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One night when Barb came home, the door slammed behind her with an unfamiliar echoing sound. Then she saw why: The hall rug had disappeared. She dropped her grocery bags and hurried into the living room. Books lay stacked on the floor where the shelves should have been. Her boyfriend had taken his pictures, too, leaving squares of white on the sooty wall.

She lowered herself to the floor and rested her head on her knees. It occurred to her that maybe he'd thrown all of his stuff in a U-Haul and would drive up in a few hours, tell her he'd made a mistake, and together they would carry everything back into the apartment again. But she knew him too well to believe this.

After perhaps an hour, she struggled to her feet and crept around the apartment taking stock of what was missing. His thoroughness struck her as cruel: why had he bothered to pack the pepper grinder, the dishcloth, the spider plant, the milk he'd bought the day before? What he left behind was even worse: a photograph of her he'd had blown up, an old valentine, the sweater she'd given him.

He called late that night, his voice so flat he sounded lobotomized."I'm really, really sorry, Barb, but I had to. I was scared of how deeply entangled we were becoming."

"What's wrong with you?" she said, crying. "You're such an asshole."

"I am not. I'm just trying to do my best. I wanted to leave now, before I hurt you any worse, because-- you know-- I still had doubts. I didn't want to get any closer unless I knew I could be with you for the rest of my life."

In her anger, she became fiercely logical. "But people always have doubts. That's the human condition. You never know whether you can be with someone for your entire life until it's over."

"Look, I'm sorry, but I'm sure this is the best thing for both of us," he said. She hung up on him. The phone rang again, but she didn't pick it up. Instead, she crawled into bed and curled around the one pillow he'd left. She stayed up the whole night, sometimes trembling and chattering her teeth, and sometimes lying stiff with her mind racing. She had the feeling of the world shifting around her to become a place she didn't recognize, or settling with a bump like an elevator when it arrives at a new floor.

Just yesterday, she'd had the next forty years planned out for her. She and her boyfriend would stay with his family in Michigan during spring break; they'd have a clutch put in their car; they'd maybe get married and maybe retire together and live on a houseboat. Actually, these had all been his plans. He though in great swatches of time. "I don't know if I can be with you forever," he'd say once and a while. When he got in those moods, she could sense-- even when she wasn't touching him-- how his muscles pulled into themselves, how he was a turtle with no shell to withdraw into.

"There isn't any such thing as forever," she'd say, trying to sound calm. She didn't need the promise of a marriage or a houseboat to know she belonged with him. Instead, her certainty came in flashes, during odd and humble moments of happiness: when they lay in bed reading poems to each other in ridiculous Masterpiece Theatre voices; or when they wandered through the cereal aisle, arguing over which artificial-colored brand they would buy and binge on as they drove home; or the night she couldn't find her shoe, and as they searched through the apartment, they had composed a song about a sneaker that lands in a beaker and becomes part of an experiment to make humanity meeker.

When the windows in Barb's bedroom turned pale with sickly morning light, she sat up, hugging the pillow between her stomach and knees. She had never thought about her future much, but now she would have to, now that he'd taken it with him like the rug, the pepper grinder, the shelves. Her life gaped before her, a new calendar with an endless line of white squares to fill in.

What would she do with herself? It occurred to her that soon-- in a few months, perhaps-- she'd start dating again. This would involve going to movies she wouldn't ordinarily see and having intense discussions in coffee houses with bearded men. Her stomach clenched in dread. Last time she was single she'd been 27; now she was 30. It seemed to her the rules might have changed. While she was on sabbatical, men and women might have developed some new way of flirting that she would not understand.

But worse than the dating was the falling in love. It revolted her to think of adoring some guy and then tumbling into bed with him and the sickly sweet happiness and the fights early on and meeting his mother and moving in together and then ending up here again, hunched in sheets that still smelled of him. It seemed to her that this whole stream of events would happen over and over throughout her life, like some fever dream where you're running down a tilted hall, running and running but you never get to the end.

When the clock on the night table said 7:00, she pulled a blanket around herself and padded into the kitchen, brewed some coffee and poured a bowl of cereal. She found she couldn't eat, but the coffee-- bitter, black and silty-- went down like medicine. A few minutes later, when the caffeine hit, she threw off the blanket and dressed in cowboy boots, a short skirt, lipstick, eyeliner-- the whole girlie bit. Then, to kill time before work, she took a long walk through the back streets of her neighborhood.

