Happy Hour at Home: Have Some Very Gay Zoom Backgrounds

Be our guest for Happy Hour at Home, a small series about the joys of lesbian socializing from home, because let’s be honest with ourselves — we’re going to be here for a while.

I read a piece that was essentially about Zoom happy hours kinda sucking in comparison to “real life” happy hours (what exactly is real life these days: discuss), and when I got to the end, I was like……. OK, duh.

I dunno. I don’t think anyone is out here claiming that virtual happy hours with friends are seamless. Technology makes it a little clunkier, a little more awkward, than standing in a room together. Maybe it’s a little annoying, but to me these also seem like pretty minor trade-offs for getting to socialize with friends in some form.

Or maybe I’m just getting a little cranky about people complaining about the virtualization of social lives! Of course it’s not the same! Nothing is the same! We gotta make do with what we can! That’s pretty much the entire undercurrent of this Happy Hour at Home series. Socializing during a pandemic isn’t easy or seamless, but connecting with friends is so important!

Anyway, one way to make a Zoom happy hour a little more escapist is to use a virtual background. You can be ANYWHERE you want! I received a particularly deranged email from Airbnb (the Brands have been wilding out more than usual) providing “beautiful,” “scenic” images of people’s homes? That they suggested would make “great backgrounds for video calls”?? And I found it supremely dumb and upsetting. And yet, here I am! About to hit you with some free virtual background ideas! But listen, these are better than those!!!!!

Click the image to open in full size.

1. The Chart

For when you’re bringing goss to the happy hour.

2. The Good Place

For when you remember we do indeed live in the Bad Place.

3. The Alleyway Behind SUR

For when you want to confront someone about something demonic they did while drinking a very full glass of wine.

4. The It’s Complicated kitchen

For when you’re dreaming of excess counter space for all your regrowing scallions.

5. Vida’s

For when you’re missing the gay bars — even fictional ones.

6. Bette and Tina’s Pool

For when happy hour feels more like horny hour.

7. Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe

For when you’re processing drama over a milkshake.

8. Betty Cooper’s Murder Board

For when you’re doing some online detective work to figure out which couples in your social circle are breaking up.

9. Villanelle’s Paris Apartment

For when you’ve got a fridge full of just champagne.

10. This Stock Photo of Houseplants

For when you accidentally kill all your houseplants mid-quarantine.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 814 articles for us.


  1. Ahhhhhh the Good Place one is perfect! THANK YOU! Now if only my work would use Zoom more. We’re mostly a GoToMeeting shop. GTM needs to step up its game because the office behind me is a mess and I want food puns there instead!

  2. One of my friends relocated out of the NYC area during lockdown, so we threw her a zoom going-away party and each put the Cubbyhole at various angles as our background. It was certainly not the same, but we also all had a lot more personal space than we would during happy hour at the actual Cubbyhole. :)

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