This week on “Wait, Is This a Date?” we’re joined by Autostraddle culture editor and my personal flirting hero Shelli Nicole! Our main topic this week is Dating via Instagram and we get into all the specifics of what was voted by a jury of me to be the best queer dating app.
Shelli shares her wisdom and confidence. I share my wisdom and neuroses. And Christina is a very apt pupil — and class clown. And to start us off we play a game of Red Flags, a personal attack on me personally.
+ Speaking of red flags, I think about this quote from BoJack Horseman all the time:
+ Here is Shelli’s essay about her phone that continues to leave me in awe.
+ This was my chaotic quarantine Instagram post that worked exceptionally well. (She turned out to be a Libra.)
+ The single Shelli mentioned by Lex Amor.
PS: Did you hear? We were profiled in VOGUE [DOT] COM
Shelli: If I am hanging out with someone and I’m posting — especially if I know that I posted something where I look so good that day, and you mean this has been up here for four hours and I’ve been scrolling and your little ass hasn’t looked at it yet? What are you doing?
Theme song plays
Drew: Hi, I’m Drew.
Christina: I’m Christina.
Drew: And welcome to Wait, Is This a Date?
Christina: Wait, Is This a Date? is an Autostraddle podcast all about dating.
Drew: Where we ask the question, “Wait, is this a date?”
Christina: Like, is this a date?
Drew: It’s an important question in the queer community, I think.
Christina: It’s a question that we’re not asking enough, some might say. I think reports are in, reports are hot, and they’re saying, “We don’t know. We just don’t know.” Drew, you want to tell the people who you are?
Drew: My name is Drew Gregory, I’m a writer for Autostraddle and I’m a filmmaker, and I’m a trans woman, and a lesbian, and a dyke, and a faggot.
Christina: That’s simply so tight. I am Christina Tucker, I am also a writer at Autostraddle. I’m kind of just like a deranged queer online. For fun, I recently learned that I don’t know how to lace up shoes, that was something I learned about myself today. Really a fun journey to be on. I also am a lesbian, I am a Black lesbian. Also kind of a faggot, let’s be honest.
Drew: Very much so.
Christina: Like let’s be honest, let’s be honest. Was I listening to a live version of “For Good” like three seconds before we hopped onto this recording? No one can say for sure. There’s no proof except for the photo I sent Drew, but there’s no proof of it.
Drew: Yeah, I was going to say, I can say for sure. I can say for sure.
Christina: Fair enough. Do you want to play a game, Drew?
Drew: Oh my God, I would love to play a game.
Christina: Okay, so this game — we had a really targeted game at me last week.
Drew: It’s true.
Christina: Which was very fun, so we thought it’s time to target Drew.
Drew: Oh boy.
Christina: And this is called “Red Flags.” So I’m going to describe a conversation, a little scenario, a person, a moment in Drew’s dating, and I’m just going to give you, we’re just going to go through this little relationship and there’s going to be a couple of red flags that come up, and we’re going to see what is the red flag that makes Drew say, “I’m out, I got to call it.”
Christina: I think it will happen. I’m interested to see when it will happen.
Drew: In the context, I’ll let you start, if I need more context I’ll—
Christina: No, if you, no I know you like context so what context do you want? Because I have a lot of it, jot it.
Drew: I want all of it.
Christina: You want all of it, okay. So you were on a dating app, it doesn’t matter which one. You see a hot girl, you’re like, “Yeah, that’s the stuff I like.” She’s got a good bio, it’s short, it’s to the point, you guys matched, she messages you right away. You’re already into that. Everyone’s shocked. You have good banter and she asks for your number and then texts and immediately says, “Do you want to meet for a drink this Friday?” Whoa, this is hot. This is hot stuff. You guys meet up, the vibes are good. Here’s your first red flag, she uses the word “wanderlust” in real life.
Drew: I am going to say that I’m going to stay on this date because I have stayed on dates with people who go to Burning Man. So, let’s keep it going.
Christina: Let’s keep it going. She is an Aquarius.
Drew: Okay. Oh, that’s another red flag.
Christina: You’re still in. Oh yeah, we’re just going to hit red flags now.
Drew: I’m honestly not scared of that at all. That is, it’s a red flag in the sense that it should be a red flag for me because my mom’s an Aquarius, my ex is an Aquarius, they had the same birthday, a lot to unpack there. I have said that I may be done with Aquariuses, but at the same time, I clearly like Aquariuses, so.
Christina: Okay, so we’re going to keep moving on. Yeah, that’s fine.
Drew: Wait, wait, I have a question. Well, maybe you’ll get to this, but what is her exact birthday? It’s not—
Christina: I didn’t make up an exact birthday for this person.
Drew: Okay, cool, as long as it’s not February 4th.
Christina: It isn’t, and I did know this about you and I was trying to remember your mom’s birthday, but I thought if I texted you, that would be a red flag in our friendship and this podcast recording. So I didn’t do that.
Drew: Okay, continue.
Christina: She talks about her ex not nonstop, but a decent amount for a first date.
Drew: I’ve been there. Yeah, that’s fine.
Christina: Okay, that’s fine. So now we’re going to move forward. We’ve gone past date one. You said date one is great. We are in, let’s say date three now.
Christina: You have not slept together yet, that does feel important to say, but depending on how today’s date goes, maybe you will.
Drew: Have we made out?
Christina: You have obviously made out.
Christina: You’re not 10 years old, come on now.
Drew: I have definitely been on first dates where we didn’t make out, but that’s cool yeah.
Christina: I said third date, so…
Drew: Oh right, okay. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Okay.
Christina: She tells you that she doesn’t really have a job as much as she is just wealthy and looking for inspiration, wherever she can find it.
Drew: Okay, so this definitely pushes me towards like, I’m losing interest, but I’m going to stay on the date.
Christina: You’re going to stay on the date?
