The Yardstick: Why Lindsay and Cindy are the Ultimate Measure for Femslash Coupledom

(a completely biased essay on femslashy goodness by Sensei Riley LaShea)

Once upon a time, the cheese stood alone. And the cheese was Xena.

In the time before Xena, there existed in the universe relatively dull substances that occasionally joined together in a union somewhat resembling femslash, but the emergence of girl/girl pairings like fire ants across the barren landscape of fan fiction was due in large part to the simultaneous popularity of Xena and the growth of the internet.

Right time.

Right technology.

Right warrior princess.

The cheese proved that there could, in fact, be strong lesbian underpinnings in a major character on prime time television in puritan America, so long as it wasn’t on a major network.

Since Xena was the beginning, the figurative starting pistol to the femslash dash, Xena and her slashtastic co-goddess Gabrielle shall reign supreme as the undisputed iconic femslash pairing. This I consider an honorary award for longevity and mold-breaking. Not due in any part to them being the best. To be quite honest, I’m no fan of Xena.

Ow. Damn it! Stop throwing sticks!

With that in mind, one could say that any other favorite femslash pairing is simply a matter of personal preference, but what is fan fic if not subjective? If we were objective about it, we would gulp down what popular culture force feeds us. Nonsense! I would choke on the grainy blandness of it.

So now, in the way of the ninja, I shall attempt to prove why Lindsay and Cindy of the short-lived and lesbalicious Women’s Murder Club are THE femslash yardstick.

Virtues extolled in order of increasing importance.

~ The First Foot – The Shaggability Scale

It shouldn’t matter, but it does. Let’s acknowledge and move on.

I don’t have to find both halves of a femslash coupling mucho hot to enjoy them together, but it does help. And those pairings are few and far between. In my favorite couples (the only ones I have or do go out of my way to read) I find both halves of the whole exceptionally hot. Besides Lindsay and Cindy, those couples are –

Barbara/Helena (Birds of Prey)
Brooke/Sam (Popular)

– and to a lesser extent –

Jordan/Lu (Crossing Jordan) – with a little more time together, they could have reached the peak, as it was, they are kind of relegated to the femslash sidelines.

Then, there was Women’s Murder Club and that first meeting between Lindsay and Cindy, and it sorta felt like this –

In this corner, we have ‘Sex on Legs’, thee of the husky voice and the wink.

And in this corner, we have ‘Innocent Until Proven Seductive’, thee of the shy smile and the oft-appearing tongue.

To whom do we give the advantage?

Possessing diverse charms and bedroom eyes that they both know how to use very well… mostly on each other… it seems a pretty even contest.

So mix up the pudding and let the match begin.

Ding ding.

Both Angie Harmon and Aubrey Dollar – AND – Lindsay Boxer and Cindy Thomas score exceedingly high on the shaggability scale. If participating in a game of Seven Minutes in Heaven with them seems like a rather blissful way to spend an evening, why wouldn’t we want to watch them experience Seven Minutes in Heaven together?

~ The Second Foot – The Super Sexy Paradox

Logically, they shouldn’t work. But in that paradoxical way of ultimate romance, they just do.

Lindsay and Cindy have the rare dynamic where they are drawn to each other by completely contrasting forces. Somehow they manage to be both “like attracts like” & “opposites attract” at the same time. Considering my favorite pairings, it’s clear that this particular combination really works for me. Lindsay and Cindy trump the others quite spectacularly though.

Cindy is the light to Lindsay’s darkness, the hopeful optimism to Lindsay’s cynicism. She has an eagerness to learn where Lindsay may very well think that she possesses too much wisdom, at least when it comes to human nature. Then, in one area, they converge hard. They share a dedication to case-solving and truth-seeking that goes beyond that of all others. They get each other.

As Paris Hilton so unsuccessfully attempted to trademark – “that’s hot”.

~ The Third Foot – Chemistry

I’m going to tell you a story that is highly likely to get me in trouble, but it illustrates this point so well, I must risk it.

I have a dear, sweet, beautiful friend who has, in the past, occasionally, been a bit blind to subtext when I have tried to point it out. This is hardly her fault. She was born with hetero-vision and like others with the condition, she must just suffer it. There is no cure.

Or is there?

When my Pammykins came to visit recently (God, she’s going to murder me), I put her through a rigorous crash course in WMC, which, of course, consists of fast-forwarding to all Lindsay/Cindy scenes, aka “the important stuff”.

The following were her reactions… (I am paraphrasing and she can feel free to correct me if I have gotten any facts wrong. My information comes from snippets of conversation and studying the reactions on her heavenly, flawless face. If you do decide to kill me, please make it painless.)