Her boots made crisp little clicks on the sidewalk--a sound she'd always associated with sexy and dangerous women. Yes, yes, yes, she had it all figured out. She would flirt the way she used to in the old days, go wild, and eventually settle down with someone who was good for her.

And why shouldn't she be able to find someone good this time? After all, she knew a lot of happy couples. Her friends Jim and Trish had just had a baby. Her co-worker Janet lived with this great girlfriend who made tempeh-nut loaves and could tune an engine. David and Jonathan just moved up to Vermont together. Robert and Theodore. Alice and Mimi. Christopher and Anthony...

Suddenly the truth hit her like a kick in the head. She stopped short in the middle of the sidewalk and stood there, running one finger over her lip, while the sky glowed with the color of morning-glories behind the dull charcoal of the roofs. How could she have never noticed before? It was the gay people who stayed together.

In her circle of friends, she could only name one straight couple that had lasted. Mostly, the heterosexuals lived alone, read the personals and gulped down Prozac. Even when they did manage to fall in love, the straight people usually ended up in couples therapy-- as if men and women needed professional help just to sleep together on a long-term basis. As if heterosexual desire was a bright and doomed comet that plummeted through the sky-- scattering behind it a plume of therapy bills, condom wrappers and prescriptions for pills-- before it inevitably burned out.

But the gay people-- they never seemed to need couples therapy. They shared beautiful apartments crammed with hand-made pottery and momentos of their life together. They drove to Provincetown for the weekend in their cars with pink-triangle bumper stickers. They held potlucks to celebrate their anniversaries, the table overflowing with candles, glazed cranberries and red wine. They understood each other as only people of the same gender can, like sisters, like brothers, like equal partners.

Barb no longer wanted to be a part of it, the whole heterosexual thing. And suddenly she knew exactly what she had to do.

She brought up her idea with Janet a few days later when they were alone in the office together-- the volunteers had all crapped out on them, so they were stuffing flyers about solid waste into pre-printed envelopes.

"I've made up my mind, and I want to be a lesbian," Barb said.

"Oh geez," Janet shook her head. She was a delicate woman with spidery hands and black hair pulled into a ponytail. "You guys just broke up. You might get back together. Anything could happen."

"We're not going to get back together. I can tell. Besides, I don't want to be with him. I don't trust him." Barb heard her voice shake as she said this.

She'd been feeling all right when she was at work, with the soothing presence of Janet nearby; and the phones ringing; and the solid-waste problem to worry about, all those landfills heaping high into the air and leaking poisons into the water supply. But when she went home-- to the bare walls and the single pillow-- she felt like a ghost. "The idea of not being a straight woman anymore is the only thing that makes me happy," she said.

"All right now, chill," Janet said, putting down a stack of envelopes and swiveling in her chair so she faced Barb. "Give yourself some time before you think about getting involved with anybody at all, of any gender, okay? Because you're just fixating on this as a way to escape what's really going on."
Barb laughed a little, "okay, so I'm fixating. But, geez, you're letting me down. I mean, what kind of lesbian are you? You're supposed to be recruiting me. Isn't that what Jesse Helms says you guys do? Well, I'm walking into the recruiting office, and I'm signing up."

"Okay, fine, you're walking into the recruiting office. And I'm determining that you're of unsound mind," Janet said. "You probably can't pass the physical, either."

"Yes, I can," Barb said, suddenly serious.

"No, I mean it. Are you really attracted to women?"

"I think so. It's hard to tell."

"What do you mean it's hard to tell?" Janet's voice was getting high, annoyed. "Sexual attraction is very obvious thing. Do you get crushes on women? Do you fantasize about them?"

"Well, yeah, I do get crushes on women," Barb said hesitantly. "But I don't know if that's just friendship. Like once, I met this woman who immediately became my new best friend, and I used to ride my bike past her house just to see if her light was on. I wanted to be with her all the time."

"So," Janet said, squinting her eyes, "but was it sexual?"

"I don't know. Maybe there are friendship crushes, too. It did feel different from a crush on a guy, but that could be because I'm programmed to think of guys as potential boyfriends. It would be easier to tell if there were another gender, you know, a third sex that I wasn't attracted to at all. Then I'd have something to compare women to."

