By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
By Joe Eskenazi
By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
With rain hammering the city into submission, and relentless NBA parties giving weekend warriors the status of weekend crusaders, there is but one respite: to crawl "In Bed With Fairy Butch."
In a deserted alleyway cluttered, tonight, with dripping dumpsters and sidewalk-straddling automobiles, the entrance of the CoCo Club glows faintly. From the street, there is no indication of lascivious mirth or lustful debauchery, no overloud laughter, heated entreaties, or accentuated bass, just a ponderous metal door and a simple sign. But just inside the door, at the top of a steep, narrow staircase surrounded by sanguine walls, the felicity becomes clear: Heat, music, smoke, squeals of gaiety, and the rhythmic clinking of cocktail glasses rise from the unseen basement level. Following the stairwell to the left, the newly arrived guest finds herself overlooking the nightclub's denizens, just as they are able to look her over, as she descends into the intimate tumult. The crowd is eye-catching, an evocative mix of women dressed in corsets, lace, men's suits, work boots, miniskirts, baggy pants, and Army shirts, all meticulously selected and arranged. It is easy to imagine, within this old speak-easy setting, a time when such gatherings might have offered a clandestine thrill, but the excitement is anything but covert.
"I want sex," says 23-year-old Elly Keigler, "not cuddling or petting cats -- real sex. I want to be in a place where people respect their bodies, and their lust. That's why I'm at 'In Bed With Fairy Butch.'"
"In Bed With Fairy Butch" is a biweekly erotic cabaret where women of any inclination -- butch, femme, andro, top, bottom, switch, lesbian, dyke, bi, transgender, soft butch, girly-girl, bulldagger, tomboy femme, bi transsensual domme, boy bottom, dyke daddy, granola femme -- are welcome. (Men must be escorted, except during the near-monthly co-ed shows.) Fairy Butch is Karlyn Lotney, a delightful, burly bulldagger, with a queen's wit, a Jewish mother's heart, and the homespun habit of calling everyone "sugar." Since coming out of the closet in 1982, in Dayton, Ohio, at the tender age of 16, Lotney has become the savvy confidante and shameless inspiration for dykes across the country: first with her sex advice column "Ask Fairy Butch," which has run in Curve, Creampuff, and On Our Backs; then with her hands-on sex seminars -- "Chicks With Dicks," "Dyke Sex: Nuts and Bolts," "Dyke Sex: Powertools," "Romancing the Stone: What Does Stone Butch Really Want (In Bed)," and "Fairy Butch's Dyke Sex Tips for Straight Men" -- which help with everything from "clitpumping" to oral gratification to advanced use of strap-ons; and finally with her notorious club night, where girls strip for girls and anything goes so long as everyone leaves happy.
"Women are not taught to pursue sex in our society," explains Lotney. "But pursuing sex is more than occupying a place of power; it is also relinquishing a place of power as the object of sexual desire. It's more complicated than people think, and that's the economy most dykes are engaged in. We try to break down those taboos a little here."
From the eager eyes and fistfuls of dollars surrounding the tiny stage, taboos seem a scarce commodity. Still, as a relaxed, no-nonsense andro takes a seat in the front row, she wedges the cocktail tables together in front of her, citing the small gap as a sure lap-dancing concourse. Then, Fairy Butch and former student and co-host LaTricia Ransom take the stage. The crowd erupts and pushes closer to the stage, raising the temperature markedly. Ransom and Fairy Butch chat for a minute like old friends over coffee, including the crowd as a third companion.
"What are you going to do for Valentine's Day?" Fairy Butch asks.
"Nothing," shout two women in the back.
"Nothing?" Fairy Butch chuckles from her couch. "C'mon, what are you gonna do?"
"Masturbate!" shouts an eager fan.
"How is that different than any other night?" she asks, still chuckling.
"Are you going to do it a little harder?" asks Ransom.
"Maybe in front of an audience," suggests Fairy Butch.
The chant begins immediately: Pam! Pam! Pam! Pam emerges from the crowd with a tall cocktail in her hand, slightly embarrassed, but happy to participate. She pants a little into the microphone, and that's all. No one pushes for more. It's early yet.
Fairy Butch asks Pam what she looks for in a girl: very sexual, no drama. (Example of drama: "I just got out of three-year relationship, and I'm really confused, and do you have any latex gloves in your pocket because I'm just not sure, and I really need lube!") The crowd roars and it is immediately clear how the Fairy Butch "Dynasty" has grown: It is impossible not to feel comfortable under the malevolent arm of Karlyn Lotney -- you'd tell her anything. Within a few sentences, even the couple men in the crowd, squished next to their gal pals, uncross their arms and allow their jaws to slacken.
"What should you do when you're fucking a girl, and she starts to ejaculate all over your brand-new down comforter?" reads Fairy Butch from a napkin drawn from a bucket of audience queries.