Ani DiFranco Appreciation Club Meeting #3: She’s So Gay

Ani DiFranco Appreciation Club is an all-inclusive space devoted to the appreciation and discussion of Ani DiFranco’s music. Meetings are open to anyone with a love of Ani DiFranco; new members welcome. We strongly encourage everyone to buy Ani’s music and not download it illegally, please.

Hello! And welcome everyone to the first Ani DiFranco Appreciation Club meeting of the new year! It makes us smile just to dream of it, how have you been? We’re excited to see so many familiar faces, and if this is your first meeting, welcome! Please take a moment to sign the attendance sheet in the comments. Is there a volunteer to take the minutes? Excellent, thank you wallow14. Vegan, gluten-free cookies and soymilk are available at the snack table by the door, please remember to compost your soiled paper products when you’re finished with them. Now we’ll just wait for everyone to settle down and we can begin.

How many of you are here with your same-sex partners, show of hands. Mm. I see several of you are sporting undercut hairstyles, and I think I see at leeeeaaast one pair of suspenders in the back. Don’t be embarrassed, they’re lovely. Everyone please take a moment to look around the room and note the abundance of queer and queer-allied persons. This is no coincidence. Have you ever stood in line for an Ani show? Probably half the lesbians in your town were there. Probably before you even went inside somebody said to somebody, “Omg she’s here; she’s here with her new girlfriend kill me DON’T LOOK SHE’LL KNOW WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HER fuck I hope we don’t end up standing next to them.” Which brings us to the focus of today’s meeting: Ani’s Gayest Songs.

What’s interesting is that Ani doesn’t have that many “gay” songs, you know? She references being with girls on just a handful of songs released in the early and mid-90s, which isn’t very much considering her vast repertoire.

But, as we’ve mentioned before, Ani writes about love/relationships/emotions the way nobody else can, so people of all orientations can relate to her music. She’s also always been a champion for fringe-y types – feminists, queers, lefties, activists, DIYers, artists, shit-disturbers – so it makes sense that she has a huge gay following. We love her because she gets us. She also wrote “I am thinking of her fingers as I walk” in like 1991 and cemented lesbian attendance at her shows for the rest of her life.
And here we are all today. Talking about Ani being Gay!dotted-divider2

She Says (Not So Soft, 1991 / Like I Said, 1993)

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Riese: It’s sad when you know a person could love the fuck out of your stupid shit and you just can’t. Maybe someday, maybe somehow you’ll be ready to be LOVED BY A LADY but just not now while my insides are so effed.

bcw: Everytime it rains in the city I get this song in my head. Even the guitar sounds like rain falling.

Please try not to love me. You know I have no vacancy.

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In or Out (Imperfectly, 1992)

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Riese: This song was the epigraph for that book I never finished writing about bisexuality. The lyrics give you permission to be pissed off that somebody wants to put you up on any shelf, and I liked that she was independent and came alone/left by herself. Like it was ANI FIRST and LABELS SECOND. I feel this song would be an excellent anthem for the YOU DO YOU movement.

bcw: Imperfectly is arguably Ani’s gayest record, and was the first record of hers I ever heard. This record made me realize I was gay, there is no doubt about it. And ‘In or Out’ was the song that did it, probably because it occurs early on the album. But I also identified as bi when I first came out, and I don’t know, to my 15-year-old self, the lines about stripes and spots and not ordering the same thing at the restaurant were like, life-altering. I immediately learned how to play it on acoustic guitar and did so constantly in front of the mirror in my bedroom.
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The Whole Night (Not So Soft, 1991)

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bcw: I was never suuuuper into this song, honestly. I found it a bit cheesy, and it always annoyed me the way she sang “the who-o-ole niiiiight.” It’s cute though. It’s a cute song. People like it. It’s about girls kissing and thinking about each other’s fingers.

Riese: “The Whole Night” is a story of heartache and yearning and impossible desire but the song sounds plucky & happy & free and the language is so light, too. It’s hopeful/scheming. It planted lyrics in my head but they didn’t “flower,” so to speak, ’til maybe a decade later.

I literally feel like I wrote this song. Like, word-for-word. I have held hands like paper dolls, we have tried each other on in the privacy within New York City’s walls, and we’ve kissed our girl cheeks and we went home thinking what it would be like if she or I did not have a boyfriend and we could spend the whole night.

