my dream girl is a dead boy with lipstick on

L Scully on Brydie O’Connor’s GOING STEADY (2020)


“I haven’t felt truly, truly trapped in the grips of my desire.” [Brydie]


Patty stops stirring the drink and turns around, leaning back against the sink.

She looks off into the distance, stressed.

After a moment, she bends down and turns left, pulling a tin container of rat poison from an offscreen cabinet.

She opens the container and begins to pour the white powder into the neat whiskey.

ULTRA-CLOSEUP of white powder sifting to the bottom of the glass.

long shot

the first time I put makeup on my boyfriend we had the best sex of my teenage life.

the color made his mouth wide and vivacious, a suckable butterfly wing.

we laughed love on a laundry pile on the floor of his first apartment.

he somehow looked more living.

“Words need to make sense, visuals don’t.” [Brydie]

With the bra secured, PATTY is applying makeup to JACK’s face.

She rotates between looking at him directly and longingly looking at the two of them in the mirror.

She smiles slightly as the rouge lightens his cheeks

and the lipstick pronounces a softness on his face she’s never seen before.

The thing about Going Steady is that there’s hardly any dialogue, but there is a shit ton of poetry in it.

Brydie recalls the act of going through old lesbian pulp novels in bookstores:

“they’re so ahead of their time … acts of writing, putting desire down in words, communicating nonnormative desire in words …

that feels really radical in itself.”

Most of the tension was internal, she said. Queerness, like literature, can be solitary.

I ask her about scene-building, world-building, queer futurism.

“I feel like I was writing to create my own lineage…

there’s so often this narrative in film that to tell a queer story is an untold story.

Queer stories have certainly always existed,

and they have always been told.”

perfect day

going on a perfect day is kind of a lesbian thing.

it’s like a day where you each put on an outfit and go on an adventure and there’s no fighting.

it’s not as sinister as Lou Reed said or as fantastic as Hoku said but somewhere in the middle,

like when they tell you to “walk the middle path” in the hospital.

it’s just you and your girl and maybe some clashing patterns and little snacks and taking the air.

there’s a lot of taking the air.

moms making their kids promise not to fight with each other are really on to something.

that happened while I was rewatching Seventh Heaven recently, and it got me thinking.

what if we just agreed not to fight with our girlfriends?

not all the time, that isn’t realistic, but on days like this. what if we just kept it together

for a change?

There actually is a book in this film. Tell me about PULP.

“When you feel excited about something, it’s easy to feel color around you…” [Brydie]


Jack is positioned on the blanket in a lounging position.

Patty cozily sits next to him on the blanket.

She animatedly reads to him from a book titled “PULP.”

Two women on the cover embrace each other.

PATTY slaps JACK on the leg as she reads,

engaging with him like he’s listening - and enjoying it as much as she is.

They just got to the exciting part.


Is this film in any way a memoir?

I never wanted you more than when you had lipstick on your teeth.

Patty crosses in front of the table and sits on Jack’s lap, lovingly.

He takes a small sip of the drink.


Now how’s that?

Jack gives her a coy smile.

He passes the drink back to her and she sips it.

She relaxes in his arms and tucks his hair behind his ear. The radio drones on.


***Brydie O’Connor is a Kansas-bred filmmaker, whose award-winning work focuses on women-driven and queer stories. Her most recent film LOVE, BARBARA (2022) won the Grand Jury Prize for Short Documentary at Outfest and was nominated for an IDA award. @brydieoconnor on IG + Website.***

***L Scully (they/them) is a living writer and double Capricorn currently based in the ether. Their debut full-length book, Fuck Me: A Memoir (2023), is available from Gnashing Teeth Publishing. Their second book and first poetry collection, self-romancing, is forthcoming from Michelle Tea’s DOPAMINE Press in 2025.@_caprihorny_ on IG***

View Brydie O'Conner's film GOING STEADY here.

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Published on April 2nd 2024 ©L Scully & Brydie O’Connor