DeAnne Smith and The Dating Game

[featured image via SFBC “Love on Wheels”]

Hi guys! I know it’s been a while. I’ve been thinking about you a lot though, Autostrudel, and I’ve done a couple of cool things for you while I was away. One, I kind of kick-started this blog and two, I made plans to COME TO YOUR NORTH AMERICAN TOWN* really soon. Maybe even the day you’re reading this. So I hope we’re still cool and stuff and you forgive me my silence these past couple of months.

I thought I’d do something else for you lesmos. I’ve gathered from the kind of questions you leave for folks on the Tumblr and the Formspring and the whatnot, that there’s a lot of confusion in the world of girl-centric dating. I figured, well, since I’m such an expert at all things love and relationship related (Sarcasm!), I should share some of that wisdom with the less fortunate. Since I am such an experienced dater (Read: I dive head-first into serial monogamy with the first person to show the faintest interest in me), I figured it would only be right for me to impart some of the knowledge I’ve gleaned over the years.

I mean, since I am so awesome at negotiating that tender first-kiss moment (I once actually said this exact thing to someone before rushing out of their car: “Um, yeah, so I guess this is the time where, like, we would have our first kiss. I’m pretty sure I just ruined it, though, by saying that, so I won’t kiss you this time, now, but next time definitely. So, yeah, I hope we have a second date. I will kiss you on that one for sure. Okay. Bye.”), I am going to help you queers get your date on.

The first step is knowing whether or not you are actually on a date. For me, this is the hardest part. If someone asks me to do something and that someone is cute, I am almost never sure if it’s a friend-date or a date-date. I’m never sure if when someone uses the word “date,” they just mean “date” or they mean “date-date” or they mean “date-date-date” or they mean the edible sweet fruit of the date palm. (Mmm…)

which one best describes your situation?

I don’t know about you, but when someone asks me out, this inner monologue is immediately triggered:

Whoa, did she just ask me out? I think she did. I mean, that was flirting. Right? She touched me a lot. Still, maybe it’s not a real date, but a thing that we’re doing as friends. Some people are just touchy. I should do more push-ups. Maybe she was just being friendly. Why are my arms so skinny? People can be friendly. Fuck, she’s so cute. Am I getting enough iron? Cute people can be friendly. OH MY GOD, does she want to kiss me? I need a new wardrobe. Why have I never done push-ups? I should own suspenders. Is it too late to completely change the shape of my arms? How does a person make English language talk with a human girl? God, I hope there’s kissing.

I try to remind myself not to panic. Panicking never helps. Dating is not unlike untangling a harness. It can be frustrating, confusing, and sometimes ego-crushing, but it’s almost always worth it in the end. “In the end,” if you know what I mean! (No, guys. Don’t encourage that sort of thing. Seriously, guys. Grow up.)

If you and your lady have made a plan old school style (i.e. without the help of OK Cupid), I’ve compiled some handy questions you can use to help clarify whether or not your plan qualifies as a date.

1. What exactly was said?

“Let’s go to the screen-printing workshop Thursday at 9:30” is a heck of a lot more promising than “Maybe we’ll run into each other at the party.” The higher the number of specific details pre-date, the better. A super high number of specific details pre-date, especially if those details involve lube preferences and safe words, probably mean you are negotiating an S&M play date. Please see another article.

2. Where are you going?

Places in which queer lesbian gay people naturally congregate, i.e., open mics, farmer’s markets, soccer games and in front of television sets displaying The Real L-word, do not the best date destinations make. Avoid embarrassing assumptions by making sure that you and cute-girl-of-your-choice have not simply bumped into each other by chance. Few people are open to make-out sessions at the end of an organic pepper purchase. (But those that are: Total keepers!)

Dinner usually spells real date, especially if she pays for yours or lets you pay for hers. But is dinner attended by her housemates while they argue over whose turn it is to empty the cat litter? Could dinner best be described by a combination of the words “pot” and “luck”? If you answer yes to either of these questions, it’s probably not a date. If you can answer yes to both of them, it’s most definitely not a date. Also, you might be living in the ’70s.

not a date

3. What’s she wearing?

If one of you puts on perfume, it counts as a date. The same goes for changing from your usual faded jeans to the good faded jeans or otherwise getting fancied up, whatever that means in your world. (In my world, it means using a cleaning cloth to get smudges off my glasses. Ooo, dapper!) Putting in extra gel, putting on extra lipstick, or packing an extra-firm dildo are all tell-tale date signs.