Also, I am thinking of her fingers as I walk — thank you Ani DiFranco for writing that line, god bless you.

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Little Plastic Castle (Little Plastic Castle, 1998)

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bcw: This song meant so much to me not only because it marked a musical departure for her that blew my tiny mind, but also because of that line about that girl being the cutest. This song makes me think of sunbeams breaking in and early morning road trip coffee and frosty windshields. It has a pretty fun little bassline, too. I think this incarnation of her band – with Andy Stochansky and Sara Lee – is still my favourite.

riese: This is gay because there’s that part where they go into the coffee shop and despite how fucking cute your girlfriend is, you can’t kiss her because you might possible be among ‘phobes. You never know.

bcw: Also it has that GIRL POLICE line that we’ll probably address in another post. This song has everything. It’s a good-time song.

riese: “AA Club #4: ani difranco is trying to break your attitude about her outfits/lovers”

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If It Isn’t Her (Imperfectly, 1992)

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Riese: I have playlists, folders, emails, everything —> titled “a girl-girl thing.” If I ever get married/commitmentceremonied, I want “this is a girl-girl thing” to be on my wedding invitations instead of the word “wedding.”

You’re going to throw stones at me and desecrate my website for saying this — but IN MY EXPERIENCE,  falling in love with a girl has a special feeling to it that falling in love with a guy doesn’t quite match. It’s not even a gay thing, I think heterosexual men feel the same way. Because girls are so giant and complicated and tangled up in these heart-shaped soft bits of desire and mystery and wanting and stuff. And then there’s nothing else in the world but Her, you know?

bcw: God this record was gay. I listened to this album non-stop on my SONY DISCMAN (I couldn’t afford that fancy anti-skip Panasonic Shockwave) on the OC Transpo to and from high school for what feels like a year but was probably a period of two months or so circa 1998. I didn’t listen to any other albums at that time, just Imperfectly. I have vivid memories of staring out the bus window at that big hill at Hurdman station, listening to her sing about it being a girl-girl thing and feeling like my whole self made sense suddenly but was also still a super-scary secret that only Ani understood. I always loved the line “my imagination is rattling its cage.” Imperfectly changed my life, it really did.

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Shameless (Dilate, 1996)

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Riese: I don’t know what I said last time, but I can’t say anything about this song without saying everything. TOO MANY FEELINGS

bcw: We covered this song at our first meeting, but it’s her Big Gay Anthem so we can’t exclude it. How do you get into a room if it doesn’t have a door? Unresolved. No but seriously I read this “Unauthorized Biography” of Ani DiFranco at one point many years ago (I’m pretty sure I’m the only person on planet Earth who has read this) and she talked about how one day, early on, she looked out at the crowd and it was all babydykes with shaved heads and overalls and she was like, ‘How did this happen?’ and then I think she started playing ‘Shameless’ less at shows? I don’t know but I always felt a bit weird about that, like why did it matter that it was all lesbians. Did anybody else read that book or am I for real the only one.

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Two Little Girls (Little Plastic Castle, 1998)

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Riese: This experience is just making me realize how often I’ve co-opted Ani lyrics for email subject headers, blog titles and (once upon a time) myspace headlines. From this song I snatched (har) “this little girl breaks furniture/this little girl breaks laws.”

You’re the one who knows what’s up, who knows who she is/was and what she needs, the parts of her that the other girl co-opted for herself and pumped with drugs/destruction and you’re the one who will be there to call 911 and you’re the one who lightens the mood with your jokes or furrows your brow — you are all of these things, effortlessly, and you feel confused as to why the world isn’t paying you back for being all those things.

bcw: I want to hear what Rachel has to say about this song because at our first meeting she implied she had a lot of feelings. Rachel, you have the floor.

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Both Hands (Ani DiFranco, 1990 / Like I Said, 1993)

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bcw: I think this song is pretty gay. Riese doesn’t. Not that it’s about a girl necessarily, but ‘gay’ in the sense that it’s beloved by gays. I don’t know, it’s one of Ani’s many, MANY, it-could-be-about-anything-because-it’s-about-feelings songs but I challenge you to find me a lesbian guitarist who doesn’t know how to play this. BOTH HANDS NOW USE BOTH HANDS. Gay.

