Lez Miserable: “Straight girls, please stop flirting with me. Now.”

Join our newest columnist, Eleanor Margolis, as she takes a frank, funny and cynical tour through life as a twentysomething lesbian. This week, she painstakingly explains to straight girls why she doesn’t want to be the guinea pig for their same-sex exper


Straight girls, let’s get one thing clear: you don’t want to sleep with me and I don’t want to sleep with you. I mean, I have nothing against you – some of my best friends are straight. Sure, I prefer them not to rub their heterosexuality in my face, but I’m cool with whatever it is they do.

What I’m trying to say to you, straight girls, is stop flirting with me. It’s not that you all do it – I’m not saying that you’re swarming around me like pre-teens around Harry Styles. But enough of you do hit on me and I’m struggling to figure out why.

Typical scenario: I’m out with friends somewhere straight. Let’s say a Wetherspoon’s. I get introduced to someone’s mate – a girl called Emily or Poppy (you know, straight girl names). Emily/Poppy is pretty. She has long blonde hair that she wears swept to one side in one of those trichological tsunamis. She keeps her tampons – I’m sorry – “tampies”, hidden away from polite society in a Cath Kidston zip-up pouch. Her anus pipes out Vivaldi’s Spring every time she farts. That kind of thing.

Emily/Poppy and I get talking. I mention something about being gay.

I don’t open with, “Hi, I’m Ellie and I like fanny.” But somehow it just comes up. Emily/Poppy is intrigued. Just to be clear, this woman does not fancy me. Trust me on this one. At best, Emily/Poppy is what I like to call a “top half-only lesbian”. THOLs will occasionally get pissed and snog their female friends, but anything in the pant zone is out of the question. Why the half-arsed dabbling? Who knows. Maybe they saw some girls on Hollyoaks do it.  

In reality, the thought of being in close proximity to my genitals makes Emily/Poppy feel a little bit sick. That’s absolutely fine with me – the thought of cuddling up to a penis makes me feel equally queasy.

A glass of white wine later, Emily/Poppy is starting to get handsy. She tells me my short, bushy hair is cute and runs her misguided straight girl fingers through it. My face is quickly turning maroon and I’m shooting “help me” looks at my friends. It’s not that I’m uncomfortable with flirtation (well, no more so than any other quivering dollop of neuroses) – I just don’t know what she wants from me. Should I flirt back? Maybe it would freak her out if I flirted back. Is she assuming that I fancy her? I don’t. I tend not to fancy straight girls – it’s an emotional self-preservation policy that I’ve implemented since re-reading my teenage love poems to hetero classmates (they’re full of flower metaphors and anguish).

But what’s the harm in a bit of meaningless flirtation? Hell, maybe she’s not a THOL after all. Some straight girls are up for going all the way, you know, to see what it’s like. Can’t I just brush it off, or at least take the compliment? Well actually, no. You see, straight girls, I’m not a toy. Lesbians aren’t big, hilarious human-shaped vibrators that you can try out then throw away when the novelty wears off. We have feelings. A lot of feelings, actually. Oh God, so many feelings. I’m fine with sexual experimentation; I just don’t want to be your guinea pig. Nor am I a durian. The durian is that Chinese fruit that smells repulsive – sort of like petrol mixed with poo – but supposedly tastes incredible. A lot of straight women have a durian-ish attitude to lesbian sex. The idea of it repulses them, but if they could just manage to hold their noses and give it a try, they think there’s a chance they might like it. I’m simply not prepared to act as an ambassador for same-sex fucking. The thought of a woman forcing herself to sleep with me on the off chance that she might have a good time is utterly degrading.

So, next time a woman tells you she’s gay, spare a thought for her possible unwillingness to show you the lesbian ropes, just because you happen to fancy it in the moment. In fact, here’s a plan: take one willing straight female friend, drink a bottle of wine together, put on some Ani DiFranco, drunkenly feel each other’s tits, then spoon one another into a deep and forgetful sleep.