A fleece vest could mean it’s a date if —and only if—you’re within ten feet of a maple tree. And one of you is Canadian. And you intend to tap the tree. And lick fresh syrup from each other’s flesh. Slowly. Real slowly. No, slower. Yeeeeah, that’s it.

4. Is there physical contact?

Brushing hands, arms, and thighs are all good signs. Unless one of you is in a WNBA uniform. (See: 3. What’s she wearing?)

Okay! Are you feeling ready to test your date-assessing skills? Decipher the following scenario, plucked from my very own real life:

I’m dressed up (smudge-free glasses!) in a popular coffee shop in the gay district with a cute girl who I knew would be there. She’s clearly made an effort in the appearance department, wearing a crisp button-up shirt and black pants. The cute girl makes eye contact, smiles and seems very interested in what I’m about to say.

So, what do you think, Autostrudels? Is it a genuine date?

NOPE! I’m stalking the coffee shop girl. (Or, as I like to think of it, “dating” her for four months now, taking it pretty slowly…)

Best of luck out there, lovers!


*If your town is Ottawa, Toronto, New York freakin’ City, Boston, or Burlington. Would you like more details? Find all relevant details here!

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I care a lot about my hair. Unrelatedly, I say short, funny things at

DeAnne has written 22 articles for us.


  1. this article = the best.

    I am a really awkward first-kisser as well. but! sometimes ist works. like when I told this one (straight) girl “I’m sorry, but I’d really like to kiss you now” and then she was naked.

    still, I suck at dating and this whole article reminded me of my last dating-or-non-dating (who the eff knows?) experience.

    it was a pain in the ass finding the time for a first “date”, and when it was there, finally, I didn’t bother to change. I was so stressed out that I thought “fuck it” and stuck with the clothes I had worn for the past 12 hours. at work.
    she, on the other hand, was wearing a really nice pair of jeans and a nice shirt I had never ever seen before.

    also, we watched a lot of soccer games. because when you find someone who likes the same soccer team as you where it’s geographically not given it has to be fate, so naturally you have to watch the games together.

    this non-dating-thing with her unfortunately didn’t go anywhere and at some point I was really annoyed, and I think she was really annoyed too, and now we’re stuck with friendly meetings here and there. even though I sometimes think that I’d really like to date her. like, again?

    • I really wish I could say that to girls and then get them to take their clothes off.

      In my experience, after a while you end up in some awkward place where it seems like each one of you is waiting for the other to kiss you. Then I usually just go for it.

      Of course, more than once this has been while I was already snuggling in bed with her, because apparently lesbians do things backwards…

          • Wow, yeah I think it’s definitely a thing! Lesbians seem far less inhibited to suddenly be naked than express their actual feelings.

          • It is legit a thing, in my experience.

            Also, “I’m sorry, but I’d really like to kiss you now” is incredibly charming.

          • wait, what, so you’re basically saying that I have to get in her bed (dressed) and probably cuddle with her before I can date her (again)?

            you know what? I would find it totally charming if a girl said something like this to me, but unfortunately I only had the courage to say it myself once. and that one time, a lot of vino de casa was involved.

          • Clothed cuddling in beds is the way it’s worked for over half my queer friends, including myself.

            I think this phenomenon stems from the whole “Girls sleepover, right? And we’re physically affectionate with our friends!” It’s not a huge leap from snuggling cozily in someone’s arms to making out with that someone. Sometimes the leap is like a literal two inches.

          • Yep! Backwards its definitely a thing!! xD

            I make sure that the girl im asking out knows we’re going on a date-date… :-D and if she asks me out, and im not sure… I ask! xD but i dont know, in my experience a “friend-date” usually involve a lot of friends… One-On-One activities count as dates! :-p

  2. DeAnne, how I have waited for a new article since discovering you on Austraddle! You may actually be my favourite thing on here :).

