Where The Girls Are - Read Online

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Summary

Many a confident urban lesbian in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago was once a wide-eyed newcomer. Every year thousands of young women arrive in these queer-friendly cities, seduced by downtown life and its erotic possibilities. In Where the Girls Are, D.L. King collects explicit memoirs and stories about these newly arrived country girls. Here are stories of first times, initiations, bars, dance clubs, and parties, reading (or misreading) the codes — and sometimes teaching those city girls a thing or two in the process. Featuring such stories as “My First Play Party,” “Rush Hour,” and “The Critic” from well-regarded authors of erotica Charlotte Dare, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Sophie Mouette, Lisabet Sarai, and others, Where the Girls Are burns with the immense heat of the furnace that lies just below the urban landscape.
Published: Cleis Press on
ISBN: 9781573445269
List price: $9.99
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INTRODUCTION

What is it about sex in the city that makes it so exciting? After all, girls have been having sex long before there were cities, and sex can be just as fine-hot-twisted-loving wherever you find it.

Just to whet your appetite for what’s to come, let me tell you a little about some of the themes you’ll find here: there are bar stories, sex club stories, revenge stories, coming-of-age stories; there are stories of sweet sex and stories of sublime sex; and there are stories that defy the constraint of theme altogether.

City sex is all about attitude and opportunity. After all, one expects to find girls with attitude in the city; girls like the punk rock singer in Lisabet Sarai’s Rush Hour who tries to steal a taxi from a briefcase-juggling executive in a downpour. They end up together in the cab, as neither will give up the ride.

There’s also plenty of attitude in Kathleen Bradean’s Don’t Fuck with Country Girls. However, this time the attitude cascades in waves, off an ill-treated country girl. The bartender dp n=9 folio=viii ? with the Botticelli hair hits the spot—in more ways than one.

The city affords opportunities not always available in less urban settings. Consider the haute couture setting of Crystal Barela’s In the Dressing Room. The story brings together dresser and high-fashion model backstage at a Versace show. Being a dresser is not only about getting the clothes off quickly, but getting them back on again in time to walk down the runway.

More than art ends up On Display in Sophie Mouette’s story about a gallery director’s fervent need to please her most important donor/patron. The fact that she’s beyond smitten doesn’t help her case of nerves.

And of course, no anthology of mine would be complete without its share of dominance and submission. Being a city girl, I know where to find the sex clubs. And so do the girls in these stories. The girl who seeks out the mistress of her dreams knows just where to find her in Jessica Lennox’s A Is for Apple. Those kinds of sexy games aren’t only played out in bars; they can just as easily occur in a high-rise apartment or the bathroom of an elegant restaurant.

And as for stories that defy description, need I say more than Roxy Katt? Her story The City Pony includes, among other things, a Toronto office tower and a black latex horse head hood. Well, you’ll see... So lie back, relax, get nice and comfy, and enjoy your trip to the big city.

D. L. King

New York City

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THE CRITIC

Charlotte Dare

I’d been in Manhattan barely a week when Stella, the managing editor for New York Buzz, called to suggest I check out a posh new bistro in the Village. "I hear it’s an awgy for the taste buds," she drawled in an accent true to her Bushwick roots. I was so excited I stumbled over the landfill of moving boxes crowding the living area of my tiny Lower East Side studio. After years of plugging along in obscurity as a freelance writer and blogger, landing a gig as food critic and columnist for the Buzz was like hitting the self-esteem jackpot. Imagine me, the original Ugly Frannie, a graceless, friendless bookworm throughout my entire adolescence, living my childhood dream writing for a trend-setting magazine in glamorous New York City.

Eager to make my literary mark, I pocketed my BlackBerry, cleansed my palate, and raced to Demeter to sample the dinner fare.

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The waiter appeared from nowhere, tilting his freshly coiffed faux-hawk as though trying to identify what species I belonged to. Hello, and welcome to Demeter. Would you like to hear our specials? Everyone was so chic in Manhattan. Even the busboys looked like they fell out of GQ.

I nodded and listened intently as he droned. I rarely order the specials, but I feel that if I don’t at least listen, I’ll disappoint the server who spent hours memorizing the tedious list of tongue-twisting appetizers, entrees, and desserts. If the truth be known, I live for the thrill of knowing that, going by the law of averages, at some point, some server’s bound to draw a blank.

Who’s the head chef here? I asked casually.

Darlene Gregory. She’s the owner, too.

My ears pricked up. It couldn’t be. Who did you say?

Darlene Gregory.

Is she from Connecticut?

Yes, I believe she is. Do you know her?

We’ve met. I dabbed the venom dripping from my fangs with a tacky chintz art deco napkin.

What’s your name? I’ll tell her you’re here.

Don’t bother. I can assure you she won’t remember me.

He shrugged. Can I start you with a cocktail?

Yes, I’d love a mojito. And can I get a cup of the spinach and artichoke chowder?

’Course you can, he chirped.

I scanned the restaurant titillated with trepidation. Could it be that I might actually come face-to-face with my prepubescent nemesis some twenty-five years later? What would I say if Darlene Gregory, whose enormous Ked always managed to land between my ankles when I scurried past her in gym, suddenly appeared before me?

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I cringed at the sting of her leather baseball glove slapping my flesh as I scrambled to get to second base without getting nailed in the back by the pitcher, who merely had to lob the ball to Darlene to throw me out.

In the bustle and clattering of tableware, my mother’s words and handful of comfort Oreos after coming home in tears flashed in my head. Don’t let those girls bother you, Frannie, she said, brushing my bangs out of my eyes. Just remember—living well is the best revenge.

I grinned to myself. Maybe not so much living well as being employed well. Suddenly, my fingers were itching to type my review, a scathing critique that would skewer Darlene and her hopes of culinary success in this city. Indeed, the geek shall inherit the Village.

After savoring the delectable pecan and arugula salad, lobster ravioli drizzled in crab bisque, and crème brulé, all of which lingered on my tongue with an intensity of flavor that bordered on erotic, I signaled my waiter for the check.

Here you go, he said. Oh, if you can hang out for a minute, Darlene would like to come out and say hello.

I smirked like a delinquent setting off a stink bomb in the lavatory. I’ll bet she would, no doubt to shove me out the door when she recognized who I am. Another time perhaps, I said. I do have a pressing engagement. I tapped my watch for authenticity.

He scooped up the cash in the check binder. Have a lovely evening.

I intend to.

At home, I fired up my laptop and dashed off a slamfest against Demeter the likes of which could almost get me sued—almost. I’d been a writer long enough to know exactly where the line was dp n=13 folio=4 ? I could dance on. The arugula wilted and waxy, the vinaigrette muddled, the mint mojitos watered down, the ravioli mushy pillows understuffed with leathery lobster meat. I could’ve penned a novella exposing everything wrong with Demeter.

Do you know this woman? my copy editor asked the next day.

No, why? I replied in all sincerity over the phone. My smile nearly leapt off my face.

It reads like a crime of passion. Can you tone it down and cut about a thousand words?

Sure, no problem, I replied, but inside I was torn. It was like Sophie’s Choice. My words are my children. How was I to choose which segment of unadulterated literary retribution to sacrifice? Well, if anyone could slash and burn with concision, surely it was I.

When the Buzz came out a week later, I grabbed my copy on the way out of the office. In the elevator, I tore through the pages in search of my review and giggled as I read the title out loud. "Demeter: Culinary Homage to Mother Earth Like Eating Dirt." It was a diabolic masterpiece, sinister enough to avenge every wrong Darlene had ever perpetrated against me as well as a few she’d only thought about.

I read it three more times on the subway home before displaying it on my fridge like it was another Spelling Bee award.

As I dolled myself up for my next assignment, a review of a lesbian gourmet coffeehouse as renowned for its singles scene as it was for its lattes and scones, the telephone snapped me out of my musings of meeting a nice girl to go with my passion fruit biscotti and espresso.

Fran, it’s Brandi, the voice said frantically. "Darlene Gregory’s called the office like four times demanding to speak to Missdp n=14 folio=5 ? Dish. She’s really pissed and threatening to sue the magazine. Stella said you better call her or better still, go down there and apologize."

Apologize? Stella approved the review. Why is she backpedaling?