Riese: I would actually say that the sexuality of this song is fluid. I would say it is going with the flow. Because when I first heard this song I was watching a male chest rise and fall and now I watch a female chest rise and fall. It’s bisexual, just like Ani DiFranco. Also you may or may not be able to email me at iusebothhands at gmail dot com, but I definitely won’t write back.

bcw: It has universal gay straight bi queerio queer queer weirdo feelingsy appeal just like Ani and it can be ‘claimed’ only insofar as we all claim each other.

Riese: Ultimately in the end all we really have are our big gay feelings and our handsy acoustic guitars.

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What are your thoughts? Did we miss anything super important to your gay self-actualization? Are you SO INSULTED by something in this post? Tell us all your gay feelings about Ani in the comments!

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82 Comments

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    I haven’t played guitar in years, but I bet if you handed me one I’d automatically start playing Both Hands. How can that song not be gay. It’s the gayest. Also greatest. Also Swim is very gay.

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    I always thought ‘I tell you one thing, im gonna make noise when I go down’ from ‘If he tries anything’ was always kind of gay. Maybe I’m projecting…

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      i think that song is about a time when she went to Mexico on Christmas with one of her best friends and they rambled around and found lots of sister solidarity in each other. which is pretty gay, you’re right. i think this is another thing i learned from the unauthorized biography.

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      i was an ani holdout for a while until i saw a dance performance at the alternative high school that ended with a thing to “if he tries anything.” there were lots of girls in leotards and probs about 50% of them were bisexual or gay and i felt like it was about how all those girls would protect me from an asshole dude and then probs also want to have sex

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    YES!! both hands is like the sexiest song ever. all that writing graffiti on their bodies and bones as your bedframe. siggggh.
    and im going to agree that it’s the gayest. after all, why you want a boy to use both hands?? how could that not be an homage to lady-loving??

    i also listened to Shy over and over when i first realized i was gay and falling for a friend. i was completely terrified of making a move, and even more terrified of NOT making one. thank god ani was there to tell me to go surprise her at her front door and not ask what’s next how or why. best advice ever for a little fledgling dyke.

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      yes ‘i am leaving in the morning so let’s not be shy’ is what i tell myself every time i’m too nervous to do what i want to do. also “cosmopolitan magazine says to face a new fear every day”

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    well done folks.

    to add to the collection, i thought ‘know now then’ off the up-album-with-too-many-up’s-in-the-title was a pretty good, gay break-up song.

    “i just stood there
    without even a stance
    helpless to her advance
    and her retreat
    backspace, delete “

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    I’ve always heard gayness in “Providence” …

    who knew
    at this party that
    i would walk in and i’d see you
    i guess now
    we could just get drunk
    yeah, and that could be our excuse
    you could slip
    and outta nowhere
    i could be there to catch your fall
    and we could laugh
    at ourselves
    and the writing that’s on the wall

    it’s a narrow margin
    just room enough for regret
    in the inch and a half between
    hey, how ya been?
    and
    can i kiss you yet?
    so we talk like
    nervous neighbors over a tall fence
    true love
    but for the lack of providence

    Mostly that “we could just get drunk / yeah, and that could be our excuse” part. But it’s sexually fluid, just like (as you said) a lot of Ani’s work is. And that’s why we love her so much — because we can make it all fit whatever we need it to fit.

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      that’s my favorite song of her’s right now. i think we talked about it in meeting #2 b/c it’s really fucking devastating. i saw “we could just get drunk / yeah and that could be our excuse” as just about the feeling of kissing a person you shouldn’t be kissing and you know in your rational brain it’s a terrible idea, but you just gotta. but yeah as you suggest, it could also be like “i’m not really gay, just drunk.” OH THE MANY POSSIBILITIES.

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    she said she had issues with her crowd being all/mostly dykes in her big spin interview and in others so yeah, chicks were pissed. me too.
    but she plays shameless and both hands now like, all the time cause now shes almost not gay enough cause shes married to a man which doesnt change anything because LESBIANS WILL NEVER LEAVE ANI DIFRANCO.