    Aha, if a girl said this – “Um, yeah, so I guess this is the time where, like, we would have our first kiss. I’m pretty sure I just ruined it, though, by saying that, so I won’t kiss you this time, now, but next time definitely. So, yeah, I hope we have a second date. I will kiss you on that one for sure. Okay. Bye.” – to me, I would so grab her and kiss her. Awkwardness is so cute!

    Love the article, but I think this had led to further confusion over trying to figure out when a date is actually a date!

    P.s. you have never done push-ups, because if you are anything like me, push-ups = face plants, and that hurts your nose after a while.

  3. FFS why must you come to my NORTH AMERICAN TOWN on the one night when im not actually going to be in my NORTH AMERICAN TOWN?

    though i guess this article does indeed come at a convenient time because i am leaving my NORTH AMERICAN TOWN to have beers in the woods with a cute girl who may or may not want to make out with me.

    • I did it to make you choose, qwendipher. Nice priorities. Tsk, tsk. ;)

      But if you have FRIENDS in your North American town, maybe they can come to the show and later tell you how awesome it was but you won’t care because by then you will have made out with the cute woods girl.

  4. Genius. This describes pretty much what went through my head when my girl asked me out. Mostly i was like “Oh my god, did she just ask me out? Why the hell would someobody ask ME out?”

  5. “The same goes for changing from your usual faded jeans to the good faded jeans…” Yes, this! I always end up mentally remonstrating with myself for being over/underdressed.

    Incidentally, tricep crunches are the way forward. :-)

  6. This was pretty much the funniest thing I have read in a while. I really appreciated the commentary on the (allegedly fantasy?) maple syrup encounter. Made me laugh.

  7. You know when you’re talking to a cute girl and one of you says “Hey, people can be nice without wanting to date you HAA.” and then you both kind of look at the floor?

  8. Ahh I’ve missed you DeAnne…. er, umm…yeah.

    Job well done in putting into words exactly what runs through my mind when asked to go somewhere!

  9. DeAnne–are you really coming to Burlington? because it’s not on your website, and that show date is relevant to my interests.

  10. “A fleece vest could mean it’s a date if —and only if—you’re within ten feet of a maple tree. And one of you is Canadian. And you intend to tap the tree. And lick fresh syrup from each other’s flesh. Slowly. Real slowly. No, slower. Yeeeeah, that’s it.”

    Or a VERMONTER!!!!!!!!!

  11. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a date and known at the time it was a date. I’m not so good at picking up on these things (also, I won’t realize you’re flirting with me unless it’s really super obvious and even then I may not pick up on it).

  12. If only I was actually around some girls my own age instead of surrounded by 50-year old male engineers for 75% of my waking hours, I could *get* to the part where I’m fretting over a cute girl sorta-maybe asking me to hang out. Alas, my social life consists mostly of the dialog boxes returned by the programs I write…

    HILARIOUS article, btw. Thanks for the laughs.

  13. I was talking to my ex a little while ago about how all my first kisses with people have been prefaced with something along the lines of “So, I sort of want to kiss you right now.” She told me, as a favor to her, never to say that again before I kiss someone. And then somehow we ended up making out. It was weird.

    But at least I didn’t say anything beforehand.

  14. So yes for the first date do not take her to a lesbian gathering place… BUT what if it is one of your shows that just happens to be in her area of living? Is that okay?

    Love these articles!

  15. Pingback: Tunguska » Archive » links for 2011-09-23

  16. most importantly though- how do i get a date with number 3 in the feature photo?

    i will go to san fransisco, that is not a problem.

  17. oh man, I really need this dating primer. I swear, I often have no freakin’ clue when a girl flirts with me or when I’m on a “date-date”, until we start making out or something.

  18. i had a girl once say to me, after dropping her off, “i’m going to hang out with my friend katie. every time i see her, she asked me if i’ve kissed you yet. i’m going to say no, but next time, i hope i can say yes.” it was weird and adorable. and i’ve been dating her for 8 months now.

  19. I had a date non-date Tuesday.

    I wore cologne? She brushed my arm/arm-tapped me when I was funny-inappropriate.


  20. “Putting in extra gel, putting on extra lipstick, or packing an extra-firm dildo are all tell-tale date signs.”

    You think?

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