Christina: That is great. The next red flag, she tells you, again, on date three, that she has not skipped a Coachella nor a Burning Man since she was 17.
Drew: I am on my way out the door, but not literally.
Christina: Okay, okay.
Drew: I’ve decided that I’m not going to have sex with this person.
Christina: You’re just — okay you’ve decided you’re not going have sex.
Drew: But I’m still going to stay.
Christina: You’re not going to immediately get up and leave?
Christina: So here’s the next question then, are you going to, after this date is over after it naturally comes to an end, are you going to follow up?
Drew: How am I doing emotionally in my life?
Christina: Well Drew, that I simply can’t answer for you, bitch.
Drew: I’m going to say probably not, but part of me wants to know if you have another foot, the next thing you’re going to say is, is that maybe, really.
Christina: Okay, so had you not decided after wealthy and just looking.
Drew: Here’s the thing. If someone had been to every Coachella and Burning Man and was a little bit less adamant about it — it’s the commitment to, “I could never miss this,” combined with the, “I’m just wealthy and don’t have a job.”
Christina: Yeah Drew, I made a nightmare for you.
Christina: That’s what I was doing, that was the intent.
Drew: I just don’t want anyone who has been to Coachella, I don’t want them to feel — or Burning Man even — like it’s fine, I’m not judging you. I just, anyway—
Christina: I am a little bit.
Drew: Okay, great. What’s the next thing, what was the next thing you were going to say?
Christina: So imagine then, you did not leave that date, perhaps you slept together. Perhaps you did.
Christina: What if you’re like a month into this and she’s a person who just doesn’t respond to texts for a full 48 hours sometimes and then reappears with no explanation?
Drew: Oh see, that’s great. That would get me, that would make me, that would drive me nuts and I would be into it.
Christina: And that is the thing that you would be into, sure. Okay. So say you’ve been dating for three months and she tells you she’s never read anything you’ve written?
Drew: Ooh, that’s interesting. I just don’t know how we would get there because I’m a little bit obnoxious and I feel like there are so many times where I’ll be having a conversation with someone and be like, “Oh, actually I wrote a piece about this. I can send it to you if you want to know.” So like, I guess—
Christina: Yes, I know that about you, it turns out.
Drew: So then it would mean that like, did she lie about reading them? Did she just say, “Oh, I’ll read it,” and I didn’t follow up because I’m not that obnoxious? I would say… but if I’ve been dating this person for three months, there’s so much else going on there emotionally that like — because I don’t date people for three months. I either go on two dates with someone or I have dated them for a while, so there must be something that’s really special there. So I don’t think — I think I wouldn’t get to three months with this person.
Christina: No, I don’t think you would either. I just wanted to see what you would react to that one. The last one I had was that you were dating for six months and she met your family and she became super close with them and started hanging out with them without telling you, and I was like, that feels like—
Drew: Yeah, that would never happen.
Christina: Too far.
Drew: Unless she was a straight girl somehow, so then…
Christina: Well, crazier things have happened, Drew.
Drew: That would be the biggest red flag of all.
Christina: I think this was really informative. I think a thing that’s fun about both of the games that we’ve played for each other, is that the two of us were like, “Ooh, but I need a little bit of context, like what’s going on in my life that I’m making these kinds of choices?” And that’s necessarily not part of the game that we’re doing, but…
Drew: But now it is.
Christina: Now it is, now it is.
Drew: So yeah.
Christina: And now we can talk about our main topic, which I think is going to be really interesting, primarily for me as a person who doesn’t really do what we’re about to discuss. And what we’re about to discuss is DM sliding, Instagram dating.
Christina: All that kind of fun hoe shit.
Drew: Insta Story related dating? I’m also excited. I do do this thing a lot, but I am excited because I’m going to learn from an expert, our guest, Shelli Nicole.
Christina: Our guest, Shelli, I just want everybody to put their hands together for Shelli Nicole. Ah, the crowd goes wild.
Shelli: Wait, can I talk now?
Christina: Yeah, absolutely.
Drew: You want to introduce yourself, Shelli?
Christina: You want to tell us about yourself? Tell us who you are, tell us what your deal is.
Shelli: Yeah. Okay, yeah. My deal, my deal. I am Shelli, I am Culture Editor at Autostraddle, freelance writer elsewhere, super dyke, very afraid of mermaids, teenagers, and mermaids that are teenagers in specific. So yeah, that’s my little cute deal. I’m very hot.
Christina: Can confirm.
Drew: Yes, can confirm.
Shelli: Thank you.
Christina: Famously an audio medium, but I just want to confirm for the listeners.
Shelli: Exactly why I threw that out there, just in case. I want to pull them in. Yeah, but that’s me.
Christina: Yeah, absolutely. We are so excited to have you on and to talk about this, because again, it’s not something I do. I know it’s something that Drew does. I know this is a Drew pastime. So perhaps we should start here. It never feels like a super serious pastime, it feels like a fun time pastime, more than a what’s really going to come of this experience. So, kind of talk to me about what happens in the DM slides and the Instagram stories and the social media you kids are jibber jabbering about, I’ll just be grandpa over here.
Shelli: Drew, do you want to go first?
Drew: Oh, well I feel like we maybe agree on this, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Instagram is the best queer dating app.
Shelli: A thousand percent. It is the best.
Christina: I have heard this from other queers.
Shelli: Absolutely. It gives you literally everything you need, except if someone’s private, but even if you’re private, baby, I’ll find out all about you in some kind of way. Like it is the best.
Drew: Wait, I want to hear more about that. I want to hear more about that because that’s like my — I don’t know what to do. When people are private and they hit on me. I’m like, I can’t do anything with you. Like, sorry.
