"Ah, Paris! City of Love. City of Lights. City of…"
My girlfriend is flicking through a guidebook calling out things
to do in Paris. The thing is lesbian bars are not really my scene.
I'm really more of an "armchair lesbian". I enjoy the Candy Bar
from the comfort of my living room. The beer is cheaper and I stand
a far greater chance of being propositioned in my own home.
I think my early experiences left an indelible mark on my
psyche. I never felt that I belonged in lesbian bars. I'd sneak in,
sit at the bar, nurse a beer and then leave without ever making eye
contact. I was in and out - and out and in again - within minutes .
To make matters worse I was always mistaken for a straight girl.
Women gave me a wide berth as if I was a day-old prawn
I have flirted with lesbian bars since, but I've never found one
I really liked. My last foray into the lesbian scene
was a few years ago in New York. We must have examined every
lesbian joint in the Big Apple, and my diagnosis was
always bad. After two minutes I would declare it 'too empty'
or 'too scary', or I felt 'too young' or 'too old'.
I'm like Goldilez: always searching for the perfect lesbian
So, as in New York, we agree to try a few places out. I'm
suddenly excited about dipping my toe into the Parisian Sapphic
Scène. I picture chic women drinking red wine and discussing
Derrida, subdued lighting, a smoky atmosphere, and the seductive
sound of Edith Piaf.
After a nice dinner we find ourselves face-to-facade with the
first bar on our list. First impressions aren't good: there is a
woman in a buffalo stance blocking the doorway. The bar itself is
pitch black inside. The regulars are so accustomed to the dark that
they emerge and stand like pit ponies, while their eyes readjust to
I whisper "Too dark!" to my girlfriend, and we keep walking. The
next bar has to be better than this.
It's not better. The lighting in this bar is a retina-burning
bright pink, and Gaga is registering a 5 on the Richter scale. I
have to mouth, "Too bright AND too loud".
I can see that my girlfriend is running dangerously low on
patience as bar three comes into view. Luckily for me this one is
completely different. The ambience is refreshingly cool. The
women are diverse, relaxed and friendly. Culture Club is
playing in the background, but you can still hear the sound of
mojitos being mashed. The decor is funky, not pink. It's not too
bright, or too loud.
"Ahh this lesbian bar is 'just right'."