Hi, I’m Maeve Marsden and you’re listening to Queerstories.
I am so excited about this – I’ve been sitting on these stories since December 2019 which is when I hosted the now annual Queerstories Chosen Family X-Mas in Sydney. And in 2019, I lent into the ‘ex’ in X-Mas – look, it makes more sense written out – it was like a coming together to celebrate the beautiful queer tradition that is exes.
Yes, yes, relationships are not the be-all and end-all in queerness. Some of us don’t do them or haven’t had them, don’t believe in them, or think they’re a heteronormative, hegemonic scourge. However, as a community, we contain multitudes, and the multi I wanted to explore was the very queer tendency to end the romantic part of a relationship but retain the person and the friendship. So the following episodes are pairs of exes telling the story of their time together, or their end, or their futures.
Unsurprisingly, a very gay thing happened at Chosen Family X-Mas, mainly the fact that Ally Garrett, who you may have heard on the last episode, performed twice, with two exes. In this episode you’ll hear her with yet another ex, Rebecca Shaw.
Bec (aka @brocklesnitch) is a writer and creator of parody Twitter account @notofeminism, which was developed into an illustrated book with Affirm Press. She wrote for Tonightly with Tom Ballard and Hard Quiz, she’s been published by Junkee, The Guardian, Daily Life, Kill Your Darlings, heaps of publications. Bec is a national treasure. Strap yourselves in for the last of Queerstories X-Mas.
Bec: G’day everyone. Okay, that’s enough. The title of this story, which I opposed, but that Ally insisted on is: ‘Rebecca Shaw is a nightmare.’ I’m Rebecca Shaw.
Ally: This is a story about seducing Rebecca Shaw. Like all great stories, there are many twists and turns and then you end up telling it in a room full of queers.
Like so many love stories from the year 2017, this started with a podcast.
Bec: Ally and I were both invited to do an episode of Yumi Stynes’ podcast ‘Ladies, We Need to Talk’, in an episode about being fat. As we are both fat ladies, who needed to talk. Ally and I had both been aware of each other via the internet, but we hadn’t really hung out before. After the podcast we had a photoshoot with Yumi.
Ally: The photoshoot was reasonably stressful for me because I had just started using a new eyelash serum. With the flash and the lighting, my eyes wouldn’t stop watering. It was really touch and go for me, ophthalmologically.
Bec: Now during this, I had a sense Ally might have been flirting, but it was hard for me to tell. As Maeve Marsden once said to me, ‘You wouldn’t know if someone was interested unless they physically took out their vagina and threw it at you.’
Ally: I didn’t do that, but I was definitely flirting. Through my tears, I leaned into Bec as the camera flashed.
Bec: And I could see Ally’s eyes watering and assumed that she was using me as some sort of guide dog. She also talked to me about her boyfriend, so I obviously assumed I had misread the flirting.
Ally: I actually mentioned that things were on the rocks with my boyfriend. Anyway, we didn’t see each other again until we went to a queer party called Bad Dog.
I’d had a lot going on, but when I walked into the party, Bec came running up to me…
Bec: You know this is a misremembering because I don’t run anywhere.
Ally: Anyway, I said to my friend Katy, ‘Maybe I will try and kiss Bec tonight’. Little did I know how hard that would be.
Bec: This is actually a story twist, because when I am high I will make out with literally anyone at any time. But I didn’t realise Ally was keen to do so. All we did was chat, sitting very closely together, knees touching the whole night. I was really happy to have made a new friend.
Ally: Towards the end of the extremely long night, I thought it was time to pull out My Move. This move hasn’t actually failed me before or since. I twirled my hair, I looked Bec right in the eye, and I said ‘I think you’re a babe’ and then I waited for what always happens next.
Bec: Probably not what always happens is what I did, which was look panicked and stutter ‘Thank you’ and then immediately walk away.
Ally: This had never happened before. I had always been kissed immediately.
Bec: HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW. There is no rule book for Insecure Verses on how to react when hit on by a femme bottom at the end of a party.
In the meantime, my then partner (hi Luka) and I were discussing how to get home. We decided to get an Uber, and so we each went around asking people if they wanted to share one.
Ally: Bec asked me if I wanted to get an Uber. With her and Luka. Ahhhh. My move had worked after all.
