On the Habits and Habitats of the Breeding Lesbians of South Brooklyn
by Jean Kahler
1. The South Brooklyn Lesbian: Species or Race?
Much controversy surrounds the taxonomic status of Brooklyn Lesbians: should the Lesbians of North and South Brooklyn, concentrated respectively in Williamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick and Park Slope/Prospect Heights/Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy and adjacent neighborhoods, be considered separate races of a single species, like the Yellow- and Red-shafted Flickers of species Colaptes auratus? Or are they more properly defined as two separate species, like Baltimore and Bullock’s Orioles, once thought types of Northern Oriole?
|Red Shafted Flicker Tail Feather|
It is the position of this author that the Northern and Southern Brooklyn Lesbians must properly be separately named species of the genus Sappho. The two display marked distinctions in plumage and diet, with the Northern species preferring H&M ‘80’s nostalgia synthetics and Pabst Blue Ribbon and the Southern natural fibers, Dansko clogs, and whiskey-based cocktails.
The issue is complicated by what has been termed the “Zelig Effect” common to all Lesbian populations, in which new couples often rapidly shift in appearance such that the individuals are nearly identical in under a year’s time. Some argue that so-called casuals to a given section of the borough — Northerns or Southerns blown off course while attempting to avoid an ex* or by mistaking the G train for a real subway — may defensively adapt to the foreign environment by taking on traits of the dominant population, ultimately fooling the natives into accepting her as one of their own.
*[Though many Brooklyn lesbians do, in fact, engage in the ex-hoarding behavior typical of the genus, this trait is less strong in the NYC species than in those of smaller locales. Further research is needed to determine whether this phenotypical variation is a result of founder effect or or specific environmental pressures. Ed note: By "ex" the author means ex-lovers]
However, the crucial test in any instance of the so-called species problem is interbreeding: populations that can interbreed, even if they do so only in limited geographical areas of overlap, are properly named as races, while those that cannot are defined as individual species. The breeding behavior of the types of Brooklyn Lesbian is, again, a matter of some argument in scientific circles, but while interbreeding between the groups (perhaps limited to the transitional borderlands of Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant) is suspected by some scholars, it has never been conclusively proven. Therefore, this paper will concern itself only with the Southern species, Sappho parkslopica.
2. Courtship Behavior: Territoriality and Dominance
As is common across the Animal kingdom, parkslopica engages in multiple forms of territory-marking behavior during the courtship phase. Scent-marking behaviors include environmental marking via burning of incense and home-brewing of kombucha, and also pheromone-mimckry via topical application of ginger oil and/or Old Spice. The use of patchouli, once wide-spread, is now seen only rarely. Its decline is not well-understood but likely related to its lousy smell.
It is theorized that cat dander, on clothing and emanating from apartment doors and windows, also acts as a means of alerting Lesbians to one another’s presence. In that case, the broadcasting of said dander may be increased by Stoop-Sitting, a territorial behavior common across all species of Brooklynites, in which the available Lesbian spends several hours of the afternoon or evening sitting on the front steps of her building, nodding or jutting her chin out at those who pass by, to both display herself to potential mates and ward off rivals. Stoop-Sitting is especially important to the dog-owning Lesbian, who will often further clarify her species-identification by naming her dog or dogs for lesbian literary, musical, or style icons, e.g., Rita Mae, Tigre, Rosie, Indigo.
Sound-marking is less common among parkslopica than among straight Brooklynites in general, though the Acoustic Guitar behavior seen in other Lesbian species may be incorporated into Stoop-Sitting. Some members of the species will engage in a fascinating method of call-amplification by convincing a local bartender or barista to let them “DJ” the bar or coffee shop by plugging their iPods into the sound system and playing a mix of courtship music (Sleater Kinney, Tracy Chapman, k.d. lang, etc.)
Dominance behavior in parkslopica generally revolves around community organizations, the Park Slope Food Coop being the most well known. The Lesbian in search of a mate will almost without fail join at least one and often more. The Lesbian seeking to assert dominance will volunteer to join the governing board of her community garden or become the Squad Leader of her Food Coop work shift, thus advertising to potential mates her free time, high level of interest in types of kale, and robust ability to “process issues,” all desirable attributes in a partner. The truly dedicated dominant Lesbian may seek to organize her own food coop or Community Supported Agriculture group, perhaps as a means of proving her ability to manage multiple mates in a polyamorous context.
