I was lucky enough to go on my very first lesbian pilgrimage to Dinah Shore this year thanks to LOE. I’d been excited and nervous since I got the news–little old me, at the world’s biggest girl party? Surrounded by lesbians? By myself? Sounds great! On paper. In reality, I was incredibly anxious. I’ve never really been a party girl, not even in high school…probably because you have to be invited to parties to be a party girl. I did have a stint with heavyish public drinking in my late teens, but clutching a bottle of Ciroc in a stranger’s backyard and chainsmoking doesn’t really count as partying unless you go to art school. And Dinah Shore is not art school. Dinah Shore is another world entirely, populated by all kinds of beautiful, confident, diverse women. I’m not exaggerating when I say everybody was hot. Everybody was SO hot. So much so that I actually became desensitized to it. Normally, in the presence of some hot stud or bombshell butch I become a stuttering, nervous, avoidant mess, eyes darting and feet shuffling. But I hit my upper limit pretty quickly. Like the great astronomers of old, I stared into the sun and became blind to it.
“Excuse me, GORGEOUS STRANGER, but I need to use the RESTROOM.” “Pardon me, TENS, a FOUR(ish) is coming through!”
I’m not being objectifying, I’m speaking objectively. I have never seen such beautiful people in so many different shapes and sizes and styles in my life. And, honestly? It made me feel beautiful too. I didn’t know there were so many different ways to be a gay woman. I didn’t feel wrong, I just felt there. It was liberating. Dinah Shore may not seem like the place for an introvert, but I’m really, really glad I went. So, without further ado, I present to you:
The Introvert’s Guide to Dinah Shore
Step One: Find Your People
I was, again, lucky enough to have my housemates pre-selected by our site’s dear editor Ashley. Seven to an AirBnB? Sounds like a party! My housemates were wonderful and I could not have had as good a time as I did without them. I clung to them like a remora to a bunch of beautiful, fashionable sharks. Don’t worry, the relationship was (I think) symbiotic–I made like 4 quiches. It helped that they were kind, funny, charming people. And also super duper ridiculously good looking. Really prepared me for what lay ahead. I was also much more comfortable with some sense of familiarity during the parties. My advice? Organize a carpool or bring a +1 for your first go around! It really takes some of the pressure off.
Bonus tip: (optional) Get dumped 2 days before the party over text! It really relieves the guilt of taking in the eye candy while you’re there.
Step Two: Find Your Thing and Do It
While the heart of Dinah Shore is obviously in the parties, there’s more to do in Palm Springs. Did I get up early to go to a farmer’s market on Saturday? Hell yeah I did! Did I talk about it almost all night at the party beforehand? Well…yes. And it was well worth it. I prefer to introduce myself to new people through cooking, so to be able to cook breakfast for a house full of likely hungover housemates was a blessing. I feel more like myself when I’m cooking and feel more open to others when I can feed them. Honestly, I would have stayed home and made lunch if this were any other event.
The pool party was also a source of trepidation for me. I really, really don’t like public pools. Something about a) being in a swimsuit and b) swimming in other people’s skin cells really wigs me out. But I really enjoyed myself at the pool party! I even got in the water. Something about being around mostly women and other members of the LGBT community in all different styles made me feel more comfortable in my own skin.
I don’t like crowds, so I found a quiet, grassy spot to lay down in and sunbathe like a lizard while taking in the sounds of the party. This, to me, was the perfect middle ground and I had a lot of fun sitting around, chatting, and enjoying the perimeters of the party.
Step Three: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone…at least a little bit.
I may be young and sweet, but I am certainly no dancing queen. My version of dancing is probably what most people’s best Ned Flanders impersonation looks like. But! I did it anyway. A couple of drinks definitely aided in the process. My advice is to avoid the main dance floor, which was packed and playing mostly club music. I liked the outer dance area, which was a bit less crowded and, in my opinion, had some better tunes. A girl even tried to dance with me, but I didn’t know what to do so I…made a weird face and thanked her and turned away. Girl, if you’re reading this, I am…so sorry. It’s definitely not you. It’s just my first rodeo and you caught me off guard. But I do appreciate it!
With a bit more room to breathe and volume to talk, this was a great place for a first timer to get her toes wet. Nothing is mandatory at Dinah; you don’t have to make yourself uncomfortable just to avoid FOMO. But if the party is there, why not try it? You have nothing to lose but your Uber fare!
The only downside to this was some weird guy grabbed me and tried to dance and wouldn’t let me go, but I told security on him and he got kicked out. My only thought was Dude, where do you think you are? The rest of it went swimmingly, though.
Step Four: Take It Home with You
Short though my memory may be, this is not an experience I ever want to forget. I made some really incredible friends and really great memories. Even the parts where I embarrassed myself are keepers! It payed off to get out of my comfort zone and do something I wouldn’t normally do. Yeah, I was nervous. And no, I didn’t rebound or go home with anyone–that wasn’t what I was looking to do, even without 7 housemates. But I met people I never would have otherwise and experienced what felt like a whole new world. Am I going to go out and party on my weekends now? Probably not. But I am going to navigate this world differently than before I had gone. I feel more confident in myself now, knowing that there are other people like me in the world who are living vibrant, exciting, and full lives. Plus, I gained a +1 resistance to Hot Dykery. Can’t put a price on that!