Travel is a wonderful thing when time - and more importantly: money - permits.
If you’re a determined and cheap asshole like me then you probably spend most of time on the road sleeping in hostels, which are a hotbed for disgusting activity and drunken Australians.
In addition to costing about the price of a McDonald’s Happy Meal, hostels are also a great way to meet people. If you’re traveling solo, then this means drinking partners and activity buddies. It can also mean people to split a cheap hotel room or homestay (private bathroom! bliss!) in the event you want to get off the beaten track or simply sleep in a real bed without a 12 person strong snoring symphony.
However, escaping the hostel life brings about the challenge of a small, confined space with people you’ve probably only known for a couple of days, give or take.
Not to be sexist, but these people are likely to be women.
And not be sexual orientationalist (legit vocab, right there), they’re also likely to be heterosexual.
Now look, I could be wrong, but in my opinion gay women traveling solo are a bit like unicorns and either I read way too straight and they never spot me, or all the women I meet are lying to me and I have terrible gaydar.
As an LGBTQIA+ woman, living / breathing / stripping / performing ablutions in close quarters with unfamiliar straight women can be mildly challenging.
Okay, it’s not really that big of a deal, but everyone needs a topic for an article and an excuse to make jokes about sandwiches.
So, without further ado, here is Bobo Academy’s five point guide to comfortable travel with your straight sisters.
1. Honesty is always the best policy
Not all of us walk around in our Bobo Academy tees every day of the week which is like strapping a big neon G.A.Y. sign on your back. For a number of us the following crop top is also super apropos:
I don’t lead with “Hi my name is Leslie, and I’m a vagitarian” when I meet someone. It’ll usually come up, but I like to think of my sexuality as being a part of my larger, outrageous self rather than my defining feature.
However, if it gets to the point of room sharing with a couple of straight ladies, and it hasn’t come up yet, you probably want to get that out on the table lest you become that skeezy pervert, true fact or not.
Whether we like it or not, when it comes to running around in your underwear or being platonically naked with other women, there will be a difference for most women when one of the crew happens to appreciate lady bits in a non-platonic manner and they don’t know you well enough to know for certain that you won’t jump them at the first sign of side boob.
I mean, they date men, who are all obviously ravenous beasts with absolutely no self-control so you have to forgive them for assuming you might have uncontrollable urges around them.
Not to mention if they’re suddenly dropping kit, completely unawares, and you feel like you need to keep your eyes permanently glued to the ceiling, it could lead to eye strain.
Which is uncomfortable.
2. No guilt. Seriously
“Sorry, I’m a lesb—
OH NO YOU DID NOT JUST LEAD WITH AN APOLOGY!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!!!!
Stop it. Stop it right fucking now.
Source: Quick Meme
3. Prepare for awkward questions, and be chill about it
This is a fact of life.
You’ve all been there.
It’s Aunt Judy’s 60th birthday and 80-year-old Mildred Plotka is asking you about which one is the man, meanwhile your younger cousin isn’t holding anything back and goes straight for “So, who wears the strap on, and how big is it?”
So don’t be surprised if – after a couple of days of traveling with your straight sisters – they start prying into your private life, hoping you’ll finally answer all of those questions about lady on lady sex that they never felt comfortable asking random strangers...
I myself find it quite hilarious, particularly after tequila. However, if this irritates and/or offends you, just view it as an opportunity to educate.
Or mis-educate: “Oh dildos? Yeah, we always go with a 12 incher. Why hold back? Amiright!?”
4. What to do about public changing areas a.k.a the room you're all sleeping in
We’re all perverts. Everyone has snuck a glance in pool changing rooms and anyone who says they haven’t is a goddamn liar.
Humans are naturally curious, it’s in our nature.
We’re also all different, sexual orientation aside. Some of us were raised in ultra-liberal households where nudist hiking was the ideal summer activity, meanwhile others were born with entrenched religious guilt and the first unfamiliar nipple seen was at the age appropriate time for losing one’s virginity. The sliding scale on shyness and self-confidence is wide and varied.
Assess your surroundings and follow your roommates’ lead is the only answer to this one.
However, let’s be real, you’re probably going to see each other partially naked at some point, whether by choice, or because you slipped and fell on your ass and lost your towel in the process.
Don’t make a big deal about it. You’ve seen it all before. Maybe not that particular ass, but certainly someone’s. Or at the very least, your own.
And if you happen to have super liberal roomies who have no qualms about dropping trou unexpectedly, then…eyes above the prize.
Eyes. ABOVE. The prize.
Gawking face is highly unattractive. See below:
5. Double bed situations are not cause for panic
Simple fact is, if you get a cheap hotel room then double beds are probably going to come into play.
Although I’m sure that many a fan fiction has come to sexual fruition using this handy little trope, this probably won’t happen to you…
Okay, never say never.
All sexual entanglements and heteroflexible fantasy fulfillments aside, I personally like to live in the land of non-extreme reactions to possibly uncomfortable situations.
If you walk into a room and there’s a double bed, don’t start the awkward shuffle and immediately offer to sleep on one of the following surfaces:
- In the corner
- In the bathtub
- Outside on a blanket.
NB: Please see point 2 for further reinforcement.
You are a person, with perfectly good self-control. If, by chance, you happen to a notorious spooner and/or cuddler then the middle of the bed pillow mountain is always a good option; top and tale is a bad one because…feet; and finally a good ole’ fashion public service announcement to your roomies should cover it.
Overall, double beds are large spaces. Regardless of how bootylicious you are, there is generally enough room to comfortably sleep two without said pair having to smother each other in the middle of the night.
However, if there happens to be three of you and you become the lesbian meat in the straight chick sandwich on a double, which is definitely not Queen-sized?
Well, good luck to you my friend, Godspeed, and it was nice knowing you. Maybe sleep face down on top of your arms?
Yes, I did look for the meatiest sandwich I could find.
However, sandwiches aside - I think we all know that the line between straight and gay women can sometimes be murky.
Some of us have straight BFF’s we’ve known for years who have seen every weird nipple rash and been there through every break up with smotherly bed sharing and copious bottles of wine; others avoid making friends with straight women all together due to past platonic friendship line crossing, being burnt, and to simply avoid life complications.
However, developing friendships with other women from around the world who have shared experiences – exclusive of their sexuality – is important for cultural understanding, global awareness and for bridging a sexuality divide which shouldn’t exist anyway.
Meeting like-minded women with similar interests can lead to long lasting, intercontinental friendships. Or, at the very least, international couches you can crash on in the future like the poor liberal arts major you will always be.
Above all else it’s just fucking fun.
Women are awesome.
Let's all be rad together.