For days after that, Barb kept thinking about the third sex. She imagined them as squat and hairy, with thin lips and sack-like breasts dangling from their chests. She would find them ugly, though many of them would be her dear friends. She pictured herself having dinner with one of these people, its simian face relaxing into a kind expression. "Oh, Barb," it would say to her, "I care about you so much, and I'll always be there for you." She tried to imagine what else it would say, but she couldn't quite-- in her mind, the third-sex person kept turning into a dumpy, awkward guy who had a crush on her.

The truth was, she couldn't imagine any close friendship that wasn't more a less a romance-- there would always be unequal affections, jealousies, infatuations, even an attachment to each other's bodies. Why would things be any different with a third sex? For instance, what if Barb called the third-sex person one evening and it picked up and said, "Oh sorry, Barb, I'm on the other line. But listen, I'll get back to as soon as I have some time"? Certainly, Barb would feel jilted.

When the third sex call-waited her, or excluded her from its dinner parties, or didn't laugh at her jokes, then she would wish for a fourth sex. And when the fourth sex failed her, she would wish for a fifth sex and sixth-- any sex, any sex at all that she could love without getting hurt.

When she was seven, her best friend Tammy said, "I found out how our parents sit when they're trying to make a baby. You want to see?"

She clambered over to Barb. "Here get up. Put your legs like this." She pushed Barb's body into position, so that Barb squatted with her knees bent double and her hands behind her for support.

"Oow," Barb said. "This hurts."

"You get used to it. I've been practicing." Tammy lowered herself in front of Barb, so close that their legs jammed together and their stomachs almost touched. For a moment, they squatted together like two frogs.

"This is how they do it," Tammy said, rocking back and forth.

"Hey, quit it. You're pushing too hard," Barb protested, and then lost her balance and tumbled backwards. She got up, brushing grass off her shorts. "Geez. I can't believe my parents did that. That's so gross. I'll never do that."

"I know. Me either." Tammy had said, still squatting.

"Do you promise?"


"Really? For your whole life? Even if you really want a baby?"

"Yes," Tammy said, getting up solemnly. "I hate babies. And I'm not going to get married because I hate boys, too. My brothers are so gross. Jeff drinks milk and it comes out his nose."

Tammy had smooth skin that turned brown in the sun. She could do a handstand in or out of the water. She climbed high up in trees, her P.F. Flyers slipping and kicking and scuffing the bark. In Tammy's backyard, they built a fort out of a tarp, an old doghouse and some sticks. They would crawl in there, loving the murky light, the way sounds outside became muffled and their own voices turned as hollow as echoes. In the back of the doghouse, they kept Archie comics, old issues of Arizona Highways, candles, and a jar of Pillsbury Redi-Made Icing. They ate spoonfuls of the icing only on special occasions, and it would have been the highest betrayal for one of them to open the jar when the other was not around.

Inside the fort, they spoke of solemn things. For instance, divorce. Barb lived with her mother; her father had had his own apartment ever since she could remember. He came for dinners on Sunday. The whole time he was there, Barb would catch her parents giving each other dirty looks-- those looks hurt like nails sticking into her skin.

"The way you can tell if a kid's parents are divorced? If you go over to his house, or her house, or whatever? You know how you can tell?" Barb had explained one day. "The kid will have a Mexican puppet. The parents get divorced in Mexico, and they bring you back a present from there. I guess the only good toys in Mexico are puppets."

"But how can you tell if your parents are going to be divorced?" Tammy had asked. She sat under the place where the tarp bulged out, which made her voice sound as hollow as a ghost's.

"I don't know."

"Barb?" Tammy said in that strange voice, "what do I do if it happens?"

"We can live in our fort. Even if all our parents move away, we'll stay here. We should start saving food. And we'll need a flashlight," Barb said.

"But what about the new people who move into my house? They won't let us stay here, will they?"

"No, it'll be okay. We'll just explain that we need to live here. Don't worry, they won't kick us out. Maybe they'll have a dog we can play with." Sometimes Barb actually hoped all their parents would move away so that she and Tammy could camp in the fort every night, eating frosting and studying the pictures in Arizona Highways by candlelight. They liked to touch the close-ups of the cacti, pretending that the needles were pricking their fingers. "Ouch," "ouch," "ouch, that smarts," they would say, patting the smooth paper.

One morning-- this was a month and a half after Barb's boyfriend had moved out-- she walked into the office and Janet called out, "Is that the lesbian?"

Barb wedged into Janet's gray-walled cubicle. "Who me?"

