Here’s What Happened When I Did All The Verbs From The L Word Theme Song In One Day

I have been trying to master the fast part of “The Way That We Live” by Betty, the theme song for The L Word, for the better part of a decade. That rambling list of gerunds is deceptively hard to recite, especially under the pressure that sets in when you triumphantly declare at a party that you can totally recite all the words to The L Word theme song and everyone expects a demonstration.

After many a night practicing, and my girlfriend waking me up to inform me that I was singing it in my sleep again, the rowdy earworm started to sound more and more like an incantation or a prayer. The more I heard those words play over and over in my head, the more I wondered if within that daringly simple hook, Betty had encoded a certain doctrine. Could The L Word’s theme song outline a righteous path toward a fulfilling life?

With the conviction of Jenny Schecter writing about manatees, I embarked on a journalistic and spiritual journey to unlock life’s secrets with the help of Betty’s lyrical key. I decided to do all of the verbs described at the end of The L Word’s in just one day. The results may shock you.

8:02 a.m. – TALKING

I woke up on the morning of my endeavor, ready to jump right in. Talking is how I normally start my day anyway, so this one would be easy. I tapped my sleeping girlfriend on the shoulder, and the following conversation ensued:

ME: Today, I’m going to do all the verbs from that annoying fast part at the end of The L Word’s theme song.
HER: Why?
ME: For science!
HER: I’m having some serious concerns about our relationship.

8:04 a.m. – LAUGHING

This one was also easy. I had a nice little laugh at the fact that my girlfriend clearly doesn’t get my work. She did not join in the laughter.

8:10 a.m. – LOVING

For this next one, I decided to do something I love: drink pressed juice while watching an episode of The L Word. During this time, I also pondered the fact that when straight people say “the l word,” they’re usually talking about “love” and not Ilene Chaiken’s six-season wonder. Strange!

9:10 a.m. – BREATHING

Simply breathing here seemed too simple, so I signed up for a class in my neighborhood on Transformational Breathing. It was being taught by my ex-girlfriend.

10:27 a.m. – FIGHTING

I fought with my ex-girlfriend in the middle of a Transformational Breathing class.

10:59 a.m. – FUCKING

For this, I masturbated, because masturbating is fucking. Also, my girlfriend said she was not interested in having sex with me for the sole purpose of a story. She again reiterated that she thinks this project is pointless.

11:06 a.m. – CRYING

Realizing that my latest project, and my life’s work by extension, could be pointless, I had a quick cry on my walk to my next destination.

11:10 a.m. – DRINKING

To get in the real spirit of The L Word, I shotgunned two Dos Equis at The Planet. Because The Planet is a fictional cafe-bar on the show, I had to settle for the parking lot of Planet 9, a record store in my neighborhood.

11:37 a.m. – WRITING

With a slight buzz, I made my way to an actual cafe so I could sit and write the first part of this story. I got distracted and instead wrote a 2,000-word manifesto comparing my plight as a misunderstood writer to Jenny Schecter’s plight as a misunderstood writer.

1:14 p.m. – WINNING

At the cafe, I challenged the nearest table to a round of The L Word trivia. They insisted they had never seen the show, so I won easily.

1:46 p.m. – LOSING

Losing would be harder, as it’s something I’m not used to doing in any capacity. But I’m very bad at darts, so I found an establishment with darts and promptly lost to a kind stranger who, when I told them I’m a writer, asked “like Carrie Bradshaw?” It was then that I realized we need more representations of writers on television.

2:03 p.m. – CHEATING

After weighing the veritable pros and cons of cheating on my girlfriend (Pro: I could finally be the Shane of my friend group! Con: I would actually become the Bette of my friend group, because even though Shane is remembered for her infidelity, Bette was the real serial cheater of the show), I realized I was perhaps taking this project too far. So instead, I just cheated at darts, which got me thrown out of the bar.

3:15 p.m. – KISSING

I went home, kissed my girlfriend, and she asked if I was still working on my dumb project and if I was anywhere closer to unlocking life’s secrets.

4:12 p.m. – THINKING

I took a walk and thought long and hard about whether I had unlocked life’s secrets.

5:43 p.m. – DREAMING

Pausing mid-walk to recline on a park bench, I started daydreaming about what life would be like if I quit my job to open up a half-salon/half-skatepark like the one Shane McCutcheon worked in. Eventually, I actually fell asleep. I can’t remember what I dreamed about, but a stranger woke me up to inform me that I had been whispering “I killed Jenny Schecter” in my sleep.

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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 863 articles for us.


  1. Kayla, this is incredible. I think that you speak for all of us. This is, indeed, the way that we live. And love.

    P.S. Please explore the transformative possibilities of the first verse next time. I particularly look forward to your take on girls in tight dresses who drag with mustaches.

  2. This is the hard-hitting content that I feel proud of supporting with my subscription

    • gosh my bad, that should have read

      clapping clapping clapping clapping clapping clapping

  3. I am glowing with delight and feeling like, though I didn’t know it before, every dollar I have ever spent as an A+ member was slowly building up to funding the possibility of this exact moment. THIS IS THE JOURNALISM WE DESERVE.

  4. “so I signed up for a class in my neighborhood on Transformational Breathing. It was being taught by my ex-girlfriend.”

    The queer female experience can pretty much be summed up in this sentence.

  5. “To get in the real spirit of The L Word, I shotgunned two Dos Equis at The Planet. Because The Planet is a fictional cafe-bar on the show, I had to settle for the parking lot of Planet 9, a record store in my neighborhood.”


  6. Now you seriously have me thinking about Bette a little differently. It really didn’t occur to me she was the serial cheater. Maybe because I blocked half of the episodes, or because I was too infatuated with Jenny(she started off as a nice Jewish queer who later got egotistical and I thought I could change her, yup I am that person).

  7. Great read! Incedentaliy, am I the only one who abhors Jenny and Bette in equal measure? Love me some Shane though… Hell, I even love both Moira AND Max and what that says about me I’ll never know…

  8. The cruel triumph of this post is that I will now have the l word theme tune infecting my brain for hooooooours

  9. As one of the writers of The Way That We Live and a member of BETTY, I have to say, this totally rocks. And it’s definitely a great way to live. Thanks for writing it. and thanks to my “friend” on Facebook for sharing it with me.

  10. Been trying to decide what to do with my day and reading this post has made me realise that watching The L Word is what I need to do today.

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