The L Word is a Lie

December 5, 2008

About 5 or 6 years ago, the lesbian community rejoiced at the creation of a Showtime original series “The L Word” whose story lines focused on several lesbian characters, their lives and relationships. Every Sunday lesbians across American sat together in living rooms, bars and community centers and watched with deep satisfaction and joy as the lesbian lifestyle was exposed to all of America.  L Word parties became the rage and were the highlight of many a woman’s weekend as well as the hot topic of conversation. Lesbians were finally main stream.

The problem, as I see it, is that the show presents a mythical, fictional and unrealistic view of lesbians and their lives. I mean, come on, have you ever met as many hot, sexy and gorgeous lesbians as the main or supporting characters on the show? Do you know any lesbians who live the kind of life the women on the L Word live? Maybe you will see these types in small numbers at the annual Dinah Shore event in Palm Springs or on occasion in Provincetown, Los Angeles or New York but in my everyday life, I can count the lesbian women I know who look, dress and act like the women on the L Word on one hand, and then using only one or two fingers.

I recently married my partner and we are now one of the 18,000 gay couples who got married in CA before a slim majority of ignorant and bigoted voters passed Prop 8 (it should actually be called Prop Hate) prohibiting gay marriage. For our honeymoon we went on an Olivia Cruise to the Caribbean. In case you don’t know, Olivia cruises are lesbian cruises. Prior to departure we were excited at the prospect of being on a ship with all women, in a community where we could be a couple, hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes at dinner without fear of hateful looks or nasty comments. We could enjoy a real romantic and celebratory honeymoon as a couple and not have to pretend to be roommates or sisters. And, as an added bonus,  having seen footage of Olivia cruises on both the L Word and Work Out, I had a vision that the ship would be filled with beautiful lesbian women such as those featured on both of those shows. For one short week, my wife and I could live the L Word life! Boy was I in for a surprise.

As we embarked on the cruise I looked around at the women on board and thought to myself “The L Word is a LIE!” The majority, and I am talking 80 to 85% of the women on this cruise we not only fat, they were obese. They were not, as a whole, beautiful, hot, sexy or gorgeous. Most had short butchy haircuts. Most were older. Where were the normal looking women? Where were the women like me? I exercise, eat healthy, am fairly attractive, and dress somewhat fashionably. In short, I take care of myself. Before I stepped foot on the ship I thought I would see and meet a lot of women like my wife and myself. This was not to be.

Another thing I found disturbing is how masculine many of the women were.  I am a lesbian because I am attracted to women. I have never understood why a lesbian who purportedly wants to be with another woman would chose to be with a woman who looks like a man. What is up with that? The number of extremely butch and masculine women on this trip astounded me.

Now there is nothing wrong with a woman being athletic, wearing her hair short or having masculine qualities, (I have straight women friends like this) but I really cringe when I see women dressing in men’s clothes and acting like men. I just don’t get it.  On formal night, I was shocked by the number of lesbian women wearing men’s suits, and I mean real men’s suits complete with ties and wing tips. This is not to say that dresses should be required (I only own two and rarely wear them) but couldn’t these women dress in female clothes? Is it lack of self-esteem that drives them to men’s clothes or is it rampant obesity? I guess the obesity should have come as no surprise. After all, nearly two-thirds of Americans are obese or grossly overweight. Why should the lesbian community be immune to the epidemic?

Now don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the cruise. Olivia is a great company and provides travel opportunities for women in safe, secure and comfortable environments. They have created settings where we can feel free to and simply be ourselves. The company does a great job and I recommend that more lesbians take advantage of the Olivia experience.  But don’t expect to see the type of lesbian community the L Word or Work Out projects. Beautiful, hot, sexy and gorgeous lesbians were in the minority on my cruise. But one thing you can count on, you will feel safe and free to be yourself in a loving and open community.

The point? The L Word IS a lie. Isn’t most everything we see on television or at the movies? If television simply held up a mirror to society, no one would watch. Who among us would watch a show about fat, unattractive lesbians? Every one of us, gay, straight or questioning wants to believe in something better and more beautiful, more perfect than ourselves or our everyday lives. Come the beginning of the final season of the L Word, you will find me and my wife in front of our television every Sunday night imagining ourselves living in the fantasy world created by Showtime.


