Paris, 1122 W. Montrose: Aimee, the love reporter, who travels all over the globe gathering stories of the human heart, had asked her friend Ann to take her to Paris, one of Ann's former haunts. Aimee and Ann used to work together before Aimee became an internationally famous love reporter.
Aimee chose a raspberry silk Gigli jacket from her magnificent wardrobe, thinking Paris would be full of women in glamorous evening gowns dancing in the arms of women in severely tailored pants to the music of Central European violins. But Aimee sees too much Masterpiece Theatre, which clouds her thinking. Though the inside of Paris was sort of Continental-looking, with two 1930s black laminate bars and murals of skyscrapers and volumetric women with deco haircuts, Aimee was sad to discover that everyone there wore tank tops, drank light beer, and talked about their parents and their jobs. Plus the parking lot was full of Toyotas. Ann explained that lesbians like Toyotas, especially Corollas.
Aimee asked Ann to tell her love story. "About six years ago I decided it was time to have a woman," Ann said. "Previously, as you may recall, I was involved with my philosophy professor from Loyola. He really turned me on to feminism. He took me to this Cris Williamson concert. It was the place to be, but I was humiliated to be with a man. He yelled, 'You just want to be with a woman,' and I said yes, and then he got a job at NYU and I slept with an assortment of men I didn't know--busboys, delivery boys. One was from Iran who wanted to marry me. We slept together twice. I said get away from me. Then there was a Japanese guy. They were all foreign.
"So then I was working at this bookstore and this woman and I had a crush on this gorgeous guy. He would alternately take us out. He didn't want to sleep with me. Then we three went out and she and I decided we didn't want him. She was going out with this other woman who didn't believe in monogamy. She was going out with me to avoid that. I was going out with her because this guy hurt me but also because I wanted to be with a woman.
"I slept with her but it was kind of awful. A month later I was volunteering at this women's clinic and there was Becky who I thought was cute. Now, I just wanted to sleep with her. I didn't want a relationship with her. I thought she was straight. She didn't look like a lesbian.
"One night a group of us went to Augie and CK's. It's more working-class than Paris. Becky picked me up in this red BMW. She's a lawyer. I remember exactly the outfit she was wearing. She had on these tight gray pants and these little slip-on pumps. I had this frumpy-looking outfit, white shorts and a purple tank top. Anyway, people were dancing and stuff. She was kind of shy. I still thought she was straight. I pulled her on the dance floor. We were dancing fast and then it was slow. She put her arms around me and held me really tight. Was I amazed. We stayed really late. So then we left and she started heading toward her house. She said she just wanted to play me some Pretenders. You know, with Chrissie Hynde, who always wears tight leather pants and stuff.
"Becky lived in this condo on Lake Shore Drive. So we're sitting on the couch and she's showing me a Pretenders video. I thought, What is she doing? You know, with men, it's easy. They're usually the aggressors. Then I was hungry so she had no food but she made me eat this bagel. It was so hard it would hardly stay on the plate. So I try to eat it and she's sitting in the corner of the couch and I said, God I'm tired, and I flopped my head down in her lap. We ended up going to bed together. She had this huge bed with a feather comforter.
"After that we were in a relationship. She had a motorcycle. I thought that was really sexy. She was a great driver. She'd sit with her Ray-Bans on. We were together four and a half years. We lived together for one of the years. She left me for someone else, a woman with an MBA from Harvard who was fairly tall. By the time Becky left me she was making over $100,000 a year. I was a waitress in a pizza restaurant plus I was cleaning houses.
"Once when Becky had to go to a conference in Las Vegas, she took me with her. I'd lie by the pool but then we didn't want to do the same stuff. She was just more mainstream. She'd never want to go to the Fine Arts but she'd want to go to Lincoln Village and see Look Who's Talking. Plus she used to wear glittery eye shadow. I went to Smith and nobody wore eye shadow.
"At the end it was really bad. She was out all night once. I was in the bathtub and I freaked out when she came in in the morning. Then that woman with the MBA sent her a bouquet of red roses for Christmas. Then Becky started wearing this gold ring. We really weren't sexually compatible. I liked handcuffs and stuff but she didn't.
"Now that girl over there is really hot." Ann was looking at a young girl wearing jeans that were slashed horizontally. She had the same short haircut as most of the women in the bar. "I used to have real short hair," Ann said. "Short hair made me feel like I could really come on to somebody. Listen, I gotta go soon. Franklin will be mad if I get home too late."
"I got involved with him a year ago after Becky and I broke up. He's a painter. He's such a sweetheart. He was nervous about me coming here tonight. He's afraid I'll meet some woman and leave him. I told him, God, you're nervous I'll meet a woman, you're nervous I'll meet a man . . ."
"He should be nervous," Aimee said, closing her Hermes notebook. "Except for children that's everybody in the world."
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Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Tom Bachtell.