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    Oooh I feel like I just took some sort of queer-feminist-granola laced acid and am flashing back hardcore to my entire high school career. Which, thanks for that. :)

    There was a time (high school through college, honestly) when Ani lyrics were pretty routinely sprinkled throughout the conversations my friends and I had with each other, intentionally and not. I mean, there’s an Ani lyric for every damn thing ever. And I love it.

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    Guys, I have refrained from commenting on the Ani posts… well I don’t know why. Probably because of all the feelings and because I am at best a casual Ani fan. With this post and these songs all these memories are rushing back. My first Ani album was Living in Clip, which I got in my junior year of high school from the 25 year old dyke my best friend (/girl I was kinda into) was dating. Yeah, in retrospect that relationship may have been a little age inappropriate. I guess we had the arrogance of youth on our sides. It was a time of beautiful, intoxicating queer longing. I had never heard anything like it.
    I never really revisited Ani in the same way after the intense three years of all Ani all the time while I transitioned from high school to college. I think I may be ready again, but I feel like she commands emotional attention I just don’t think I can give right now.

    Gah I hate sharing. Can I just end this with a dick joke?

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    i am in a full-blown ani cycle right now! and for the last 12 years, they’ve occurred every other year for approx 3 months, umm, to a year. so whatever on that.

    regardless, we all know it, we all love it.
    “cradling the softest, warmest part of you in my hand/feels like a little baby bird fallen from the nest/i think that your body is something i understand/i think that i’m happy, i think that i’m blessed”

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    Oh, Autostraddle. Thank you for getting me to listen to Ani.

    If It Isn’t Her is perfect.

    And “Because girls are so giant and complicated and tangled up in these heart-shaped soft bits of desire and mystery and wanting and stuff. And then there’s nothing else in the world but Her, you know?”.

    YES. That.

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    Hi bcw. Hi Riese.
    I wait for these meetings like I need them for breathing. I feel like you probably know that already though.

    Mostly I feel like Two Little Girls is a sadder song. Starting at the start and then totally not knowing how it’s come to this. That’s how I feel. I also feel like, yes, it’s definitely a pretty gay song.

    My favourite line of it is: “love is a piano dropped out a four story window.” It’s that drop of your heart and the easy falling but then there’s the crash at the end of it that breaks everything.

    The one that reminds me most of being a young little gay in high school and relying on Ani for every single thing I needed to survive is Shameless. It’s cause of:
    i gotta cover my butt ‘cuz i covet
    another man’s wife
    i gotta divide my emotions
    into wrong and right
    then i get to see how close i can get to it
    without giving in

    I mean, that’s a long story.
    Ani was at the center of all of my self discoveries and all of my everythings so the truth is that most of them feel gay to me cause you know, like, they were there for me the first time I fell in love with a woman. Anyway, I clearly was not simply just IMPLYING that I have a lot of feelings because this is the longest comment ever.

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    Two little girls…I first heard it when my roommate (who I loved, but she didn’t love me “like that”) was self destructing and I was trying to pick up her pieces. Still kills me whenever I hear it. I will always love it though.

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    bcw. girl.

    I think Two Little Girls made me realize I was gay, maybe? Which is a little weird b/c I was pretty young, like 16 or so and nineteen feels very far away from sixteen, I wasn’t at the point of breaking furniture or laws yet. But I think it really perfectly/painfully describes the feeling of being so completely and all-consumingly in love with your best friend/partner in crime that queer girls often go through in adolescence, and I definitely was, and I think I had tried to convince myself that it was just a teenage thing, that everyone felt like this about their girl friends. And then I heard this song and was like oh, oh fuck. I guess it’s about something else, huh. And also the relationship in this song is so doomed – I mean, we’ve all had someone like that, and we all know it doesn’t end well. So realizing that I identified with it was also like realizing I had this pattern of dangerously symbiotic and ultimately kind of destructive relationships in my future, and also I’m still sixteen here and so everything feels very dramatic and also I wanted to fast forward so bad to the moment she’s talking about. Like she says i remember where we were standing/ i remember how that felt, but I was still in a town of 8,000 people and that hadn’t happened to me yet, and suddenly I wanted it and also didn’t want it really desperately.

    ANYHOW. Little Plastic Castle was my first Ani album, I will always have The Most Feelings about it. The end.

