It's no secret that lesbians are passionate about their events: WomenFest in Key West, Girls At Gay Days in Orlando, The Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs, L-Fest in England, a Sweet Travel resort stay or cruise, Pride Festivals all over the map. Any excuse to pack a dufflebag, a mid-sized SUV or a cooler. We plan our vacations by these annual events. When others at work are scrambling to get Christmas Eve off, we're marking huge red X's around March, September, June and July dates and offering to cover any shitty shifts to be sure we get the right days off. It's as natural as owning a cat, we don't think twice about it.
Being a big girl, being over 40, and having been going to these types of events for the last 20 years- the preparation and mind set is a bit different from that of a 23 year old lesbian who has 3 string bikinis, 1 bottle of Coppertone, 2 pair of flip flops, a pair of cut off jean shorts & a tooth brush in knapsack thrown into their Toyota Rav-4 with "WomenFest or Bust" shoe-polished on their back window as they race down I-95 heading south.
Yes, it's all about having fun, so I've put together a Survival Guide of Tips for the older lesbians who want to have a good time, and not throw out their backs, sprain an ankle, or vomit in front of a crowd.
These are in no particular order, nor are they geared to any one single event- like a bag of Chex Mix, all of it is good anywhere you go.
Watch as many work-out & fitness programs or DVD's as you can, so you get used to what you're going to see, and you can get comfortable eating & drinking in front of hot women. You'll develop some key "smooth operator" moves, like dumping potato crumbs off your lap just by standing up, or getting Pringles out of the can without getting your hand stuck, digging Cheetos out of your back teeth when no one is looking and wiping Dorito dust off your lips, by pretending that chick is so hot, she made you drool.
Invest in "gallon-sized" zip lock bags for your necessary meds: zocor, metformin, lipitor, Aleves, Tylenol, xanax, valium, ambien, paxil, welbutrin, excema topical ointment, allergy pills, baby wipes, Gaviscon, Tums, and inhalers.
If you haven't hit menopause yet and you're all about getting laid, a period can severely hinder your plan, so ask your straight girl friends about using their birth control pills about a month before so you can REALLY schedule that nasty visit from Mother Nature before or after the event. But just to be on the safe side, throw a few tampons in your gallon-sized "med" baggie.
You may be eating some regional foods that could have an adverse effect on your stomach & bowels, so get your ass in gear by having thai, mexican, curry, Taco Bell and KFC at least two weeks before your trip. Man up. Shits about to get real up in your bathroom, but it's all worth it when you can actually trust a fart, and you're not the one crapping your pants at the White Party after tacquitos, jalapeno poppers and tequila shooters from the Welcome Party "Happy Hour Fiesta".
Be sure that your duffel bag is big enough for your XXL clothes. It's a common mistake, thinking that you'll only be bringing board shorts & t-shirts, but seriously, you & I both know, once you add in boxers, cargo shorts, hair gel & products, sneakers or Crocs, baseball hats, and SPF-50 sun screen lotion, your bag will be busting at the seams. So, like everything in life, ever: Go big or go home.
Be sure that your bag is on wheels. Parking lots are big, airports are big, a hotel lobby can be big, so conserve your energy for the parties-don't waste it looking like a douchey high school jock with your 2-ton bag on your shoulder. Your red cheeks and huffing & puffing will give away how out of shape you are anyhow.
Be sure and take a look at a map or take a virtual tour of the grounds/and or the hotel you'll be staying at because if you're like me, you'll want to know how many stairs and steps or what kind of maze you have to endure to get from your room to the pool and venues. This will prepare you for any bitching ahead of time. It's a crap-shoot, really. I like a nice ground floor room once in a while, so I'm not heaving bags or coolers up & down stairs, but then again, there is nothing like a nice balcony, so you can point & stare and chick-watch high above the oblivious sun bathers.
Repeat this mantra in your head the whole way there: "I will not marry anyone, I will not marry anyone..."
