“What It Feels Like to be a Lesbian at a Straight Bar” by Sarah Cooper

June 30, 2015

For the entire month of June RESTLESS is celebrating Pride by featuring work exclusively by LGBTQ writers. Check out the “Pride2015” tag for more.

When a man at the bar says to you, “Maybe you should date a guy, you might like it!” you fire back, “Maybe you should date a guy, you might like it.” Of course he feels this to be an absurd idea. You feel vindicated by your suggestion but silently embarrassed that you have to vindicate anything at all. Still, you low-five yourself under the lip of the bar, turning the proverbial table on bigotry that masquerades as a pick up line. Maybe some small town will hear of this, ask you to come give a speech, give you a key to the city and maybe a ride in the Christmas parade, “Our Fearless Lesbian Leader.” But for now you are proud, gay proud. Then you think of all the other social problems that could almost be solved this way: the wage gap, un-neutered cats, seven-minute ab videos and twerking. You realize the true issue: We need to counter problems not with solutions but perspective. You apply this principle with the man who has become your bar project. “It’s a shame your body will go to waste,” he announces, smirking. The boil of your blood is not what he should fear, nor the speed of your right hook. You want to tell him that only pathetic women fall for that logic, weak women, women who desperately want to swim within the lanes of heteronormativity, women who yearn to perform the feminine gender without hesitation. But you don’t. Calmly, you speak. “You only want me because you know you cannot have me. I am the Mount Everest of women, a grand view from afar, yet when close insurmountable. This type of body requires special training to conquer. It was built to waste the bravest men.”


Sarah CooperSarah Cooper hails from Clemson, South Carolina, where she teaches literature at Clemson University. As a poet she seeks to traverse common landscapes in uncommon ways. She has recent publications in Shot Glass Journal and Night Owl.  Her passion is self improvement and when she’s not working out her issues in poems she’s working out her body as an owner and operator of a local CrossFit box.

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