    PS – Both Hands = the saddest. Sometimes I just think to myself in my head “well, when we leave, the landlord will come and paint over it all.”

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    I’ve never listened to Ani (I just recently discovered Tori Amos; I lived in a punk vacuum for the past seven years), but based off the lyrics and comments I’ve read, Ani seems like the perfect cure to moving away from by longtime girlfriend to go to school where every queer was friends with my crazy ex I started dating five years ago. So. Many. Feelings.

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    Yay, Ani Club Meeting!

    Yeah, Imperfectly is totally her gayest record and it was also the very first one of hers I ever heard. I had my big bisexual epiphany while listening to it. I was 14 and randomly picked it up one day at this awesomely dark, grimy used record store I wandered into. Later that night when I popped it in for a listen, I was just laying there on my bed when “In or Out” came on and I was like…oh. OH! Sexuality isn’t always an either/or thing AND THAT’S ME! I get it now! Huh.

    I mean, I’d been aware of homosexuality and bisexuality as concepts, of course. But they always felt more…theoretical, I guess, like it was something else “out there.” But that was the first time I remember actually articulating to myself that those concepts actually describe the thoughts and feelings I’d been having.

    Thanks for the kick in the pants, Ani!

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    This is amazing! One thing I love about Ani is that her music transcends time. I didn’t find out about her until I was in high school a couple years ago. I was actually watching So You Think You Can Dance and some girl auditioned to Parameters. I remember thinking, “hey this is kinda cool.” Then I heard Both Hands and was completely blown away. It wasn’t until I heard In or Out that everything started to make sense. I couldn’t figure out how she was able to say exactly what I was feeling.

    When I was 17, I met a woman who totally embodied If It Isn’t Her. That song always makes me think of her.
    Two Little Girls was/is my life. Period.
    The Whole Night was totally the song of my bff and I before she was completely certain she didn’t actually have those kinds of feelings for me. I do know for a fact that during time she thought of my fingers at least once while walking ;)
    Essentially, Ani helped me be OK with being gay.

    Needless to say, I’m beyond obsessed with her. I’m finally going to see her live in a couple months!

    Random: These Ani Club meeting things just solidified my undying love for Autostraddle. Finally, people who understand just how brilliant Ani Difranco is.

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      I kind of wish I could go back and see Ani for the first time all over again. Girl, have yourself a fabulous time – I love the records but Ani live is kind of this whole other level/force of nature.

      (Side note: I feel incredibly lucky that my very first introduction to Ani’s music was at a concert. I literally had not heard a note of a song until my older sister took me to see her in Chicago at the Congress Theatre when I was, like, 15)

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    Ani Club Meeting!

    First of all, this is how I feel about Autostraddle: “Honey you are safe here, this is a girl-girl thing.” It’s like one big family and coming here can always make my day better.

    Now, back to Ani. I don’t really know what to say about Ani except that I am obsessed with her like every other lesbian on the planet.

    I’m currently hooked on My IQ, because of this:

    for every lie i unlearn
    i learn something new

    That’s where I feel like I am in my life right now. I keep watching this version (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya8zuiIU-4E) on repeat. It doesn’t really have anything to do with being gay except that it’s all about processing various parts of life which I hear is totally a lesbian thing. ;)

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    you guys, i can’t help but think of every ani song as gay gay gay. i first heard of her from the girl i would later fuck. ani’s all wrapped up in that. but yes, both hands. zomg.

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    Download Ani illegally?! When I became obsessed with her, the world wide interwebs barely existed for this purpose, and ipods certainly had not been invented. I own every album from Ani DiFranco to Educated Guess in actual compact disc form (since then, yeah, it’s iTunes). Upon buying one, I used to immediately read the entire jacket to familiarize myself with the lyrics I would then audibly consume. Those were the days. Do jackets even exist anymore?

    xo

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      i love your righteous indignation re: illegally downloading. well done. i’ve got all those same albums in CD form too (with a few gaps) and when I ripped them onto my computer some of the discs were scratched and some of the mp3 files skip. it makes me so nostalgic! sometimes if a skippy song comes on my itunes and other people are in the room, i’ll let it keep playing just to see if somebody unwittingly says “the CD is skipping.” i’m confident it’ll happen eventually.

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      I bought everything by Ani up to Not a Pretty Girl in cassette form when it was released. And on the cassette it said ‘Copying, while illegal, is sometimes necessary.’ Since she had limited distribution, she made money more on touring than on album sales.

      And it’s still true…iTunes still takes a chunk out of what you pay to download it.

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    >> Because girls are so giant and complicated and tangled up in these heart-shaped soft bits of desire and mystery and wanting and stuff.

    Maybe? I don’t like generalizing too much like that but a friend of mine who’s gone back and forth on gender in partners once said to me upon returning to men after few years in a female-female, live-in relationship; “women, they just aren’t worth the hassle”. I’m pretty sure that’s the exact quote, if not a highly accurate paraphrase. So she sees something fundamentally different, even if she doesn’t prefer it.

    Now maybe she’s changed her mind, due moves that have taken us to very different geographical locations we haven’t talked in a number of years. But still in that moment I could only nod my head solidarity…and envy because something core to her gave her the option my core denies to me.

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    “Shameless” was the first song of Ani’s I ever heard. It spoke to me immediately but I didn’t know who the artist behind it was until I caught the end of a short interview with Ani on MTV. She spoke to me immediately and when the interviewer questioned her sexuality she was casual:
    “Yeah, I’ve fallen for guys before, I’ve fallen for girls before.”
    And I fell for her and even though the interview did not reveal this I knew she had to be the artist behind the song that had been stuck in my head.

    Oh, and I’m pretty sure I bought, but did not read, that biography.

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    Can I just say that I’m pretty new to reading Auto Straddle and have loved each and every post I’ve read. This one by far though has opened me up to so much. I have to admit I’d never heard of or listened to Ani Difranco before this but now I can’t stop listening and finding songs of hers I love. THANK YOU!! =)

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    I finally downloaded Living in Clip last night (babygay!), and now Ani Difranco and Tegan and Sara outnumber the rest of my music.

    Gay agenda wins.

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    This being January 2011 and this post reminds me of Jan 2010.
    Ani played in Fredericton NB,Canada on a Monday night,T&S played the Tuesday night,and Ani was back on Wednesday for an extra date that was added late because of interest.This was a most enjoyable 3 nights and indeed very gay.There may also have been one or 2 baby dykes in suspenders… perhaps.

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    Ani! Oh, Ani. I am so embarrassed by my love for you, which is huge, but also strictly limited to ten songs on my hard drive least the Feelings eat everything. They turn up at the worst moments, a living testament to the awesome power of Shuffle. Buildings and bridges! Shy! Cloud. Blood. Cloud Blood! Awkward reference to paper maps, _what up_.

    The best of Ani would be introducing my ex-boyfriend-college-experiment-man to Both Hands, being made fun of, then being in the car with him and his mother six years later (long after the Descent Of Rainbows, Rise of Gay) when Shuffle, magical Shuffle, put it on after Röyksopp and before Underworld. We had the most awkward silence in the world! It could be heard in other parts of the country, ringing in its depth, because he loves that song, too, and the mocking bubbled up – but it was his mother who, blank-faced, finally said “… really, hon? … _really_?” and I said “… But you are a _lobbyist_?” and then we shared A Moment of crippling I Like Folk Rock, all of us together on the QEW outside Oakville near the Ford Plant, in Ontario, in Canada, where it is dire and always grey.

    Ani. Bringing awkwardly disparate politicosexual standpoints _together_. Now I am going to go put Shy on a mixtape for a girl, as is the Way Of Our People. Beaaaautiful things.

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      i love that random rand mcnally reference! and i love cloud blood! my favourite line is “And you’re wondering how far down you are on my call-back list / But you don’t realize every time I find I’m by a phone the landscape shifts”

      actually i’m realizing that song might be pretty gay too

      tell lake ontario i say hi plz thanks

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    i feel like untouchable face should be on this list.
    some friends and i were living in the middle of nowhere in australia picking grapes. when we weren’t hitch hiking to the nearest town to buy beer we would play this song on our guitars repeatedly… with a weird blues/country twist. i dont actually think we could play anything else?!
    it was pretty gay.
    we were pretty gay.
    then my friend got pregnant to our boss and still lives there. weird.

