I kissed a girl, and I liked it.
Or more truthfully: I kissed a girl and it was sort of OK but the main reason I kissed her is because there was a dude that we both fancied who we knew would be pretty aroused by the whole scenario.
It’s not quite as catchy, but it is something that happens a fair bit. Ever since I first saw girls kiss in nightclubs I’ve heard whispers about ‘lipstick lesbians’ – usually accompanied by judgmental frowning. I’ve heard people moan about it and damn these girls. They’re stupid, they’re pathetic, they’re attention-grabbing and – perhaps most damning of all – they’re not even really into it. How dare they?
I read an article today by Julie Birchill, in which she discusses these girl-on-girl kisses. Girls who like girls for boys, girls who like girls for attention, and – her example being the famous Madonna/Britney snog – girls who like girls for money.
Sometimes I kiss girls for boys
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there’s nothing wrong in principle with people pulling others for the arousal of a third party. After all, many fantastic threesomes have begun that way. Some of my fantastic threesomes have begun that way. And I’d be a miserable hypocrite if I didn’t admit that two boys kissing to try and turn me on would… well… turn me on. Finally I suppose I should also admit that kissing girls to give boys erections is something that I do quite frequently – it is, perhaps, one of the tamest things I have done in my unending quest to give guys erections.
Likewise, people do shit for money all the time. Money is not an illegitimate reason to do something – it’s the reason most of us haul ourselves out of bed at godforsaken hours of the morning five days a week to go and do boring things when, given the choice, we’d rather be at home eating crisps and wanking. If you’re a pop starlet who thinks she’ll make more money by kissing a girl, I can see you making a legitimate choice to kiss a girl rather than – say – do something headline-grabbing for charity or get strategically semi-naked in your next music video.
Finally – attention. We all want attention, don’t we? Short of hermits, nuns and wanted criminals, everyone likes having a few pairs of eyes on them. If we burned people at the stake for attention-grabbing, they’d come for the bloggers first but the rest of humanity wouldn’t be far behind.
We’re all just people, making decisions. And the decision to place your tongue inside someone’s mouth and move it around a bit can, like any other decision in our lives, be made because we want money, attention or sex. There’s nothing obviously crass about doing something for these reasons, and yet girls who kiss girls are often met with contempt because they dared to do something that wasn’t purely motivated by a desire for the kiss itself.
The ethics of snogging someone you don’t really fancy
I suspect what people hate most about girls pulling other girls in clubs – and why ‘lipstick lesbian’ is (in my albeit limited experience) a phrase frequently spat with disgust and horror – is the lies. No reasonable person could have a problem with two women who fancy each other pulling in a nightclub – the problem people seem to have with this scenario is that there isn’t always desire. We’re used to kissed being motivated by this, so any other motivation both looks and feels like a lie.
People aren’t angry about what your motivations are (money, attention, or arousing other people), they’re angry because of what they’re not. You’re not motivated by lust, therefore you’re lying.
But my issue with this is that although I hate lies as much as the next person, I don’t feel like this really is a lie – it’s a game. You’re play-acting like you fancy someone in the same way as you might play-act a naughty schoolgirl, or an angry sargeant major, or a runaway My Little Pony. There’s nothing wrong with games as long as all participants know the rules.
The only time this falls down is if one of the participants doesn’t know the rules. If I pull you because we both fancy a guy and want to watch him get an erection in the pub, and if that guy knows that we’re doing that for him, then a good time will be had by all. But if one person doesn’t have that knowledge, and thinks the kiss is the start of something beautiful, then their legitimate and honest desire has been turned into something tawdry and crass.
Imagine someone you’d fancied for years finally getting up the courage to ask you for a snog, which you gleefully do, only to find out straight afterwards that they were doing it on a nudge and a wink from their partner. Horrible, heartbreaking, cruel, and immoral.
That’s what we should be disgusted by. Not the kiss itself, but the way it’s done. Kissing is, like all sex acts, intrinsically dependent on the enthusiasm of the other parties involved.
The person who is kissing you out of genuine love or lust has the right to be offended and upset if you’re being dishonest, and knowingly misleading them, but the people who scowl and whisper ‘lipstick lesbian’ have no such rights. They can guess at your motivations, but they can’t know what rules you’ve established with the other people involved. All they will ever see is two girls kissing – it’s up to those girls to decide whether they’re happy with that.