She was so swamped that week, she didn’t bother reading it through. She said she thought she could trust you to be unbiased…or at least rational.

I sighed. I wanted to screw Darlene, not the woman who gave me my shot at the big time. You realize I’m going to look like a total idiot.

It’s basic damage control. Tell her you made a mistake, had a bad day, and that you’d be glad to have dinner there again and write another review.

Stella wants me to go there and kiss that woman’s ass.

Exactly.

I replaced the receiver and pursed my freshly rouged lips. This was a fine mess.

After three days of mustering up the moxie, I walked into Demeter biting my nails, sucking in deep calming breaths. Not only did I have to write a retraction about that witch, I also had to present her with a contrived explanation and sincere apology without gagging. I really wanted to tell her to go fuck herself and say what proud childhood moments they must’ve been for her, tormenting some skinny, self-conscious nerd for five years straight.

As I waited for her Highness to grant me an audience, I noticed a tanned, statuesque brunette in a white silk blouse and sleek black pants leaning against the bar, laughing with another waitress. Oh, I’ve got to get seated in her section, I thought. At least I can salvage some part of this embarrassing debacle.

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Right this way, please, the maître d’ said.

He was leading me toward the goddess. Yes! Now if she’s single and a lesbian and likes sardonic magazine writers, I’m in business. I opened my menu and pretended to read, stealing glances as she flipped her wavy hair around. When she started heading my way, my heart dropped into my loafers. I flipped my menu shut and calculated the right moment to flash the winning smile I practiced each night after brushing my teeth.

Ms. Jordan? she asked.

Wow, the staff gives great personal attention. I guess I didn’t catch that on my last visit. Yes, hello there.

I’m Darlene Gregory.

Holy shit. The wine list and menu tumbled to the floor.

You’re not Frances Jordan from Old Lyme, are you? she asked.

Why, yes I am, and if I’m not mistaken, my record for most consecutive whacks with a dodgeball in one game still stands at Prudence Folger Elementary. I don’t know why I said that. Oh, great, she’s sitting.

What the fuck was up with that review? she asked casually. "‘ A vomitorium masquerading as fine cuisine?’ What does that even mean?" Given the ramifications of a bad restaurant review in New York City, she was surprisingly calm.

It’s a reference to the grotesque gluttony at the Roman orgies. I thought it would be clever because of the restaurant’s mythological name.

She stared me down. Except that Demeter’s from Greek mythology, not Roman.

I bent over and picked up the menu binders, carefully avoiding eye contact. Tomato, tomahto. Listen, I’m sorry about the review. I made a mistake. I was having a bad day. I’m here to write another one. When I finally looked her in the face, it dp n=16 folio=7 ? registered a double take. By the way, you don’t look anything like you did in grammar school. You’re so sophisticated. And weren’t you blond back then?

She nodded. It turned ashy, so I color it. And what about you? I would never recognize you on the street.

Wore braces, outgrew the baby fat, and I might add, I found that ditching the pigtails did wonders for the overall look. I grabbed the wine list. Still pushing children in the dirt? I mumbled as I perused the selection of reds.

She smiled slyly. So that’s what this is all about. I used to pick on you, didn’t I? Me and Kelly Jamison.

Nooooo, I said, shaking my head liberally. Well, maybe one or two slightly insensitive remarks.

She sighed. Serves me right for being an asshole. She surprised me by gently placing her fingers on top of my hand. Look, I’m really sorry for busting your chops in school. And for clotheslining you in the Field Day relay race. If it makes you feel any better, I was in an abusive relationship in college.

Gallows humor. I liked her. I hope you dumped his sorry ass right away.

Her ass, and no, it took me way too long to come to my senses.

You’re gay? I gushed. I am, too. I might as well have been nine years old again, standing by the teeter-totter as Darlene and Kelly spit raisins on me.

She looked at my shoes with a smirk. Docksiders? Gee, I never would’ve guessed.

Mortified, I curled my feet under me like the Wicked Witch of the East.

So listen, Fran, she continued, I really am sorry for messing with you. Order anything you want. It’s on the house, and all I ask is that this time you write an honest review.

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I smiled. I think I can do that. What do you recommend?