Janet was leaning over in her chair to unlace her boots. "Yeah you."

"I thought you refused to encourage me in this whole lesbian thing."

"Well, I wasn't going to, but I'm afraid circumstances are now beyond my control. There's a girl who's hot for you."

"No way. Really?" Barb drumrolled her hands gleefully on the desk. "Yes. Yes. Yes. Who is it? Is it somebody I met at your party?" Janet had given a brunch that weekend-- a tumult of straight couples, gay couples, babies, dogs, pasta salads, tofu spreads.

"Yeah," Janet said, taking a tiny sip of her coffee and then waving her hand in front of her mouth, as if to cool it off. "Remember that woman you talked to? A few inches shorter than you, dark skin, crew cut, real cute."

"Huh?" Barb said. "Oh yeah, I guess I remember. But I didn't really talk to her. I think I asked her where to find the cups. Oh, and then we talked about how we both like seltzer water."

"Well," Janet sighed, "that must have been some conversation, because she called me afterwards and wanted the lowdown. God knows I warned her about you, but she wouldn't listen. Listen, Rita's really nice, but unfortunately she always falls for hopeless cases such as yourself. If you go out with her, you've got to promise you'll be careful. I don't want you leading her on and then deciding you're really straight. Do you understand?" she said sternly.

"All I did was talk to her about seltzer water. So sue me. I'll probably never even see her again."
Janet was silent a moment. Then she said, "Rita's going to call you. I gave her your number. I hope that's all right."

Barb felt a pang in her stomach. "Sure, yeah, that's fine. I just didn't expect it to happen so fast. I had all these plans for the things I was going to do before I actually went out with a women."

"Like what?"

"I thought I'd read Rubyfruit Jungle first. Maybe join an all-women's softball team. I still haven't gone through that whole preparatory phase, you know, like you went through in high school."

"Well if you're not ready yet, just say the word. I'll tell Rita." Janet turned away to log in to her computer.

"No, no, it's okay. I'm ready. Frankly, it would be a big relief to just sleep with a woman, so I could consider myself a lesbian. I hate this in-between thing. Right now, I feel like I'm a nothing-- I'm not straight anymore, but I'm not gay either. It sucks."

Barb was referring to how she felt whenever she walked through the sliding doors and into the vitamin-scented air of the food co-op. She'd always heard that place was a big pickup spot, but when she lived with her boyfriend she hadn't paid much attention to the glances people shot at each other over the kale, the way the cashiers sometimes flirted with her.

Nowadays, though, the food co-op seemed to steam with sexuality. When men lingered near her in the aisle, she admired their sinewy hands and the soft stretch of their chests; when they looked over at her, she met their eyes. She was equally moved by the beauty of women, their ripe lips and the swell of their butts.

She even found herself attracted to the bearded dyke who worked in the produce department. Just a few months ago, Barb had found this particular woman frightening: she had a little goatee like Shaggy from "Scooby Doo", a pierced nose, and blonde hair that hung in a heavy braid. Back when Barb lived with her boyfriend, she'd dismissed the woman as a nutcase. That way she never had to think about the beard and all it implied.

But now Barb did think about the beard-- a lot. While she was waiting for a bus or washing dishes, she would meditate on the beard, trying to remember exactly how the hair sprouted from the woman's pointed chin, how it was thick at the sides but became wispy under her lips, like a goat's whiskers.

The beard raised all kinds of questions. For instance, did it grow naturally or did the woman have to rub some kind of potion on her chin? If the beard grew naturally, then how many other women would also have furry faces if they didn't bleach and tweeze away the evidence? And if the world was full of bearded women, then what did that mean about our bodies? Did people resort to electrolysis, hair transplants, tummy tucks, breast implants and perfumes not so much to make themselves beautiful as to hide the shameful truth-- the truth of men's breasts and women's beards and the sagging genderlessness of old age? At heart, are all our bodies crossdressers?

If she would only pluck and bleach, the bearded woman in the produce department might have resembled a young Judy Collins-- she had gorgeous, wide-set eyes and golden skin. But she didn't pluck. She didn't bleach. She had chosen to turn herself into something impossible to define, not exactly a man or a woman, not exactly a lesbian either.

"Are you attracted to women with beards?" Barb asked Janet once.

"Oh please. I don't know too many girls want to suck a hairy face. Frankly, I think dykes grow beards because they don't want to be sexual at all. They want to scare people off."

