The sand is blazing hot but the Atlantic is bitter cold. Not only is she ice-cold; she’s dangerous. All roaring riptides will snatch your bikini off of your body in one deadly swoop. She’s all salt-water and sex-appeal, she’s the kind of bitch that understands that magnitude of her own power. She’s gorgeous but only a fool would doubt her strength.
The Atlantic ocean is a hot dyke in a leather jacket sitting by herself in the corner of the lesbian bar. You want to test her temperature before throwing caution to the wind and diving the fuck in. She’ll make you wet and throw you into the depths of orgasmic bliss, but she’ll hurt you if you’re not careful.
Further down the beach, there are what feels like thousands of lesbians gathered tightly around dozens upon dozens of volleyball nets. It’s the world-famous “Lez Volley” event in Fire Island’s Cherry Grove. Lez Volley is exactly what it sounds like: A Lesbian Volleyball Tournament. But with fabulous parties and skimpy bikinis and basketball shorts and tattoos and late-night strap-on sex and love affairs and breakups and booze and a primal lust so palpable I want to bottle it up and wear it like perfume.
The beach teems with lesbians hailing from all across the tri-state area. I love all lesbians, but I’ve got a thing for tri-state girls. There’s no breed of girl less full of shit than who learned how to drive on the turnpike if you know what I mean.
I eye a group of old-school dykes adorned in sports-bras guzzling down electric blue Gatorades spiked with vodka, their unapologetic bodies sprawled luxuriously on the naked sand. They remind me of the camp counselors I used to secretly fantasize about getting down and dirty with, from the top bunk, when I was a closeted 13 at all girl’s sleep-away camp in New Hampshire.
“Now, Zara. Your tennis game has been really off lately,” I’d imagine them growling into my ear before spanking me with a tennis racket. I should’ve known then that I’d turn out this way: Kinky and gay with a weakness for women in positions of authority.
Next to the group counselor-looking dykes is a group of fitness lesbians. Their teeth are bleached white and they’ve got tennis-toned arms. Their olive skin glistens in the sweltering sun, it almost looks glitter-infused. They smell like my favorite smell in the world: tanning oil, sweat, tequila, and lime. They’re chatting up the Sapphic Sirens. The Sapphic Sirens distract the masses with their sultry, come-hither glares, their graceful fingers dancing through long silky black hair.
There are so many different kinds of lesbians out today. It’s like being at a county fair but in lieu of cotton candy stands and Ferris wheels and weeping toddlers; it’s all girls with different window dressings, united in their desire to fuck other women.
I’m wearing a white bikini and a white sarong and there’s a white flower in my hair and I feel like maybe I wore the wrong thing? I look less like a New York City Dyke and more like the Virgin Sacrifice.
“You look like a mermaid,” a girl with brown-curly hair croons to me. She smiles and clutches her canned champagne.
I smile back. “Thanks.”
“Do you want a can of champagne?” She offers, pulling a bubble-gum pink can out of a cooler packed with ice. Lesbians always come armed to the beach with coolers packed with ice. I’m a bad lesbian like that. I’ve never owned a cooler, let alone one stocked with ice. I didn’t even toy with the idea of joining the softball team in high school. So many rites of lesbian passages have passed over me.
“Of course I want a canned champagne!” I sing-song, unable to hide my unquenchable thirst for mind-altering bubbles.
She cracks open a can. “See that girl over there?” She points to a sulking red-headed fox.
“Yeah, I do.” I take a sip of warm champagne. It tastes like heaven.
“That’s my ex.” She pauses. “She broke my heart.”
“You can do so much better,” I say this like I mean it because for whatever reason I do.
“You brought canned champagne to the beach.” I purr. “Of course I want to be friends. We’re practically soulmates.”
“I fucking knew it the moment I saw you.” We clink glasses.
And in that moment I realize it’s not the warm champagne that tastes like heaven. It’s the taste of instant connection. The taste of the sea and a new lesbian friendship. It’s the taste of the fiery whirlwind of a platonic rapid-fire romance. The excitement you feel in your teeth when two gay bitches beautifully bond as volleyballs fly over their heads and the glittery lesbian ocean roars in approval and then crashes on the same sand you and your new lesbian best friend are standing on.
“Wait isn’t that the one SHANE hooked up with?” asks Ana, pointing to the TV. Two girls breathlessly kiss next to perfect-looking palm trees on the screen.
“Nah, that’s the other broad,” Christina grumbles, her long limbs stretched out on the carpet. In this moment, she’s more cat than girl.
“Really? Do you need to say fucking ‘broad’ Christina?” Little Michelle snaps. Little Michelle’s piercing eyes are full of love even when hurling an insult.
We all erupt into a hysterical fit of laughter. We’re New York natives. There are many words you could twist your tongue around to describe this coven: gay. sick-humored. hyper-sexual. quick to get a buzz. gluttonous. But you know what word no one would ever dare to even whisper when describing us? Fragile.
I recklessly grab a New Jersey bagel off of the coffee table, tear off a piece and savagely toss it into my mouth.
“Want some?” I ask, Dayna, my mouth full of cream cheese lox, and dough.