Episode One, Welcome to the Club… in which Cindy experiences love at first sight and immediately offers herself body, mind and soul for Lindsay’s wanton consumption.

The straight girl reaction: “What’s up with those two?”

Episode Two, Train in Vain… in which Cindy’s obsession turns to stalking, it works, and Lindsay realizes that whatever it is Cindy is offering, it’s probably pretty damn tasty.

The straight girl reaction: “Are they doing this on purpose?”

Episode Three, Blind Dates and Bleeding Hearts… in which Cindy demands affection and Lindsay wants to arrest Cindy for charming her pants off in only three episodes.

The straight girl reaction: I felt a veritable shift in the atmosphere, sensing that my friend was suddenly ready to join me in chucking ninja stars at any man who might come between these two destined souls. And we are talking about a hopeless devotee of hetero love here… an open-minded friend of the gays, but a devotee of hetero love none-the-less. (Yes you are! Don’t try to deny it. You would bathe in boy-girl romance if you could. And I love that about you.)

I like to think that I know my darling friend well enough to be fairly certain that in regards to my favorite pairings, she would have been pulling for a het couple instead (Helena/Reese on BoP, Jordan/Woody on CJ, and, if I were the bettin’ kind, I’d put my money on the fact that she would have been all about Sam/Harrison on Popular). I kind of think that, given the chance to fully integrate into the WMC realm though, she would have a hard time seeing past Lindsay and Cindy. I could be wrong. It’s happened before. This could also be skewed by the fact that this is one of those super-intense rivalries where she would never root for the other team in front of me for fear of getting one of those big foam fingers to the head. Oh yeah, for my femslash power couple, I’d do it.

So what makes all the difference? The undeniable, barefaced chemistry. It doesn’t simply simmer. It doesn’t merely marinate. It positively pops. And that very potent connection presents itself in two major ways. The first is the ease and delight with which they interact. They wear their mutual admiration like sexy lingerie. It’s impossible to pull your eyes away and it always draws a smile.

Then, there is the way that they look at each other. That I won’t even try to express. Words would fall miserably short. Let’s just say that it’s utterly scrumptious, it’s more affecting than most screen kisses, and if I tried to explain it, I would get all mushy and poetic to the point that I would totally embarrass myself. Yeah, it’s THAT good. Whatever it was that made them look at each other that way, I approve. Highly.

And now, if you have made it with me this far, we have reached the end of my summation.

In conclusion, I hate arguments that end “in conclusion”.

All counterarguments will be thoroughly read and whole-heartedly opposed.

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  1. I’d love to argue against you, but I really can’t. I’ve been reading femslash for a while now, and sometimes I feel like people are going out of their way to find pairings that I really cannot see at all. For instance… Hermione and Ginny from the Harry Potter fan fic realm. I just do not see any evidence from it in canon, therefore I have a tremendously difficult time reading it in fanon, and I generally choose not to.

    Lindsay and Cindy, on the other hand, are just like you said. The looks they exchange are there, in the show, and you don’t have to read between the lines much to get it.

    How does that happen? To my knowlege both actresses are het, correct? So how is it they have such insane sexual chemistry together? It makes you wonder about that… if the writers and directors weren’t trying specifically for that, because there’s so much of it that it cannot possibly be an accident.

    I am totally 100% with you on this one. Without a doubt the best, most convincing femslash couple ever. (I was pretty young when Xena was big and was never much of a fan… my grandpa was tho, and reading this I am now wondering just how much of a dirty old man he really is……)

  2. You know you won’t get any argument from me and I defy anyone to argue against the Lindsay/Cindy yardstick after reading that.

    Your essay was everything I thought it would be and more. I especially enjoyed your friend’s reaction “Are they doing this on purpose?” I wondered the same thing a few times myself. I thought, ” How can they not know?” Even super straight mother of two republican Angie Harmon has to be aware. I was afraid my TV would catch on fire from all the sparkage.

    Lately, I find myself wishful thinking that when the DVD’s come out we get truckloads of extras. Specifically L/C deleted scenes. Oh well.

  3. While I would love to agree, I can’t. I have been a Jill/Cindy girl from the start, and I will always be a Jindy gal, even though I do write Lincin (but that is mostly because my girlfriend is a Lincin shipper… =D)

    But you do make some very good points. Just not enough to convince me =D

  4. I totally agree with you Riley, about both L/C and the Yardstick. L/C are sooo OTP. Fourtunatly I was born without the burden of Hetero-Vision (apparently I’m Bi right up to my eyeballs), so I didn’t need any help seeing the huge amounts of sparkage between our two favourite girls. I love Xena but I agree being original doesn’t always make you the best.