But when Barb caught a glimpse of that woman hauling boxes the muscles-- working in her lean arms-- she knew the woman didn't want to scare anyone off. In fact, the woman managed to be sexy in the most original manner Barb had ever witnessed-- her sexiness had nothing to do with gender but simply came from her own presence, the comfortable swing of her arms and sheen of sweat on her forehead. She was sexy in the way of a cat, an orchid, a clump of hair, a cut-open tomato.

Two days later, Rita left a message on Barb's machine. Her voice sounded breathy, scared. Barb imagined how Rita must have sat in front of the telephone, holding the scrap of paper with Barb's number on it; how Rita must have dialed in a daring rush, with her heart booming in her ears. All of a sudden, Barb felt very close to this woman. She pictured Rita curled around her in bed, holding her from behind the way her boyfriend used to do. But when she dialed Rita's number and a stranger's voice said, "Hello?" the whole holding-each-other-in-bed scenario seemed ridiculous.

"Hi, Rita? I just got your message. This is Barb."

The person at the other end of the line cleared her throat. "Hi Barb. I hope you don't mind that I called."
"No, I'm glad-- "

"It's just that I thought you were interesting and, um, I was hoping you'd want to maybe hang out and talk sometime," Rita gushed.

"Oh, okay, sure. How about this weekend?"

"We could invite Janet too, if you want."

"No, that's all right," Barb said. "I love Janet, but we already spend forty hours a week together. By the way, how do you know her?"

"We were in an African drumming class together a long time ago. Oh yeah, and her girlfriend was a housemate of mine." Rita laughed nervously. "I guess I know her a bunch of different ways."

"African drumming, huh?"

"I'm in this band. We play Caribbean-influenced dance music."

"Wow. Huh. Interesting." Barb could feel her face splitting in a false smile.

"Yeah, it's fun."

The silence between them lasted a second too long.

"Well," Barb said, "where do you want to meet?"

After she hung up, she began scrubbing the kitchen. The call had acted on her like a cup of coffee drunk too late in the day-- it made her nervous, scattered, and obsessed with getting the grease off her stove.

She'd done all the dishes and was about to wipe the table when she suddenly stopped dead in front of the refrigerator, transfixed by the photo of Tammy. She had just recently found that picture, and without knowing why, had taken it to the kitchen and hung it next to the pictures of her current friends.

Now she slid the magnets off the curling picture and held it close to her face. There was Tammy in a 1970s zip-up shirt pretending to strangle a Barbie doll. Examining the picture, Barb could make out the wallpaper in her own childhood bedroom-- she'd forgotten all about that pattern of balloony, psychedelic flowers until just now.

She used to stare at those flowers in the half-dark as she fell asleep, watching how they turned into the faces of gossipy old women; at the same time, she would listen to her mother downstairs, the way the click-click-click of those heels tapped out a message: "I'm taking care of everything down here. I've got it all under control."

Suddenly Barb was overcome by a sickening loneliness. She wanted, more than anything, to be back in her old bedroom. Or better yet, to return to the fort, to be pressed up against Tammy as they plunged plastic spoons into the can of frosting and laughed so hard that they snorted snot out of their noses.

When they both were ten, Tammy's parents got divorced and Tammy herself suddenly turned into a stranger: she got herself a "Campus Queen" lunchbox and began running around with the popular girls, administering cootie shots to the boys. But before that-- back when Barb and Tammy were still best friends and spent summer evenings in the fort listening to the cicadas
screech-- they had made a pact.

"When we grow up, we'll have our own house," Tammy had said. "With a pool."

"I want one of those water slides, like they have at King's Dominion."

"But we'll have our own house," Tammy had said firmly. "Okay?"

"Yeah." Barb pictured a house made of tarps and sticks, a giant version of their fort.

"That means that when you grow up, you have to find me, okay? Because I don't know where I'll be." Tammy let out a sigh. "We're probably going to move, you know."

"Okay," Barb said.

To make it official they had chanted together, "Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye."

"And if we don't find each other and live in our house together," Barb said, "we really have to stick needles in our eyes, okay?"

Once she had been willing to stick a needle in her eyes-- anything, anything to stay in that fort with Tammy. So how had she come to this? How had she become a woman who paced around her apartment alone and met strangers in cafés? After all, she was the girl who loved to share musty issues of Arizona Highways, plastic spoons, slightly used Band-Aids, hair clips. She was the girl who loved to share his car; who slept on his sheets with their map-like stains; who woke up with him pressed against her back, as if he were trying to see over her shoulder or push himself further into her life.

