I love hotel lobby bars. Even when they’re over the top, kitschy or slightly cheesy, they usually manage to hit the right note. Now, I’m not referring to those God awful middle-of-the-road places or flea-bag joints. Do they even have lobby bars in those hotels? I’m referring to those hotels that take themselves and their guests seriously. You know the ones. They’re having to work harder now that the boutique set is popping up everywhere from Melbourne to Mexico City.

The Westin Tokyo is in Ebisu, our neighborhood. At first, my partner and I frequented the lobby bar there because it was convenient. The hotel lobby itself is post modern gaudy marble madness but the bar is quite cozy with its thick carpets, plush sofas, comfy pillows and canned jazz classics. Give me a killer martini and Sarah Vaughan and I’ll be yours forever. Sure, the view is sub par and the stools could use an update. But the attentive wait staff in their crisp black and white uniforms and slicked-back hair always manage to be charming and laid-back, never overly precious or pretentious. This balancing act keeps me coming back, as do the lesbians.

My partner recently asked me if I thought that local lesbians had an easier time being openly gay than our fellow Japanese homos. I had never considered it, but given Japanese culture, we agreed that the local sisters of Sappho probably lead easier lives than their Japanese gay male counterparts. You do see lesbian couples holding hands around Tokyo here and there. They look more defiant than comfortable but they’re cute and remind me of my college days back in Austin.

You see, the only other bars I love as much as hotel lobby bars are lesbian bars. I was an honorary lesbian back at U.T. In those pot-hazed days gone by, you’d find me kickin’ back with my sisters playing pool, drinking Shiner Bock and plotting to bring down The Man. That’s not to say I didn’t have an active social life with men. In fact, you could say I had too good a time in that department. It’s just that gay women were always more fun to hang out with than gay men.

To this day, gay men give me a pain in the ass–the bad kind. I find that most gay men act like straight women who are constantly PMSing. It’s just bitch fest after bitch fest. Thankfully, there were enough manly gay men in my youth. But it was always hard to stay friends with a guy after you slept with him and didn’t want anything more to come of it. Manly men can be such pussies.

No, give me a lesbian and a lesbian bar any day. That’s why I love the Westin Tokyo lobby bar. It’s a lesbian bar in the evening, especially Sunday evening and late afternoon. Now, don’t go expecting to hear Melissa Etheridge or K.D. Lang on the jukebox and see slim t-shirt wearing lesbians with bad-boy punk rocker haircuts and cigarettes dangling from their lips. There is no jukebox, the bar has a dress code and don’t forget the canned jazz classics. But more often than not, you’ll see the local ladies, huddled at a table or the bar sipping cocktails and wearing the international lesbian garb of long pants, trendy tops and funky shoes. You’ll get a skirt now and then. I even saw one older lesbian wearing a fedora smoking a cigar once. She was freakin’ cool!

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