Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (May 23, 2008)

Last Sunday, as I was reading the New York Times while munching on an everything bagel with lox spread, I was surprised and delighted to find a Q&A with out actor Cynthia Nixon in the New York Times Magazine, as part of her high-heeled, well-coiffed Sex and the City publicity blitz.

But I soon discovered that the interviewer, Deborah Solomon, apparently has never met any lesbians before Cynthia Nixon, nor has she done any research (you know, like what a journalist at the New York Times should do) about lesbians — at least that’s what the tenor of her questions suggested.

Photo credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

After Solomon asked Nixon whether it was easier to live with a woman than a man “because you have more in common” and commenting that the two could use the same bathroom at the movie theater (duh!), she asked the following:

Can you share clothes? No. Christine doesn’t wear women’s clothes; she only wears men’s clothes. She won’t even wear any kind of women’s shoes. I bought her a pair of cowboy boots that were from the women’s department, and she was like, “Don’t do this again.”

Does she watch sports on TV? She does. We don’t have a TV. But when there was a World Cup, we went to the local Ruby Foo’s and watched it. And we actually did watch the Super Bowl as well. She tried to explain it to me.

Do you think of her as the male figure in the relationship? No, I don’t at all. Look at what’s happening now. She’s at home with the kids, and I’m the one out pounding the pavement. … She’s for Hillary, and I’m for Obama.

The armload of misinformed assumptions and outdated stereotypes in these few lines boggles my mind. I mean, this is the New York Times, right? The GLAAD Award-winning newspaper that often publishes well-balanced articles about gay marriage, gay rights, etc.? Quick! Somebody help! The nation’s most “liberal” newspaper has been hijacked and sent back to 1976!

Reading this article made me wonder what other publications might ask Nixon while she’s on her Sex and the City press tour, especially since when she came out a few years ago, she wouldn’t say much about her relationship with Christine Marinoni.

Nixon and Marinoni

But Nixon’s now willing to talk about it, which is both good and bad. Take her interview with the U.K.’s Times, in which Nixon responds to a question apparently along the lines of “Is your ideal man a woman?” and/or “Would you love your girlfriend if she were a man?” Here’s an excerpt:

“I have to say that in terms of the particular person I’m with I guess I do feel that the ideal man is a woman,” laughs Nixon. “I feel like she’s much more intuitive about what’s going on with me. She’s much more willing to treat it like a partnership. We eat together, shop and cook together, raise children together. And there’s much more sense of the task at hand and we both fit in. I’m in love with her because she’s her; it’s hard to know if I’d be in love with her if she were a man. If she were a man, would she be differ-ent? Would she still be this intuitive? Would she still be this devoted?

This article (and this quote) led to the following headline on the admittedly tawdry “Cynthia Nixon’s lady-boy.” (Cue collective groan.)

But while a lot of the media coverage on Cynthia Nixon focuses salaciously on her “lesbian lover,” it’s also bizarrely balanced out by the enthusiastic assumption, in the wake of last week’s legalization of same-sex marriage in California, that she and Marinoni are going to get married. Nixon inadvertently fanned the flames of matrimonial speculation with her recent interview with the Telegraph:

“I’ve always been wary of marriage,” she says. “I felt it was a potential trap because some people want the party and the gifts and the public celebration — rather than the commitment. But, if it becomes legal, we might. My girlfriend is interested, whereas my boyfriend never was. I also think that for us to get married would be a little act of rebellion. It’s like getting the vote — you’d do it because you’ve never been allowed to before.”

But this week on the Graham Norton Show, she quashed the rumors by saying: “It’s untrue. ‘Cause we can’t get married. (But) we could get married for pretend! We live in New York; New York has no same sex marriage. I think one day soon, hopefully, it may (be legal), and then I think we’ll consider it.”

That was an incredibly even-keeled and rational response, Cynthia! How will the tabloids spin that one? How about this: Cynthia Nixon to stage “pretend” wedding with lesbian lover!

Is there a lesson to be learned from all this? Well, as I passed that time-warp New York Times interview over to my lesbian lover girlfriend, she read it and commented: “Right on with not wearing women’s shoes! They’re totally uncomfortable, anyway.”

Take that, Manolo Blahnik.

— by Malinda Lo