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FUN A DAY 2019 #20: The Squad

The squad consisted of myself, Allison, Winn, and Kate: an unlikely but devoted quartet of nearsighted young lesbian artist and writers who shared a weakness for no-nonsense 30- and 40-something women more...

The squad consisted of myself, Allison, Winn, and Kate: an unlikely but devoted quartet of nearsighted young lesbian artist and writers who shared a weakness for no-nonsense 30- and 40-something women film and television characters, with a special interest in the ones who worked as scientists and engineers. We had of course discussed our adoration of the true icons of this field, like Drs. Dana Scully and Ellie Sattler, and joked with some regularity about characters like Clarice Starling, Ellen Ripley, Stella Gibson, Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy, and others being our ‘roots’. But we were brought together by our zealous passion for the two canonically heterosexual computer engineers whose technically platonic partnership anchored our favorite prestige cable drama. I was already on a popular microblogging site, so I’d made a side account for commentary, photos, and jokes and related to this OTP. That was where I met and made and unexpected number of new lesbian film geek friends, among them, Allison, Winn, and Kate.
Allison was just a few years younger than me, an aspiring fiction writer working late hours at a hotel in a small but increasingly trendy Southern city. Winn and Kate were a pair of Quebecois artists and classmates, much younger than myself, but far more confident and secure in their identities than I was in my early twenties. Allison and I had gotten to know each other via direct message, a pair of anxious insomniacs with busy brains chatting late into the night about our favorite characters, our most cherished books and albums, and eventually our personal experiences with homophobia and compulsory heterosexuality. When she invited me to join the group chat she’d started, I hesitated, for no real reason, worried about downloading yet another app, making yet another account, signing up for yet another thing that would keep me up late at night and distract me from my work. When I finally did join the chat, I realized that it was exactly what I’d needed.
It was less like entering a chat room and more like finally arriving to a sleepover, or maybe getting home to the dorm or apartment you happily shared with several roommates with whom you’d unexpectedly become genuinely and profoundly close. We talked easily and at length about the show and its characters, which led to hours of amiable in-fandom griping about the things we didn’t like about the show, its plotting, and its writing staff. We vented to each other about the homophobia and bizarre bisexual fetishization and erasure that had cropped up elsewhere in the fandom, and how incredibly rude some people on the microblogging site could be to us and our other mutual friends and fellow ~shippers~. We traded anecdotes about our own daily encounters with lesbophobia, and laughed bitterly together at heterosexual callousness and mediocrity, but most of our discussions were about our work. We joyfully shared and built on each other’s headcanons and fanfiction ideas, which handily transitioned into encouraging each other to work on our non-fandom projects. We posted screengrabs of our writing and digital art, photos of paintings and sculptures, and the occasional selfie when someone managed to get a good shot of the particularly gay and stylish outfit she’d worn that day. By the summer of 2017, we were chatting nightly, anticipating the final season of our show, dissecting every frame and word of every promo as it was released, and entertaining each other with increasingly outlandish theories of what would happen in the final season. I was happy, if not overjoyed, to stay up late those nights, working on gifs and posts for my fanblog that were often inspired by our group chat, pausing when my phone chimed with another chat message to read and reply, while sitting comfortably in my living room and listening to the new Lorde album.
Winn had always been the most consistent and most reliable member of the group, she always had a new interview or piece of fan art or a joke or photo of one of her cats for us, and she was maybe the most militant of us; we would go on to have long one-on-one exchanges about feminist film criticism. Owing to her work schedule and her anxiety disorder, Allison seemed to have the least spare time of us, and her participation became more sporadic, but that meant that the rest of us gave her something of a hero’s welcome when she was able to join us. Kate rarely initiated discussions, and I never seemed to learn very much about her, or talk with her directly, but she responded to everything, and was always there to encourage our so-called misandry and cackle with us.
Our show eventually came to an end, and our discussions decreased in frequency. We continued with our projects, and we kept in touch via the microblogging site and other social media. I don’t hear much from Kate, but I know she’s in touch with Winn, who I still speak to weekly about our new projects and new favorite shows and gay couples. I check in periodically with Allison, who’s still working strange hours, still writing, and now in a serious relationship with a young woman and seemingly happier for it. I find that I miss them even when I speak to them, I miss those nights and those chats between new seasons, even though I knew and accepted that they would come to their end the way that everything does. I still look forward to hearing from these three people though, with the same excitement. Something about that strange and constant nostalgia for a thing that’s both definitively over but isn’t really gone is entirely appropriate to our beloved characters and television program. It also feels like the best possible feeling I could have for this trio of ridiculous, sensitive, arty gay weirdos that I was lucky enough to randomly meet. ...less

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  • 9 months ago