Whole Earth Grounds is one of the few cafes that opens at six in the morning for those early go-getters. UCB students usually came to this café to get their espresso boost that they need to survive the day. And it is no surprise that Jane Dunway is at one of the plush purple couches reading the San Francisco Chronicle. Her blue ceramic mug of double shot espresso sat at a nearby table.
However, it was a surprise that Shampoo entered this place. She wore a bright pink tanktop and a dark blue jean jacket with matching jean-skirt to accompany it. Shampoo put down her pink bag. Jane continued to ignore her. “I just came here to tell you that I’m not…” Shampoo smiled. She looked deep into Jane’s hazy brown eyes and smiled again. “I’m not…” Why couldn’t she get the words out of her mouth?!
“Hungry,” Jane looked up coolly and notioned to the muffin on her plate. “It’s because you’re scared that you are. I’ll see you in class.” She got up and walked away. Shampoo could feel the icy coldness brush by her. Shampoo slumped down in the purple plush chair. The muffin was blueberry. Shampoo’s favorite flavor. She sank her teeth into the tasty blueberry muffin feeling the homey dough mix with the tart tang of blueberry.
As Shampoo munched her muffin thoughtfully, she noticed all of the different advertisements on the nearby wall. College kids were always selling something, trying new things. Some guy was selling his old hand-me down sofa for $200. Another one was a get-rich mail packaging scheme. And another one was jovially advertising the new Masturbation Club on campus. But one poster stood out from the rest. It was a worn out pink poster whose color stood out from the drab grays and whites. The poster read:
QUEER AND ASIAN.
Are you an Asian American who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or QUESTIONING?
Meet “Lisa” at the front of the Cesar Chavez building at 6 p.m.
Dealing with her friends was extremely difficult. She told her boyfriend that she was going with her sorority sisters to San Francisco to Christmas shop. Then she told the girls vice versa. After feeling a little bit guilty about her lies, Shampoo stood in front of the Cesar Chavez Community building wearing a red hat, a brown trenchcoat and a dark black scarf to cover her face.
The Cesar Chavez courtyard was completely empty around 6 p.m. All but one girl. She was a cute Asian girl with dark black eyes and long black hair tied in a bun. She wore a baseball cap and large baggy jeans. “Excuse me,” Shampoo asked meekly. “Are you Lisa?”
“Whose askin’?” the girl snorted.
“Um, me?” Shampoo said.
Lisa sighed. “Fifth floor. Take the elevator and it’s your first door to the right.”
Shampoo opened the door and walked into the room. Suddenly, she realized she was trapped. It looked like her arrival was already known of. The room was now structured in which the desks had completely encircled her. “Ah, newbies!” a voice said. Shampoo turned around and faced a cute Asian guy with spiky hair and soft black eyes. He smiled. “Don’t we love newbies everyone!”
“I must be in the wrong classroom,” Shampoo stammered. “I thought this was speech and debate.”
“Girl, you know it’s the right class room,” another snappy guy echoed. “Sit your ass down!” Shampoo saw the lone desk. She took a seat and felt that the seat was extremely icy cold. The desktop squeezed into her body. It was like a trap.
Another voice called. “Mike, I just met the hottest girl—“ It was Lisa. She stammered as soon asshe saw that Shampoo was now sitting at one of the tables. Shampoo enjoyed this. “Hi,” she murmured. Shampoo grinned like an idiot. Lisa turned on the light. Shampoo suddenly realized a panel of different Asian faces surrounded her. They were all sitting around her and staring at her like a lab project. Shampoo felt uncomfortable and nervous but also trapped.
“I don’t know why I’m here,” Shampoo stammered. “I’m not even gay. I have a boyfriend just like everyone else!”
“So you have a boyfriend?” one of the girls asked.
“Yes,” Shampoo said. “As a matter of fact, we’ve been together for a year!”
“Does he make you cum?!” Lisa snapped. Shampoo looked extremely shocked. “What happens in my bedroom is my own business!” Shampoo snapped.
“Honey, what happens in our bedroom is everyone’s business,” Mike snapped back. “Besides, you’re under the full protection of confidentiality. We won’t tell anyone. We’ll even bring the secrets you share to your graves. But if you don’t want to, we can’t force you to–“
“He doesn’t!” Shampoo finally said. “I fake it when I’m with him. Every time when I’m with him.” A strong silence spread through the room. Shampoo sunk in her chair.
“So, when do you ever get real orgasms?” Jess asked. “When I masturbate,” Shampoo felt a little bit dirty saying it. “I saw this picture of Elle McPherson and I..I…couldn’t help it.” Shampoo noticed that Lisa was somewhat smirking. She felt herself suddenly shrink.
“Any other girls?” another guy asked. “What about Liv Tyler?”
Shampoo felt herself in a pool of dark black hair, swimming black eyes and luscious ruby red lips. She almost wanted to reach out and grab it. But instead, she wiped the drool off her face. “Oh, she’s okay,” Shampoo smiled. She froze. Her revelation felt like an icy cold breeze all over her back. It was so different from the kiss with Jane. Shampoo felt completely frigid like her whole world fell apart.
“Omigod…” Shampoo slumped back into her seat as the windows of her life shattered. “I’m a lesbian…” Shampoo wanted to run away as quickly as possible. She saw the door as her opportunity.
“You may be bisexual,” Mike replied quietly as he tried to bring the circus back into the room. “Thank you for coming everyone. As for the newbie, please stay to be registered.”
“Crap,” Shampoo grumbled.
Whole Earth Grounds was a completely different area at night. Indie artists sat on stage strumming guitars and playing their hearts out. This is where the nightlife of Berkeley began. Bohemian artists, slutty sorority girls, obsessed activists all gathered for a good ol’ cup of joe in the most mellow of nights at this café. Mike ushered Shampoo to a seat. “I choose this place because it is located so close to the Cesar Chavez building,” Mike said.
Shampoo felt the interrogation light on her again. “I’m so excited to meet you,” Mike started. “Guys come here and then. But when girls come to Q&A, now that’s a rarity. I’m always fascinated with lesbian culture and Asian lesbian culture.”
“Thanks,” Shampoo said nervously, spinning her cup of coffee. “Funny, I know nothing about it, either.”
“We only do that stupid thing inquisition thing as a tradition,” Mike smiled. He looked proud of it. “I came out last year and they did the same thing. I think it’s stupid at times but it does really show how hard it is to come out.”
“Wow,” Shampoo said excitedly. “So, how did you come out?”
“I told my parents on the phone when I was really drunk?” Mike grinned. “So, how did you find out you were gay?” So Shampoo told him everything. But when she mentioned Jane Dunway, Mike’s eyes opened wide like dilated pupils. “Wow, Jane got really lucky with you,” Mike snickered. “So her gaydar’s not that bad anymore!”
Shampoo loved it. “I have a question,” Shampoo asked inquisitively. “So, how do you find the members of this organization?”
“We’re pretty close to each other as friends,” Mike said. “And then others bring their ex-boyfriends and girlfriends. It’s weird with these organizations. You can literally feel the sexual tension cut like a knife. But at Q&A, we’re all a family. You just had to deal with our special interrogation but after that it’s just really comfortable.”
“It’s really up to you,” Mike said. “We don’t force our members out of the closet because there are so many cultural difficulties. But when you’re ready, we’re ready to help you. We’re like the Queer Underground Railroad for Asians.” Shampoo laughed. What am I doing?
Mike offered Shampoo another plate. “Muffin?” It was blueberry.