We have a lesbian at work. A real one, not like this male girl on girl fantasy kind. A proper gay lady who has been with her partner for many years. In fact, so many that they sound like any old married couple. So no, definitely not the fantasy kind.
As an Azeri woman who had never met any lesbians before, I was not entirely sure at first. I mean, can I even say lesbian? Or am I supposed to say gay? What is the appropriate etiquette around her? Do I pretend I don’t know, and avoid the subject altogether? Or do I act like I am used to gay women and see nothing unusual in it? Because of course, it is quite unusual for me.
However hard it might be to be a gay man back in Azerbaijan, to be a gay woman must be ten times worse. No wonder I had never met any. I suspect all lesbians in Baku just waste their lives trying hard to hide their natural instincts and pretend to be someone they are not.
So, I had no idea what it must be like- to be friends with a gay woman. Sometimes, girls do things in front of each other that we would not do in front of men.
For example, say you are wearing hold-ups and one of them is sliding down your leg. You would pop in the bathroom and lift your skirt up to adjust it. But what if your lesbian colleague is there? Should you assume she is also a girl and would not care? Or would it be a bit of a treat for her, just like it would for a man?
But, despite my clumsy uncertainty at first, the lesbian and I ended up becoming good friends.
I discovered she was pretty cool and very, very funny. Not only that, and the fact that we both hate the same people and therefore, can bitch about them for hours; but we also discovered we both love listening to music at work. Which creates a bit of a problem for our male secretary, who, on a number of occasions, hinted that our humming in unison is incredibly annoying.
But we, of course, think that we sound great. In fact, we said, we are so good we might form a band and try ourselves on the X Factor.
All we needed now was a catchy name.
And then, the other day, she told me about this friend of hers. Whenever they went out, she said, and stayed too late and got too drunk, he would get home and tell his wife that “the lesbians made him”.
And suddenly, I knew what the right way to handle it was. I was impressed and relieved. Impressed that she was so comfortable about it all that she could make a joke like that. Relieved that she knew I would get it.
'This is it!, - I said to her,- this is what our band will be called!'
The lesbian made me
We could be like the next Jedward. A scary Azeri mama and a lesbian.
Giving it some further thought, we decided we might allow the nervously giggling secretary to join us. He could play guitar at the back. That way, he could not complain about us humming at our desks all day long.
See, it all worked out in the end.