Not exaclty that kind of guinea pig. (His name's Oreo, in case you were wondering.) Photograph: Getty Images

Eleanor Margolis is a freelance journalist, whose "Lez Miserable" column appears weekly on the New Statesman website.

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The footie is back. Three weeks in and what have we learned so far?

Barcleys, boots and big names... the Prem is back.

Another season, another reason for making whoopee cushions and giving them to Spurs fans to cheer them up during the long winter afternoons ahead. What have we learned so far?

Big names are vital. Just ask the manager of the Man United shop. The arrival of Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger has done wonders for the sale of repro tops and they’ve run out of letters. Benedict Cumberbatch, please join Carlisle United. They’re desperate for some extra income.

Beards are still in. The whole Prem is bristling with them, the skinniest, weediest player convinced he’s Andrea Pirlo. Even my young friend and neighbour Ed Miliband has grown a beard, according to his holiday snaps. Sign him.

Boots Not always had my best specs on, but here and abroad I detect a new form of bootee creeping in – slightly higher on the ankle, not heavy-plated as in the old days but very light, probably made from the bums of newborn babies.

Barclays Still driving me mad. Now it’s screaming from the perimeter boards that it’s “Championing the true Spirit of the Game”. What the hell does that mean? Thank God this is its last season as proud sponsor of the Prem.

Pitches Some groundsmen have clearly been on the weeds. How else can you explain the Stoke pitch suddenly having concentric circles, while Southampton and Portsmouth have acquired tartan stripes? Go easy on the mowers, chaps. Footballers find it hard enough to pass in straight lines.

Strips Have you seen the Everton third kit top? Like a cheap market-stall T-shirt, but the colour, my dears, the colour is gorgeous – it’s Thames green. Yes, the very same we painted our front door back in the Seventies. The whole street copied, then le toot middle classes everywhere.

Scott Spedding Which international team do you think he plays for? I switched on the telly to find it was rugby, heard his name and thought, goodo, must be Scotland, come on, Scotland. Turned out to be the England-France game. Hmm, must be a member of that famous Cumbrian family, the Speddings from Mirehouse, where Tennyson imagined King Arthur’s Excalibur coming out the lake. Blow me, Scott Spedding turns out to be a Frenchman. Though he only acquired French citizenship last year, having been born and bred in South Africa. What’s in a name, eh?

Footballers are just so last season. Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane can’t score. The really good ones won’t come here – all we get is the crocks, the elderly, the bench-warmers, yet still we look to them to be our saviour. Oh my God, let’s hope we sign Falcao, he’s a genius, will make all the difference, so prayed all the Man United fans. Hold on: Chelsea fans. I’ve forgotten now where he went. They seek him here, they seek him there, is he alive or on the stairs, who feckin’ cares?

John Stones of Everton – brilliant season so far, now he is a genius, the solution to all of Chelsea’s problems, the heir to John Terry, captain of England for decades. Once he gets out of short trousers and learns to tie his own laces . . .

Managers are the real interest. So refreshing to have three young British managers in the Prem – Alex Neil at Norwich (34), Eddie Howe at Bournemouth (37) and that old hand at Swansea, Garry Monk, (36). Young Master Howe looks like a ball boy. Or a tea boy.

Mourinho is, of course, the main attraction. He has given us the best start to any of his seasons on this planet. Can you ever take your eyes off him? That handsome hooded look, that sarcastic sneer, the imperious hand in the air – and in his hair – all those languages, he’s so clearly brilliant, and yet, like many clever people, often lacking in common sense. How could he come down so heavily on Eva Carneiro, his Chelsea doctor? Just because you’re losing? Yes, José has been the best fun so far – plus Chelsea’s poor start. God, please don’t let him fall out with Abramovich. José, we need you.

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 27 August 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Isis and the new barbarism