“Nasty,” Dayna says, hamming up her Long Island accent, in mock disgust. I hand her over the bagel and she sinks her Italian teeth into my Jewish delight. My heart feels warm and gooey like a 2 AM fresh slice.
We’re all at my house in Jersey. It’s Sunday. We’re wildly hungover and sucking back sauvignon blanc while rewatching The L Word for the millionth time. Our bodies are lovingly draped over each other. No one has showered and no has brushed their hair but everyone looks distressed and sexy, sunken into couches with smudged eyeliner.
Dayna is wearing green satin pajamas. Last night’s hair extensions spill over her shoulders. I can tell she’s in a troll-y mood by the way she keeps cackling to herself. “SHANE AND JENNY WERE HOT TOGETHER!” she suddenly shouts out of nowhere.
I’m wearing the same satin pajamas, only mine are pink. They’re cheap; bought off Amazon. (Dayna and I secretly call them “vagina smellers” because unbreathable, faux silk just does something to the nether reasons. “I AGREE. SHANE AND JENNY WERE HOT TOGETHER!” I shout in sacred solidarity, even though I don’t agree. But see — one must always back up one’s best friend’s controversial opinions — especially when it comes to lesbian pop culture. A nice, sweet dyke can transform into a wild animal ready to pounce on her prey when confronted with a perspective she doesn’t agree with. I’ve made it a habit to blindly back my friends up because gay New York is the fucking animal kingdom and you’ll never survive without a wolf-pack by your side.
“Who wants more wine?” Arielle chirps standing by the kitchen. Her curls are rumpled but her skin glows brighter than Mcdonald’s Sign on the Vegas strip.
“I do!” we all shout, in unison, like we’re starring in a weird lesbian version of “Newsies.”
Arielle skitters into the kitchen and begins to furiously pour wine into disposable cups. I leap up to help her. “Your help is no good here,” she lectures. “Go relax.”
I sheepishly make my way back into the living room and curl up between Meghan and Dayna and Michelle on the couch. We smell like women: heavily fragranced, aquatic and salty.
“I don’t get why everyone thinks Carmen is so hot,” I whine. The character of Carmen is undeniably hot but I’m wildly jealous of her because I’ll never be a Carmen. I’m a crazy bitch Jenny.
“I agree!” Dayna and Michelle say at the same time because let’s face it; we’re all crazy bitch Jennys.
Arielle scurries into the living room cradling glasses of wine. “Should we order Sushi?” She asks, very much the Jewish mom worried we’ll suffer from hunger if we don’t eat every few minutes.
“YES!” I say, turned on by the thought of slabs of raw fish in my mouth.
“SUSHI. SUSHI. SUSHI. SUSHI.” We all begin chanting like we’re at a sports game. Fists are flying up in the air. I attempt to cheerlead to our battle cry.
I swear to the Indigo Girls, I’ve never had more fun in my life.
I’m in a bridal shop on Long Island. Dayna is trying on wedding dresses. Every dress is better than the last. The bitch was born for wedding dresses.
“VOGUE WISHES!” I scream every time she tries on a dress.
“HOTTEST LESBIAN BRIDE EVER!” Arielle screams every time she tries on a dress.
“I MEAN — IS THIS EVEN LEGAL? TO BE SO FUCKING OUTRAGEOUSLY SEXY.” Allie screams every time she tries on a dress.
“KIM K WISHES.”
“ELLEN AND PORTIA COULD FUCKING NEVER.”
“BITCH LOOKS LIKE A FUCKING QUEEN.”
Dayna is standing on a podium gazing into the mirror, oogling her own tits like a fabulous narcissist. Earlier that morning I’d fastened her hair into a sky-high ponytail with extensions so long they kissed her tailbone. “Make this ponytail so tight I have a fucking migraine!” She’d ordered just hours before. I’d followed her directions and ignored her screams as I styled her hair, like a real best friend.
Dayna tries on a dress with a split so high her Italian mom screams: “DAYNA I CAN SEE YOUR PANTIES!” Dayna responds by sticking her ass out in the air like she’s about to start twerking. We gas her up. “HELL YES BITCH! SHAKE THAT ASS!”
The woman helping her is wearing a cheetah print onesie and is tan in the way only Long Island girls can be tan. She turns to the other sales associate and whispers: “Wow. These girls are a breath of fresh air.”
“DAYNA YOU LOOK SO HOT MY NIPPLES ARE HARD!” I holler for their amusement.
“You girls are so supportive and so sweet,” Dayna’s mother croons in earnest. “I’m taking you all for dinner after this!”
We clap our hands like little kids and skip out of the store. “BITCH SAID YAS TO THE DRASS!”
At dinner, we slurp back martinis like they’re glasses of wine and talk about sex and love and exes and our gastrointestinal issues and we all cry and laugh and drink too much for a Monday.
“You know what’s great about lesbian weddings?” I say to the group on the long car ride home. The windows are cracked and it’s springtime and we’re listening to Lana Del Rey wail “down at the men in music business conference” for the fortieth time that day.
“You can do basic shit — like wear matching “TEAM BRIDE” bathing suits and make a big ‘to do’ over the wedding dress — but it’s not, like —”
“Embarrassing and basic, like it when straight people do it?”
“Exactly.” I say smirking.
Make sure to check out Lez Volley 2021! I’ll definitely be there!
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