Jan tasted of Drambuie and smelled of Charlie perfume. But on this occasion I had been persuaded to branch out and try to meet a nice girl to kiss under the mistletoe. All I needed to complete my life was a bit of romance. Maybe because it was Christmas, even the few straight men in the club looked gay. Along we trolled to the Casablanca, passing Christmas party outings, carol singers, and groups of young men in shirt sleeves, despite the freezing weather.
Prior to that, I had been out only in Middlesbrough, where there was a small club that, once a week, admitted lesbians and gay men. I was already a member of the north-east branch of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality CHE , and had been trying to meet feminist activists which I finally managed the following year. I could barely breathe with the excitement of being in love. Jan told me she had Advocaat at hers and that she would make me a snowball and feed me mince pies, which she did. It was perfectly understandable that the young women I met through Gay Times were scared and short on confidence. It was so different from a crush, I thought. This is difficult, I discovered, when shaking from head to toe, and unable to speak. We had them for breakfast. Jan and I lasted only a couple of months, but Christmas will always remind me of falling in love that very first time. Maybe because it was Christmas, even the few straight men in the club looked gay. My efforts at dating in the year I had been out as a lesbian had been somewhat unsuccessful. Spirits were high as the lesbians and gays danced and chatted, drowning out the dread of a closeted Christmas Day, during which relatives would ask the inevitable: Jan asked me to stay with her that night, and I pretended to be nonchalant. Along we trolled to the Casablanca, passing Christmas party outings, carol singers, and groups of young men in shirt sleeves, despite the freezing weather. All I needed to complete my life was a bit of romance. I am not a huge fan of Christmas, but every year, as soon as the seasonal songs and snowballs come out I am reminded of my coming of lesbian age. I remember the smell of poppers as the boys prepared themselves to go on clubbing elsewhere into the early hours. Meeting David in the salon meant I could have fun, as well as look for political activists. Jan was training to be a nurse, and had recently split up with her girlfriend. It was not easy to be out and proud in the s. I was only 16, too young to buy alcohol, so my friend David, camp as a row of tents in his bell-bottom Brutus jeans and tight cheesecloth T-shirt, and with tinsel around his neck, pushed his way to the bar to order two pints of lager and blackcurrant. Sixteen-year-old me was captivated by the sophistication of this year-old, educated, utterly glorious-looking lesbian who oozed confidence and smoked French fags through a holder. Jan tasted of Drambuie and smelled of Charlie perfume. I fell immediately and heavily in love. Share via Email Julie Bindel aged Crushes are for girls; I am now a proper woman and a bona fide lesbian.
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