  1. I completely agree that the L Word does misrepresent lesbians, but TV is LaLa land (especially TV shows based in LA). I do not agree that the girls on L Word are better looking (they just carry themselves like they know who they are, and they dont need anyones approval, and thats HOT). If you go to the right places there will be lots of other hotties. Cruises are for old people! I am 32 and I still would not be interested in a cruise. I can only imagine the girls even younger than me would have no interest. The thing to do is hop from place to place and you cant do that on a boat.

    My 2 Cents

  2. Regardless of what you think about the actors’ looks, the L Word writers have taken an absolutely fabulous opportunity to make a statement about America’s lesbian community and turned it into a joke. This show is supposed to be a drama, but it’s all so entirely laughable, how could it possibly be taken seriously? It’s too bad that lesbians always seem to get the short end of the gay/lesbian stick.


  3. Well, I think you and your wife could be on the L Word!

  4. I know this is over a year old but I had to say this…I agree that the L Word does portray all of their characters in a better light than reality. But if, when you started watching the show, you thought that it somehow mirrored real life in any way physically then you need to get out more and not live on your couch in front of the television..if it took you getting on a cruise to realize the majority of lesbians are unattractive then you obviously live in a fantasy world.
    But I had a major issue that you were bashing “dykes” or “studs”. Women who wear men’s clothing are perfectly acceptable. Just because YOU do not care to dress that way doesn’t mean ALL lesbians should follow that code. Do you also have a problem with “T” in the LGBT community? Trans-sexuals are one sex trying to become another…I don’t hear you bashing them. So why does it matter to you how a woman decides to dress? And if you just got married then why in God’s name do you care what the other women looked like? You weren’t there to pick anyone up.
    So there were a few things I agreed with that you said. I just wish you didn’t have to look down on others just because you view yourself so highly.

  5. I totally understand the writers disappointment with the Olivia cruise not having all the beautiful and fabulous women like the “L” Word.

    But lets think about it for a second.

    That is TV = fantasy and this is real life = reality. If only “hot” chicks were allowed someone would have to be in charge of the screening process and make a judgment call right? And who should that be? I would never want to go on a cruise where I had to supply a recent head and body shot, hope to get picked THEN pay money to cruise?

    We all face enough discrimination, let’s not do it to each other. Just feel good you and your girl were one of the hotties on the boat, chalk it up and keep it moving.

    • I certainly do not advocate screening the women who go on Olivia cruises. I just wonder why so many women, gay and straight alike, do not care about their appearance and let themselves go. Or why some women who love women want to look, act and dress like men? If you are a lesbian, don’t you want to be with a woman who looks like a woman?

  6. mens clothing should be comfortable and very fashionable _

  7. living rooms should be decorated with style that is why i always get some living room decoration idea on the internet `–

  8. All T.V shows have characters that are beyond handsome and beautiful. No T.V show accurately depicts the average man or woman . Just as you were disapointed at seeing Obese and unattractive women on the Olivia cruise , people dont want to see the average woman on T.V either. We all like a little fantasy world and T.V provides that for us. Dont hate on the Lword , hate on society that believes you have to be 5’10 and 120 lbs to be attractive.The sooner we all find inner beauty amongst ourselves the better the world will be.

  9. you all gotta get yourselves over to Australia then.. We have clubs full of gorgeous, femme, and andro women. Beautiful women everywhere…

    • take me theeere!

  10. I do believe in my city the lesbians around me would be totally compared to TLW, we sometimes make the relations when the drama is too intense on a trio, or a couple, or maybe one of the toughest dykes is just hated by the other..and this kind of stuff.. hahah it just reminds me of reality, of course, it is a tv show, so it is exaggerated.

  11. After reading your post about the Olivia cruise I just wanted to put my .02 in regarding why women dress in men’s clothing. I am a butch lesbian. I dress in men’s pants, t shirts, baseball caps, ad I use cologne more than I do perfume. I use Axe shampoo and body wash. I do this because I like it. I’m always gonna be the “man” of the relationship. I like feeling like the protector, the masculine one. I’m also attracted to semi butch women, because women that are super girly get on my nerves. I find myself thinking like a man a lot, I like things being simple, I hate drama, and I hate high maintenance women. I like women who can enjoy a football game and a nice steak. Hopefully that sheds a little light on why women sometimes wear men’s clothes. And a woman in a tux? Whoo that is hot.

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