Transcript of 34th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sharon Lough, Friday, October 2, 1998 at 10:00 am.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Sharon. How are you doing?
Ms. Lough: Women suck, you know that? If I were a man, I'd be a misogynist. A gay misogynist. Hell, I'm a woman and I'm a misogynist.
Dr. Balis: What happened?
Ms. Lough: Do you like women, Doctor?
Dr. Balis: If you're asking me as a man, that's just not relevant...
Ms. Lough: Hmm. I thought so. You have a faggy look...
Dr. Balis: Sharon, please.
Ms. Lough: I'm just busting your balls. I'm in a foul mood, it's even worse than usual. As Rob says, "I'm full of piss and vinegar."
Dr. Balis: What put you into such a foul mood?
Ms. Lough: Lila--that girl from my class--we went out for a drink. At first, I was really happy, because it seemed my efforts to win her over had paid off.
Dr. Balis: I see. So she called you after all?
Ms. Lough: No, she didn't call, but she talked to me after class. She got that book I told her about, she found it at the conservatory library. After class, we went to a bar in Bernal Heights called Wild Side West. It's one of the oldest lesbian bars in the city. Bernal Heights is an enclave for gay yuppies. I wasn't sure if Lila was actually a dyke or if she just looked like one--a lot of young girls wear boys clothes. Lila looks so young, she could pass for a grade-school tomboy. I was surprised they'd let her in the bar. They didn't even card her. The bartender must have seen her in there before.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: I drank Diet Coke; I didn't want to get drunk and make a fool out of myself.
Dr. Balis: Good thinking.
Ms. Lough: Lila sat next to me for a bit, and then excused herself to go to the bathroom. I sat there and watched these women play pool. I really liked the bar. It was dark, and the fixtures were old and run-down. They even allow people to bring in their dogs. When Lila came back from the bathroom, she sat at the bar but a few stools away from me. I didn't get it at first.
Dr. Balis: Get what?
Ms. Lough: She wasn't there to be with me, she was there hoping to meet someone else. She was looking around the room; she barely spoke to me. She caught the eye of this tall athletic-looking woman with short, blonde hair. They were flirting and laughing just a few seats away from me. I felt like shit. Maybe she did it to get back at me for what I said to her last week.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: Do you know how animals make a big show of ignoring you by grooming themselves? Our cat does it, and the bunny does it, too. They'll sit right in front of you and clean themselves meticulously. It's their way of saying, "Fuck you." Lila was doing the lesbian equivalent. She made sure I saw her. And then she picked the most attractive woman there to charm, and she succeeded. She was doing it to fuck with me, the same way I fucked with her the week before.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. I didn't realize until now that you had more than a platonic interest in this girl.
Ms. Lough: Well, it would have been okay if she wanted to be buddies. I was kind of attracted to her, but not physically. Skinny doesn't do it for me. I don't want to fuck a girl with legs like sticks, jutting hip bones, and no tits. I was attracted to her as a person. I liked her look, too: the short purple hair, baggy clothes, and an instrument case. Even the lesbian posturing was endearing. I guess I was attracted to her because she seemed elusive and rare. She was different in an undefinable way. I thought she was an innocent, too. But the way she acted at Wild Side West that night, I realized she had more experience than I thought.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Lough: Anyway, I got sick of watching her ignore me and got up and left. Lila noticed I was leaving and said, "Hey, Chiquita, where are you going? Do you have a date?" She and the blonde both laughed. I wanted to wheel-smack her little head against the bar. I went home instead.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad you didn't act on your impulses.
Ms. Lough: I didn't a chance--those dykes would have beat the shit out of me, even if I was in a cast. Lila's so tiny, I would have looked like an ogre attacking her.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: Why do women play games like this? Last week, I thought I'd cracked the code: I learned how to beat her at her own game by being a bitch. Now I'm wondering if that was the wrong strategy. I'm so clueless. I feel like such an idiot.
Dr. Balis: Have you been involved with women sexually before?
Ms. Lough: I've had sex with a few women. Most of them were just into mind-fucking. Now that being a dyke is considered cool, there are a lot of poseurs out there. In fact, it's really common in the gay and lesbian community. I've had this sort of thing happen to me before, and I've heard of it happening to other people. Maybe it's my own fault for wanting something I couldn't have.
Dr. Balis: Did you see Lila as some sort of conquest?
Ms. Lough: Conquest? That's an interesting way of putting it. Maybe I did. I thought we had something in common: we're both Japanese, but not really traditional; she had a background in classical music; and we were both in that class. As I'm listening to myself say this, it doesn't make a lot of sense. It was a stupid idea. I wish I could wear a bag over my head at the next class without drawing undue attention to myself. But I guess the cast on my leg would give me away.