Bec: That’s right, Ally thought that I had gone from being too nervous to succumb to her move and kiss her, to almost immediately asking if she wanted a threesome. A normal brain.
Ally: And I maintain that ‘sharing an Uber’ after a party can and does only mean one thing.
Bec: In hindsight it’s lucky you didn’t say yes, because you would have been very confused when we simply dropped you off and waved goodbye.
Ally: Encouraged by the fact that Bec had definitely asked me to have a threesome, I asked Bec if she wanted to have a date at my house.
Bec: You did not say date.
Ally: I did.
Bec: The word ‘date’ was never used, you asked if I wanted to come over and watch a movie.
Ally: I asked you to come over and watch Heavenly Creatures with me.
Bec: So yes, Heavenly Creatures, a classic New Zealand film about lesbians. Which may, in retrospect, have been a sign. But it’s also about friendship and murder. So, who is to say.
Ally: Having asked Bec into my bedroom, I waited for her to make the next move.
Bec: Unfortunately, the move never came. Instead, we had a great time watching all of Heavenly Creatures, including Ally telling me fun facts about New Zealand. When the movie ended, I was still not sure if it had been a date, so I simply acted accordingly.
Ally: It was 1.30am. We were lying on my bed, facing each other, talking about astrology. Nothing was happening.
Bec: Looking back, lying on someone’s bed after watching a lesbian movie, and talking in depth about astrology is basically lesbian sex anyway.
Ally: Eventually, I got so tired that I had to ask Bec to leave.
Bec: And Ally kicking me out proved to me that she just wanted to be friends.
Ally: Bec left my house, taking her backpack into the night.
Bec: That’s for a few people, it’s cool to have a backpack.
Ally: I watched her backpack leave and in shock, I messaged another mutual friend ‘I’ve just had Bec here on an 8-hour date and she didn’t even kiss me?’ Our mutual friend replied, ‘Bec does this.’
Bec: If by ‘doing this’ she meant being completely incapable of reading the signs that someone is interested, then yes, I suppose I do do this. Like the time a woman messaged me ‘I want to be your lover’ and by the next time we hung out, I had convinced myself she wasn’t interested. Or the time I was in Melbourne and someone invited herself to my hotel room, and I truly thought it was a friendship move based on the bar closing.
Ally: Our friend told me that I had joined an illustrious club. A club of sexy, interesting women who had all tried to seduce Bec Shaw.
Bec: And I dispute this strongly. A club needs multiple members to qualify for club status.
Ally: And I’ll be hosting a club meeting in the bar after this.
Bec: I’ll be going home.
Ally: I’ll see you all there.
So, I invited Bec to my house. Again. This time we would go to my bedroom, again, and watch 90’s teen horror The Faculty.
Bec: Little did Ally know, the real horror was yet to come. Not only did I again make no moves, but at the time I was experiencing side effects from fibroids, and bleeding extremely heavily, a fun series of events which would soon land me in hospital.
Ally: After Bec’s 73rd visit to the bathroom, she asked me if I had any pads.
Bec: Which is a lovely lesbian rite of passage. Unfortunately, no man-made material could stem the tide, and I bled through everything – my tampon, the pad Ally had given me, and through my jorts, all over Ally’s beautiful white doona. It was so much blood. This was all before we had even kissed.
Ally: I still asked Bec if she wanted to stay the night, but she didn’t.
Bec: Well, that’s because after destroying Ally’s bed, and not in the fun way, I felt it was time for me to take my leave. Also, I had no more pads.
Ally: When Bec left I found myself cleaning her period blood off the sheets. This wasn’t a big deal at all, but normally this would happen two months into a sexual relationship, and Bec still hadn’t even kissed me.
Bec: So, it usually goes kissing and sex and then touching each other’s period blood and then doing an exes’ Queerstories. So after that… did we give up? Some say Ally definitely should have.
Ally: A friend suggested that it was the dates that were the problem. She said that we should try quickly making out in the street to ease the pressure and just get it out of the way.
Bec: Very romantic way to describe what happened: ‘getting it out of the way.’
Ally: I texted Bec and suggested that we make out in the street.
Bec: I replied with a funny joke about how we could make out in the street with all of Sydney’s rats, and then this joke turned into a longer joke where I imagined a version of the Pixar movie Ratatouille about us called Fatatouille.