Shelli: What do you want me to do with this? So usually 50% of the time when I run across somebody who’s private on their main page, in their bio they either have a website or they have an at to whatever they do IRL. Most recently, this happened literally maybe two days ago, this chef hottie slid in my DMs, and I was like, “Great, I don’t cook, you’re very hot, let’s see what this about.” Boom, private. And I said Goddamn, but in their bio they had a link to their website, but then they had the ats of their chef page of the restaurant that they work for, so of course I went there and I’m like, okay, so this is the restaurant. They’re like the head chef there, of course they’re going to be tagged somewhere in the pictures.
Shelli: So then I went back to her page, looked at her photo, I was like, I think I got a little bit of who this is. Then went over to the restaurant page, definitely found her, then hit up those tagged pictures.
Christina: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Shelli: In which case her friends tag her in, and I just kept going through the restaurant’s page until I found enough pictures where I was like, “Yeah, I’d make out with you,” and then I went back to the DM and I was like, “Oh, so tell me more!” Like, I don’t know everything already.
Christina: This is incredible.
Shelli: Yeah, it’s a fun game. Yeah, a sapphic sleuth, if you will. I love it.
Christina: I absolutely will, please see Shelli’s spinoff podcast, Sapphic Sleuths. Can’t wait for that.
Shelli: Legit with love, if people were to send me things like, “Oh, this person’s blocked.” Baby, I got you. Let me help you, I got you, 10 minutes. 10 minutes, $10. I got you.
Christina: Comes with a tagline and everything, I love it. Drew, what’s your MO? Like, what’s your vibe? How do you do this?
Drew: On Instagram?
Drew: Yeah, hm, that’s a really great question. I feel like I really won’t follow back unless someone isn’t private, that has been generally how I work. I don’t know, it just feels — you’re right, it is low stakes in the sense that, I don’t know. If someone’s hot and they follow me and they seem cool, I will follow them back, but I will also say because of — this is so silly because I have like 4,000 followers or something, it’s not, I do not have a lot of followers, but because Autostraddle exists in a certain sphere in the gay internet, I have had to be a little bit more… I don’t know, there’s a vibe that I can pick up, I think sometimes, of whether I’m… I feel like you’re doing your own things, you’re hot, you’re cool. And also, that’s probably who I’d be into, is someone who has their own life and is doing their own things. And it doesn’t feel like a fan thing?
Drew: Because that just gets to dynamics that I’ve learned do not work. It doesn’t mean that someone can’t initially reach out because they like my work, but there’s just a tone and a vibe. So that’s also something that I’m always navigating. And then I also sometimes — like when I meet people on real dating apps, especially during the pandemic, when we couldn’t really do anything — it was sort of nice to collect people on Instagram where I’m like, “You’re hot enough that it’s nice to have you around. And maybe someday, you’ll post a story and I’ll watch it and it’s something that is interesting to me and worth a conversation, and then it will lead to something at some point.” I think I tend to play a very long game with my Instagram flirting.
Christina: This really tracks for you.
Christina: The idea of you just being like, okay, I’ll just keep some stuff burning over here. I’ve just got some interests, but I’m not really sure what’s going on yet. We’re just keeping an eye, keeping an eye.
Drew: Yeah. I mean the person who I’m virtually dating right now, we followed each other on Instagram for 10 months, 11 months of occasionally responding to each other’s stories, I don’t know, maybe every three weeks or maybe once a month, would respond to and have like a little conversation, a little mildly flirty chat. I think if it wasn’t a pandemic or if we lived in the same place, it wouldn’t have gone on quite that long, but I don’t know, it’s not that I don’t want potentially more legitimate things, but it is fun to just have people to post thirst traps for.
Shelli: Absolutely, especially in the close friends.
Shelli: That’s what that is especially for. Now see, when it comes to the following aspect of it, I don’t follow back. I have a very specific—
Christina: Oh, she’s withholding.
Shelli: I am extremely so when it comes to social, because I don’t like people having that much access to me in general, but especially on social media. Because of Autostraddle, people already have so much access to me. So people will follow me and stuff like that, but I don’t go over a hundred followers. I think right now I’m following 81 people on Instagram. It’s just not my thing, but I will keep the message going in the DMs. And then when I go to my DMs at three in the morning and I see that little ring around, I’m like, “Oh, they posted something.” I’ll tap it. I’ll look at it. I might send the little fire emoji and stuff like that. But yeah, I don’t follow back. And then when it comes to flirting via Stories, that’s one of my favorite things to do, because it can either be for everyone or it can be for a specific person that you’re trying to be like, “You know that this is for you, but I’m not about to tell you that this is for you.” I want you to reach out and ask me, “Is this for me?” And I’ll be like, “Yeah, baby, it was for you.” Now what I really, really, really wish, because my close friends list right now is literally my actual close friends, people who I actually adore, I wish that Instagram would just let me be a real hoe and have extra close friend sets where I could be—
Christina: Yeah, you get to kind of gradate people.
Shelli: Give me California people I’m flirting with, so I can post that, but don’t let them know that there’s seven of them in that group.
Drew: Yes. Yes.
Shelli: You know?
Drew: I love this.
Shelli: But Instagram won’t let me be real. They won’t let me win, but it’s okay. But yeah, I love flirting via Instagram. I love dating via Instagram. Pretty much everyone I’ve dated or hooked up with, 75% of them have come from IG. I love it. It’s perfect.
Christina: So this is going to be my next question, is the moving into real life. Also, I love that I’m just interviewing you guys about this practice, that I’m just like, “This is fascinating stuff to me.” Moving the practice from the DMs into the real life space, that seems like a challenge. And it feels like Shelli does more of that, and Drew is kind of… and of course that’s also… we’ve been living in a Paul Blart Mall Cop, famously. So it’s hard to do that more so in this last year.
Christina: But it does seem like Shelli leans towards like, “All right, let’s get this going. Let’s get popping on in real life.”
Shelli: Oh, baby. Let’s hit it.
Christina: And Drew’s got people on back burners, side burners. Drew’s got an eight burners chef’s stove over here.
Shelli: A whole oven full, right?
