Dating is weird. It’s this made up world where people push themselves into intentionally awkward situations all for the sake of doing a thing with someone else. I’m not sure if it’s a testament to the fear of being alone or unwavering devotion to the possibility of love. Probably those are the same thing or at least first cousins. God cousins even.
I’ve never really dated before. In college I was a wreck, crushing on straight girls, so shocked that people were attracted to me. It was more like ‘I like you. I still like you. Please like me back. Ok, now we’re a couple.’ Couple hard for awhile then lose interest, then find heart beating faster than eyes can blink because some girl just walked into class and where am I again?
I’ve got some time these days. I’m a little passed feeling wrecked. My bounce is back. Dating should be psshhh whatever. And I mean, c’mon, who better to date than queer women? No one, obvs. Best conversations. We’re going to discuss all of the intersectionalities, ALL OF THEM. We’ll skip, holding hands down 7th avenue privilege-checking people and then have brunch with Beyoncé ’cause that’s what power queermos do. We’ll have consensual, polyamorous conversations while slow grinding to Peaches at a crowded house party in Brooklyn. That’s what dating is like in NYC because there are so many of us! Every single date I go on will be like The L Word, The Real L Word and one night at Aqua Girl.
Or if not all of those things, then just pieces of the best of those moments.
Mostly, I wondered what dating looks like under mostly normal circumstances, what it’d look like for me. It’s one thing to be a fresca on black-lit dance floors making out with a warm body and another to have to look some poor schmuck in the eye and tell them things about myself.
So dates. Dating requires a good amount of ‘fuck it’. At least it does for me, so I imagine that anyone going on a date with me must have a handle on being socially brave. Maybe I’ve confused bravery for insanity.
Things queer women have done on dates with me that I don’t understand but that seem to be part of the protocol:
1. Made their cat a focal point of the conversation for longer than 5 minutes, more like 35 minutes, so many minutes that I remember the cat’s name and not the person’s. I thought this part of the lesbian joke book was a throwback to simpler times, times when lesbians only talked about cats. This situation was super real. I sat there eating some fucking panini type thing (because what else do people eat on dates in the early evening in NYC?) and wondering how this was my life.
1a. Think I give a fuck about their cat on a first date. Maybe you’re weeding people out, maybe if you see the person you’re on a date with not care about your cat then it’s like “f*ck that cat hater. On to the next.” Cool, I’m down with that. Weed me out, girl. But damn, keep it to a minimum. Hold back from going into detail about your cat’s emotions and favorite treats. Refrain from saying something like “Señor Sniffles gets mad when people sit next to me. I make everyone give him the treats that make him feel comfortable and no one can talk in loud voices around him when’s sad.” WTF, yo.
2. Talk about your friends the whole time, as if you’re the only one who has friends, as if I care about the personal joke you’re explaining to me while we’re on this date. We’re on a date. Like a first or second date and I still don’t even care about your cat.
Note: Maybe I suck and maybe these individuals have been wrist deep in conversation with me and been like ‘This chick is corny, let me talk about myself.’ Ok, fine, it’s whatever. It could be me but damn, excuse yourself from the date. Least then I can go home, soak my feets in some epsom salt and smoke a cigar.
3. Ask me a question about myself, let me get one line out and then continue to just talk about yourself. Oohh, girl, this is my least favorite thing. Why even ask what I do for a living if you’re just going to jump on my words and dive into monologue number four? Why bother attempting to include me? Maybe nerves and or other things. Maybe just take a deep breath and be quiet for a second. That’s usually a really good thing to do.
4. Assume there’s going to be a next date. And I don’t mean the geeky cute moment when you’ve clicked with someone and hope maybe there’s a next date. I mean when the date is wonky, the vibe’s been off and that’s the moment the person across from me decides to tell me when and where our next date will be. Oh, word?
5. Talk about exes in a detailed way and/or tell the story of how ya’ll broke up. Why are we still doing this? I don’t want to know. Not yet, later yes, but not on dates 1, 2, or 3. The most I need to know is your official relationship status. And I don’t even want the details of that. Give me short n sweet. Married? Single? Boo-ed up? Open, primary, living with a partner? A current partner is of way more interest to me than someone you used to know.
6. Talk to me about ‘ethnic things’ when that ain’t your world. Please don’t use our date as an opportunity to tell me everything you know about women of color and our lives wrought with oppression.
6b. Speak using language that is not part of your culture or upbringing in order to connect with me. Don’t call me ‘hunty’ or ‘my dude’ or ask me what the 411 is if that isn’t how you’d talk to any of your other friends. Authenticity is like the best thing both of us could bring to this date. I won’t hood check anyone. It’s all gotta add up. This isn’t a racism thing. This is a keep it 1000 thing.
But you know, no one’s perfect. For instance:
Things I’ve done on dates with queer women that were probably terrible:
1. Bolted. Date’s not going well? Check please. I’m out. Nice knowing ya. Nah, I’m fine. Talk to you later.
2. Never contacted them again. I don’t have the guts to tell someone why I didn’t like the date. Accusing someone of sucking isn’t my job. I wouldn’t want someone to be like “Gabby, the date sucked because of your wheezy laugh, and interest in discussing unicorns, zombies and the possibility of all of us being a dust speck on a flower held by an elephant.” Aw, don’t tell me that. I won’t tell you something like that. I’m much better at ghosting.
3. Went in feeling like they should impress me. Ahh. Yeah, what the fuck is that about? I think I just wanted to be swept away by someone’s energy. That goes beyond dating, I want everyone around me to be f*cking brilliant and impressive. I want to be humbled by other people and in awe of their awesome. It’s not a fair attitude to step with especially when it comes from me being a jerk sometimes.
4. Getting too comfortable with my queen. Apologies to the chica who had to endure a reenactment of my favorite scene from Glitter.
5. Told my friends where the date was and chilled with them instead. The girl ordered herself food and then left. And man, I feel like a horse’s ass sharing that one. Jeezus.
6. Thought about someone else the whole time. I could have saved us both time and money by keeping it 1000.
When it comes to dating, I hold these truths to be self evident:
- Butterflies should lead the way
- Know when to say goodnight
- Share only what is mine
- Sometimes it’s better to read a book instead of going on a date