ONCE YOU'VE ARRIVED:
Set up shop in your room. If you're sharing with a friend or if you've got a room to yourself- this is your kingdom we're talking about, so a few pointers:
Get the side of the bed or the actual bed that is closest to bathroom. (I don't think I need to list the fact that you get up to pee in the middle of the night more often at this age.)
Dominate the the important things immediately:
Towels & outlets. Get the big towels out of the bathroom first and put them on your bed and then plug in your cell phone ASAP. You've got ipads, possibly a laptop, and hair dryers or flat irons, that are going to need those plugs so establish your sockets early.
(Pro Tip: if you can, get your thin, short-haired friend to share the room, that's a winner- because they'll likely hook up any how, and if they don't- no hair dryers needed, they'll use the smaller towels, and they probably don't snore.)
Go get the lay of the land: do a lap around the grounds- see-who's there already, while you take in where are the ice machines, soda machines & vending machines are at around the premises. Make a mental note of the proximity to your room.
There is a very good chance you're going to see, hear, stand next to, and even smell an actual CELESBIAN. Relax and breathe. "Celesbian" is just a term used to separate a lesbian who's been in an internet web series from one who has not been in an internet web series. Remember, a celesbian puts their cargo shorts on one leg at a time, just like you. The only difference is yours are a size 18.
Don't get intimidated by the celesbians or even the headlining stand-up comedian. You know why? You look like an idiot. So, refresh them by not acting like a star struck puppy and keep in mind, about midway through that long winded story you're telling them without taking a breath, about the very first time you saw them, they've tuned you out 6 sentences ago and you can't tell because they have on sunglasses that cost more than pure-bred dog.
Get your Welcome Bag- these usually contain 25 or 30 club night promo cards, new lezzie dating web site info, a program with all the sponsors, tons of organizations that you will not likely want to join, a guide to all the parties & events within this event that you'll pull your hair out trying to schedule. You will also find handy things, like possibly a packet of lube, a can coozie, a pen, and a keychain with a flashlight tip or a beach ball. Don't act like you don't love a freebie. Everyone can see through that.
DO NOT establish your room as the "party-suite", otherwise, you'll get stuck sharing any booze, weed and possibly your shower with a ton of strangers you'll hate the next day. There is always a group that has their door open, music pumping, booze everywhere, and girls laying all over the room. No problem there- poke your head in, say hello, maybe have a drink. Just be thankful it's not your room.
Pace yourself at those all you can eat buffets, especially on the cruises. You've got all day & night to pound those shrimp, hit the frozen yogurt machine and stand in line for freshly made waffles.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER:
If you are on a cruise ship- your fat ass can't walk the length of that goddamn boat. Find a good bar halfway between the casino and a dance club that's also near a food place and you're all set. You'll see everything you need to see as chicks go by and you're still near the good stuff.
If you are at a festival, camp site, music event- almost the same rules apply: pick your spot near the main stage, within easy walking distance of bathrooms, food spots, and booze tents & vendors. Be sure you have a stadium, picnic, or sturdy fold-up seat. If your smart, your cooler will double as one.
If you are on a hotel compound, resort, etc- make friends with someone who rented a golf cart, scooter or electric buggy to get from spot to spot. Don't be afraid to ask hotel staff for rides.
Remember that the merchandise you buy at these events can run high. Yes, that adorable hoodie that will barely fit you costs $39 and the too-tight t-shirt is $25. Best bet: go with the $18 hat.
The music acts that get booked are usually great, but be prepared to hear them singing on over modulated microphones with a crackling amp. Unless you are at a music driven outdoor festival where you can cop a squat anywhere, you may just find yourself in crowded half a ballroom at a hotel, or a tiny funky venue off the original compound, and you've probably paid way too much money for a ticket to hear a normally sexy sounding band play from a sound system that's worse than what your brother's high school band jammed with back in 87.
Chances are, if you've been to the wild pool party all afternoon, drank out in the hot sun all day, and you think you're going to make it to the Movie-Night with a Celesbian Q&A - you had better plan on sleeping through dinner and eating the gas station bags of crap you brought for your hotel room because your ass is going to be way tired.