3. Reproductive Mating Behavior
Little is known about the reproductive mating behaviors of Lesbians, except that they are nothing like those portrayed in the L-Word. Scholars have ascertained that mating for the purpose of reproduction takes place in both home and clinic settings. Turkey basters are emphatically not involved; the popular myth surrounding them may be a cynical attempt on the part of the species to distract attention from actual methods by appealing to male insecurity: a man wondering if other guy’s output could really fill such a large device is unlikely to ask further questions.
Scholars agree that reproductive mating in parkslopica involves or perhaps requires large amounts of poetry and blogging.
|The Author and her little guy|
4. Rearing of Young
Signs of successful reproductive mating in parkslopica include the feathering of their nests with bird-themed art and fabric goods from Etsy, Scandinavian wooden furniture (in particular Stokke, IKEA), and books on baby sign language. Plumage changes invariably include baby-carrying devices, each accompanied by a particular set of calls proclaiming its superiority over other types. Other typical call patterns include long, apparently thought-out opinions on Attachment Parenting, Baby-Led Weaning, Co-Sleeping, and the pernicious qualities of fruit juice. Interestingly, calls of Lesbians with male offspring often contain diatribes for or, more commonly, against circumcision, which are in many cases the first sign a Lesbian has ever given a damn about the existence of penises.
While these calls as rendered by different Lesbians sound identical to the non-Lesbian ear, field observations indicate variations exist outside of the range of non-Lesbian hearing. Two Lesbians seeming to espouse the same parenting philosophies frequently react as if their ideas are so opposed and mutually repugnant that the two can no longer associate with one another at all. This conflict behavior is thought to ensure separation between couples adequate to prevent the communalism and pair re-shuffling common to Lesbian species during other periods of the life cycle.
Safety Note: Just as naturalists and tourists are rightly warned against standing between a mother bear and her young or a hippopotamus and the water, researchers in the field encountering a Lesbian with young should under no account challenge the Lesbian, however unintentionally, by inquiring who the “real mother” is or whether BPA is “really so bad.”
5. Ecological Succession:
Urban Lesbian species have long been recognized as part of the vanguard of the gentrification process, whereby neighborhoods whose rents are low (often as a result of industrial and/or Robert Moses-style “urban renewal”-related blight) become colonized/invaded (as styled by the gentrifiers vs. the pre-gentrification residents) by artists and Lesbians, whose presence in turn prepares the area for habitation by, in turn, graduate students, gay men, hip single straights drawn to apartments in which a lack of basic interior building materials, previously proof of squalor, is recast as “luxury” (See: “spacious open floor plan,” “exposed brick”), and, ultimately, investment bankers whose children’s first names are Anglo-Saxon surnames. Naturally, pre-gentrification populations do include a naturally-occurring low rate of Lesbianism, as all populations are theorized to, but it is the influx of so-called “pack” Lesbian clusters whose presence triggers or indicates the early phases of gentrification.
While Lesbians’ place in this process is sometimes self-described as motivated by an attraction to “authenticity,” as otherwise observed in middle- and upper-middle-class Lesbians’ fondness for markers for blue collar culture (Carhart jackets, diners, mullets), it is more probably a result of the lower income of women versus men (an effect intensified by the lack of a balancing male salary in Lesbian relationships), particularly women who work for non-profit organizations or the no-profit sector of feminist bookstores and ethical tea houses.
Species parkslopica gets its name from the early phases of genrtification in the neighborhood of Park Slope, but the process of succession is so advanced that, while individual Lesbians still live in the neighborhood, the environment can no longer support a full pack. Facing extinction in its eponymous zone, parkslopica has established new colonies in other south Brooklyn neighborhoods, with Ditmas Park, Windsor Terrace/Kensington, and Crown Heights seeing rising levels of Lesbians With Children.
Curiously, parkslopica’s range appears limited to high ground; there are no credible reports of colonies in Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island, or similarly low-lying neighborhoods. Possibly this is due more to an aversion to salt spray than to low altitude, as the Lesbian population of low ground areas of inland Brooklyn (Bushwick, Bed-Stuy) is rising. Such an aversion would be unsurprising in a genus containing large numbers of individuals whose instinct leads them to spend the heat of summer not at the shore but in the woods of central Michigan, well-insulated from salt and sand.
Reports surface from time to time of parkslopica clusters appearing in areas of Jersey City and Hoboken, but these are largely unsubstantiated and are likely evidence of the Mocking-Broker effect, wherein real estate brokers attempt to lure customers to a given neighborhood by claiming that a sizable population of that customer’s species is already established there. While individual Lesbian families may relocate to join packs in Portland, the Bay Area, or Northampton, a strong taboo exists against leaving Brooklyn for other NYC boroughs, as evidenced by the bonding call, “Death Before Queens.”