Tales from the Lesloom: The Birth of the Lesbian Futon

I recently became the guardian of a sacred piece of furniture–the lesbian futon. This is a futon that is about as old as I am, and in it’s lifetime, it has only been in the keeping of lesbian or bisexual women. As part of the responsibility as its new guardian, I am entrusted with its safekeeping and of ensuring that it gets passed on to a lesbian or bisexual woman when I can no longer care for it.

Right now, it sits in my living room in a place of honor. I feel that this futon has many stories to tell, and I’ve decided I should record the adventures it whispers to me. Since my friends are as dorky as I am (I love you all!) and have been waiting eagerly for the thrilling tales of this honorable heirloom, or “lesloom” as it was christened, I’ve decided to add a subcategory to my blog that will allow them and anyone else interested in the life an inanimate object might have to follow along. This is the tale of the futon’s birth, as whispered to me in a dream 😉

Once upon a time, there was an old man who worked at a furniture factory. He had a single child—a daughter, and she was his pride and joy. He and his wife raised their little girl with as much love as a child could desire.

She grew up into a beautiful woman and went off to college, the first in her family. The old factory worker was so proud. He would brag about her every chance he got, even telling of his pride to the furniture for which he assembled parts if there was no one else to listen. He liked to think that expressing his deep love for her to the wooden parts that came through left a lifelong impression of love on them as they went out into the world.

A year passed, and it was time for the treasured daughter to come home for the summer.

And how her family prepared! Her mother bought all her favorite foods. Her father bought her flowers and took off a few days from work to be with her. Nothing was spared for her homecoming.

But when the daughter came, she wasn’t alone.

After her hand-me-down car had come to a stop outside the modest house of this happy family, a young woman got out of the passenger seat.

The parents didn’t have time to speculate before their daughter jumped out as well, running towards them. “Mom! Dad!”

They embraced in tearful ecstasy.

“I’ve missed you so much!” she cried.

“You’ve no idea how much we’ve missed you!” her father replied, feeling as if his heart might explode in sheer happiness.

After a long while of hugging, during which the new girl stood off to the side, forgotten but watching, the daughter finally pulled away.

“I’ve got someone to introduce you to,” she said, motioning her companion forward. “This is Nicole, my girlfriend.”

Had she left it at that, her parents probably would have missed her true meaning and welcomed Nicole as a dear friend.

But the daughter was so sure in her parents’ love for her, it never occurred to her to hold anything back. With absolute confidence that her joy would be shared, she took Nicole’s hand and said, “I love her—so much.”

Nicole, a bit wiser than her dear love, smiled hesitantly and offered her hand to the old man and woman.

The smile on the father’s face faltered and fell as his wife recoiled into his chest. He wanted to ask his beloved daughter to repeat what she’d said. Surely he’d misheard!

But he knew he had not.

Suddenly a deep bitterness took over his heart. “No,” he growled.

“I don’t understand.” His daughter’s glowing eyes now filled with pain and disbelief.

“No!” This time it was a roll of thunder. “You are not that. This will not happen to my daughter.”

“But, daddy—“

“No!” He waved his fists in anger, his love forgotten in his rage. “NO! This is an abomination! You are not welcome in this house in such a perverted state!”

The daughter looked to her mother, searching for a sign of compassion. But her mother wept with her eyes averted. She would not look at her daughter.

Nicole stepped gently forward and began pulling her love away as the girl’s father continued to rage. They got back in the car and drove away.

“We’ve lost her,” the mother whimpered. “We’ve lost our baby girl.”

“She’ll be back,” the old factory worker said as his anger cooled. “She’ll come to her senses, and she’ll come back.”

But she didn’t.

Late that night, the old man and his wife were awakened by a call. When they answered, they discovered that their daughter had been brought to the emergency room, but that she had died on the way.

The old man was overcome with grief. Such loss he could not bear—and such guilt! He felt certain that he had been responsible. He could not bring himself to go to the hospital to claim the body of his child. The shame was too great even for him to attend the funeral.

Whispers circulated that he hated her and disowned her even in death. He became known as a heart-hearted man.

He did not contradict. He was too buried in remorse to think of defending himself.

But at work, as he assembled the furniture parts, he sobbed and told the truth—of his love, of his hate, of his loss and the acceptance that came too late.

And as he wept, the wood indeed listened.

One piece of furniture in particular was touched—a futon. Now any other week, this futon would have been like all the others. But the grief of the old man shook the futon to its very nails, and it vowed to do everything it could to help women and girls like this poor man’s daughter.

Thus it became the lesbian futon.

Bitch? Why yes, I am one. Thank you for noticing.

“Bitch.” It’s a toxic word, an insult of the highest order to many women. I used to to be so afraid of being called a bitch or thought a bitch that I would go out of my way to prove myself non-bitchy to people. I was particularly eager to prove that around openly sexist men, as if their sexism was somehow my fault and within my power to change.

It was exhausting . . . and ineffective. I discovered that no matter what I did, someone, somewhere, would perceive it badly. It got to the point that there were certain people I just didn’t want to be around because it was too much to try to prove myself non-bitchy when I knew that their assessment of me as a bitch wouldn’t change. I had even gotten to the point of recognizing that it wasn’t anything that I did; it was just the fact that I was a woman.

My fears started many an argument with my partner. Or I should say that I started the arguments because I was driven by fear, and to some extent, I think I argued more with myself than with him. I would argue back and forth about how I didn’t want to go somewhere because I would be perceived as a bitch, then I’d turn around and argue that if I didn’t go, I’d be perceived as a bitch. I would argue that people’s opinions didn’t matter because they were wrong. I would argue that people’s opinions did matter because obviously I must be doing something to warrant that opinion. I don’t know what he was doing while I argued. Keeping his head down probably because there really wasn’t anything safe to say when I was in my “how do I prevent people from thinking I’m a bitch” mode. I only remember one thing he said.

“What does ‘bitch’ mean?”

I remember it because I didn’t have an answer. What does the average person mean by calling a woman a bitch?

I started to make a list of the various things that landed me in the “bitch” category.

  • Having an opinion
  • Stating my opinion
  • Disagreeing with someone else’s opinion
  • Participating in a conversation with a man
  • Being a wife
  • Being a girlfriend
  • Being a woman
  • Having emotions
  • Saying “no”
  • Making my own decisions
  • Not submitting
  • Speaking honestly about things that affect me
  • Expressing dislike for a movie, book, or song that expresses hatred towards women
  • Getting angry when someone says something inappropriate or does something inappropriate to me

That last one was the clincher. I suddenly realized that if someone were sexually harassing me and I got upset, I would be labeled the bitch in the scenario . . . because . . . women aren’t supposed to experience anger?


None of those actions is considered inappropriate for a man! None of them renders a man an asshole! Why? Because they’re not the actions of an asshole. They’re the actions of a human being who leads an authentic, autonomous life.

In the end, I realized that being called a bitch didn’t say anything negative about me.

It said that I dared to think for myself. It said that I was willing to stand up for myself. It said that I honored my emotions, beliefs, and experiences. It said I was independent.

What it said about me, underneath the derogatory language and negative connotation, were all things that I desired to be.

It also revealed a whole hell of a lot about the people calling me a bitch—like the fact that they were uncomfortable around women who didn’t kowtow to their expectations and so afraid of those independent women that they felt the need to demonize them with a loaded term that they themselves probably couldn’t even define better than, “you’re doing something I don’t like.”

So the next time someone calls me a bitch because I have a strong political opinion that disagrees with their equally strong political opinion, I’m going to smile and say, “Bitch? Why yes, I am one. Thank you for noticing.”