This installment of Stuff Lesbians Like was written by Riese of This Girl Called Automatic Win, who you should VOTE FOR RIGHT NOW. And remember to vote for Grace The Spot as well. We are only
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Due to centuries of relative invisibility, it’s not too hard to come up with a list of Herstory’s greatest lesbian couples — Del & Phyllis, Virginia & Vita, Getrude & Alice, Susan & Annie, Melissa & Tammy Lynn, Ro & Kelly, Ellen & Portia and so on. But to thousands of lesbians & allies worldwide, those aforementioned ballbusters, activists, poets, entertainers and pioneers cannot hold a candle to the burning passionate love they feel for a fictional couple = Bette & Tina, First Last & Forever.
Lesbians don’t just LIKE Bette & Tina — the central couple of Showtime’s L Word series, played by Jennifer Beals (straight) and Laurel Holloman (bi). Lesbians LA-LA-LA-LOOOOVEEEEE Bette & Tina. Forced to give up either Bettina or their Cat, many lesbians wouldn’t hesitate to kick Fluffy to the curb. Women who’ve never been to an Indigo Girls concert will gladly fly overseas for a Beals-attended L Word convention.
Self-monikered “Tibetters” [not to be confused with the country of Tibet, though Google AdSense certainly does] congregate online on message boards like TWOP and Tibette.com and often meet face-to-face at local meetups and aforementioned L Word conventions.
At 2007′s L5 convention in Blackpool, England, fans rushed the stage with Superbowl-stye intensity when Jennifer Beals emerged from the wings and according to Mama Chaiken, TiBette fans are the most passionate of all and have chased her through traffic to ask about TiBette’s fate. If I ever got Ilene alone in a parking lot I have a few other ideas of what I’d ask, but that’s neither here nor there.
This massive fan-following [Tibette.com boasts over 8,000 members, which's absolutely just a sliver of the overall population] appreciates Tina & Bette with Trekkie-like devotion [no judging, obvs, I've defo been to a Star Trek convention, srsly] exceeding even your most passionate teenage star-crush. They write and exchange fan fiction, buy merchandise, re-hash good scenes all day, compile books for Beals & Holloman, edit devotional videos and create hundreds of avatars, banners, animated gifs and other “fan art” to use and share online. I’ve stolen some of it from Tibette.com for this post.
All TiBetters are well-versed in lingo that includes special code names for every Tibette sex scene. These labels are often relatively indecipherable to outsiders, such as the obtusely-labeled OMFG Sex (I still have no clue what this is), and some are easier to drop into conversation with other general L Word fans — such as StirFry Sex, ElevatorSex and ShortSex.
Some fan quotes describing their relationship to Bette & Tina:
“Every time I hear a word that I can link with TiBette, my mind drags me off … my class notes are full of Tibette references.”
“Before my Tibette addiction I would spend my spare time taking on-line courses to advance at work and make more money … now I cannot go a day without Tibette.”
“The Tibette bug is contagious and can’t be cured.”
“After the darkness of Season Three, I had to take anti-depressants.”
“I go through withdrawl if I can’t visit TiBette.com every day, I feel incomplete if I can’t see something of theirs at least once a day.”
“I check the site daily and just cannot get into the real world — Tibette world is so much better.”
“I imagine Bette & Tina in the coffee shop or at the gym, notice dresses in shopping malls with similar designs as Bette’s clothes and I wonder Tibette watching me as I play tennis. There are times that my kisses are inspired by how Bette kisses Tina or how she touches Tina …”
“Im having really wierd panic attacks cos i know that series 6 is the last and i will not get my Tibette fix!”
“I have such Tibette syndrome that I just went and made a car window decal that says I’m a Tibetter for LIFE!”
“It takes every ounce of self control not to be on-line 24/7! I am so anxious and absorbed with wanting to know if B&T will end up together.”
“I really do heart Tibette. I get a lump in my throat thinking this will be over in a few weeks.”
“My doctor says that whenever I feel any of the usual symptoms – shortage of breath, heart palpitation, restlessness, orbital itching, tight chest etc. -, I’m supposed to ingest generous doses of fave TiBette scenes, which includes every single kiss, touch and/or exchange of body fluids.”
Like any unknown religion, it’s difficult for anyone outside the loop to grasp its power.
Why do lesbians like Tina & Bette so much? As a fan of the terrible show myself (I like Bette & Tina, but don’t spend too much time thinking about them) I’d always imagined this particular passion could be attributed to:
1. The “Ross & Rachel” Rule — fans always enjoy the on-again off-again couple du jour.
2. TiBette’s story is more relate-able for adult women in long term relationships than the stories of the other freewheelin’ free-fuckin’ childless twentysomething characters.
But a closer investigation has rendered me unable to pinpoint a cause for passion this intense.
For one thing, many TiBette fans aren’t lesbians — though Shane’s generally accepted as the straight-girl go-to, there are hundreds of happily married Hets beyond obsessed. The fans cite LH & JB’s intense on-screen chemistry. Fair enough, but certainly there’s something else — something outside our mortal power to comprehend — something bigger than all of us that compels women all over the world to turn Tina’s ass into an avatar. We cannot question its power, we can only embrace it.
Anyhow — apparently, this is the cure: