There comes a time in every lesbian’s life: a time when you realize that everything you filled your ears with before wasn’t gay enough….the time when you discover Tegan and Sara.
If you grew up in the early 2000s, then you’ll surely remember AOL. When I wasn’t using AOL to sext random strangers on the internet and pen-pal with other closeted lesbians, I searched AOL music. Like any good baby dyke, I was a dark, brooding teenager that was ~too deep~ for pop music. One day, after I listened to a ridiculous amount of Regina Spektor, Jewel and The Sounds, Tegan and Sara popped up on my “recommended for you” section. And I was SHOOK.
I’m pretty sure it’s in our lesbian DNA to like Tegan and Sara. The first song I listened to was I know I know I know. And I was hooked. I just knew they were gay. I frantically googled them, hungry to see their shining gay faces and YES! They were the queerest looking people ever. I became obsessed. I watched the video to Call It Off over and over, my young gay heart fluttering every time Tegan’s mouth would twitch—do you know what I’m talking about? You should because it is so. fucking. sexy.
If I didn’t know I was gay before that (I did), I was sure as hell now. After that, I discovered their song nineteen. It was biting. It was devastating. It was a little sentimental and sort of white girl indie cliché —in other words, it was PERFECT.
Even better than Tegan and Sara’s queer looks and amazing musical talent, was that they talked about being queer. It was revolutionary back in 2004 for a woman in music to unabashedly speak about her queerness. Hell, it still is today! And they were out there doing it. I remember watching one of their live performances and they stopped to chat with the audience. “My ex-girlfriend,” Tegan started a story, and I lost my shit. It’s gonna be okay, I thought.
Then the most exciting moment of my teenage life happened. Tegan and Sara were opening for Paramore at Jones Beach (one of Long Island’s most famous venues). I didn’t even have to con my straight friends into coming with me because all of my high school was obsessed with Paramore. You know certain times when you can remember how much you were feeling yourself? I had just begged my mom to get me 22-inch SoCap extensions. I had a fresh spray tan. I wore a black tank top and American Eagle Jeans. I was READY for this concert. For a Long Island 16-year-old standards, I looked fly as hell.
When my friend and I arrived, the venue was empty save for a group of rambunctious lesbians. They were tattooed and wearing skinny jeans, beers in hand. Dancing and laughing and singing along with Tegan and Sara, I was mesmerized by this group of women. My friend humored me and we stood on our seats, dancing together, even though she had no idea who Tegan and Sara were. I kept stealing looks at the lesbians. They just seemed so happy, so free. So gay! Let us never forget that first moment when we saw queer people owning themselves IRL, because that shit is sacred.
There’s a reason Tegan and Sara are such staples of queer culture. Because not only are they sexy and experts at rocking asymmetrical haircuts, they so accurately capture the pain and the beauty of our lives. It sounds cheesy but its true. They tap into our shared experience in a real way. Just this morning I listened to Tiesto’s remix of Feel It In My Bones and I thought, damn, first of all, this remix is a banger and second of all, I am so happy to be gay. Then I thought of Tegan’s mouth twitch and blushed.