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Illustration by Jeremy Russell

Gender Is the Night

Of dotcom dorks and lesbotic fantasy

By Annalee Newitz

I DEVISED A NEW FORM of torture for this lovely, fresh-off-the-prairies dotcom boy whom I've been dating. Lisa and I were meeting the fabulously gender-blended Sara for a drink at San Francisco's only lesbian bar, and I told the aforementioned dotcom boy to meet us there. Don't worry--I wasn't being politically incorrect by bringing him into "women's space." This isn't the kind of bar where women are intimidated by a male presence. A few boys are allowed in, as long as they understand that most of the grrls in the room can kick their collective asses.

Anyway, back to the torture. Let me confess up-front that the torture thing was somewhat unintentional. When I told dotcom boy to meet us, I forgot to reveal the bar's orientation, and I imagined subsequently that this state of affairs might lead to a few tormentingly awkward social moments. But instead of wanting to spare dotcom boy any confusion, my first thought was: Oooh, yum--innocent techno-geek cowed by the lesbotic brigade! It sounded like the plot from one of those Japanese animated porn videos I rent all the time for reasons that have everything to do with their social and artistic merit. I couldn't wait to see how dotcom boy would react to the bar. Blowing up the brains of dotcom boys is so exciting!

But, of course, I should have known better--there would be no shocking cultural indoctrinations for our hapless software engineer that evening. Technology had already brought both dotcommies and boys into the land of queer grrls. Dotcom boy was waiting for us outside the bar, where he was one among several butch humans of unidentifiable genders on cell phones. And he wasn't the only one who was talking about de-bugging code, either.

As we sipped our lemondrops, Sara regaled us with tales of testosterone shots and a shopping trip taken that day to find a tie that matched his hair. Dotcom boy didn't actually notice that we were in a lesbian bar until Sara, Lisa and I began to cruise for cute girls. I was beginning to fear that the evening would end in anticlimax.

But that was when we saw the business card. It had been left on our table like debris from a flirtation gone sour. A woman's name hovered next to one of those improbably ridiculous dotcom corporate names: DigiScents. (A quickie web search reveals further absurdity: DigiScents makes "iSmell digital scent technology" and "Snortal--the first scent-enabled Web portal.") And the card actually had a smell. We sniffed it over and over--drawing some weird stares from the gals at the pool table--and finally decided that it smelled fruity. It was the perfect capper for an evening spent in a land where the queer underground meets the digital elite.

Weirdness has a way of self-multiplying, and it wasn't long before I was indulging in the ultimate digital grrl gutter activity: visiting www.americancheerleader.com. I've always fetishized cheerleaders, ever since my freshman year in high school. Lucky for me and all you other lesbotic pervs out there, we've got our own special teen porn site at American Cheerleader, a web version of the eponymous magazine. Packed with "useful" makeup tips and breathless prose about the way cheerleading is a way for "women to support women and learn to work together as a team," this website clearly won't sell itself on the basis of its articles alone. Nope, it's all about those hot pictures of the cheerleader of the month in a tight, low-cut top and itsy-bitsy skirt. And then there are the torturously alluring pictures of celebrities who used to cheer. Who wouldn't want to see the mom from the smarmy right-wing TV series 7th Heaven in her 1960s cheer outfit? Oh, yeah. Without technology, where would our sex lives be right now?

Annalee Newitz is a surly media nerd who wishes to apologize to Jesse for everything in this column except the part about cheerleaders. She can be reached at [email protected].

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From the November 16-22, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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