vancouver, part 1: slick dykes on the wet coast

Disclaimer: The following will be an East Coast sex geek’s impressions of Vancouver, and entirely personal and biased, and so necessarily your mileage may vary.

Ah, the Wet Coast. I like it here; it’s a neat place. But I don’t think I’d want to live here.

I will stay more or less on topic; certainly the kayaking has been wonderful, and the yummy vegetarian restaurants, and the seeing of old friends, and the wildlife, and the accessibility of the outdoors and so on and so forth. But this here is a blog with a purpose, and there’s plenty of sex and life here about which to have thoughts, so here goes.

So, sexy highlights and explorations. First, the dyke scene. Apparently there’s a big split here between the West Van dykes and the East Van ones – which unfortunately, from what everyone here says, seems typical of Vancouver, the whole split thing. Very odd. Though I suppose in Montreal we split along language lines instead of geographical ones, so perhaps it’s not that strange. As a bilingual gal I don’t always have as keen a sense of those splits as some others might, but I know they’re there at least to a point. Anyway, on the night I arrived, my friend C and I went out to Lick, the local dyke bar, and last night we hit a long-weekend dyke party called Chicklets, which I believe is more of a West Van thing, though it apparently sits on the border in some ways. The subtleties escape me as a stranger in this town. Other subtleties don’t, though. To wit: my list of the top five ways Vancouver dykes are different from Montreal ones.

1. They aren’t, for the most part, very edgy-looking. Sure, there are the butchier sorts and the femmier sorts, and there’s the occasional tattoo or tie, but for the most part I spotted a lot of healthy-looking and fit gals who looked fairly mainstream. I probably had more piercings in my ears than any given group of five people in the room had in their entire bodies, and at two tats, I think I was the exception to the rule there too. Not a ton of gender-bend, either. Hm. Perhaps this is a West Van thing?

2. The leatherdykes stand on the sidelines. I mean literally. Okay, so there might be kinky gals in the middle of the dance floor that aren’t flagging in any particularly obvious way – in a sense perhaps I was one of them. But on both nights I spotted women who, to my eye, were in some way clearly showing their kinky sides. Two or three, no more; a bit of leather, a certain stance, a collar, a vest. And on both nights (different women each time) they held themselves separately from the rest, standing at the edges, observing. They didn’t quite seem to fit – and yet they did bother to show up, so they must have felt some kinship with the larger lesbo scene. I’d love to understand what that’s all about.

3. They don’t make out in public. To compare: Toronto is the land of the naked breast, and the dyke scene in Montreal is dripping with sexual tension. In either place, at any given dyke party you are sure to see grrrls and bois necking in every corner of the room. But the gals in Van seem to keep a healthy six-inch distance from one another at all times. They don’t even really grind up together when they dance. I didn’t see anyone I particularly wanted to shove into a wall and bite, but if I had, I almost got the feeling the music would crank down and everyone would point and stare. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a squeaky-clean group of carpet-munchers. I hear Vancouver women do have sex though – perhaps they just enjoy the preliminaries behind closed doors? I dunno. In my little world, sex begins on the dance floor, continues in the bathroom, keeps going in the taxi and finishes off at home. But perhaps a longer buildup with a release only once the door is locked behind you might have its advantages. To each their own.

4. That all being said, there ladies here have an eye for the entertainment. While Montreal is the land of the grungy dingy dark ‘n’ sexy party with random weird tunes, basement-style low ceilings and sagging dance floors, Vancouver beats us hands-down at the slicker form of sexy – good lighting, great layout, high ceilings and gorgeous decor. Plus, rarely do I see hired hottie go-go dancers at dyke events in Montreal or TO – but Chicklets had two gorgeous writhing women showing off their spectacular selves to the beat all night long, complete with frequent outfit changes to keep things interesting. Novel and fun!

5. And despite C’s repeated insistence that the dykes in Vancouver aren’t very friendly, and other people’s confirmation of that, I have actually found them to be quite outgoing thus far. The girls I was directly introduced to were perfectly charming, and a couple of random strangers approached while I was people-watching and got very friendly indeed, insisting that nobody should be alone at a party. How kind of them to remedy the situation (though in fact the people-watching that netted these observations was keeping me quite entertained). Not to mention an assortment of people at restaurants, on street corners and in numerous other situations over the past few days. C says perhaps I’m bringing my Montreal energy with me and that’s the difference, but whatever – if they really were standoffish they’d blow that off, no?

The journey continues. Three days done, three more ahead. If I achieve any further insights into the mysteries of Vancouver dykedom, I will report again.

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