May the goddess strike me down - I'm an L Word junkie. I can't get enough of Showtime's prime-time lesbian soap.
I'm pretty sure my girlfriend and I, who have been following lesbian pop culture's excruciatingly slow crawl for 20 years now, typify the lesbo response to the new suds fest. We settled right in when CHCH ran one episode every weeknight at 10 pm for two weeks. I know they aired it as a blitz to suck us right in.
After the first episode we were complaining about everything: all the women in the show look straight, the copious sex scenes are obviously tailor-made for guy viewers, there's no respect or appreciation for the butch aesthetic. Ick, we agreed.
The next night, when I returned late from work, I called out, "Hi, honey, whatcha doin'?"
"Watching The L Word."
"I'll be right there," I said, careening down the stairs to join her.
I tell you, it's like picking a scab. You can't stop. Even the scenario featuring a couple trying to make a baby by getting into a pukeworthy threesome couldn't stop us noble pioneering lesbian mothers from tuning in.
Just the other day, I was in deep dialogue with a NOW colleague - herself a groundbreaker in the study of lesbian representation - about the latest sop to TV-watching lesbians.
We were breathlessly blabbing about the characters, who's doing what to whom, who should hook up with whom and, of course, which of the stars is the hottest. Me, I'm warming to the tennis player; café owner Marina's too mean. And everyone's into Shane, so I'm not falling for her.
As we carried on, another of our associates gave us the you've-got-to-be-kidding look, and I explained with deep frustration, "The fact that two smart women are engaging in this discussion at such length is an indication of the decrepit state of lesbian visibility in pop culture."
If there were more of us, more often, on more stations, we wouldn't be obsessing out on a television show about shallow Los Angeles dykes.
Then again, maybe we would. Our 16-year-old daughter put it into perspective. Our loserly passion for this latest in dyke diversions, she says, does not reflect the state of lesbian culture. Rather, it's testimony to the seductiveness of soap operas.
In other words, The L Word is the lesbian O.C. That's last season's sensationally popular teen prime-time soap, which features high school kids in Orange Country, California, going through their sex and drug issues, aided and abetted by their endearing yuppie parents. And just as with The L Word, there's a soundtrack CD for piggy-back purposes.
She's right. I remember watching a few episodes of the O.C. with her. "Who thinks high school teens really look like that?" I asked in major mock mode, eying the impossibly beautiful, fabulously dressed, hopelessly fucked-up young adults.
She just rolled her eyes.
Then, last month, she caught us watching The L Word and, before she realized what she was saying, she shook her head in disgust, asking, "Who thinks lesbians really look like that?"
I gave her my what-can-you-do shrug and rolled my eyes right back.