"Well, it's not like I can't sing. I choose not to," Rita was saying. Then she started giggling and rubbed her face with one hand. "I don't know why I'm telling you this. I feel like I'm babbling."

"You're not babbling," Barb said. "You're just enthusiastic."

"I guess I am enthusiastic, even though I get scared when we perform. I really like that feeling of being in synch with other people, knowing what they're going to do before they even do it."

Rita's close-shaved black hair turned blue and shadowy at the nape of her neck. She wore a cinnamon-colored sweater so big on her that the sleeves covered her to the tips of her fingers. She had a habit of gesturing emphatically with these sleeve-covered hands that Barb found endearing.

"So when can I see you guys play?" Barb said.

"Oh no way, no way," Rita flopped one of her sweater-hands at Barb. "We're going to be at El Diabolo's on Saturday but you're not allowed to come."

Barb found herself laughing. "You can't stop me, you know. It's a free country."

"No, I'm serious. If you're there, I'll get nervous and flub up."

"You're not really nervous; that's just something you're pretending so I won't notice how smooth an operator you are," Barb said, arching an eyebrow. She was surprised at her own flirtatiousness.

Though all she was doing, really, was following Rita's lead. Rita was the one who had initiated the flirting when, two hours ago, she had swept in to the cafe and dumped her bag beside Barb's table. "I had to be late," she blurted out, settling opposite Barb in the booth, "because it would have been too nerve-wracking if I were the one waiting for you. I would have been worried that you were going to blow me off."

And so they had talked and talked in a too-much-coffee frenzy, the way people do when they're interested in one another. For yes, even though the phone call had been awkward, Barb had become more and more attracted to Rita as they talked in the café-- not Rita's body so much as the whole bubbling mess of her. It was the flirting that made Barb feel attracted, the flit of their eyes, the intensity of their conversation, the hints they dropped about seeing each other again. Flirting was like a trial-size bottle of sex, Barb realized; you could sample what it was like to be intimate with the other person, but you didn't have to strip naked. Flirting was like a dance, a series of bows and feints where you touched hands but never came too close.

And in this dance, this dance here at the table with Rita, Barb was the man. She wore a tux and stepped in squares while Rita, in a red dress, flew around her. Sometimes even when she'd been with men, Barb had felt like she was the man--the powerful one, the one at the center of the other person's fluttery dance. But she had never felt so much the man as now.

"Oh God," Rita said. "Does this muffin taste like vomit or what? Try some and tell me if I'm crazy." She slid her plate toward Barb, and they both leaned in close to it, as if examining something of extreme importance.

Barb picked off a few crumbs and put them in her mouth. "Too much lemon peel," she said authoritatively.

"You think?" Rita said, and then her eyes settled on her watch. "Oh shit. I've got to go pick up my car at the shop before they close." She said this last in a businesslike voice and then turned soft again. "Look, I really do have to go. I'm not lying. I mean, I hope we can see each other again."

"Sure," Barb said.

Rita rubbed her cheek with one sweater-covered hand. "But if you don't want to, I understand," she added. She had this waiting-to-be-slapped expression on her face, as if she expected Barb to say something cruel; as if she was preparing herself to love someone who couldn't love her back; as if already she could imagine the calls Barb would fail to return, the anniversary she would forget, the things Barb would leave in her apartment when they broke up.

Seeing Rita like that, Barb had an urge to go to the other side of the booth and slide in beside her. She wanted to hug Rita, to soothe her with friendly words. What would she say? "You don't have to try so hard." Or maybe, "Don't expect so much." Or maybe, "Let's quit now before things get out of hand."

But Barb couldn't leave her side of the booth. She was stuck here, across the table from Rita. The two of them were already locked in their dance. They were whirling around each other, twirling, bowing, dipping. And it was everything she remembered-- the gleaming top hat, the tails, the swirling satin dress, the high heels, the cummerbund, the stiff kid gloves.

Copyright© 1997 Pagan Kennedy. All rights reserved.
Spanish translation

The Third Sex is an excerpt from her upcoming book Pagan Kennedy's Living: A Handbook for Maturing Hipsters.

Included by permission of St. Martin's, Incorporated
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