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    I’m just a casual fan, but damn that first song ‘She Says’ you’ve talked about is hitting me hard today. I have a lot of feelings about it but they just make me sad. “but she came too late/or maybe too soon”…I really wish our timing could be better, cuz damn if we wouldn’t be amazing together.

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    I would like to nominate “Overlap” for this category.

    “Come here…stand in front of the light.
    Stand still…so I can see your silhouette.
    I hope…you have got all night
    ’cause I’m not done looking,
    no, I’m not done looking yet.”

    I don’t have a lot of experience re:feelings for boys, but how could this NOT be about a girl.

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      Agreed. I always thought this song was super gay as well. Like someone said earlier, it sounds like Ani softens her voice/approach a whole bunch when she sings about women, and this would definitely fall under that category.

      Also, one of my favorite songs of hers EVER.

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    okay, so, I don’t think I’ve ever (consciously) listened to an Ani DiFranco song before now (I don’t know how I got away with that) and now I am filled with so many (more) gay feelings. I am going to have to look into this.

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    i would just like to say that the fact that there is an Ani DiFranco Appreciation Club makes me beyond happy. i am a musician and started my career at 17 as an Ani DiFranco cover act, playing shows at local cafes. if my first performance at an open mic night hadn’t been to an audience of whom about 70% were gorgeous lesbians (who cheered and gave me a standing ovation after my set), i probably would have quit my career before i could have ever started it. now i’m writing my own songs and playing/touring with a rockin’ band, and i really have Ani to thank for giving me the courage to do so. thank you, ladies, for posting this stuff!

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    So. Much. Ani. Love.

    I listened to “Work Your Way Out” incessantly when I admitted to myself I was interested in girls… and was doing the long hard work of shaking the heteronormative mindset I’d been raised with.

    I don’t think it’s that well known a song of hers but I definitely see queer here:

    “we are all polylingual
    but some of us pretend
    that there’s virtue in relying
    on not trying to understand
    we’re all citizens of the womb
    before we subdivide
    into sexes and shades
    this side
    that side

    and i don’t need to tell you
    what this is about
    you just start on the inside
    and work your way out”

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    Light of Some Kind (Not A Pretty Girl, 1995)

    I must have blown a fuse or something
    ‘Cause it was so dark in my mind
    She came up to me with the sweetest face
    And she was holding a light of some kind
    And I still think of you as my boyfriend
    I don’t think this is the end of the world
    But I think maybe you should follow my example
    And go meet yourself a really nice girl

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    I am a long time Autostraddle fan, but finally bit the bullet and registered because these Ani Difranco Appreciation Club meetings are just too impossibly good to get involved and democratically participate. GOD.

    Like many other comments have stated, my resistance was partially due to the fact that this is all just too frightfully accurate and feeeeeeling-laden. Couldn’t agree more with the post that described listening to Ani on a handheld CD player while staring out the school bus window…a super scary secret that only Ani knew! It’s just amazing to see what a profound influence (and often eerily identical influence) Ani’s music has had on people of all stripes.

    It’s been a little while since the angsty 14-year-old stage of life, I’ve calmed down, gotten married to a wonderful woman, couldn’t be more comfortable or happy in my own skin, and yet…ANI. She just CAN’T be beaten. Every lyric, the expansiveness of it (there’s a song for everything), every transition between songs on every album, the spoken words at concerts, her philosophies…sometimes it’s just creepy how ingrained it all still is in my being. And it is really cool to hear how similar it is for a lot of her other fans.

    This article reminded me of the life changes / Ani factor: http://bitchmagazine.org/post/mom-pop-culture-an-interview-with-ani-difranco

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    So, I realize that this was posted over a year ago, but I just found it and wanted everyone to know that Ani DiFranco lives down the street from the high school I went to. Occasionally, she would play with the windows open and I would walk down the street and just be in awe of the music, totally not knowing who lived there. And then someone told me it was Ani DiFranco, and that didn’t really mean anything to me, except that I knew she was a fairly popular musician who saved this cool old building downtown from being destroyed and turned it into a nonprofit performance space.

    And then I found out she’s queer and that was cool. Also, there often used to be this car parked outside her house that had tiny little mirrors glued on to it, completely covering the car. I don’t know if it was hers but I sort of assume it was.

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