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Intimate Geographies: An Old-Fashioned Lesbian Melodrama

Welcome to Intimate Geographies. This year, two of our editors, Xoai Pham and Vanessa Friedman, are contributors of a book called Sex and the Single Woman. We took that opportunity to ask our readers and contributors to send in their juiciest sexcapades, and record themselves reading them. For Drew Gregory, what started as a trip to a rumored lesbian bar led to so much more than expected.

Press play to listen to Drew’s story.

So basically this is a straight bar. But it’s a straight bar where lesbians know they can come and maybe meet someone.

This is a story where I’m not the protagonist. Someone else could tell you more than me about this night and what it meant and what it led to. I can only hint at the lives I briefly entered.

Last summer, I was in Cincinnati working on a movie. Vaccinated and unaware of the danger of variants, my sex and social life had returned to a sort of normal. Except that I was in Cincinnati. And most of the people I knew from work were straight.

One night, I end up alone at a queer bar called The Birdcage where a trans drag queen I’d befriended tells me there’s a lesbian bar twenty minutes away in Kentucky. It’s already 1am and I’m a block away from my hotel, but I finish my drink and go outside to call an Uber. Or, actually, I go outside to call my best friend back in LA to ask if it’s crazy to cross state lines this late. They’re a Gemini and tell me to go. I knew they would. That’s why I called them.

As my Uber pulls up to the lesbian bar, I start to worry I’ve gone to the wrong place. The only lesbian bars I’d been to were in New York and this place has nothing in common with Cubbyhole. First of all, the clientele looks entirely straight. This is just a normal bar. A normal Kentucky bar.

But standing outside are two very attractive women who look about my age. And as I make my way to the door one of them says, “Oh my God. You’re so beautiful.” I thank her and tell them I’m visiting from LA — a flex — and say that I was told this was a lesbian bar. “Well…” the woman begins.

So basically this is a straight bar. But it’s a straight bar where lesbians know they can come and maybe meet someone. The two women tell me they’re married — not to each other, to men — and have kids. For obvious reasons, I’m not using their real names, but let’s call them Claire and Carissa. Claire is a Scorpio and Carissa is a Sag. Claire says that she’s separated from her husband. Carissa is who I’m immediately drawn to.

We’re all talking outside. They’re flirting with me. They’re flirting with each other. They tell me they’re both lesbians. I wonder if we’re all about to make out. Then Carissa goes inside — I decide this is for the best since she’s fully married. I think something is about to happen with Claire but then she says we should go inside too — I decide this is for the best since I’m more interested in Carissa.

Carissa and I are standing at the bar — Claire is in the bathroom — and Carissa just starts gushing about how I’m so beautiful and how she wishes she wasn’t married and how devastating it is being near me. “Can you hold me?” she asks. “Can you touch me?” she asks.

She’s wearing a pair of overalls and nothing else. I put an arm around her. She leans into my body. I put my hand inside her overalls. We’re still just standing at this crowded bar, people all around us. My hand is moving all over her body and her body is moving all over my hand. Finally, I ask her if she wants to go outside. She says yes.

We’re sitting on the steps off to the side of this bar and I’m kissing everywhere except her lips. Pretty Woman rules. I’m kissing her shoulder and her neck and sucking on her ear. Her hands are all over me and mine are all over her. She stops.

“I’m sorry. This is wrong,” she says. I tell her I’m sorry. I tell her I should go. I tell her that she’s trying to do the right thing and I’m going to call an Uber. I do. She begs me to cancel it. “Be my girlfriend for the night,” she says.

Carissa is worried a friend of her husband will see us. She asks if she can drive me home — not to come in with me, just to spend the drive together. I ask if she’s sober and she says yes and I choose to believe her. We walk away from the bar along with Claire and a gay guy friend of hers. My initial hopes for a threesome have vanished. I’m connecting so much with Carissa, I’m relieved that Claire seems to be leaving us alone.

Carissa is holding my hand as we walk to her car. Suddenly she stops. “I have to kiss you tonight,” she says. “I’ll regret it so much if I don’t kiss you.” She says that when we arrive at my hotel, she’s going to walk me to my room, kiss me, and then leave. This seems ambitious.

All of a sudden Claire runs up and grabs my other hand. “I’m coming with you!” she exclaims. I try to cover my disappointment by reminding myself that a threesome with two very hot people is theoretically good.

The drive to my hotel is chaotic — not because I think Carissa lied about being drunk, but because Carissa is trying to smoke a cigarette and can’t find her lighter and then I light it for her with a box of matches I found on the ground earlier in the evening. We pull up to my hotel and Claire immediately gets out of the car declaring that we should hang out.

We get into my room and Claire lies on my bed. Then Carissa joins her. Then I join Carissa. Almost immediately we start hooking up. Claire is mostly focused on Carissa. Carissa is mostly focused on me. I’m mostly focused on Carissa. Sometimes it feels like only Carissa and I are hooking up and Claire is watching — but she just seems happy to be there.

Both of these women are coming from the world of straight sex. Which is why even though to me all the lines have already been crossed, when certain other lines start to get crossed Carissa stops us. I apologize and she tells me not to apologize and then she apologizes for leading me on and I tell her she absolutely does not need to apologize. Any time Carissa stops, I suggest we stop for real. But then Carissa pulls me back in and we keep hooking up.

At one point, Carissa and Claire are making out and I’m sucking on Carissa’s fingers. Her finger goes deeper and deeper into my mouth until my tongue is wrapped around her wedding ring.

I have never cheated on a partner. I have been cheated on. If this woman was not trapped in a marriage to a homophobic asshole, I would feel bad about all of this. But I’m sorry!! It was very hot to suck on her wedding ring!!

Finally, we actually stop. Lying there on the bed, Carissa says again that she wishes her circumstances were different. “I want you to know this isn’t about protecting my husband,” she says. “It’s about protecting my family.”

I walk them to the elevator. I kiss Carissa one more time. And, at 4 in the morning, they leave.

For me, this was a chaotic night of sex and connection. But for Carissa, this was a night that meant so much more. I know because she texted me later in the week asking to meet up again just the two of us. I know because I said yes.

But that, my friends, is another story. That is Carissa’s story to tell.

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Drew Burnett Gregory

Drew is a Brooklyn-based writer, filmmaker, and theatremaker. She is a Senior Editor at Autostraddle with a focus in film and television, sex and dating, and politics. Her writing can also be found at Bright Wall/Dark Room, Cosmopolitan UK, Refinery29, Into, them, and Knock LA. She was a 2022 Outfest Screenwriting Lab Notable Writer and a 2023 Lambda Literary Screenwriting Fellow. She is currently working on a million film and TV projects mostly about queer trans women. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Drew Burnett has written 546 articles for us.


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