Drew: I would say though, the flirting that I do on Instagram that leads to more real things are people where it’s like, oh, I meet you at a gay dance party, we follow each other on Instagram, and then we start the flirting.
Christina: Okay, so there’s a connection before, and then we kind of solidify that connection.
Drew: Yeah. I think you’re correct that the people who I meet, who follow me and are hot, but also a lot of those people are all over the world.
Drew: But after a while, I will still… I don’t know. I’m curious… Shelli should start.
Shelli: Oh yeah, absolutely. So what my kind of vibe is, it’s same thing. It’s very localized. It has to be. If you’re in Chicago, I’m in Chicago, we’ve already made the jokes about, “LOL, you don’t follow me back.” And I’m like, “Why follow you back when we can just go get a boba tea around the corner real quick? That’s better.” And they’re like, “Holy shit, I don’t even care that you’re not following me. We’re about to meet up?” And I’m like, “Yeah, we’re about to meet up. You’re about to buy me a boba tea and you get to look at me and I get to look at you, we get to chat. And then after our date, you get to get right back on the DMs, because I probably haven’t given you my phone number yet. And you get to tell me how cute I was, and then we can do it again.” But to me, it’s really easy. I just like to be like, “I want to link up. I want to hang out.” And I usually pick a place based on their stories. If we’re both in the same city and—
Christina: That deep research.
Shelli: Yeah, that’s that sapphic sleuth coming out. And I’m like, “Oh, shit, you like hanging out at this park. This park is close to me.” I don’t say all this, but in my head, I’m like—
Drew: Right. Right, right.
Shelli: That park is close to me—
Christina: You’re triangulating.
Shelli: Yes, that park is close to me. I know that they go there. I know cute spots to get takeaway in between the park and me. I also know how far away it is from my apartment, that kind of vibe. And then I’m like, “Do you want to just link up here to hang out?” And it usually works out pretty efficiently. It’s really, honestly, never done me wrong. I love hopping off of the app as opposed to staying on it for so long, but that’s also because I’m usually looking for fun. I’m never looking for anything serious. And I do also have that pocket of people, kind of like Drew has, where it’s like, “I’m probably never going to really meet up with you, but I will be here to — we can flirt back and forth every four weeks.” That makes me happy. But yeah, I love to hop off. It makes me so happy. And I will be doing it this summer, because yes, give me it. I deserve it.
Christina: There was so much incredible wisdom buried in that — first of all, “You’re buying me a boba tea.” Incredible. Just incredible energy. The low key flex of, “You don’t have my number still,” that’s really aspirational.
Christina: That’s really something that I think a lot of people are not doing in that way. That’s just really challenging to be like, “Yeah, we can hang out, but you can’t have my number.”
Shelli: Absolutely not.
Drew: I like that you’ve invented your own benchmarks of a fling, flirt, whatever, because I think as a culture or whatever, we have these sort of steps, of it would be… let’s say with dating on Instagram, I’d be like, “Oh, I’ll follow back. Oh, a DM slide. Oh, a phone number exchange. Oh, then we meet up.” And you’re like, “But those aren’t what I feel comfortable with or what I want from this interaction, so actually, no, we’re just going to meet up,” and I love that.
Shelli: And for me, the reason behind that is because there’s nothing lost within it. I mean, I kind of wrote this piece about it on Autostraddle about kind of how my phone is one of my favorite things, but it’s just also I’m hella, hella, hella private and I don’t like people having so much access to me. So if we hang out and we meet up and it doesn’t go well or it just wasn’t interesting and we don’t click, you don’t have my phone number to press me. My follower account didn’t go down, yours didn’t go up. All we have to do is delete the message exchange between us and move on. You feel me?
Christina: So beautiful.
Shelli: There’s not that extra energy. We don’t have to exchange all that extra energy when it doesn’t. But then if it does work out, you do get the number, we do get to flirting more, we meet up more, faster, that kind of shit. It’s just about access for me.
Drew: Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, I will say that it’s very interesting to me. I sometimes joke that sometimes I’ll talk to queers who I think that they want to date me, but actually what they want to do is just follow me on Instagram while they work through their gender feelings, where I’m like, “Oh, the option for us to meet up was there, and instead you’re just watching my stories, which is fine. You can follow me as just a…” I also did have one person on Instagram once where we were talking, we were going to meet up, and she basically was like, “I love your writing. I think you’re really hot. I don’t like your personality and I don’t want to meet up with you,” and it was honestly one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten. I was like, “Wait, you want to continue to follow me? You want to watch all my stories, read my work, say how good of a writer I am, plus you also think that I’m really hot, but just in talking to me…” I was like, I thought I was really riding on my personality, but if I’m just talented and hot, that sounds way better.
Shelli: Low key, yes. Support me, baby.
Drew: Because for me, if I’m not interested in someone in the sense of someday I’d want to meet up with them or at least want to continue having a flirt or whatever, I’m going to unfollow, which is maybe more brutal than never following in the first place.
Drew: But I’m like… or what I’ll do is instead of … I just will mute them. And I certainly won’t… I mean, I don’t watch that many people’s stories. I’m pretty stingy. I have the same 20 people whose stories I watch, then occasionally randoms get thrown in there. But if I’m consistently watching your story, either we are friends, I want to fuck you, or both. That’s just how it is.
Shelli: That’s it. That is it. I agree.
Christina: That feels really true, yeah. Yeah, even for me, a person who barely understands what you people are talking about, I’m like, “Yeah, if I’m watching your story, come on.” There’s not that many people who I’m dedicated sitting through a story, a whole story.
Shelli: A story.
Shelli: Don’t let it turn into the little dots too, cause if it’s the little dots—
Drew: Oh, no.
Shelli: You’ve got a lot to say.
Christina: Some of you I am clicking quite quickly through some of that content, let’s be honest. And it’s probably muted, but that’s fine.