  5. you lost me after “i’m no fan of xena.”

    maybe because when i read the Murder Club books, i was totally a jill/lindsay fan. then when laura harris was cast as jill i was completely unimpressed. she was not at all what had been in my head. though i’ve had a thing for blondes in the past (seven of nine, serena southelyn) i think it was laura’s hair that did me in. aubrey’s hair on the other hand, beautiful.

    i digress. i love L/C, i just love others better. maybe because i was given more time with them. R.I.P. ABC.

  6. I concur! it’s been there the whole time!

    I worry that hetero-vision is going for the mentor thing or even the maternal thing, but it’s such chemistry.

    I’m so rarely an OTP type, but I have active trouble reading fic about Cindy and other people, and watching TV about Lindsay and muffin man.

  7. Hail ‘Xena’… the mother of all modern femslash.

    (I’m just gonna block out that other bit about X&G not being the best and all.)

    I’m not sure that any other pairing will ever be able to surpass X&G in my heart, but I certainly wouldn’t mind if more folks made the attempt. Lindsay & Cindy have/had all the makings of worthy successors… if only they’d been given the chance to build a love story for 5 or 6 seasons.

    The Xena & Gabrielle parallel is thoroughly apt though… because Cindy is so the Gabrielle to Lindsay’s Xena. I’ve got a thing for that archetype… the eager, young, adorable tag-a-long and the weary, older, hot warrior-type. Of course, L/C put their own spin on it… but evoking the X/G relationship was a big pull for me from the get-go.

    Not to mention the chemistry. That almost tangible connection that you can’t take your eyes off of. Oh how loved them… my little Xena & Gabrielle 2.0.

  8. You’d have to be blind not to see the connection from the first ep! And they so totally eclipse X & G, although they have their place, my heart belongs to L/C forever. And, yes, wishing that they’d been given the chance to grow (I even came across an article that stated that the show had promise were it ever to be given the chance to expand upon the original premise).

  9. ok, i’m slightly ashamed to admit this but… this is the first show in which I’ve noticed some femslash! actually, i didn’t even know about femslash before WMC!
    Hey, I’m excused. I’m young and don’t watch very much tv and, above all, Xena in Italy was deeply censured. we didn’t even get a mere FEELING that there was something going on with those two. really, i had to find out on the internet about their relationship and when i talked about it with my friends they were all shocked… Anyhow.
    This is to prove that Linsay/Cindy is so obvious in the show that even someone who doesn’t even know about the existence of femslash can notice it!!!

  10. “They wear their mutual admiration like sexy lingerie.”

    I agree to everything, but this, I loved. You can’t put it any more precisely.

  11. Hetero-vision? Is that like Wonkavision? :o) Don’t worry! I’m not going to murder you! You didn’t say anything bad! I did, in fact, notice the chemistry with L/C. Of course, years of knowing you has probably somewhat biased me towards looking for this kind of subtext where I might not have before.

    The only thing I would disagree with is in the idea that I would actively hope for a male/female pairing in just about all cases. While I hope for one for myself, if a character is obviously gay, or has chemistry with another character of the same sex such as is found here, or hell, if there’s just a really sucky male character such as they found for Lindsey (I remember him as “the shadow”), then all bets are off.

    I can’t attest to whether or not they are the greatest example of femslash, since I don’t know much about it, but I will definitely admit that I could see the chemistry right away. And yes, ninja stars should have been thrown at whats-his-name’s face.

    Apparently you can get away with just about anything by calling me beautiful…note for the future. :o)

  12. Let’s see, what else needs said here…

    Lauren, I totally meant to respond to your grandpa being a dirty old man. Heh… and aren’t they all?

    Question for you Tara… who did you disagree with about everything before I came into your life? 🙂

    Ah Lucille… you are a femslash newbie. That’s so cute 😉

    Now, now Pammykins… I’m not saying you would always just go for a het couple. I just really think in these particular scenarios you would have. We can see about one soon enough. Since Birds of Prey finally comes out on DVD tomorrow, guess who gets my old bootleg copies that I bought at a comic book convention years ago. Oh, and a state-to-state fist bump for defending Lindsay/Cindy love 🙂

  13. I can’t believe I missed out on this particular post and had just found through the post about Otaliagasm. I’m very disappointed with myself.

    That being said, I must say I agree wholeheartedly with your essay and will join your fight in defending The Yardstick. *salutes*

    Also, in addition to Lindsay/Cindy, you also ship Barbara/Helena AND Sam/Brooke?? Riley, I’m serious, LET’S GET MARRIED.

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