Living here in Bakersfield is pleasant, but sometimes we really need to get the heck out. This year in early April, I went to an event called Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs. My sister had bought me and a friend of choice tickets to the event for my birthday. Dinah Shore Weekend is essentially a five-day spring break for lesbians. I am not much of a partier and I’m really shy, so I was excited but nervous.
What made the situation more stressful was that all I knew about it was that this event is a giant pool party. I do not really like my body in a bathing suit and I do not dance ever, so I feared the whole event would just be uncomfortable. In the days leading up to The Dinah, I also found myself in a position where I couldn’t find anyone else to go with me. A part of me was dreading going all together.
I stayed at the Hilton where all the pool parties took place. Conveniently, every event was walking distance from the hotel. But I soon found myself feeling uncomfortable about being there alone, especially because I discovered that a lot of friends had come together and were sharing hotel rooms. That seemed like a lot of fun that I was missing out on.
A little nervous about spending several days on my own, I went downstairs to the lobby to have a drink and attempt to relax before going out. The bartender was very kind and even tried to set me up with this attractive lesbian, who it turned out didn’t want anything to do with me. She was only at the bar to watch whatever game was on TV. I ended up being friends with the bartender.
Then another girl arrived at the bar to pick up drinks for herself and her girlfriend, and we all started talking. I was surprised to find out how easy it is to meet people in person. She was very kind and advised me to take an Uber to the opening event at the bar a block up from the hotel since I was going alone.
Once I made it to the event, I was oddly relaxed. I was still alone, but I realized that I would be driven to meet more people - especially after how easy it was in the lobby. I was drinking and walking around the place when I noticed the bar had an upstairs. I went up to explore, and not long after I met a girl who introduced herself to me. We hit it off talking for the rest of the night.
She too had come to the event by herself and it turned out that she was staying in the same hotel that I was. She walked me to my room that night and we hugged it out. The next morning, I woke up and realized that we hadn’t exchanged numbers and that I had no idea where her room was. This was upsetting for me, but I was determined to find her.
By 10 a.m. the pool party had begun downstairs, so I got ready and attempted to find my new friend. I was nervous to be in broad daylight around a bunch of gorgeous women in bathing suits. However, I’ve got to say it was actually pretty cool. The environment the entire time was overwhelmingly friendly and positive.
I met a random person from Alaska and talked to her for a little bit until I ran into my friend from the previous night. My friend found another buddy who had come alone to the event just like us. We all became friends by the afternoon.
Dinah Shore Weekend has pool parties in the day and the club at night, along with a number of other events. There were some entertainment options that I didn’t pay for, but sounded interesting, like a stand-up show. A few famous lesbians had little meet-and-greets, and there were concerts by well-known musicians.
The event is hard to put into words for me because it exceeded my expectations. I had so many memorable experiences. Somewhere along my trip, for once in my life, I let loose. I danced for a long period of time, spoke with a bunch of strangers, had confidence in myself and felt bonds with people I just met.
The community at the event was so welcoming and friendly that I felt like I could really be myself, without worrying about what people think of me. I’m not sure if it was because we were all attracted to women and shared that commonality or if it's because the people I met were all just trying to have a good time like I was.
Before my trip, I was worried that I would look like a creep all by myself. By the time I left, I had made a bunch of new friends and gained the knowledge that you have the ability to look at a situation in a positive or negative way.
How you look at things can really change your experience. During Dinah Shore Weekend, I was open to the idea that I would meet a lot of interesting people and it just happened for me. I believe that taking a trip by yourself is something everyone should do at least once in their lives.
Dinah Shore Weekend should definitely be on that list once you become 21+. If you’re not a big drinker, you don’t have to drink there; you could just go and enjoy being around a bunch of girls who like girls. We don’t have a lot of spaces where we are completely surrounded by other LGBTQ+ people. It’s a nice change to be in an environment where you don’t feel like the odd one out.
I’ve never felt more like I belonged somewhere than at The Dinah. I plan to go back every year, whether it's with other people or on my own.