Shelli: I do agree about unfollow being more brutal. And in actuality, it’s not. It’s just in the social media dating age, it is. If you get that unfollow after a date, then they’re like, “Damn, you don’t want to hang out with me at all,” but I do like the technique where I have told some people to do. Some friends I’ll be like, “You can mute them for a while, and then after they’re still muted for two weeks, they won’t even notice the unfollow if you guys hang out.” So it’s kind of a slow goodbye.
Christina: A slow no, yeah.
Drew: That’s definitely what — I would never go on a date and immediately — unless someone did something bad to me and I was like trying to prove a point.
Christina: Yeah. I’d be making a statement, if you went on a date and then got home, I was like, “I will be finding your profile and unfollowing you. Good day.”
Drew: I would say every few months I’ll do a bit of a cleanup of who I follow, because I also — I don’t follow quite as few people as you, Shelli, but I am both on Twitter and Instagram pretty — I just know that I’m on social media so much, and I realize people who bring me joy and who don’t. And I sort of do like to clean it up every once in a while. So I’ll be like, “Yeah, I went on a date with someone a year ago and I’ve had them muted for six months. I can unfollow them. They’re going to be fine. If they notice it, they’ll be a little bit hurt because they’re still watching my stories, but who cares?”
Drew: But yeah, I mean I do think that it’s important, just for the day to day of we use social media so much, that I’m enjoying what I’m seeing and who I’m seeing. And yeah, so I don’t know. I definitely get that aspect of it.
Shelli: Yeah. I’m a little bit less frigid about it on Twitter, because I also have dated people via Twitter. My first major girlfriend, we met on Twitter and dated for two and a half years. I am a little bit less frigid about my following count on Twitter, but that’s just because Twitter is — I both flirt there and work there.
Shelli: You feel me?
Shelli: It’s that — especially all of us as writers, knowing that that Twitter medium is where some of us get a lot of our work. And I still have my same flirty, nasty, naughty, demon time personality on Twitter, but it’s more direct to the woman that I’m flirting with on Twitter, because I will literally be like, “I have left a comment. I have liked this photo. I haven’t been in your DMs yet, but now I’m just going to literally at you and be like, “When are we going to kiss?” On Twitter, I’m far more direct than I am on Instagram. So yeah, it’s fun.
Christina: That is so inspirational. I think everybody coming into summertime really needs to take some Shelli energy with them as they do so.
Shelli: I was going to say, I just did it about 30 minutes before we started recording.
Christina: What a life. What a life to live.
Drew: Speaking of actually the opposite of being direct, can I share a Instagram story secret of mine that people might find useful?
Christina: Baby, always.
Drew: It is one of those things where I’m exposing myself a little bit, but that is what I’m doing for all of you listeners. And that’s just the generosity that I’m bringing to this.
Shelli: So excited.
Drew: So sometimes, you want to watch someone’s story, but you don’t want them to know that you watch their story. So what you can do is if you put your finger on the story next to it and start to inch over, but you have to be careful that you don’t fully commit. You can get a glimpse of what the story is. And then be like, either decide that you want to watch it or decide, “Oh, this was posted.” Because the thing that I sometimes get in my head about is, I sometimes don’t want people to think that I’m watching their stories right away, where it’s like, “I’m just watching it because I’m on my phone all the time. You’re not special.” Or maybe you are special, but that’s not why you’re special. So I will do that so I can be like, “Oh, this person posted this 10 minutes ago. I will watch this, so they know I watched their story, but I’m going to wait like three hours and then I’m going to watch it.”
Shelli: Oh my God, so to add to… Yes, and I’m like—
Drew: Please, bring that improv energy into the space. Thank you.
Shelli: Thank you. I’m trying to bring it. And if you want to do that, you’re right, you do have to be careful with that little drag. If your computer is handy, you can go ahead, log onto Instagram, your Instagram on your computer, go to the story after theirs, and if you pause that story, it gives you a big wide preview of what the person’s is before it. You know what I’m saying? So you don’t have to worry about clicking back, but it just gives you a huge preview of it. And you’re just like, “Huh, okay. I’ll look at that,” because I, too, have done the same thing. It’s not that the person isn’t important, or maybe you are, you’re right. It’s just, I’m always on my phone. I’m going to watch this, but I don’t want you to see it right away. And then now, a Finsta is too hard, people look and see who looks at their stories. And then they’ll see this unknown story, unknown person. And I’m like, “Damn, that was me from my Finsta account.”
Drew: Do you know what’s haunting, is that I have friends who, when I have talked about this, they’re like, “Oh, I have no idea who watches my stories. I don’t check.” So sometimes, I’m having this whole narrative in my brain and there are people out there who don’t even look to see who watches their stories.
Shelli: That’s terrifying.
Christina: Okay. So famously, again, I don’t do any of this, listeners. You did not see any of my reactions as these two were talking, but I leaned so far back.
Shelli: Very far back.
Christina: I learned so much in just these short moments. The idea that I wouldn’t see who’s watching my stories is so foreign to me, is so bonkers to me. What? They’re just not checking?
Drew: They don’t. They don’t. They’re like, “I don’t care.” They’re like, “What does that show?” I’m like, “I don’t know.” Well no, because okay, this point is valid, but it still drives me a little bit nuts, because I’m like, “But, but, but…” Okay, yes, if someone watches my story, it does not mean that they’re in love with me. It does not mean anything except that they watched my story. I’m aware of that, but it sort of means that a little bit.
Christina: A little bit.
Shelli: 75%, it means that for me. If I am hanging out with someone and I’m posting — especially if I know that I posted something where I look so good that day, and you mean this has been up here for four hours and I’ve been scrolling, and your little ass hasn’t looked at it yet? What are you doing?
Christina: Right. No one is that busy.
