I am the definition of a rubbish lesbian.
When I say this what I really mean is an invisible lesbian, entirely undetectable to the rest of my fellow queers. I somehow donned this annoying invisibility cloak around the age of 18 when I got rid of my skate trainers, baggy jeans and hoodies and opted for some high heels and lipstick.
My newfound confidence in dressing as I wanted to dress had the inconvenient by-product of making me vanish into the wallpaper in queer spaces. I’ve been told that a club “didn’t do hen parties” when heading out with a group of fellow femme gays, I’ve been asked if I was lost on nights out, I even had a stand-up row with a nurse who insisted that even though I’d only slept with women there was a chance I might still be pregnant (back to Anatomy 101 for her!).
Annoying to say the least! So when I saw this title pop up in a sidebar on a particular website (see those ads are good for something!) I immediately wondered where it had been all my life…
This book is a compilation of Sarah Westwood’s ‘Rubbish Lesbian’ columns in Diva magazine with some exclusive new material (all together now: ooooo!). As someone who hasn’t read Diva in a while, it was all new material to me and I was intrigued!
Now to be honest, I was expecting a slightly more… well… finished article! The book was literally a collection of her columns – which don’t get me wrong, was exactly what it said on the tin! It was just that I had expected that the columns might have been reworked into slightly longer prose or perhaps even into a series of short-but-longer-than-columns articles…I expected slightly smoother transitions from story to story, but instead they felt as if they had been lifted directly from the pages of Diva and transplanted directly into this book, meaning that for me it was a rather jolty read. The columns are so short (on average two pages give or take) which gives a rather superficial introductory feel to all her writing not really getting to the heart of the issue, or resolving anything.
I think that this is particularly disappointing because the topics Westwood covers are interesting, familiar even. They feel like a conversation that I could have had with any of my friends, but with nothing much added by the fact I had to part with some of my hard-earned-cash for the privilege. From the lesbocism (a process of desexualising your lesbian life for the benefit of family, or particularly delicate friends) to negotiating the relationship with your girlfriend’s parents. From answering questions from idiots like “who’s the man”; to the embarrassment of first entering a sex shop (although I think her suggestion of ‘smash and grab’ has a one in a million probability of you leaving with something you actually want and instead you will inevitably leave with a penis extender or something equally unhelpful – either embrace the awkwardness, or shop online!).
For a fun, light laugh or a quick read when you’re not up for thinking, or feeling too much it’s great! But if you’re looking for something that might develop or challenge your thinking then this is not for you! Thank you Sarah Westwood for a quick distraction on a long plane ride!