The Dinah Virgin Tells All

Dip me in honey and throw me to the lesbians, I wrote in my journal as I outlined my intentions for Dinah Shore.

You might be wondering who am I since you’re reading about how I popped my Dinah cherry. I am a career coach who desperately needed a vacation. I have been full-time as a traveler and digital nomad for the last two years when I left my nonprofit job and started my own business. I might have lived and traveled to nine countries in the last two years, but I hadn’t let a day go by without emailing, promoting, or doing client work. Going to Dinah wasn’t just on my Bucket List, it was also that no-email weekend that I had been craving!

In this rundown of my personal experience at Dinah, I am also giving some quick tips to other Dinah virgins. The Dinah isn’t just some pool parties, there are mixers, concerts, comedy shows, and big dance parties. It’s a lot packed into a weekend so girl, you better have stamina!

At this point in my story, I might have been stuck in the car, but I was jazzed to be making my pilgrimage to the legendary Dinah Shore. It wasn’t just my first time at the world’s largest girl party in the world, I was hanging out with lesbian travel maven, Meg Cale, and a great group of queer women.

After that long on the road, I was ready to shake my booty. First, I needed to fuel up before I danced it out. I suggest for your first night at the Dinah that you support a queer-owned restaurant, Lulu’s, which was located close to the Village Pub where the Opening and Closing parties were held.

The Opening Party on Thursday is historically full of the out of towners who get to Dinah earlier than the Californians. This doesn’t make it less fun. This is your chance to find the broads from abroad without all those LA girls around!

It’s easy to go crazy on the first night, but keep cool and resist the Orange Country hotties with their day passes who will try to lure you from the Dinah.

I found them easy to resist since one was teasing and taunting my buddy and telling her to prove her gayness since she didn’t look like it with her long hair. This was my friend’s birthday too. We ditched them after that bout of femmephobia, but the incident stuck with me. I made it my mission to connect with as many femmes as I could and raise the visibility of femmes at The Dinah. Part of that is writing this article, the other part of that was taking pictures of as many femmes as I could to flood the #thedinah hashtag!

One more note about Thursday, You might want to try to get your last decent night’s sleep of the weekend especially if you are staying at the Hilton where the pool parties are! The music starts early!

Each weekend day starts with a pool party and ends with a dance party with a different theme. Friday is the first of three and the most chill. If you love a pool party vibe, but aren’t into the crush of a crowd, this is the pool party that you will like the most.

I decided to do a small SoCal road trip instead to see the Salton Sea and the trippy sights around Slab City like Salvation Mountain and East Jesus (as featured in a Kesha video). I recommend that if you are flying into California and have a chance to check out the local attractions. It definitely gave me some cool things to talk about at the White and Black Party later!

The White Party is a Dinah institution, but in recent years they made it a White and Black Party. Imagine multiple DJs, VIP area, dance floor, and more lesbians in their party wear than you can shake a slingback at. They also had the Hollywood Party on Saturday with Daya performing. Go high femme, go dapper, wear your club going best because everyone else was.

Don’t be intimidated by the dress code. Wear what makes you feel snazzy. I saw so many different styles and gender presentations. I had some girls in my group get insecure about how everyone else looked and how cool they were. Then we were walking around and they began to get compliments. Keep in mind that when you are worried about how cool other people look, someone is looking at you the same way.

When you’re at Dinah, you’re among family. A big wild partying lesbian family that is.

Keep in mind that everyone is waiting for someone else to come up to them! I had people tell me that I had game. LOL, as the kids say, I am actually a mild mannered weirdo who loves sci-fi, little dogs, and road trips, I was just willing to go up to talk to people. I didn’t have an agenda beyond having a good chat. Yes, I had a few people ignore my friendly overtures but 90% of the people that I talked too, I had a great encounter with. This meant that the whole weekend, I was always running into people that I had met or meeting someone else. This came in handy when my Australian pals let me hang out in their shaded area with the inflatable kangaroos by the pool party.

Saturday’s pool party is the WILDEST, BIGGEST, and MOST CROWDED. If you can only get one day pass, Saturday is going to pack the biggest punch for you. I know that I was up and at them for the Saturday pool party with sunblock, a wrap, and a water-resistant purse.

I suggest that during Dinah that you are making as many friends as you can especially if you are not staying at the hotel where the pool party is. That way you can avoid the bathroom lines, bring in your own drinks, and get some shade.

Dinah Shore is labeled as the Biggest Girl Party in the World but there were trans folks, nonbinary people, and even the cisman. Everyone was partying and enjoying the sun! Don’t sweat what you wear.

According to my pal Meg Cale, a seven-year Dinah veteran, Sunday is a wild card of a day. Either it’s a blow out because everyone is raging because it’s the last day or everyone is hungover and the energy level is chillax in a hoodie.

Even at 2AM on a Sunday, the Dinah Shore closing party was packed. The put upon male security guards of the Village Pub escorted us all out with the look of men who realized that the world’s largest girl party just meant being ignored by women. By this point in the weekend, most people had gathered a random assortment of pals and where else do you go after the bars close? IHOP.

Palm Springs IHOP was the last farewell over pancakes to a glorious weekend and the end of my time as Dinah virgin!

My drive back to Tucson was long but I had that fresh from Dinah afterglow that not even rush hour traffic could turn off. The legendary event brought in all ages, races, and flavors of queer together for one magical weekend that beat the hype. And as for femmes, we don’t just belong at Dinah, we came in force!

Sami Gardner is an experienced educator who has spent the last five years researching, teaching, speaking on career development, branding, and LinkedIn. She helps women to find their voice, nail their strategy, and get career freedom on their terms.

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