Shelli: But here’s my thing, don’t let you not have looked at my story, but then have posted one of your own. Are you trying to break up? I know we’re not together, but are you trying to break up? It’s just, I always look. I look a little bit less and less now, honestly, just because, like you said earlier, Drew, when it comes to Autostraddle being in its own sphere and that kind of crowd, which I’m thankful for, coming to your own personal IG, flooding it with different things is super dope, but it’s harder when you’re looking for someone in specific.
Christina: Yeah, you got to go through all the fans. It’s so hard.
Shelli: You got to be like, “Thank you girl. Thank you. Thank you. Where is this person?!” I hate it, but I love it. And I do check. I check more when I’m with somebody that I want to be with. You know what I mean?
Drew: Yeah. I also think that if someone’s just clicking through stories, they might watch your story just by chance. So sometimes, if I really want to know where someone stands with me, I’ll post three stories. And so the idea being, you could click through quickly, especially if it’s a video, you might not watch it, but if you are watching all three, then there’s an investment in me, to some extent.
Christina: In the narrative.
Drew: You might literally just be bored and I am entertaining. You might be the person who thinks I have a shitty personality, but just thinks I’m really hot. I don’t know what your deal is, but that, I think, for me, where it’s like, oh, if you watched my… because sometimes, I’ll be like, “Wow, that random person watched my story.” And it’s like, that doesn’t really mean anything. Random person watched three of my stories? Okay, I think that there’s something happening.
Shelli: You’re interested. You think I’m cute. Just say you think I’m cute. Just send me the message. Send me the message. Just send it.
Drew: Well, that’s the other thing, right? Is that sometimes when I see that someone’s watching my story, I’m disappointed because I’m like, “Well, you watched my story and nothing happened.”
Christina: And nothing, right.
Drew: I was hoping that I would be getting a DM, and instead, you just witnessed it? That’s cool. Okay, bye.
Christina: So you just came and said, “I’ll be a witness?” Okay, fine.
Shelli: What’s worse for me is getting the quick reaction. That’s worse for me. I don’t know why, but especially if you’ve quick-reacted, like you said, Drew, when I’ve posted four cute mes in a row, and you quick-reacted to each one, by that point, you could have sent me a message at least. It’s just fire, fire, fire, heart?
Christina: Yeah. You could’ve gone in, find your own emoji, express yourself in a way that Instagram hasn’t dictated at you.
Shelli: Now, that I do love. If someone has one outside of the eight that they provide, I’m like, “Oh, we dating. I like it.”
Drew: I do feel like I click-react to people who I’m friends with far more than to people who I’m… If I’m trying to flirt with you, I’m probably going to bring a little bit more. It’s like sending, “Hi,” on a dating app. I feel like, look, I will take the fire reactions if you want to do that. Whatever. I’m not going to do anything with it. I’m going to be like, “Okay,” but it’s not going to… You have to say something if you want to engage me in a conversation.
Drew: Something I do find really funny is that… And I don’t know if this is queer women, non-binary, lesbian world-specific. I feel like maybe straight people and gay men would be a little bit more direct than this. And I want to encourage everyone I reference upfront to also be direct in this, which is that sometimes I’ll post a particularly revealing thirst trap and I won’t get that many responses. And then the next day, I’ll post something really wholesome and I’ll have dozens of messages about that. And I’m like, “Oh, I see what happened here.”
Christina: That thirst trap is just living rent-free. It’s living rent free up there.
Shelli: It is there.
Drew: Yeah. Or they’re like, “Oh, I don’t want to be…” The timidity that we have in our community that I hope we can push past, but that exists, where people are like, “I don’t think I should respond to this, because I can see her nipples.” And I’m like, “Yeah, they’re there for you to respond to.”
Shelli: That was the point!
Drew: But then the next day, it’s like, “Oh my God, I love your sweater. How have you been?” And I’m like, “Okay, you know what’s under that sweater. Come on.”
Shelli: I was just going to say that. See, what I like really sometimes, just when I’m really, really trying to be like, “Okay, let me get some attention,” especially because I’m not one to… I’m very upfront about it. I don’t like a lot of attention, but I want it. I will demand it. When I do want it, I will demand it, like, “Give it to me. Give it to me.” And then I’m like, “That’s enough.” I will post a question box on my IG with a really hot picture, and I’ve done it a few times. Sometimes, when I’ve just been in a down mood and I’m like, “Compliments make me feel better.” But sometimes, when I’ve just been in an amazing mood, and I’m seeing or fucking around with a few people, and I’m like, “I want compliments to make me feel even hotter.” And the box will just say, “Compliment me.” I have gotten a few dates from stuff like that too, being like—
Drew: I love it.
Shelli: Because it’s giving the people who are—
Christina: Why aren’t I taking notes? I should be taking notes. What am I doing here? Let me grab a piece of mail.
Shelli: Because what that does, too, is give the people who are a little still timid, who have been hitting on you in your messages a little bit, it gives them an open opportunity to be like, “Okay, she’s asking me. Right now, she’s saying, “Yo, let me tell you how I think you’re hot or whatever.” And I’ve done that a few times to encourage those little people who I didn’t want to push to be like, “Yo, everybody’s doing it. You do too.”
Drew: I love it.
Shelli: And then it kind of becomes a nice date.
Christina: Dive in. Objectify me, baby.
Shelli: Yeah. Baby, it is the opportunity and the chance for 24 hours, or until I delete the box. So, that’s a really good way too. You can even post stuff and be like, “Who’s interested in me?” Boom. And get dates that way as well. You know what I mean?
Drew: I love it.
Shelli: And don’t let your friends share that too, because then you get people from all over town. You’re like, “Wait, who is this from Andersonville? Bridgeport? Oh my God. Hoes all over Chicago. I love this city.
Drew: I love it so much.
Shelli: Very Chicago.
Christina: That is how I describe you: Hoes all over Chicago. That’s Shelli.
Shelli: Thank you. Thank you. New bio.
