Updated: Sep 1, 2021
The other day I noticed some very well manicured hands with short nails, I realised my gaydar had been slipping. She smiled in an whimsical way and looked at my hands Such importance. We use our hands for so much of our lesbian lives.
Of late, my hands have been a sorry pair with cuts and scratches, chipped nails from working with concrete, and stained from my art practice. Now I am soaking and massaging my hands to make them soft. When I came out and walked very nervously into the KG Club down on Beach Road the women were friendly and made me feel at home. There was this special comradeship I had not experienced since my high school hockey team. They were rough and ready days of lots of drinking, of angry scenes, and yet we looked after each other against the OTHERS. Things are better now but there are still difficulties out there. Today, some younger lesbians tell you of dangerous taxi drivers, and how people think every girl they say hullo to must be their girlfriend. So when we come home we have to look after ourselves. I look at these large gnarled hands and try to kept them soft I can see how brilliant they are. Such strength, such endurance, yet at the end of the day when we close our window to the world outside I know that my hands will know just how much touch my girlfriend will like. For many, many years I did not have a girlfriend so I practised on my self. What a pleasure that was; practice makes perfect. My intelligent hands will give my girlfriend exactly what she likes. Our hands are a valuable asset.
We do not often talk about sex. Often it is relegated to smutty jokes. My favourite is; the definition of a butch lesbian – she kick starts her vibrator and rolls her own tampons. A few jokes are fine but for every joke we need to have a conversation about sex. We do not talk about orgasm; the effects of certain medications, the effects of drugs, alcohol, and ill health on our ability to have an orgasm. If there was ever a good reason to get very fit and healthy it would be to enjoy good sex. It is no good waiting for good sex as we age it takes longer and much more effort. The sad thing is lesbians probably have less sex than other groups yet the homophobes think we have had or are about to have sex with every woman they see us with! The trouble is we would be exhausted! What they don’t realise is that what their husband does for ten minutes once a week is not the same as what we do less frequently for three hours. I remember the boss who after a few wines at the staff function sidled up to me and said – well what do you really do in bed. My response; I feel very sorry for your wife if you have to ask me that question.
Yes our hands hold many secrets they have movements and subtleties we cannot explain but we know the ecstasy they can bring.
Edited from a talk given at the West Auckland Women’s Centre in 1995.