You'll learn this by Day 2 and plan accordingly. By this time, you will start saying things like "Damn, I can't party like I used to," or "Wow, I'm not 21 anymore," or "It's so loud in here!" or just "Fuck, I'm so tired!"
Have snacks handy. The days are usually long and hot, and you'll be drinking a lot. It's good to have a few pretzels, some nuts, a canister of Pringles, a pack of Ring Dings, or something in your cooler.
Keep in mind, this is not a time to worry about calories, bloating, or whether you should have dessert.
Leave this kind of shit to the younger girls who still over-think every morsel they may consume.
You need to understand something: You probably saved up $500-$1000 for this trip- this is your party and you'll eat if you want to.
Time is of the essence. You usually only have a Friday through a Sunday at these things, so you don't want to waste time on anything that doesn't appeal to you. There is no right or wrong when you're on lesbian holiday or vacation. It's all about YOU, so don't get bogged down with your friends wanting you to play tug-o-war, or some chick telling you that you should sing at karaoke later- only do the things you want to do.
For me, there is nothing more boring and unappealing than listening to some lesbian in a hemp t-shirt fret over if theres gluten in the pizza crust, or how the last time they ate meat a vital organ shut down, or how they gave up cheese, dairy & sugar and now survive on organic lavender tea & green smoothies made from the scrapings off the under carriage of a lawn mower. The truth is, these au natural types usually stink, have hairlier legs than my Dad, and their zen bullshit will lull you to sleep faster than that second ambien. I always start off thinking, "Wow, what an amazing lifestyle they lead..." and about 2 hours later, I'm perfectly fine with the size of my carbon footprint, the preservatives in my bottle of ranch dressing, and the bacon wrapped around my hot dog. So, I steer clear and look for the people I know I'm going to have a few laughs & relax with.
So, with this being said, be sure to find the groups that your most comfortable with.
Lesbians are cliquey fuckers. Take a look around upon your arrival to the pool area on Day 1 and really scout. Take it all in.
The barefoot vegans will gravitate to other barefoot vegans. These are the ones that can sit comfortably indian-style on the end of a chaise lounge deck chair without it collapsing. You probably saw them doing yoga at sunrise as you peeked out from hotel window black-out shade when you got up to pee.
Truck Stop Hotties- The tatted, pierced, trucker-hat wearing, spray-tanned, Jaiger-Bomb drinking girls that are always grinding on each other, while holding a red solo cup will find their similar kind and grind accordingly which can either look really hot, or remind you that you're dying to try the babyback ribs later at dinner.
The Celesbians- will shroud themselves with "their people"- (note: these people are not you) it's their West Hollywood friends, the few women who may have invested a couple bucks to their last project, the actual event promoters and the recruited gophers (the ones who "go get the car", "go get us more drinks" "go get me a black sharpie")
The Couples- usually travel in a tight little packs of 4, or 6. They have the eco-friendly perfect sized pool bags that carry their wireless technology, properly insulated thermos of natural spring water, plenty of small to medium sized towels, sun screen and they love to chat about work, their kids and their investments, but mainly work. They rarely wander outside their group. Don't try infiltrating it.
(Side note: From year to year, keep in mind- sometimes these couples look different because like Legos, they're interchangeable. Some may have new partners, and some just merely have swapped partners. Don't stare.)
The Rocker chicks- are the ones that act like they're not at all uncomfortable in jeans while standing in the 90 degree sun, wearing a cowgirl hat, and a leather vest, a belt buckle that says "RIDE 'EM HARD" and have on heavy, clunky black shoes that look like they could melt at any given moment.
Buy them a beer when you see one who has meandered away from their group, point them towards the smell of ripe leather. They'll find their way back. You'll see. It's heart warming.
Players- "Playas gon play!" - See the girl who's had her phone in her hand all day, head down, texting constantly? These are the girls that likely dumped the chick they were dating before the event, so they could attend it single and ready to mingle. Think of them as "Twat Hunters" when the sun goes down, but don't forget- they spend the days texting the ex to line-up a reconn hook-up mission for when they get back to town.
