If you don't have any lesbian friends, you'd better find some fast, because they're this season's hottest accessory! At least, that's what Britain's Sunday Times claims in a breathtakingly inept article that ran yesterday.
Stephanie Theobald starts:
Everyone loves a lesbian these days, according to Claire Balding. The BBC's hearty horse racing presenter says her popularity has shot up since she came out. Women love her and her girl-friend coming round to dinner because they're not going to "nick their husbands", and men love lesbians because, well, you can talk to them about Spurs. And anyway, who cares about sexuality any more?
Well The Times, apparently. After reading this article, we realized we haven't been paying enough attention to our friends' sexual orientation. Sometimes we get so caught up in treating our lesbian pals like actual people, that we forget to appreciate that they're just about the only ladies who aren't trying to seduce our boyfriends.
Among straight British couples, lesbians are said to be more popular than ever, particularly among the middle class. In fact, straight people are so comfortable with homosexuality that they'll often refer to gay friends with endearing terms like "lesbo":
"The majority of my friends are straight," says Emma Reynolds, 32, who set up Tsuru organic sushi restaurants, in London, "and my sexuality is rarely mentioned. Although sometimes, when I'm going to a dinner, friends will say, ‘Sarah's coming, Scott's coming... and the two lesbos are coming.'" The other "lesbo" is Clare Eastburn, 34, a banker, Reynolds's partner of two years. "I think it's because they don't know many lesbians," Reynolds says. "It's their way of normalising the situation for everybody."
Though, not everyone is so hip. 54-year-old Andy Ashton, who works in publishing, complains to the Times that when one of his co-workers came out in an office-wide email, everyone was just embarrassed. He adds, "with lesbians, there is still the classic reaction of curiosity, then a twinge of disappointment at their unavailability." Finding out a female co-worker isn't interested must be a pretty big shock to Ashton, because he sounds pretty irresistible!
If you're looking to jump on the bandwagon, the Times has a servicey guide titled "How To Spot A Lesbian." Here's a sample, but if you can get behind the Times paywall, you should really read the whole thing. Try to collect all seven!
Find them: On the decks at a fashion party, or falling out of the Box after pulling an A-lister.
Signature look: Justin Bieber fringe, American Apparel T-shirt, low-slung Carhartt jeans, wallet chain and Louis Vuitton high-tops by Kanye West.
Make friends with them: With some straight-up tonsil tennis.
Find them: On the front row, or hovering around Helmut Lang in Selfridges.
Signature look: A fierce bob, Céline blazer, bodycon dress, killer shoes and the latest It bag (currently pushing a stripy Prada clutch).
Make friends with them: Working out with Tracy Anderson (in Adidas by Stella McCartney).
Find them: At their kids' parent evening.
Signature look: Channelling pin-up Ellen DeGeneres, in slacks and boyfriend blazer (sleeves rolled up, all the better for flashing that new tattoo).
Make friends with them: On an Ottolenghi cookery course - since their ex left, they've embraced lentil quiche.
Unfortunately, this fad is not without its dangers. For instance, some guy says this one lesbian he knows is a total bitch!
Ian Pearson, a 38-year-old civil servant, says he finds lesbians "very self-centred". This is from personal experience, since his wife's sister is a 47-year-old gay woman. "I think it's her lack of children that makes her so unbelievably selfish. She and her friends still live like students, getting up late, nipping out to the pub for last orders, taking random days off work and then having to work frantically all night or at weekends to catch up."
It's clear from this fine work of journalism that the Times has learned at thing or two about lesbians since it was forced to apologize to the aforementioned Clare Balding after a TV critic called her a "dyke on a bike" last year. Well, some might say the feature on the popularity of the "hearty horse racing presenter" and her ilk is actually kind of insulting, but certainly the Times couldn't be that petty and moronic.
Guess Who's Coming To Dinner [Sunday Times]
Clare Balding Complaint Over AA Gill Column Upheld [The Guardian]