The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Lori Horvitz’s “The Girls of Usually”


Excerpt from My Life as a Hippie Chick

The gay and lesbian organization threw the best parties on campus, and on gay and lesbian night at the campus pub, my suitemates and I bopped to the Talking Heads, Blondie, The B52s, and Devo. We twirled each other around and danced close and pretended to be lesbians. Sometimes Paula and I walked across campus holding hands, giggling. “We’re fake lesbians,” I said. I loved seeing uncomfortable expressions on the faces of bystanders, the power I had to get under their skin. Or maybe I just wanted attention and no longer had my box of tricks. I didn’t think about how my actions might have been offensive to gays and lesbians, how gays and lesbians had to endure uncomfortable reactions, at best, on a daily basis, even at a small liberal arts college just north of Manhattan. This was the year Billie Jean King’s ex-lover filed a palimony suit. King called the affair a “mistake” and stayed deep in the closet.


This selection was taken from Lori Horvitz’ book The Girls of Usually, available from Truman State University Press. Purchase your copy here! 

Lori Horvitz’ short stories, poetry and personal essays have appeared in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including Chattahoochee Review, Epiphany, South Dakota Review, Southeast Review, Hotel Amerika, Thirteenth Moon, Tusculum Review, and Quarter After Eight. Her essays have been included in two Seal Press anthologies: P.S.: What I Didn’t Say: Unsent Letters to Our Female Friends and Dear John, I’m in Love With Jane. She has been awarded writing fellowships from Fundación Valparaiso, The Ragdale Foundation, Yaddo, Cottages at Hedgebrook, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Blue Mountain Center. Horvitz is Professor of Literature and Language at University of North Carolina at Asheville, where she teaches courses in creative writing, literature, and directs their Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

Sarah Einstein is the author of Mot: A Memoir (University of Georgia Press 2015), Remnants of Passion (Shebooks 2014). Her essays and short stories have appeared in The Sun, Ninth Letter, PANK and other journals. Her work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Best of the Net, and the AWP Prize in Creative Nonfiction. She is also the prose editor for Stirring: A Literary Collective and the special projects editor for Brevity Magazine. She is a professor of creative writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.


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