The Balcony Girls -are the ones that you only see sitting on their balcony, usually with a massive rainbow flag or towel hanging on their railing, with freshly blow-dried feathered-mullets who just want to be near their hair products, with cold Coronas from their hotel mini fridge, their cigarettes, sunglasses, the A/C on, and their sliding glass door wide open all day & night. You won't see these girls on the grounds much. They like their perch. P.S. The more they drink, the more likely the possibility of them dropping a cigarette butt into your Mai Tai, but hey, it's a party.
The "Real" Lesbian Reality "Stars"- these are the girls that either get paid or invited with free accommodations for them & their entourage- including hotel, even airfare, for the simple task of wandering around, drinking and taking photos with you, the idiot who's made their egos what they are today. These are the people that have probably blown the promoter's budget so other,more worthy & deserving people couldn't be at the event. This group is big, loud, smells like sun tan oil, a Victoria Secret store and coke. They have have great asses & ta-tas to look at but in the end, it's a huge waste of time to be around them unless of course, you're filming for MTV or Showtime or an indie doc or something.
Be aware of the MOOCHER. This is the girl who wanders around with small backpack, a half a bottle of Southern Comfort, tanked out of her mind, no affiliation with any group, but is on the look out for a place to crash for the night. Avoid. Abort. Escape. It's not worth it. It's like finding a kitty, all fun & games until you've brought it home and it claws your eyes out & ruins the good sofa.
The Fun Group- The still-wearing-a-spikey hair cut-with-gel, in XXL tight tank tops with a XXXL tank top over it, floral-printed board shorts from the big & tall shop that cover them down to their cankels, FILA single-strap flip-flop wearin', beer gutted, sweaty, loud lesbian group with the best-stocked coolers will be the ones in the shadiest spot on the grounds, possibly even bringing their own pop-up umbrella that connects to the cooler on wheels. These are the ones with the bright pink skin, the cheapest sunglasses, shouting requests for Melissa Etheridge to the hip-hop DJ, who ignores them all day. They only stick their sunburned feet in the pool. They'll share their Cheez-Its from home, they'll have a bottle opener if you need one, and at some point, in their cloak of drunken bravery, they'll hit on you. I will admit right now: this is best group right here. Welcoming, accepting, laughing, sweating, yet willing to share the shade. These are my people. The most non-threatening, easy to be around group. Trust that by the time you check out on Sunday afternoon, they will have "friended" you on Facebook, uploaded 196 photos already, tag you in all of them, and begin commenting on your every status update. Friends for life, man.
You are going to see all sizes, shapes, types, styles, lifestyles, and see some amazing things that you'll remember for the rest of your life, or.....maybe NOT. Perhaps you won't remember a thing after that last kamikaze shooter at the Tikki Bar with the blonde chick who could have had an Adam's apple.
People can make videos, write blogs, articles, and columns about the "Best Lesbian Vacations", but the fact is, you are going to be the one that decides what's best for you. So, experience whichever lesbian events interest you, throw away any plan, or expectation and dive in. These little tips are here to help you maximize your fun.
IN THE END:
You may or may not have gotten laid. You may or may not have met a potential girlfriend. You may or may not have gained a few pounds. You may or may not have left your favorite boxer shorts on the balcony of your room. You may or may not have maxxed out your credit card. You may or may not have learned something about observing the different cliques of lezzies in their vacation habitat. But, you will have smiled, laughed, and made a friend or two.
When you return the following year, even though you vowed not to because you blew your car payment on dollar bills for the Go-Go dancers, drinks for the sure-thing you chatted up all evening at the "80's Theme Party"who ended up vomiting on the way back to your room, and passed out on your side of the bed, yes- I said when you return the next year, that super-sweaty gang of sculpting-gel stereotypes with the best coolers ever will be yelling right to you when you appear on Day 1 by the pool, "HEYYYY!!!! LOOK WHO IT IS, HEYYYY, OVER HERE!! GRAB A BEER!"
And you will be happy to see them.