#NationalGirlfriendsDay: 5 Times The Word ‘Girlfriend’ Messed With My Lesbian Head

When the straight person thinks when I say “my girlfriend” I’m talking about my friend.

When I found out today was “National Girlfriends Day” like any normal lesbian, I had a rainbow adorned reaction. “AWW NATIONAL GIRLFRIENDS DAY!” I yelped, leaping up from my desk, images of lesbians in love clutching hands dancing across my overtired brain.

GO Magazine Managing Editor Corinne Kai, quickly put me in my place. “They mean, ‘girlfriends’ like ‘friends'” She told me, ruthlessly bursting my homosexual glittery bubble of happiness.

The whole confusion really got me thinking, “Damn, the word girlfriend really can screw with a lezzie’s head, huh?” I mean the number of times I’ve found my head spinning because some (allegedly) “straight” girl has drunkenly rambled on about how much she “loves her girlfriend” is unbelievable!

two girls holding hands Photo by Istock

Here are 5 examples of the times the word “girlfriend” had me and my fellow gay girls, screwed up in the head.

1. When the straight person thinks when I say “my girlfriend” I’m talking about my friend.

“This is my girlfriend, Meghan,” I told a straight woman with a Republican style bob haircut at a dinner party with my parents in Florida.

“Oh, ‘besties?’ How cute.” She crooned, twisting her Cartier love bracelet around her delicate wrist.

Meghan, who is a no-bullshit Bronx girl, through and through, looked her dead in the eyes. “We live together. We are together.”

“Oh, like roomies! I used to live my girlfriend in New York too, how fun!” She swigged back the remains her WASP martini.

I planted a kissed smack on Meghan’s lips. I even threw some tongue in for extra emphasis (for the record I held back the urge to grab her boob). The room full of Republicans gasped in conservative horror. But she seemed like such a nice Jewish girl, I could feel them thinking. “No, she’s my girlfriend, girlfriend, as in we’re dating.” I purred. The straight woman with the Trump-supporting bob turned the color of a ripe New Jersey Tomato.

“I see.” She whispered. I couldn’t tell if she was shocked, disgusted or simply turned on. I’ll go with the latter. You know how those housewives are notorious for shacking up with the pool girl in the wealthy Florida suburbs.

2. When the girl who’s sexuality I can’t decipher refers to her “girlfriend.”

One time I had a huge, LESBIAN crush, on this gorgeous babe I worked with. It was a pretty serious job, very formal, not the type where I could simply ask “Are you gay?” by the water cooler. I was tortured by my crush on this girl and even though I’ve been blessed with the best gaydar this side of the Mississipi I couldn’t quite figure this one out.

One day I was doing something boring, like filing or something equally soul-numbing when the gorgeous babe entered the room. She looked upset. “Are you OK?” I asked her.

Her eyes welled up. “Yeah, I’m just fighting with my girlfriend.”

My ears perked up. “Oh, how long have you been together?” I asked, feeling suddenly hot and bothered. Images of her getting down and dirty with a sexy, Carmen from The L-Word type flashed across my pervy lesbian brain.

“Oh, I mean girlfriend as in my best friend! Hahhahahahahahhahaahahahahaahah. I have a boyfriend.” She laughed for a solid minute. I wanted to crawl under the desk and die.

3. When my mother refers to her “girlfriend” from her 20s.

“My girlfriend and I had the most fabulous flat in London in our 20s, it was as cheap as chips! Oh, I loved her. She was a real beauty. A gorgeous figure, she had. And her lips…” My English mother’s eyes wondrously stared into the distance, glistening with longing.

I rolled my eyes as my lesbian friend Sarah’s eyes got big. “Your mom was a lesbian back in her day? I knew it!” She whispered the moment my mom left to go to the bathroom.

“No, idiot. She means her friend.” I yawned.

“Why do people her age always call their friends their ‘girlfriends’—it’s so confusing!” Sarah shouted at no one in particular.

“Because back in their day they seemed like sluts if they were friends with boys so they had to specify.” I clarified for my hopeless friend.

“Oh, that makes sense. I still wish your mom was a lesbian. She would’ve been a hot one.” A sick smile crept across her face.

“You’re an animal,” I answered her, sipping on my red wine, wishing I had a normal mother for the millionth time in my life.

4. When a straight girl yells “Leave me alone, I’m here with my girlfriend!” to my guy friend. 

“Don’t talk to me. I’m here with my girlfriend tonight.” Purred a pretty girl with long, shiny brunette hair and a crop-top, to my friend Steven who attempting to buy her a drink.

Steven whipped his head around and grinned at me. “Yo, there are other lesbians here, Zara!” He roared. For a moment I got excited! I had been dreading going to this dude bro bar all night long but agreed to go with Steven because I enjoy him and it was his birthday (and he’s one of three straight males I actually have saved into my phone).

“Where?” I asked, suddenly hungry to be amongst my tribe.

“That one.” He pointed to the girl with the long, shiny, brunette hair.

“No way!”

“She didn’t want to talk to me because she’s here with her girlfriend.” He gestured to another girl with shiny hair and a crop-top.

I laughed so hard vodka soda came flying out of my nostrils. “She means ‘girlfriend’ as in friend.” I howled. “Thanks for looking out though!”

5. When I find myself saying “my partner” instead of “my girlfriend” because I’m around mature gays.

I don’t know about you, but I detest the term “partner.” You’re either my girlfriend or my wife. Partner makes me think of business partner, or yoga class partner or “partnering up” in middle school, none of which are sexy to me.

However, I have this problem. Whenever I’m at a black tie event full of mature, sophisticated gays I find myself calling my “girlfriend” my “partner.” To fit in with them, because they all say partner, and I fear if I say “girlfriend” they won’t take my relationship seriously, or I will just sound like a teen going through a brief lezzie phase.

I’m sure this is all in my head, a bit of classic lesbian neurosis, but it’s still another example of how the word “girlfriend” screws my poor gay head up!