Growing up a gay girl can be isolating. Your friends start developing crushes on boys and they swoon over love songs and movies like The Notebook. I never quite got all the fuss over Nicholas Sparks films, but then again, those movies weren’t written for me. We were relegated to subplots in Buffy and mainstream films never catered to us. In light of lacking lesbian representation, let’s reimagine these classic tales of romance as lesbian love stories.
First up, Titanic: Titanic is a classic love story about a young woman named Rose destined to marry the wealthy Cal to restore her family’s social standing and financial security. However, Rose is so distraught at the idea of marrying Cal that she is prepared to commit suicide by jumping from the bow of the Titanic. Cal isn’t terrible looking though, and he buys her fancy jewelry. Is marrying Cal really worth literally jumping ship? It is if you’re a lesbian!
How does Jack fit into the equation, you may ask? Jack is a male passing, butch lesbian. Jacqueline is smaller than the other men pictured in the film, and looks too good in a suit to be a man. Look at her! Rewatch Titanic and tell me it isn’t a touching butch/femme romance. I’ll wait.
photo by John Irving/Flickr- https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/7582692044
Next up, Grease: This classic musical features The Pink Ladies (clearly femmes) and the T-Birds (clearly butches). Sandy, our Australian sweetheart, falls for Danielle over the summer, and Danielle’s promise that their love is “only the beginning,” turns out to be very true. Sandy shows up at Rydell High and meets the Pink Ladies who try to give her a High Femme Bad Girl makeover. The T-Birds rock classic, dapper butch fashion, complete with carefully crafted pompadours.
Reimagining the characters as lesbians somehow makes me way less angry at Sandy’s complete turnaround in the end when she takes on a whole new, sexy look to win Danielle back. Danielle may be a player, but at least Sandy ain’t changing herself for no man.
Next on the list, Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Holly Golightly gives off Big Femme Vibes in this classic love story. Holly largely avoids the advances of men while still benefiting from them financially, and she has a cat. She ran away from her husband, Doc, as a fourteen-year-old without ever being able to give a reason why. I can give you a reason: she’s a big, old dyke!
However, unlike the other films on this list, I won’t be butching up the male lead. Fred, Baby has always been unimpressive to me, and I found myself way more attracted to his sugar mama Emily Eustace Failenson. Holly is flighty and wants to be free. Fred, Baby wants to tie her down and make her something she isn’t. Emily would support Holly’s lavish lifestyle without putting a leash on her. Instead of settling for Fred, Baby, Holly should have ditched him for the Old School Femme Emily Eustace. They could have settled down and given the cat a name.
Now for an even older classic, Casablanca: Casablanca takes place in 1941 and was more of a WWII film with a love story subplot than a romance film, but… can we talk about much hotter Rick would be as Ricky? Ricky is a butch from New York who moved to Casablanca to open up a dyke bar and gambling den, Rick’s Cafe Americain. However, with the Nazi occupation of France, the bar came under scrutiny.
Reimagining the bar as a 1940s classic lesbian hangout makes the whole movie more appealing. With next to no lesbian bars today, I love fantasizing about old school dyke bars of the 1940s and 50s, and I’ll take any excuse to insert a little bit of the culture into old films. Now, if you could suspend disbelief a little further, let’s pretend that when the whole bar starts to sing over the Nazis chorus of Die Wacht am Rhein, that they’re actually singing Hammer and A Nail instead.
It may have come out decades later, but we don’t exactly have lesbian anthems from 1941 that I’m aware of. The image gives me chills, regardless. Let’s also give our girls a happy ending, eh? Ilsa and Ricky escape to New York to open a new bar and live happily ever after. They’re probably retired festies now.
Lastly, The Notebook: As previously stated, I wasn’t into The Notebook. It came out when I was firmly in my “not like other girls” phase and frankly I did not understand the appeal. But when someone says classic love story it always comes up and my girlfriend likes it, so I watched it as research. What NO ONE told me is that it is VERY SAD and I am VERY UPSET. With that off my chest, Allie and Noah are now Allie and Norah.
Norah is a passing butch, working manual labor jobs to get by in a time where women were expected to rely on their husbands for financial support. Allie’s parents care less that Norah is poor and more that she is a woman. The disapproving parent trope works well for lesbians trying to find any relatable element in hetero romance films. Allie knows she should marry Lon, the handsome rich guy her parents approve of, but she could never love him like she loves Norah! Especially after Norah built her the house of her dreams! We love a woman who can use her hands, amiright, ladies?
I hated the ending and I’m going to pretend that they lived happily ever after in that white house with the blue shutters Norah built for Allie. They bought the acreage around the property and turned the whole thing into womyn’s land, and they started an artist’s colony where Allie can sell her paintings.