Let me confess: When I first watched the trailer for The L Word: Generation Q, I was overcome with a relentless suspicion that I wouldn’t take kindly to the character of Finley.
See, I (stupidly) assumed that because Finley is sexy and swaggy, the powers that be were going to try and make Finley a young Shane. And I’m protective of my Shane. I’ve lusted after her for over a decade, and now that she’s 40 and rich, my acute attraction toward Shane has swelled to new heights. And my libido just can’t handle another swagtastic Shane character tossed into the Sapphic pop culture mix.
But much to my delight, Finley (or rather my Finley) is nothing like Shane, aside from the fact that they both tend to self-medicate with booze and have an irrepressible attraction to dark-haired femmes (two very common tendencies in the lesbian community).
Unlike slick-dick Shane, Finley is messy. She’s an adorable puppy dog, tripping over her too-big paws, staring up at the grown-ups with giant eyes, longing to be pet.
She has a job far more relatable than being a hair guru: She’s a PA, running around making sure Alice (whom she rightfully worships) has her coffee hand-delivered to her before she goes on live TV. Also, Finley’s heart hasn’t frozen yet. Her heart is big and warm.
If one were to look up baby dyke in the dictionary, Finley’s image would appear. I mean, she wears cut-off shorts to work and has a modern Justin Beiber haircut and rides a bike and lives in those flowery Tommy Bahama-esque “fun dad” button-downs with short sleeves that every dyke in LA (under the age of 30) seems to live in.
Finley is me.
She’s nuanced. She’s a real person who has to stop herself from leaping on the stage and hugging Megan Rapinoe when she’s a guest on Alice’s show. And seriously? Who the hell can’t relate to that? If Megan Rapinoe was within a two hundred foot radius of me, I’d probably burst into tears because, I, like my girl Finley, would be so incredibly overwhelmed and shocked that little ol’ me was in the presence of a true gay icon.
Finley isn’t cynical or hardened up like so many of the “cool kids” these days; she’s teeming with emotion and excitement at all times. She’s a breath of fresh air in this aloof culture.
The moment I *truly* knew that Finley and I were destined to be the very best of friends was when she was standing in Sophie and Dani’s kitchen, and Sophie asked her how she felt about the hot priest she’s dating. Finley simply points to her stomach and says she “feels swirly” in the gut. Which is exactly how love feels! It’s this visceral fluttering in the belly that’s equal parts intoxicating and equal parts terrifying. And the beautiful part of that moment is that you can intrinsically tell that Finley has never experienced the feeling of love before. And while it’s making her feel alive, it’s scaring the living shit out of her. And to me, that’s the sign of a good person. A person who is vulnerable in the face of newfound love is a person with a gorgeously open heart. The open-hearted are increasingly rare, and while they get knocked down and stepped on a lot, they’re actual angels who will always help you when you’re in need.
And let us not forget about the time Finley gets hammered at Shane’s 40th birthday party due to the ~open bar~ situation. One of the greatest life lessons I garnered from my 20s was the dangers of the Open Bar™ — especially when you’re broke as hell and used to slugging back shitty well liquor out of a plastic bottle, and you suddenly find yourself at a glamorous party in Los Angeles filled to the brim with free cocktails with top-shelf vodka.
I’ve blacked out and made a wild ass-hat out of myself MANY times when confronted with an Open Bar™. And then when she decides it’s a good idea to go to the hot priest’s house after drinking like she’s going to the electric chair? I felt my entire body cringe. I screamed “GIRL, DON’T DO IT! YOU’RE HAMMERED, AND YOU’RE GOING TO DO SOME STUPID SHIT” right at the TV! I was flooded with the embarrassing memory of showing up at an older, very-together, woman’s apartment I had only recently started dating after a raucous Sunday Funday. My cheeks got hot as I suddenly remembered slurring “I lovvee youuu” to the woman I had been on *maybe* three dates with. I hope she doesn’t do something like that, I thought as I shuddered to myself.
And then she does it.
Not only does she tell the girl she’s gone out with maybe three times that she loves her, she tells her she’s not a legit priest. She basically undermines the hot priest’s entire career whilst blackout drunk and is completely dumbfounded that the hot priest is offended because she had only good intentions — she’s just young, traumatized by her Catholic past, clueless and shitfaced. Who hasn’t been there? Who hasn’t said the wrong thing at the wrong time to someone they’re bursting with raw emotion for? I bet even Oprah’s made a drunken fool out of herself in front of a crush. Only sociopaths come out of the womb knowing how to play the game.
Because Finley is harboring so much pain from her childhood and feels completely unrooted (her family didn’t even tell her that her sister is engaged, which is savage and will make anyone feel like they don’t have a family, and when you feel like you don’t have a family you feel like you’re floating into the thin air because there is nothing grounding you into the earth) and rejected by the first girl she’s ever felt anything for, she takes to knocking back the booze.
She takes to finding solace in the bottle.
And while that’s not a healthy coping mechanism by any means, it is one of the most realistic plights I’ve ever seen depicted on “The L Word” ever. Our community struggles with addiction and self-medicating statistically far more than our straight cohorts. And that’s because we’re hurting, babe.
We’re all little mother less Finleys searching, searching, searching to feel connected because we feel so disconnected from our homes. Us humans, we’re pack animals. And when we don’t have pack to run through the wild with, we feel such a deep, devastating loneliness, a gaping void in the soul that we long to fill. And the booze and the drugs sometimes (temporarily) fill the void by providing us with a falsified sense of belonging and connection.
I don’t know if Finley is an addict or just a girl in her 20s figuring her life out, but regardless, her being honest about never having had “sober sex” and watching her candidly choose to drink the demons away sheds such an important goddamn LIGHT on the behavioral patterns of the LGBTQ+ community.
I’m excited to see what happens to Finley. I’m rooting for Finley. As of now, she isn’t seeking fame or power or any Hollywood bullshit. She’s just trying to live her one and only life. She’s figuring it out as she goes along. She’s tripping and falling along the way, but I know in the deepest pit of my gut Finley will come out on top. She’s a late bloomer. Actually, that’s something she does have in common with Shane. And look at Shane now: She’s a multi-millionaire with a hair empire. Because sometimes it’s the messiest paths that lead to the most magical destinations.