Drew: The only time that I’ve done something similar to that was a couple months into quarantine, I was feeling very bored and needed some chaos. And there was one of those Insta Story filters going around that was saying what sign you were going to end up with. And I did it a bunch of times and took a bunch of screenshots, and then posted five of them on my main and said, “If you have any of these signs, slide into my DMs.”
Drew: Okay, wait. And I’m going to walk you through the reason, because I really thought through how many, because really, I was just being like, “Anyone, whatever.” I mean, I do have some sign preferences, but I was like, “Okay, how many can I include?” I was like, “Who am I flirting with right now? Who am I trying to?
Christina: Yeah. No, of course.
Drew: Let me walk you through the journey. Okay? So it was Taurus season, so I started with, “Happy Taurus season. Slide in my whatever.”
Christina: Thank you. Thank you.
Drew: But the Taurus, it was specifically for Christina, that was who that was for back then.
Christina: Me?! Yeah!
Drew: It was for you, yeah. Then the other person who I was trying to get to DM me, I looked her up and her birthday was on a cusp day.
Drew: And when I was looking through her Twitter, I can also be a bit of a sapphic sleuth.
Shelli: Yes, you can.
Drew: I was looking through her Twitter, and it was very conflicting whether she was a Libra or a Scorpio. And so, I included both of those. That is also the person who I’m now, a year-worth whatever later, am dating, so that’s funny. And then, the next one was Aries, which was because my hottest roommate at the time was an Aries. And I wasn’t really trying anything, but I just wanted to create that energy in the household.
Shelli: Chaos, yes.
Drew: Yeah. And then the last one was Gemini, because the person who I was trying to get over at the time, but still was a little hung up on was the Gemini. So I just want the chaos of those five signs. I mean, Tauruses, everyone loves Tauruses. There’s no conflict there, but the Scorpio, Libra, Gemini. Wait, what did I say? Yeah, Gemini, Aries.
Christina: Scorpio, Libra, Aries, Gemini?
Shelli: Wildly chaotic.
Christina: You invited chaos.
Drew: It was really effective though, at also getting a lot of hot, random people to slide into my DMs though. You’re right, just asking, being like, “Slide into my DMS,” worked out. It was fun.
Shelli: That’s a really good idea to use those cute — because those filters start conversation. Even with just friends, they start so many conversations. But yeah, I should maybe do that. And if it tells me I’m going to end up with a Libra, I’ll throw that in. I famously hate Libras. We all know this. No Libras in this household. But yeah, I’ve never thought of using a filter to do that. That’s so dope.
Drew: It was a fun little experiment.
Shelli: I’m doing it this weekend.
Drew: Good, please.
Shelli: I can’t wait.
Christina: I have some work to do. I feel like I have homework assignments from this, from this conversation. It’s given me a lot to think about. Certainly, a lot to think about.
Shelli: I’m ready.
Drew: Wait, Shelli, what signs would you? If you were to pick a handful of signs, what would — yeah, I want to hear it.
Shelli: Got you. Okay.
Christina: Yeah. Give us five. Give us your five signs.
Shelli: I deserve a Virgo.
Christina: Oh sure, yeah. We do love those Virgos.
Shelli: When I tell you I deserve a Virgo… And I was this close! This close, and she slipped away. Anyway, I love a Virgo. I don’t know why, but I do like a Cancer. Maybe it’s because they’re usually very wah-waah, and I’m usually like, “Okay, I’ll deal with this for like a second, but I don’t know.”
Drew: I could see. That makes a lot of sense to me.
Shelli: Yeah. I love another Taurus. And honestly, I only have a top three. I don’t have a five.
Drew: That’s fine.
Shelli: But I deserve a Virgo. I deserve a Virgo.
Christina: A Taurus always deserves a Virgo.
Shelli: Whenever Shelli suddenly somehow settles down and is in my little house in New Mexico, which I want really badly, it will be with a Virgo. They are incredible to me, but I never am ready for a Virgo, so it’s also my fault too.
Christina: Yeah, that’s part of it.
Shelli: When they appear, I’m like, “Damn, why you come now? I’m not ready, but let’s play.” And they’re like, “Two months.” I’m like, “All right, that’s fine.”
Christina: How long do you need on a Virgo? Do you need a three year? In three years you’re going to be ready for a Virgo?
Shelli: Honestly, I’m getting so much closer. I think in about another year and a half, I’ll be ready for a Virgo.
Drew: I love that for you.
Shelli: Hit me this time next year, ready for a Virgo.
Christina: We love that. We love that energy. Wow.
Drew: Wait. Christina, do you want to answer that question?
Christina: My three? I mean, also Virgos, always. I’m a Taurus. We love Virgos. It’s a thing that we do. I do have a tendency to bring in some air sign chaos, because I know that I need more chaos in my life because I’m a Taurus with a Virgo moon. So I can do nothing if I’m really… I will stay at the house and I will clean it and that’s it. So I do have a soft fondness for Gemini. I can get into that. I will get tired pretty quickly. Know that, Geminis, but I’ll do it. Like I’ll do it. I can deal with Libras in a way that I think is brave of me, personally. Scorpios, challenging but fun, but can be worth it. Challenging but can be worth it. I don’t know that I could do anything seriously with a Sag. What are we doing here? Come on. Are we going on adventures? I’m not going on adventures. Shut up. Shut up.
Shelli: Wait, you want to go hiking? For what?
Christina: No. My best friend is a famous triple Sag. That’s enough Sag energy in my life. I don’t need anything else from that sign. Thank you so much. And Capricorn’s, bring me a goat, baby. Let’s get goat-y.
Drew: We are the best.
Christina: I know.
Shelli: You know what? Let me actually add in a Capricorn. You know what? Yeah, I can do a Capricorn.
Drew: Yeah. We’re pretty good.
Shelli: You know what? They’re an easy balance. They’re easy for me to handle. They’re a lot to handle, but they’re easy for me to handle. I feel like that kind of vibe.