Ally: And for some reason, even after reading this joke, I still wanted to sleep with Rebecca Shaw. Not long after, I turned up to the Courthouse where Bec was having beers with some of our friends. And I was absolutely determined we were going to kiss. So I sat at a completely different table and ignored her for a while.
Bec: In this way Ally is much like her cat Peggy who is also a femme bottom. So when Ally left, I offered to walk her home as I would any friend.
Ally: I’m pretty sure I actually asked you to walk me home.
Bec: Well, I obliged, which is also nice of me.
Ally: So we walked, and eventually we got to where we would go our separate ways. I looked at Bec and said, ‘Are you going to make out with me in the street or not?’
Bec: To my credit, I didn’t mention Fatatouille – a great joke. Instead, in my memory, I calmly and coolly obliged, moving forward and kissing Ally in a delightful manner.
Ally: In my memory, Bec looked extremely panicked. She shook her hands up and down, turned a full circle on the spot and then leaned in to kiss me.
Bec: But was it delightful?
Ally: The kiss was reasonably delightful.
Bec: By that she means amazing. You might think now that the ice had been broken, we would naturally continue the momentum, and had sex. But it took another date for that to happen.
Ally: Two dates. There was the date where my Christmas tree fell over and I had to demand that you kiss me in my kitchen.
Bec: That’s right, her Christmas tree. It’s like that movie montage in Notting Hill where the seasons change so you can really feel the passage of time. And did we have sex before the year was up? No.
Ally: Did we finally have sex on New Year’s Day after spending four hours making out at the Red Rattler? Also, no.
Bec: But then Ally invited me over yet again to watch another classic 90s film in her bed. This time, the highly erotic Cruel Intentions.
Ally: I thought that if anything was going to convince Bec to finally fuck me, it would be that strand of spit on Selma Blair’s mouth after Sarah Michelle Gellar kisses her. I know you know the one. Also, I decided to make us several whisky sours, Bec’s favourite cocktail.
Bec: She made them in a protein shaker, which was very seductive. But it worked, and we got quite drunk. So then finally, it was time.
Ally: Do you guys want to hear about it or not? What I remember most is Bec decisively shutting her laptop halfway through Cruel Intentions.
Bec: As a writer, shutting my laptop decisively is the most out-of-control, erotically charged move I can make. And it worked. So Ally, what was our first time having sex like, after all that waiting?
Ally: Unfortunately, I can’t really remember. We had both drank so many whisky sours.
Bec: I also cannot really remember the specifics.
Ally: It was definitely worth the wait.
Bec: Look, it must have been passable, as we went on to do it many more times. And it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
Ally: The long, annoying, frustrating, journey.
Bec: But in all seriousness, I did actually grow from this. I learned a lot by continuing to be friends with Ally and having her talk to me about what a nightmare I was. Which she never stops telling me to this day. I realised, with her help and with Luka’s, that when you won’t believe that people might be interested in you, your insecurity begins to take away other people’s agency. And look, I don’t claim to be cured, and i still obviously think I’m going to die alone – I’m single – but this experience did help. I’m truly much improved.
Ally: And if I—
Bec: That’s a great point, Bec.
Ally: And if I learned anything, I guess it would be that maybe sometimes I could make a more obvious move. I don’t possibly know what that could be, but carpe diem.
Bec: And to all of Ally’s other exes in the room, and also Ally’s future exes in the room, unfortunately there was only space for two of us this year, but Maeve says if you try hard, you can get on stage next Christmas, so good luck.
Ally: I’d like to end by saying to all of the women in the room tonight who are currently trying to seduce Bec…
Bec: The hundreds of you…
Ally: Do not give up. With a little perseverance, a lot of patience and seven whisky sours, you too can fuck Rebecca Shaw.
Thanks for listening. Please subscribe to the podcast, rate and review it, and follow Queerstories on Facebook for updates. Follow me, Maeve Marsden, on Twitter and Instagram, and please consider ordering a copy of the Queerstories book, a collection of the tales that I edited with beautiful stories by incredible writers such as Nayuka Gorrie, Benjamin Law, Candy Bowers, Candy Royalle, Simon Hunt, Liz Duck-Chong, and Rebecca Shaw.