So a friend of mine, a fellow historian from Oxford, is out here in Rome for 6 months or so. We were thrown together rather - there are fewer than half a dozen people in Oxford who work on Italian history, so we all know one another perforce. On a past trip out here we went for dinner and she told me she was coming over for this research period and that she hoped to meet up. Then she threw me slightly with the query: do you know what Rome's lesbian night-life is like? Only, she continued, I don't have anyone to go out with here.
Er, no, as it happens. But I'm up for finding out. Perhaps this is a good time to tell you that whilst I've only ever had relationships with men, I identify myself as bi, and have done for a few years. To quote from that episode of series 7 of Buffy where Xander swears off women, Let's get this gay show on the gay road. Or something.
SO on Sunday we went to Goa, which is Rome's most famous nightclub, where on the last Sunday of the month they host a women-only night called Venus Rising. It's very strictly run - men are turned away on the door even if in the company of women - and the only bloke inside was one of the DJs. Otherwise, all the door staff, bar staff etc were women. We used the men's loo when a queue built up. The musical policy was eclectic. The club was smaller than I expected given its fame.
Now, I don't know if you're much in the way of going to lesbian nightclubs? frankly I found it a bit weird. Firstly, on a regular night, the crowd is self-selecting on the basis of musical taste or style. Goths go to goth nights, rock chicks go to rock nights, glitzy r'n'b types go to, er, glitzy r'n'b nights. But here the crowd was based on a wholly other criteria and so was incredibly varied. There were flamboyant goths, shaven-headed types in men's baggy tshirts, glamourpusses in backless tops, chic ladies in tailored jackets, trendy teenagers in stripy cotton tops and shorts, neat thirtysomethings in smart trousers, androgynous brunettes in shirts & ties. Which in itself is unusual for a social occasion (in my admittedly limited experience). Then, whilst I'm kind of used to having men check me out (without meaning to sound arrogant, most girls are used to it), having a girl shamelessly look you up & down and ogle your cleavage is... a new expereince for me. Anyway there was a sort of eighteenth-century themed aspect with nubile dancers in corsets, wigs, long gloves and lacy knickers, and a curious sort of tableau vivant with a woman dressed in full 18th century get up who then did a partial strip-tease. Which was also... odd.
So we had a good time. (No, since you ask, I didn't get any). And we might go back next month. It was a laugh. Now, is the timing of the request of Aussie Romanista for more photos on this blog purely coincidental, or did it have something to do with me mentioning lesbians?