I woke up this morning and learned — according to the latest
so-called “scientific study” emerging from California, the land of fruit
and nuts — that I have “Lesbian Fingers.”
So what did I do? Crawled back into bed. Sometimes you just don’t
want to deal with making major lifestyle
changes first thing in
the morning, you know? Before breakfast? All this time I thought, you
should pardon the expression, I liked men. Silly me.
Well, I wasn’t really ready to get into snuggling, Martina, warm
fuzzies, cat dynasties, hugging, softball or whatever sport collects
dykes, Birkenstocks, hairy legs unless one’s a “lipstick lesbian,” the
Michigan Women’s Festival, the color purple in all its shades and
permutations, Alix Dobkin, PC politics, cocooning, recruiting for
sisterhood, acoustic folk music, earth mothers, butch-and-femme
role-playing, Gaia worship, potholder coats,
no-smoking-no-drinking-no-meat, bunny slippers, Vanessa Redgrave and
those actresses — you know their names — and the rest of it. Not
quite yet. And I like my present haircut just fine.
Clearly, change does not come easy to me.
Then I quickly called up my friend “Linda,” a blonde and glamorous,
strong and outspoken — OK, bossy — presumably heterosexual medical
professional. She, it turned out, also, had lesbian fingers. Despite the
fact she’s married to “Tom.” He’s her third or fourth husband; I lose
track. “I have those fingers,” she says, “but I can’t imagine becoming a
lesbian. Men drive me wild.”
No, she wasn’t too thrilled, either. Except, she wondered hopefully,
Part-time, I think it was, while her beloved Franklin canoodled with
her social secretary or his driver, or was that Eisenhower? I get other
people’s lovers confused, let alone my own.
“Lesbian fingers,” my fondest friend Monty-the-food-fancier cracks,
“is that anything like chicken fingers?”
“Or lady fingers?” quips my Manhattan adman buddy Lorenzo, who
Palmistry has been
doing that for aeons, measuring various parts of the hand — to discern
And what of the dozens of AOL men I’ve encountered who insist they
trapped in a man’s body?” Will we soon see a study for that?
Where will this end? As a little girl, I always secretly suspected
my own mother was a lesbian, because she put her hand affectionately on
my shoulder. Back then I didn’t know affection between women, or men,
wasn’t necessarily the sign of something dire.
And didn’t we go through this already with Freud? When I was a
teenager, I recall reading what
Siggie said about
women’s locus of pleasure: If their clitoral orgasms don’t convert into
vaginal orgasms, he warned, they were in danger of becoming fixated in
That was a scary “is it soup yet” kind of prediction I, for one,
At 23 I married the most handsome man on the planet. He was a boy. I
was a girl. For a time, it actually worked. Or so we thought. Until it
didn’t any more, and we split. Then a different girl came along … for
Now researchers from the University of California at Berkeley — that
fount of wisdom and discovery — would like us to believe that finger
length can forecast variations in human sexuality.
Yup, finger length and sexual orientation.
This seems on an equally ridiculous par with all those drunken
barroom whispers — “Hey, look at his feet. Hey, look at his nose” –
predicting how physically well-endowed a man is.
Me, I’d covertly check out men’s cigars, which were an inevitably
inversely proportionate clue to penis size. And, as we all know, a
preponderance of women with naturally large breasts are
Mensa members. I challenge any scientist out
there to defy me on these points.
The Berkeley bunch bases their truly ground-breaking study –
erroneously enough — upon what has been referred to as a known human
anatomical quirk: Usually, men’s index fingers are shorter than their
ring fingers, while in women, those two fingers tend to be about the
Which could simply be evidence of nothing more than that classic
logical fallacy — post hoc, ergo propter hoc — after this,
therefore because of this.
If this study isn’t junk science, I don’t know what is.
For those hiding under a rock, “lesbian fingers” are currently being
discussed in the British journal “Nature,” where we learn that Berkeley
scientists surveyed 720 adults at three San Francisco street festivals,
asking them their sexual orientation, and measuring their fingers. Blame
Mark Breedlove — yes, that’s his real name — the Berkeley psychology
prof in charge of this misadventure.
“Lesbian fingers,” in case you are checking, show a shorter index
finger, closer to the typical male configuration.
Researchers attributed this to lesbians’ higher levels of male sex
hormones in early life. Obviously they are pushing the theory that
exposure to higher levels of male sex hormones in the womb can help make
a person lesbian or gay. Breedlove concluded, however, factors other
than fetal hormones contribute to sexual orientation.
To my mind, all this provides evidence of is that another asinine
study has been done.
And wait — isn’t nearly everyone in San Francisco gay? I mean, how
’bout a broader national or regional sampling, with additional
correlations for ethnic diversity?
Meanwhile, Breedlove contends, some homosexual men are
“hyper-masculine” — more sex partners, more male hormones, larger
genitals. But that’s disputed — hooray! — by another scientist who
labels men “the non-discriminating sex”!
This other scientist swears straight men would have more sex partners
if women would let them.
Well, that fits in with Edmund White positing, I think,
in “States of Desire” that homosexual men’s hedonistic pursuit of
uncomplicated, no-strings sex is the envy of their hetero brothers,
Apparently, this is the latest in finger research, a recent and
burgeoning field. Using the ratio of the lengths of the index and ring
fingers, scientists have been exploring associations relating to
depression, musical talent, left-handedness, fertility, and other
essential issues like soccer skills.
Stop it, I say. Stop this right now. Wherever they get their money, I
hope their source of funding dries up this very instant — and, yes, I
am stamping my feet. This isn’t a tantrum, this is … emphasis.
As for my own “lesbian fingers,” should I choose to act upon them, I
can receive religious recognition of a sort.
While it may be small comfort, Reform Jews — the most liberal branch
of American Judaism — just passed a resolution in Greensboro, N.C.,
allowing rabbis to preside at same-sex unions. This is in
contradistinction to the more traditional Orthodox and Conservative
“Gay commitment ceremonies” are now sanctioned by the Central
Conference of American Rabbis, an influential Reform group,
demonstrating that “gay and lesbian Jews, and the committed
relationships they form with their partners, deserve the recognition and
respect due to people created in the image of God.”
Further, opines this Jewish group which approved openly gay rabbis a
decade ago, “It is not sinful to be a gay and lesbian. It’s sinful to
have these prejudices (against gays and lesbians), and act out on them.”
“Lesbian hands! This study made straight women very nervous,”
gleefully reports Meg, a Philadelphia psychotherapist. “They all laughed
and joked while I took a random sampling of the women passing through my
office” — a social service agency next to a women’s “Y” in North-West
Philadelphia. “Yes it is hilarious and from my minor study, TRUE!!! My
sample of 6 validated it!!!!!!!”
Oh, it’s always your hands that give you away. I’ll sit on mine as
much as possible. Or, just in case people get any ideas, I plan to wear
gloves as far into the summer as I can stand it.
Science is NOT infallible, you know. If you can call THAT science.