THURSDAY

Now that “metrosexual” is on the Zeitgeist’s lips, is a word for less-than-straight-seeming hetero women far behind? Then again, maybe my lesbian friends have just been too polite to tell me what it is. I’ve been known to wear Birkenstocks (OK, cheap knockoffs), serve as a judge in the Gay & Lesbian American Music Awards, eschew razors, drive a Ford Ranger pickup, carry an old tote from Lammas, hang out in Northampton, Mass., and read Dykes to Watch Out For. Fortunately, my husband is fine with this—and so, apparently, is Dykes creator Alison Bechdel. Bechdel began her strip in 1983—the same year I married Rob—and has steadfastly rejected the notion that her work appeals solely to a gay audience: “I’ve never intended my cartoons to be only for dykes….Surely, if I could sit through a Bruce Willis movie, Joe Blow could read a lesbian comic strip.” Mr. Blow might have run across the comic where I did, in the counterculture digest Funny Times, or in other publications that wouldn’t have been het up over Doonesbury’s recent masturbation-themed strip. And really, Bechdel’s winsome, warm lines and down-to-earth subjects—marriage, parenthood, the loss of a pet—aren’t so far from those of, say, For Better or for Worse. (Only Lynn Johnston doesn’t have a character languishing in a Dubya-induced depression.) Bechdel reads at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, at Lambda Rising, 1625 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 462-6969. (Pamela Murray Winters)