She stood up and smoothed down the back of her sinfully tight pants. Leave it to me. I’ll hook you up. She winked and brushed my shoulder with her fingers as she left.

I grinned to myself, pleased at how well this whole move to New York was working out.

A month later, I ended up on a leather sofa in Darlene’s SoHo loft, admiring the Asian-themed décor and bounty of bamboo. Being on a date with someone my natural instincts told me I should hate was surreal. Despite the past wounds Darlene had reopened, I couldn’t stop picturing her naked or the warm tingles she’d aroused in my crotch all night long.

I’m glad you called, I began, but I hope you didn’t feel obligated to take me out to dinner.

Darlene stretched out in a round Buddha chair. Nonsense. The bistro’s been crazy since your review—the good one, that is. I just wanted to say thanks.

You could’ve dropped me a note. Why was I still trying to play it cool? I’d been obsessing over her dimpled smile since I’d laid eyes on her again after two decades. I had begun to wonder if maybe I should’ve dissed an appetizer or at least said the napkins were ugly—any excuse to see her again.

She shrugged and took a sip of her wine. Something made me want to get to know you. A broad smile crept across her face. I mean how ironic is this? I’ve been a huge fan of Miss Dish’s blog. Who knew she was someone I’d harassed in grammar school?

What’s that they say about just desserts?

She nodded and cradled her wine glass in her lap. She suddenly grew pensive. You know, I’ve never been good at being an outsider. I fought it so hard all through my childhood.

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I giggled nervously. That’s funny—good at being an outsider is my moniker.

She smiled out of politeness. Well, when your parents always expected you to follow in the footsteps of your two older sisters who married ivy-league dudes and popped out a bunch of adorable kids, it’s a little harder to embrace the role, especially when it takes you thirty-three years to establish yourself. Sometimes I feel like I’m still fighting those old demons.

I clutched the edamame-colored throw pillow tighter to my chest and offered an empathetic nod. I found solace in hiding behind the printed word. It’s pretty empowering.

Yeah, I got that, she said and smiled sincerely. Would you mind if I sat over there? She glanced at my death grip on her pillow.

Oh, sure. I tossed it aside and sat up straight.

She plunked down next to me and sipped her wine, gazing at me over the rim of the glass. You’re an interesting person, Fran. How did you ever go from that awkward, mousy girl to well-known food critic and columnist?

I shrugged. Witty and acerbic blogs get people’s attention. It’s more than I could do with my people skills…or lack thereof.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Not everyone can work a room.

I’d settle for just being noticed entering one. What was the matter with me? I could’ve choked myself on that pillow for letting her see me vulnerable yet again.

Not that you were an ugly kid, she said, but you’ve definitely improved with age. You have such pretty blue eyes, when your hair isn’t covering them.

I ran a hand through my bangs until they cleared my forehead. Thanks. And you’re not as butch as you were in fifth grade.

She laughed. I was a tomboy, all right. One thing hasn’t dp n=19 folio=10 ? changed, though. I’m still a sucker for a cute girl.

She leaned over and kissed me—a soft, lingering peck that awakened every erogenous zone on my body. I’m not placing you in some professionally unethical quagmire, am I?

I shook my head. I think it only becomes a quagmire if we sleep together.

She smiled lasciviously. I love having a goal. She crawled on top of me and pushed me back against the sofa’s armrest. Her kisses were longer, deeper, and wetter this time, her tongue sweet from the Pinot Grigio.

I wasn’t the sex-on-the-first-date type, but Darlene was so dynamic, so seductive, I didn’t know if I could resist her. I dug my fingers into her lower back and pulled her closer to me. The ends of her hair smelled lightly of men’s cologne as they dangled near my face. I closed my eyes and sighed as she kissed my neck, relishing the feel of her alternating soft lips and hot tongue. I imagined what that tongue would feel like roving over other places. Were we going that far? They call one-nighters that for a reason. But after getting to know Darlene through dinner conversation, I didn’t want the relationship to start and end on the same date. But oh, that tongue.

We’d be more comfortable on my bed upstairs, she whispered. She looked intensely sexy—her eyelids heavy, her full lips pink and puffy from