Five or six or seven years ago, I found myself at Pandora Event’s notoriously ~wild~ lesbian weekend extravaganza “Girls In Wonderland” in sunny Orlando, FL. The amazing lesbian band “Halycon” was playing a set at this cute little dive music venue called “Kitty O’Shea’s Irish Pub” on the very last night. As the band began to play a gorgeous cover of “Closer To Fine” by the Indigo Girls, my heart skipped a beat.
“Girls!” I shouted to the fresh-out-of-the-lesbian-womb group of baby dykes I was hanging around that night. “Let’s go to the front! They’re playing ‘Closer To Fine.’ Yes! So Classic.” I rested my hand against my heart and sighed dramatically.
“What is ‘Closer To Fine?’ I’ve like, never heard this song before.” A curly-haired beach babe named Christie said, looking into the distance, aloof and bored. “Let’s go get shots!” She began to strut her long legs toward the bar. I grabbed her by her bubble-gum pink halter top.
“You. Don’t. Know. This. Song?” I whispered slowly into her ear, incredulous.
She drunkenly giggled. “No, Zara, I don’t.”
I wrangled the rest of the shrimpy 20-somethings I was with into a little semi-circle around me. “You guys know who the Indigo Girls are, right?” I asked them, raising my eyebrows, making direct eye contact with every single one of them.
I was met with a collective, heavy silence.
“Wait, so none of you little lesbians know who the INDIGO GIRLS ARE!?” My body shook in horror. My mouth hung agape in shock. My eyes darted to the left and to the right.
“Uh, no.” The leader of the pack Ellie, squeaked, pulling a Marlboro light out of her front pocket (a very dyke chic move if you ask me).
“What a disgrace! How can you call yourself a lesbian without knowing your lesbian musical roots? That’s just disrespectful! Ladies, come on. I’m going to teach you about the Indigo Girls right f*cking now.” I led the group to the front of the venue. I felt like I was leading a pack of wolves through a hunting range. “Consider this a history lesson,” I hissed.
“Now all of you close your eyes. And listen to this song. It’s a lesbian classic. It will change your life. It’s the song of a generation!” Suddenly I heard the sounds of seasoned lesbians like me, all wailing along to “Closer I Am To Fine,” passionately swaying their sunburned bodies in pure lesbian bliss. I stepped off my soapbox and decided to have my own moment with my favorite song ever. I closed my eyes and wailed along with my people.
“There’s more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fiiiineeeeee.”
By the time I opened my eyes I noticed the little dykes I had brought to the front of the stage were total Indigo Girls converts (it is in our genetic makeup as lesbians for us to be moved by acoustic music). “That was amazing! Thank you, Zara! It’s great having a ’90s lesbian around!” They squealed in delight.
That was the first moment I realized, I was a ’90s babe and always would be. I was the lip-ringed, riot grrrl who scrawled Ani Difranco lyrics onto her binders in high school. My first crush was Angelina Jolie. I was born with Doc Marten boots strapped to my feet. I have bad tattoos and love a womyn’s music festival more than anything in the world. Need I say f*cking more?
So were you a ’90s lesbian too? If you check off half of the signs on this list, then yes, babe, welcome to the club, girl! (And feel free to add to this list)!
1. “32 Flavors” by Ani Difranco was your “coming of age” anthem (because you are a “poster girl with no poster.”)
2. When you’re feeling insecure about your outfit (or just your personality, in general) you throw a flannel around your waist and you feel instantly better about yourself and your life.
4. You’ve been rocking the same pair of 8 eye Doc Marten boots since 1994, and you staunchly refuse to buy new ones. Because only a true ’90s lesbian knows that Doc Marten’s only get ~sexier~ with age.
5. If you haven’t shaved your head, you’ve contemplated shaving your head (or dated a girl with a shaved head at the very least).
7. No one looks better in corduroy overalls than you.
8. You used to thrash around your bedroom blasting Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl” after school.
9. You learned about lesbian sex by reading “On Our Backs” (erotic) magazine.
10. Michelle Tea’s memoir “Valencia” might as well have been your own damn memoir.
11. You’ve seen Ani Difranco in concert at least 2,000 times.
12. You lost your lesbian virginity at Lilith Fair.
13. Whenever you’re having a bad day you blast “Closer To Fine” by the Indigo Girl’s in your car (extra points if it’s some sort of truck), light up a cigarette (even though you’ve quit) and sing your heart out.
14. The word “dyke” definitely does not offend you.
15. That famous cover of Vanity Fair, where Cindy Crawford shaved K.d Lang is still framed in your bedroom.
16. You still argue with your friends about who Ani Difranco’s “Napolean” is really about. (You say, Suzanne Vega, she says Dar Williams).
17. You had the riot grrrl manifesto taped inside of your locker.
18. Even though you’re not at all musically inclined, you still had a stint in an all-girl band.
19. The only boys you dated back when you were still a closeted baby dyke wore black nail polish and had greasy hair longer than yours ever was.
20. You remember when Ellen and Anne Heche were the ultimate lesbian power couple.
21. You still have a hoop in your nose.
22. You still have your belly button pierced.
23. You may or may not have a lower back tattoo (even the dykes weren’t free from the “tramp stamp” epidemic).
24. You’ve definitely had an orgasm to Melissa Ferrick’s lesbian sex anthem “Drive.”
25. You remember when the East Village was actually dangerous.
26. In high school, your only key to the elusive dyke culture were lesbian-owned bookstores, which were rampant in towns like Northampton, San Francisco, and Provincetown.
27. You used your fake i.d to get into Meow Mix, The Clit Club and of course Limelight.
28. You had complicated, confusing feelings about Roseanne kissing Mariel Hemmingway on her show.
29. If you’re city lez, you definitely got your first dyke haircut at Astor Hair.
30. You still weep when Melissa Ethridge’s “Come To My Window” starts playing on the radio. (Brings up so many feelings!)
So babes, tell me all about your favorite lesbian moments in the gloriously lesbian ’90s?