Dating A "Hasbian": All Fun And Games Until Somebody Gets "Converted"

The magazine that brought you "Hot Jewish Girls" is back with another stereotypical portrait of a type of woman dudes can date: the hasbian.

From the horrible accompanying art (what does a woman sucking a banana even have to do with lesbianism?) to the word "hasbian" itself, there's a lot to hate in Ian Daly's piece for Details. Take his analysis of Anne Heche's current relationship:

Anne Heche's rugged-looking new beau, Tupper? He enjoys bird-watching. After high school, he lived on a coffee farm in East Africa where he studied Swahili, and he has since appeared in several Off Broadway plays-not the resume of a dude who opens MGD with his molars and whacks off to Coochie Hoochies 2. It is hardly a stretch, then, to suggest that the reason modern men are more ably attracting hasbians is that modern men are, quite simply, offering these women something close to what they had before.

Alert the fundies: the cure for modern lesbianism is the girly-man! Thou shalt know him by his binoculars. But "The Lure of Dating an Ex-Lesbian" also makes you think, kind of. Daly writes,

A woman who began her sexual exploration in the lesbian-leaning nineties would be in her thirties now. Is it unreasonable to suggest her biological clock could also affect her sexual proclivities?

"It's impossible for women reaching their child-rearing years not to be aware of that at some level, and to have that influence who they're with," says Dr. Lisa M. Diamond, an associate professor of psychology and gender studies at the University of Utah and the author of Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire. "I've seen bisexual women who say they could go either way, but as they get older, that structures how they want to be and who they want as a partner."

If it's true that bisexual women are disproportionately choosing to settle down with men in order to have children (and Daly doesn't have any actual data backing this up), this is kind of upsetting. In a country where many children live in foster or group homes, it's a shame that laws in a few states still make it hard for gay couples to adopt. And the fact that men still make more than women for the same work may make raising kids (and paying for artificial insemination, surrogacy, or adoption services) a financial impossibility for some lesbian couples. It would be disturbing but perhaps not surprising if these forms of discrimination subtly influenced women's life choices — but of course, Daly doesn't examine these influences at all. He prefers forms of analysis that include the word "dildo." To whit:

Benji Friehling, 26, a restaurateur in upstate New York, had another concern when he started dating his fiancee, who had been in a 12-year relationship with a woman and identified fully as lesbian: Could he possibly navigate the female anatomy as skillfully as a woman? Those concerns weren't limited to the usual matters of clitoral mastery and G-spot triangulation. "I worried that perhaps I was a bit inadequate," says Friehling, "that my penis wasn't as big as her dildo."

This anecdote isn't especially revealing on its own, but it does speak to a performance view of sex that's all too common in both men's magazines and ladymags. The idea that sex is all about skill, and that what's important is being better (or at least bigger) than a woman's previous partners is annoying because it makes female sexual pleasure about male ego. But it's also bad for men, who might have less performance anxiety if their magazines emphasized that sex is about two (or more!) people and the way their desires, tastes, kinks, and idiosyncrasies fit together — not whether one person is "good at it." Still, all such lofty meditations pretty much come crashing down when Daly gets to his concluding passage:

Just look at Tom Cole, a pastoral-care director at International House of Prayer in Kansas City. Without a healthy exploration of his feminine side, he probably wouldn't have met his wife, Donna-who like Tom identifies as a "former homosexual." Before the two met years ago at church meetings for born-again Christians, Donna was in a lesbian rugby league. "They didn't even wear pads or anything," Cole recalls. "She had a tattoo and she drove a motorcycle." Since then, Cole notes, Donna has "softened up," and he's learned that the right woman can get him "extremely aroused." But a few aspects of their former selves never changed. "She doesn't love to cook, that's for sure," says Cole. "But I do, so it works out really well."

Did Daly just use an "ex-gay" couple, from the tradition that produced people like Uganda anti-gay inspiration Richard Cohen, as the capstone to a light-hearted little piece about boys who like girls who also like girls? Yes, yes he did. And by conflating a maybe-mildly-interesting sociological quasi-phenomenon with something really dangerous and scary (that is: "converting" gay people), he turns his essay from a somewhat annoying trend piece into what we've come to expect from Details: a total headdesker.

The Lure Of Dating An Ex-Lesbian [Details]