The L Word Season 5 Episode 10: The Coach’s Perspective

What more could a girl want — an episode of The L Word and a bike charity ride rolled into one. I’d just like to know when these gals actually trained and how anyone could be the least bit energetic or romantic by the time they got to the campfire. I’ve spent that many hours in the saddle and I for one just crave a warm bed and sleep after all that (not to mention, saddle sores, not romantic). It was very cool to see everyone together and even more powerful to have everyone remembering Dana and others who have fought breast cancer. You could feel the power of the moment even for the new characters who didn’t know Dana personally.

The contrasts in this episode were palatable. The lightness and fun of doing the ride, being together, and camping with the seriousness of the cause for which they were riding. The playfulness of smores by the campfire and schoolgirl games with the bomb dropping that ensued. The perspective that rang truest for me this week though was that we can never really know what is going on in someone else’s life. We can never truly know another person.

So often we get caught up in right and wrong. We judge ourselves and others and often we justify it as “helping” or “caring”. We get on our soapbox and profess our righteous opinions. Yet, in fact we never really know. Take the simple question of “What constitutes cheating (in a relationship)?” Most of us would brush that off and say, that’s easy, of course it means _____ (whatever our definition is). Yet as the ladies showed, that easy definition of cheating is different for each person. Tasha believed that even thinking about it and talking about it would be considered cheating because that is a level of intimacy that you are not sharing with your partner. While our Casanova Shane went so far as to say that even sleeping with someone else might not be cheating if it is only once and you go back to your partner. Now, that is a big range of what is and is not considered cheating, right? While my personal values lie in Tasha’s camp, that doesn’t make anyone else’s interpretation wrong. Where it becomes an issue is in an actual relationship. Are you and your partner clear about each other’s beliefs and what constitutes fidelity? This little scene drives home the point – don’t assume. And it goes back to the values conversation I talked about last week. What are your values? What are your partner’s values? How do they align? Where they don’t align is there a common ground and agreement between the two of you as to what is acceptable? Communicate, communicate, and communicate – early and often. That’s why I thought it was so cool that amidst all this drama unfolding we were treated to a tender scene of Alice and Tasha talking about what they really want from their lives and a relationship. These are the kinds of conversations that need to happen in a relationship for it to thrive.

We never really know what is going on in someone else’s life. What are their pains? Inner struggles? History? External appearances can be deceiving as we’ve seen in the past few weeks of this show. Bette and Tina appear confident, powerful, and in fully in charge of their lives yet are truly struggling on the inside. They yearn for what they believe is meant for them (each other) while living with the pain of what it is like to be acting out of integrity with their values. From what we know of the characters, neither one of them believes it is acceptable to cheat in a relationship (having experienced that pain firsthand in their own) yet that is exactly what they are doing and Jodi is the unsuspecting victim. Jodi knows something is off with Bette and she keeps inquiring but gets shut down. She may be a fiery and strong personality, but I believe she is very vulnerable inside. She said as much at the end of last season when she said to Bette “Just don’t break my heart.” Well after this week’s episode we can see where that gets blown to bits.

When we feel that we are out of integrity that is the time to stop, take stock, and adjust our behavior. Both Tina and Bette have acknowledged their uncomfortable feelings with what they have been doing but neither has done a thing to come clean or adjust their behavior to get back into integrity (like not being together until after Bette broke up with Jodi). While difficult conversations are, well, damn difficult, they beat the alternative – ignoring the issue until it blows up in your face. I can only imagine Jodi’s humiliation within the group she has befriended as she realizes that Bette has been unfaithful and that it appears everyone knew about it but her (which isn’t true, but you tell me what you’d think).

Of course you and I both know if everyone were practicing open and honest communication and taking steps to make sure they stayed in integrity it would make for a pretty boring show. A little like watching the grass grow on TV in primetime. So like everyone else I love these twists and turns and the exquisitely painful emotions that spring forth. Yet it is always good to look a little deeper and just inquire – what’s the lesson here? After all art imitates life and if we can use the challenges and inquiries art puts before us to inform and improve our lives, that’s where the real power lies.

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