. We’re all gay! We’ve all been through tough shit in our lives! We’re all women. We need to stick together if we want to smash the patriarchy!
Give the girl with the loud voice and the overly bleached hair and the trying-too-hard muscle tee a shot! She probably is the badass you smugly think she’s “pretending” to be. Choose to see the beauty in everyone.
But don’t trust anyone, yet. Just because she bought you your last round, doesn’t mean she’s an authentic entity with your best interest in mind, my dear. Lesbians in the party world, even the really sweet ones, love to gossip. Before you get all loose-lipped and start spilling your deepest darkest secrets, make sure you’ve developed actual friendships with these women, ones that exist outside of cozy four walls of the Cubbyhole on a Friday night.
6. Stay away from the hard stuff.
Stay away from drugs, in particular, cocaine and Adderall. I don’t mean to be the annoying prudish dyke (that ship has sailed) but when drugs rear their ugly heads into your party routine, things get dark, to say the least. Drugs have a way of pulling out the most wicked parts of people’s personalities (including your own) and drug-habits escalate quickly. What can seem like a once-in-a-while, innocent little bump, can turn into a nasty, out-of-control addiction.
(Plus, you’re annoying when you’re on all that speed, honey. You’re talking a mile a minute and you lose your sense of humor entirely. You’re really just an overly serious, bug-eyed motor-mouth when you’re tweaked. Trust me. I’ve been there. Best thing I ever did was walk away from the druggie world I was caught up in. When I turned my body the opposite direction from the crowded bathroom stall and actually engaged in real conversations with real people, my life got so much better. And if you’re struggling, get help! There is no shame in getting help.)
7. You don’t have to go to every party.
Partying is indeed, fun, but it’s fun when it’s a novelty. It’s fun when it’s a treat served in moderation. When you’re out every single night, drinking like you’re going to the electric chair, it starts to get sad. You’ll start to yearn for something deeper than cocktails and blurry sex sessions you can hardly remember. Parties are fantastic — but the excessive party-girl booze-swilling lifestyle is akin to putting a giant band-aid over all the authentic amazingness that is stewing inside of you.
If you feel the need to go out every single night and get lit AF with girls you hardly know, there might be something else lingering beneath the surface of your sequin scaled party girl blazer/dress. For those of us who feel the need to party incessantly are usually running from something. Sometimes it’s the pain of our pasts. Sometimes it’s a brutal heartbreak we’re desperately trying to numb. Sometimes it’s a feeling of inner-restlessness that’s gnawing at our souls.
Usually, we’re running from ourselves. So get a therapist. Confront it. All of it. And all that FOMO will soon dissipate into nothingness. I promise.
And if you need an extra advice always message me, your lesbian big sister. I exist to protect you from making the dire mistakes that have plagued my life.
So girls. Wing that eyeliner. Shine those Dr. Marten boots. And strut into the party with the confidence and ease of the sexy, fabulous dyke you are!