…The Continuation (from August 2)
so it turns out that, despite appearances, louisa* is actually a 25-year-old girl. think brandon teena. i had a sinking feeling that this four-girl apartment by montmartre was not exactly as i had imagined it. she showed me my room and then the rest of the apartment (a maze of a place with seventeen doors, not including the entrance). as there was, for lack of a better term, gay paraphernalia about—you know, a queer poster here, a rainbow sticker there—i think my hunch was correct.
now, i have two distinct lines of thought with regard to this situation. first:
when i was trying to rent diane’s place in maui, i asked her about race relations there. this was based on my having heard from my cousin about a bad incident. i wanted to know if maui would be unwelcoming to me as a black person, and i also wanted her to know that i’m black. instinctively, i never want to spring this on people, to have them expecting a bubbly white girl named jan and then get me instead. i’d rather put the info on the table and let a person come up with an excuse than show up and be stuck in an inhospitable situation. point is, i’m led to wonder if this line of thought, however sad a statement of the world it may be, might not be relevant for gay people, too. should it perhaps have been mentioned that this is a lesbian household? or is paris so nonchalant that it would never occur to them that it might be an issue for some?
i recently had a conversation with someone about how we straight women can be really cool with gay guys but uncomfortable with lesbians. i don’t know if this was an automatic response for me or the result of a bad experience, but i’m the same way. here’s what happened: i once befriended this girl in a writing group. we started hanging out and critiquing each other’s work on the side. she always made a really big deal over my writing, as if i were a pro, and whenever we met up, she would laugh excessively, as if i were the funniest person she’d ever met. after having known her for going on a year, my boyfriend and i broke up. i was grousing about it with her on the phone, and the end of the conversation went like this:
her: “you know what you need?”
me: “no. what?”
her: “you need to have a lesbian relationship.”
clickedy, click, click…everything clicked into place for me at once. i never spoke to her again after that, and i’ve been uncomfortable with the concept of lesbians ever since. i have to say concept because i haven’t ever fallen into a nest of them or anything. until now, that is. LOL. well, for now, all of the roommates are away, so we’ll just see how it goes when folks return, i suppose.
in the movies, french apartments always look quaint and charming (see, e.g., “amélie” or “delicatessen”). in real life, these are not the words i would choose. no, i’d probably go with old and inconvenient. with regard to old, paris makes london look like japan. i fear the apartments here are much better imagined about from the outside. granted, i only know this one, but with regard to inconvenient, it doesn’t even have a freezer, yo. only a little dorm-sized fridge fitted under the counter. there is also no microwave and no washer or dryer. and oh, the cost of the laundromat! it’s 3€70 ($5.75) to wash a single load of clothes!!! no wonder paris smells like a giant armpit; the things i’ve worn once and cast aside for washing can definitely get trotted out a couple more times here what with the different cultural sentiment on body odor.
on the other hand, my room has a fireplace with a huge, ornate mirror above it, beautiful detail work on the ceiling, and knee to original crown moulding french doors at the front. see for yourself:
this recommends it a bit, don’t you think? can’t you just imagine beckoning down to your lover from there? or maybe just calling out “gare de l’eau” and throwing your slops out the window. okay, the crib isn’t that old school—luckily, there is a working toilet!