As an over-the-hill, overweight, looking for love and not finding it lesbian, the next best thing to do is to discover romance, adventure, drama and lust from the lives of lesbians who have it all, real or fictional. I called my friend Philomena and asked her to meet me for a drink to discuss existential issues of the over 30 lesbian. I had her at the word ‘drink’.
Philomena is that rare breed of woman who knows nothing about anything but is willing to expound her views on everything with great gusto. No…I mean it. She is very, very loud, and permanently happy and joyful about being alive and Mallu. Most times I just want to sock her but resist the urge because she would just sock me right back. I said Mallu…not idiot!
We agreed to meet at a pub in Bandra because the only music I could bear to listen to at this point was classic rock and this particular pub had not changed its music since the 1970s’. Philomena was already there spreading herself on a chair, and her bag and other items all across the table. She reminded me of my grandmother getting ready for bed, a strangely hip grandmother, but I digress. I flopped on to the chair opposite her and sighed loudly. My portrayal of anguish was completely wasted on her as she continued to arrange her items on the table as lovingly as a serial killer spreading his instruments of torture. I glanced at the items briefly. I thought I saw a toy mouse peeking amidst all her other stuff, but after years of long acquaintance and training on all things Philomenal, I signalled to the waiter instead.
The waiter ambled over and did a quick double take at the goodies on the table, and recovered splendidly by inquiring, “Ladies…what can I get you to drink?”
“Beer”, we both muttered together.
“Of course it is”, said our waiter brightly and stalked off to look at some other customers disapprovingly.
I was just about to get started on my long tirade against waiters who look at women knowingly when they order beer, and instantly peg them as queer women because they have not ordered some colourful expensive beverage with an umbrella, when Philomena finally stopped fiddling around with her things, looked up at me and gave a long “Zoooooo..whatz happening with you?”
“Seriously? Ten years out of Kerala and you still can’t say ‘ES’”, I inquired?
“I juzt did! Ez, Ez, Ez, Ez, Ez! Zee?”
I gave up! There were more important things on my mind. “Listen…,” I started.
“I zaw a French movie onze.”
Huh? Where did that come from? That was the quickest change in topic I had ever been part of.
“Well…that’s great. I’m sure that the French are grateful for your interest”, I said slowly, not sure where she was going with this.
“They zay zee and oui all the time. And everyone thinks it’z cute”, growled Philomena.
“Aaahhh. Oookayyy. Understood. You’re cute too. Now can we get back to my existential crisis?”
I got a semi-interested nod from her and that’s all it takes these days to launch an anguished monologue from me on various topics. “The thing is…,” I started.
“Oooooh. Beer!” said my semi-interested listener.
I stopped. The waiter managed to somehow even place our drinks on the table in a disdainful manner.
I watched Philomena gulp half her pint before I got the courage to start again.
“I feel old, fat and unlovable. I stay up nights wondering about the meaning of life, or at least the meaning of my life, and I am unable to find any meaning to it. And I am tired of pondering the word ‘meaning’, and using it in every other sentence. I am bored and I need to find something interesting and purposeful in my life soon before I get really depressed about it”, I whined in a rush, just in case we got interrupted again.
I watched Philomena gulp more beer for a few minutes and then finally, “Iz that what exizt..whatever meanz?”
Well…at least she had expressed interest.
“Yes! I need to find a hobby. And quickly too.”
“Don’t you already have a hobby? Whining could be conzidered a hobby”, she said and burst into raucous laughter at this surprising display of her not-so-funny sense of humour.
“Yeah..Ha Ha. Hilarious!” I said, glowering at her.
“Okay…go on. But we need a lot more beer if I am going to explore the meaning of life with you”, said Philomena as she wiped tears of mirth from her face.
I waited for absolute silence and then announced grandly, “I am going to start a column on all things lesbian. Movies, books, lifestyle, food, parties, coming out…everything!”
My one woman audience was not impressed at the thought of my forthcoming exciting and highly witty look at lesbian life.
“You have lezbian food? What’z that? Fazt food?” she enquired.
“No…that would be food for our gay brothers.” My sparkling wit never ceases to amaze me. But Philomena looked more puzzled and less amazed.
“Hoookay”, she drawled, “Iz thiz going to be like the L Word or zomething?”
“NO! That’s a TV show about rich lesbians with strange taste in clothes when they actually bother to wear any. I am going to write thought provoking articles on various issues that lesbians grapple with everyday.”
“Oh. I get it. Just like ‘Zex in the Zity’” said Philomena looking very pleased at her extensive knowledge of bad American television shows.
“No, No. That’s a TV show about straight women with bad taste in clothes. Listen…why don’t I just write my first column and send it to you. Then you will understand what it’s about, and we can have a discussion after that about the content.”
Philomena agreed quickly and I thought she was finally on board and excited about our forthcoming long intense discussions when I saw her surreptitiously glancing around for our waiter to order another round of beer.
While it might take her some time and lots of alcohol to look forward to my column, I can’t wait to begin writing it, if only to avoid taking a long look at my miserable life. After all, misery loves company!