Dr. Balis: How's the class going, by the way?
Ms. Lough: I thought it was going to be an easy "A." But since Doris appointed me the editor, I'll actually have to do some work. I tried to get the Big Gulp woman to help me proofread some of the entries, but she was so critical--she hated everything. I decided it would be best to keep her out of it. I'm going to be stuck doing all the work myself, I just know it.
Dr. Balis: Can't you delegate some of the duties to the other class members?
Ms. Lough: That class isn't exactly a brain trust. There aren't many students, and they only took this class because they didn't want to have to work for a grade. It's one of those throwaway elective courses.
Dr. Balis: You can try talking to Doris. There's no reason why you have to shoulder all of the burden yourself.
Ms. Lough: Yeah, I can ask her. I'm not sure that she'd be willing to strong-arm anyone into helping me. Doris has a minimalist teaching style. She's also not computer literate, so the word-processing and page layouts are all up to me.
Dr. Balis: When is the deadline for this magazine?
Ms. Lough: It needs to be ready for the printer two weeks before school's out.
Dr. Balis: You have a few months to work on it.
Ms. Lough: Doris sent memos to all the English and art teachers, asking for student submissions. We also posted notices around campus, asking students to turn in writing and artwork. You should see what they've turned in so far. Some of the poems were plagiarized word-for-word. I even recognized an old top-forty hit from Air Supply. Actually, that was kind of funny. The stories and essays are so bad they're almost unreadable. I'm really starting to dread this. At first, it was kind of exciting, and I thought it would be a good experience--desktop publishing can come in handy. What if the Shitty Rag lives up to its name? I don't want to be associated with an anthology of dreck.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: That incident with Lila made me think of something that I'd put out of my mind. I went out with...well, actually, I just fucked this guy who worked in the same building as I did. He was a self-involved egomaniac, a real prick. And of course I had the hots for him, because he treated me like shit. He stood me up, criticized my weight and my appearance, even made fun of the way I talked. I was pathetic. When he wouldn't return my calls, I practically begged him to see me again. He told me that he had an image of the perfect complement to him, and it wasn't me. What he really wanted was a Stepford wife--someone he could take to the company picnic and who would make a good impression on the people he worked with. He wanted a thin, social, vapid Barbie doll who knew how to play the game. To him, I was just a loser who couldn't play the game. That was almost ten years ago. And here I am now. I'm still a loser who doesn't know how to play.
Dr. Balis: But do you really want to play this game?
Ms. Lough: I used to think that I didn't, that I was above that. I wouldn't have been content being a trophy wife to a work-obsessed corporate cretin, even if he did have a good income. I found ways to occupy myself that didn't bring me into contact with too many people. I really like the fact that Rob is socially isolated, too. We stay home most nights and watch television. I convinced myself that this is what I really want. This is the life that I'm best suited to.
Dr. Balis: Are you reassessing that judgment now?
Ms. Lough: What I found so alluring about Lila was that she represented something I thought I'd left behind. The women I chased before--the ones I couldn't have--I dismissed as being beneath me. They didn't have my interests or share my values. Some of them I could hardly stand to talk to for more than a few minutes. When I saw Lila flirting with that blonde, I would have given anything to trade places with either of them.
Dr. Balis: Would you say your sexual desire has resurfaced?
Ms. Lough: No, it's not really sexual. It's more about status or something. What I really like is the idea of having a girlfriend. Lesbians are so cool.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: I mean I want to fuck her, but that's not the primary attraction.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Lough: Have you ridden Muni lately? What a fucking mess! I was stuck on the N-Judah train for over an hour yesterday!
Dr. Balis: I think we should continue exploring your feelings for Lila.
Ms. Lough: And the worst part of it is that all the laid-back San Franciscans aren't protesting. If this happened in New York, there would been rioting in the streets.
Dr. Balis: Sharon...
Ms. Lough: I say we lynch Willie Brown.
Dr. Balis: Sharon, please.
Ms. Lough: I'd like to see him hanging from the highest tree with that stupid hat on his head. If we nailed it down, the hat wouldn't blow away. Where the hell does he get off, riding around in a limo accompanied by a goddamned motorcade, while the rest of the city has to rely on a broken-down transit system?
Dr. Balis: I...
Ms. Lough: And those thousand-dollar suits--they've got to go. This city is in a major pile of shit, with broken down buses and no place to park. Willie-boy can shop at the fucking K-Mart.
Dr. Balis: You're always free to vent here, Sharon, but I...
Ms. Lough: I better go. I've got to wait for my bus. It always takes at least an hour.
Dr. Balis: All right, Sharon, you're right. Our time is up. I'll see you next week.
Ms. Lough: Yeah.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye.
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