A Sublime Blogiversary

Hello darlings, I’m back from my vacay just in time for my one-year blogiversary!   Van and I had a great time on our cruise and also enjoyed ourselves at the gorgeous Mayfair Hotel in Miami, which was wonderful despite the heat.  

Just how much fun did we have?  On the cruise I discovered that minibar bottles of Absolut are an excellent remedy for puffy eyes.  Chilled bottles should be applied directly to the eyelid for maximum benefit.   Unfortunately, Van snapped several incriminating photos of me while I was testing my new beauty treatment.  Note to self:  destroy evidence of debauchery tout suite.

Perhaps it was all the fabulous mojitos, but I seem to have left my brain somewhere in the Bahamas.   So in honor of my blogiversary (and, let’s face it, because I am incapable of composing something new), I’m sharing with you my inaugural post.   Kisses to you, my sublime readers!   

“What Does a Lesbian Look Like?” by Sublimefemme, August 17, 2008

I’ve always loved discovering that beautiful, glamorous women are queer because it’s such a delightful surprise.  I certainly think that femmes are “real” lesbians, but even I find that my gaydar is based on stereotypes most of the time.  In an effort to challenge these stereotypes, I offer up this iconic image of Greta Garbo, which asks (but does not answer) the question, “what does a lesbian look like?”  

In this photograph, Garbo’s face might be described as “a pool to swim in” (to borrow from the critic David Thompson).  Although part of me just wants to swoon over this sculptural face, what especially interests me is how it highlights some of the embodied contradictions of femme identity.  There is certainly something overly precious about this image–if we are to appreciate its aesthetic we must surrender to Garbo’s cool and androgynous eroticism, which is dependent upon being idealized, deified and mystified.   And yet, although she was called the Divine Garbo, her beauty is distinctly human in its fragility.  Her persona is so seductive and haunting because it is both fragile and strong, veiled and expressive, distant and intimate, masculine and feminine. 

These contradictions are what I love about Garbo.  Parker Tyler famously reminds us that “Garbo ‘got into drag’ whenever she took some heavy glamour part, whenever she melted in or out of a man’s arms, whenever she simply let that heavenly-flexed neck…bear the weight of her thrown back head…   How resplendent seems the art of acting!  It is all impersonation, whether the sex underneath is true or not.” In short, Garbo performs queer femininity as drag, and in so doing calls into question what we thought we knew about the look (and act) of lesbian gender.

10 Responses

  1. Happy blogiversary!

    Sounds like you had a blast! 🙂

  2. Happy belated anniversary and thanks for the re-post. I’m a recent fan and missed it first time around.

  3. sounds fabulous!

    and happy birthday to your blog!

  4. Great blog. Keep it up and I’ll keep reading. =)

  5. Happy Blog-Anniversary!!

  6. heyy! welcome back! i love vacations! i cant wait until me and my girl get to go on one soon. but who will watch the pups?

    i love this post because it’s so true! i’m all about hating people not believing me when i say i’m gay because i dont look the part, but yet my gaydar usually dings when i see the more butchy gals. i usually never see a feminine woman and say, “GAY!”

  7. I love your blog. I just ran across it. I completely get what you are saying. I pass all the time so much that I feel like I have to “come out” everyday. women at work try to set me up with their sons all the time. It gets embarrassing.

    Hi Kate, Welcome! Glad the post resonated with you. Congrats on your new blog. Looking forward to reading more.

  8. Happy belated blogiversary. I’m so happy I stumbled upon your blog, and I continue to love your writing.

    Thanks for re-posting that piece. It resonates with me for a different reason. I’m pretty sure I don’ t pass (hence the constant “sir”-ing I get on a nearly daily basis), but as a butch, sometimes it’s tricky negotiating whether or not a feminine woman is lesbian or not. I certainly could point out the women I’d like to be lesbian, but finding out without offending one way or the other can be dicey, and it often makes me a little nervous.

    Although one woman, after some discussion and inquiries, told me she was straight but “highly flattered” that I didn’t know for sure.

    Sorry G were you saying something about femmes? If so I missed it because I was distracted by the sexy revelation that you get called sir on a nearly daily basis. You’re sooo butch! xo SF

    • Yes, I do. It used to bother me a bit, but now – I own it and actually feel proud of it. I take it as a sign that my masculine energy is at least somewhat authentic!

  9. dear SF
    you rock my world and have inspired a lot of my academic research.
    eagerly awaiting to devour more of your posts


    Darling, flattery will get you everywhere. 😉 I really like hearing from readers so feel free to send me your questions/ideas or just let me know what topics interest you. And I see you’ve started your own blog–congrats! I’d love to hear more about your own work. -SF

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