Queer Patterns by Kay Addams (Beacon, 1959)

addams queer patterns

A lesbian novel from Orrie Hitt — what to expect? A lesbian heel jumbling three women?  A lesbian peeper? Well, there is that, sort of, but she’s not the narrator, Nora Card.

Nora is 19, fresh out of high school, ready to enter the working world.  She dates 24-year-old Roger, an insurance salesman who makes good money and wants to marry her.

Norma feels nothing when they kiss and pet.  She follows what is expected of her: dating men.  One night he takes her by force in the car and she feels disgusted.  She starts thinking about how she feels when she sees other women naked, like at the the dressing room at the pool. She realizes she’s a lesbian and doesn’t know what to do.

She takes a job as a secretary for Clara Watson, a real estate agent.  She has dinner one night with Clara, then drinks, then Clara’s home, m ore drinks, nudity, sex…drunk, Nora falls into the twilight land of the third sex.  The next day she is afraid of her feelings, “knowing” lesbianism is wrong, and runs away, living in a shabby room in the worst part of town, where only hookers and loose women go.

Nora is disgusted by how the “real world” operates on sex and sex alone, it seems — every way she turns,sex is expected as an exchange for one thing or another. Men whistle at her and always comment on her curves.  Clara, although a dyke, will fuck men to make a sale, feeling she has conquered them and taken their money.  Nora is raped by a muscle man she meets in a bar.  She goes to model for an artist but he epects sex.  The married man in Clara’s office keeps asking her out, and he’s impregnanted two girls who worked there, although he has a wife and kid…she breaks up with Roger and Roger starts seeing a slut she knew in high school, now working as a stripper and pregnant by another man…

She goes back to Clara, moves in with her, but Clara cares less about sleeping with men to make a sale, and Nora catches her with another girl…

In true 50s morality sleaze, lesbiana is a sickness here, a disease that Nora repents from in the end, winding up with Roger again — but not until Clara loses her mind nd slahes Nora’s breasts up with a pair of scissors.

Clara, of course, turned into a lesbian after being raped in college, just as Nora Card does after being forced by Roger and raped by another man…this is also common in 50s-60s sleaze, that women are attacked by brute animal men and reject the penis.  Is this true in real life for all lesbians?  No, not from the lesbians I know — they were always lesbians from the get-go.

This is sort of along the lines of Hitt’s Sin Doll — how hard it is for a girl with little education in a small town to make a living that does not require marriage or using her body, tossing in some lesbian action.

It’s a good book. I wonder how Hitt’s other Kay Addams lesbian books are, or the ones that he has lesbian protagonists (Strip Alley, Twisted Lovers, Female Doctor).

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