Sex, Drama and PMS

Houston lady ruggers get vicious in the squishy stuff at Griff's (see Last Call).

Two girls stand in silhouette behind a heavy frosted-glass door. They're standing close -- discussing whether their attraction to each other will ever materialize into something concrete.

"You don't want to be with anyone. I understand that," says one.

"Well," replies the other sheepishly, "that doesn't mean we can't fuck."

The two lock lips and violently tear at each other's clothing.

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This is met with a smattering of applause and catcalls of "Go girl!" at Chances Bar (1100 Westheimer) where I'm hanging out and watching the weekly viewing party of the hot, lusty and distinctively lesbian Showtime hit The L Word.

It's the second episode of the second season, and a fair number of real-deal L-words have gathered to sip dollar vodka drinks while oohing, aahing and -- when characters they hate appear -- name-calling. The city's other L Word viewing party at Meteor (2306 Genesee) has been put on hold for another gay TV event, the Oscars, so if you prefer company while following the drama-packed lives of Bette, Shane, Tina, Dana, Carmen and the other girls who dine in Box Canyon, chances are Chances is the only place to be.

And boy, oh boy, is there ever drama. The L Word has more of it in its opening scene than Dawson's Creek could muster in an entire boxed set. Tina has hired a lawyer to begin her separation proceedings with Bette. Don't feel too bad, girlfriend. It was Bette who flipped out on Tina after she'd lost the couple's artificially inseminated attempt at having a child. She also had the nerve to cheat on her beloved (or "spread her legs for another woman," as her lawyer coldly puts it) -- while Tina was still with fetus! Bitch!

Confused? So am I. Work in a half-dozen or so other plot lines -- to name a couple, Kit (played by Miss Foxy Brown herself, Pam Grier) needs money fast to buy a restaurant, and there's a video shoot for a band called the Organs. And things soon get even hairier.

I need help, so I've enlisted some ardent L Word watchers at the bar to fill me in. There's a backstory about one character killing another's cat, which, it turns out, isn't code for anything. I'm also told Shane is a player. She just sleeps around -- doesn't do serious relationships. She's one of the silhouettes behind the door in the aforementioned scene.

That's all very fine and good, but let's get down to brass tacks -- cut the shit and talk tit, as it were. "Why," I ask Tina, one of my L Word tour guides for the evening, "do you watch this show?"

Is it the masterful performances? The smart writing? Is it that the show is unafraid to touch on poignant issues that closely resemble those that affect the viewers' lives?

She takes a long, cool drag off a cigarillo and thinks a bit. "The bitches in the show are hot," she bottom-lines.

No, if you're wondering, Tina wouldn't tune in if the show found itself cast with a bunch of "dumpy bitches."

"Think about it. TV is an escape. Who wants to watch unattractive, fat people? I don't."

Dee agrees. She says on an average episode, you can hope to see at least one pair of hot-girl chesticles. It's why she watches, too.

"Why not just rent girl-on-girl porn?" I ask, receiving a table full of you-and-your-dick-just-don't-get-it scowls in return.

"We need some plot to keep us interested."

And what of those numerous plots? Are they thicker than Tony Soprano's neck?

Tina's girlfriend Dana (name changed by request) thinks they're a bit cheese-dick. She doesn't understand the appeal of the show.

"It's too dramatic," she sighs. "I'm only here because Tina really follows the show."

She laments that The L Word isn't more like Showtime's other shot in the queercore dark, Queer as Folk.

"That show has more sex -- a lot less bullshit drama. I don't even care that it's gay male sex -- I just want to see people get it on!"

Hear, hear!

Tina disagrees and surmises that drama is an essential part of the lesbian experience. "Twice as much PMS," she says. Fearing political incorrectness of Harvard-professor proportions, I dare not agree.

Instead, I offer a different hypothesis. Throughout the night, the show-watching silence is broken only when the group I'm with points out ex-girlfriends or temporary trysts who've wandered into the bar. In this world, it seems that drama is damn near unavoidable. All these girls frequent the same handful of haunts. Can you imagine running into your exes at every turn, unable to go out for a night of drinks with someone new without your last love there to piss on your giddy parade?

"Yeah, that's true too. But I still think it's the PMS," Tina says, half laughing.

Pop a Midol. Roll credits.

Last Call

Speaking of drugs that ease pain, the women of the Houston Athletic Rugby Club might need them after last week. That's when the team got together on the back patio of Griff's (3416 Roseland) for some good-ol'-fashioned Jell-O wrestling. The squad had played a game earlier in the day, dusted off the dirt, bandaged their leaking wounds and soaked their weary feet before stripping down to their skivvies and rolling around with one another in a vat of red gelatinous goop. Seven ducats at the door was all it took to join other onlookers getting their perv on -- cheering the occasional nip slip. All the money raised at the door will help the team tour the rugby circuit, testing their merit against other, out-of-state squads. The group is planning more events at Griff's soon -- pudding might be in the mix, but they pooh-poohed my suggestion of wrestling in raw chicken.

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