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Shortbus director serves as guest expert

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Actor, director and New Yorker John Cameron Mitchell's first film, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, made him a hero to sexual nonconformists everywhere, which is why I invited him to be a special guest expert in this week's column. His latest movie is Shortbus (now playing locally).

I am a 20-year-old woman going to school in New York. Recently, I admitted to myself that I am either a lesbian or a strongly female-oriented bisexual, and ended my first-ever relationship with a boyfriend.

With the boyfriend gone and my social anxiety being dealt with in counseling, I am craving another woman's company. But I have no idea how to meet women. I also worry because I have never had an actual sexual experience with a woman. I feel that I can't guarantee to a potential date that I am "the real thing" rather than just a curious straight.

Lonely In New York

"There's weird pressure in a big city to know exactly who you are," said John Cameron Mitchell when we spoke on the phone about your letter. "You can wind up feeling more lonely because everyone else seems to know who they are."

Mitchell was slapping me down for suggesting that you, as a relatively inexperienced young woman, were in the right place. I mean, New York Fucking City? Is there a better spot on the whole freaking planet for a woman to explore her sexuality? And isn't Shortbus, Mitchell's new film, a loving portrait of New York City's sexual demimonde -- complete with full-on, hardcore, integral-to-the-plot sex? I thought Mitchell would order you to get your ass down to the Village or over to Brooklyn or up to the Bronx or wherever hip sexual nonconformists are crawling up each other's butts this week.

But Mitchell felt like you had some homework to do first.

"There's this weird contradiction in her letter," said Mitchell. "She says she's finally admitted to being a lesbian, or at least bi, but at the end she says she can't guarantee that she's the real thing. She may need therapy more than she needs a list of lesbian bars in New York."

Once you get your shit together and have a little clearer idea of just who and what you are, LINY, Mitchell did have a tip for you. "The most interesting lesbian and bisexual women I know," said Mitchell, "are all into music and involved in the music scene. There are all kinds of interesting genderqueer and lesbian music acts around -- Gossip, Robo Sapien, Bitch, Peaches. When you're ready, check out GO NYC magazine, the biggest lesbian street rag -- and get out there."

I had a bland childhood. Mom and Pop were hetero, something I inherited. I'm the very portrait of an average American woman, a vanilla kind of girl. Except for one thing: When I was in my early teens, I used to have dreams about being bigger than my sexual partners, stronger and more powerful. Fast-forward to now, I'm obsessed with this "huge" fetish thing. I dream about towering over my male sex partners. I masturbate about it. I've searched online and found to my surprise that I am not the only one. I even found a magazine, Giantess, that was exactly what I have been fantasizing about. Unfortunately, it's no longer in print.

How the hell can I experience my fantasy when it is physically impossible? And how do you explain to a guy that you want him to be the size of a Ken doll so that you can have your way with him?

Big Girls Don't Cry

"I'd say she had something more than a bland childhood," said Mitchell. "Sometimes, fetishes are a way for people to balance out certain aspects of their lives. I can't think of the number of powerful politicians I know that are submissive during sex. A guy I knew was a sex worker and was flown down to Washington, D.C., to humiliate a Republican staffer who wanted to be called a dirty Republican. (I knew they felt guilty about it!) So as a young person, perhaps she felt small and powerless, because as an adult, she finds excitement in being in control and having power."

But how can you realize your fantasy? You can't, BGDC, except in fantasy role-play scenarios. You will never hold a 12-inch-tall man in your hands, but you can hold a Ken doll while engaging in dirty talk with a man who shares your giantess fetish.

And look on the bright side: "In a way, she's the luckiest girl in the world," said Mitchell, "because she has a specialized fetish that appeals to a number of guys." Which means you'll be able to take your pick of the giantess fetishists. "And if that magazine is defunct, then start another one!"

Now go see John Cameron Mitchell's brilliant new film, Shortbus (www.shortbusthemovie.com). And, hey, buy the new Scissor Sisters CD, Ta-Dah, on your way to the movie theater -- it's brilliant, too.

To ask Dan Savage a question, write to mail@savagelove.net.

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