Christina: Do your career, baby. Do that career.
Christina: Get that money.
Shelli: You do that.
Christina: I will decorate the house. It’ll be great.
Shelli: I will get us a charcuterie board. You do it. You have a blast out there, baby. Yeah. Adding Capricorns to the list.
Christina: There we go.
Drew: On behalf of Capricorns, we are honored.
Christina: Great. Love this very Earth sign experience we’re having today.
Drew: Is there any other wisdom that we’re thinking of before we want to move into our final…
Christina: I mean, simply, we know I don’t have any wisdom. I think we can check back with me and see if I’ve taken any of these tips and tricks to heart. I think that’ll be fun to do later in our season. We’ll see what CT has learned from these two masterminds, frankly.
Shelli: I just think that when it comes to social media, I think we just… I want to encourage people to just use it as that ultimate dating app. Everything is presented there, especially on platforms like Instagram, where you get visual, you can get audio, you can get to know about their career. You can get to know what their politics are. You get to know so much about somebody without having to do that kind of awkward conversation of being like… What do you do that? What you should still have obviously, but it gives you that extra. It’s kind of like a little extra free pass. And I would tell people to stop being private, because that’s annoying. Cut that shit out. You are not Beyoncé. Also, to start using Twitter to get raunchy at night. When you get on Twitter at a certain point, you see that tweet from across your timeline that says, “Is the TL still up?” That’s how you know it’s time to start flirting. And now they let you do full photos now.
Drew: It’s true.
Christina: Crop is gone, baby.
Shelli: Crop is gone. So no more open for a surprise, but you can still use it. Just use it. It’s fun. I would think it would be greater for introverts too, or easier for introverted people.
Christina: That slow connection experience.
Shelli: Yeah. Especially in the queer community. A lot of us are, for some reason, so introverted when it comes to dating. And I get it, because it’s hard, but use your stories a little bit to open up. And then make somebody buy you boba tea. Literally make them buy you boba tea.
Christina: What a beautiful message.
Drew: And don’t follow them.
Shelli: And don’t follow them.
Christina: And don’t follow.
Shelli: Don’t follow, but buy me a brown sugar boba. Thank you.
Christina: No follows, just boba. Beautiful energy. I love that. We love that.
Shelli: Just boba. Yes.
Drew: Now moving on to our Crush of the Week segment. This is where we talk about just someone who we’ve been crushing on, usually from pop culture, for us to have an excuse. But not always, sometimes the crushes are just in our day-to-day lives. Christina, do you want to start?
Christina: Sure. I’ll start. Mine’s a pretty simple, easy one. It’s in honor of our queen Olympia Dukakis who departed us last week. I just want to say that I’ve had a crush on Olympia Dukakis ever since I first saw Moonstruck when I was like 14. Certainly changed a lot about my life, certainly changed the direction that my life went in. It was gayer than I think it was probably going to be before then. Just a real legend. And I’m glad that she was with us and we have her films and stuff to look upon. And if you haven’t, watch Moonstruck, grow up.
Drew: Wow, great.
Shelli: Word, grow up.
Christina: Grow up and watch Moonstruck.
Drew: I love that. I love that beautiful tribute.
Christina: Drew, who do you have?
Drew: My crush of the week is the opposite of Olympia Dukakis. It is Kesha.
Christina: Would love to see them in a room together. I’ll say that.
Drew: I don’t really stay on a lot of people because some people are going to do things that you don’t approve of, and Kesha certainly has over the years. When I was in high school, I didn’t let myself listen to pop music because I thought it made me gay or girly or whatever. A lot to unpack there.
Christina: And that didn’t happen. You didn’t become gay or girly.
Drew: No, not at all. But my crush loved Kesha and would always talk about how Kesha was really brilliant and would go on and on. So I had this reason to listen to Kesha. So Kesha was sort of the first pop star that I really loved. And then “Rainbow” came out months after I came out. And that album is just so much about being like, “Fuck the haters. I just am going to be myself,” and all these things. It was such a meaningful album to me. I don’t know why, this week, I was just thinking about Kesha. No reason in particular. Made a little Kesha playlist that was just Kesha music that wasn’t — like Kesha’s non-pop music, Kesha’s ballads. Anyway, so I’m just thinking about Kesha and how much I love Kesha.
Christina: I love that. That’s great.
Shelli: Me too.
Christina: “Rainbow” does bang, also.
Drew: It’s a really good album.
Shelli: Honestly, I might revisit it after this. I got some cleaning to do.
Christina: Oh, yeah. “Hunt You Down?” Great song.
Shelli: Yeah. Let’s do this.
Christina: Shelli, who you got?
Shelli: Okay. So, I don’t know why I’m all cheesy about it. Maybe because a little bit of it — not went down in the DMs completely yet, but a little bit. My crush of the week is Lex Amor. She is an artist from the UK. Her songs are incredible. She is completely fucking stunning. And she had a new song come out the other day called “Ruckus.” But outside of being just a total fucking hottie with a voice, like a speaking voice that’s just — not just the accent, but just the tone of her voice is just so amazing to literally listen to her talk. She creates some of the most amazing songs I’ve heard. And she’s just super great, really attractive, really, really, really fucking talented. And has that accent. I don’t know if she’s a Virgo, but I might look it up now and see.
Christina: I support that. I think you should. You should know.
Shelli: That’s my little crush-y crush.
Christina: I love that.
Drew: Well, Shelli, will you tell people where they can find you and your work?
Shelli: Yes. You can find me over on Autostraddle where I am Culture Editor, which is really cool to say.
Christina: It’s so cool to hear.
Shelli: A really big blessing that I’m really loving. I’ve already been able to work with some really great new writers, already incredible writers. So it’s super great. So I’m over there doing that work and also my own. And I am on Instagram @AyoShelli. A-Y-O S-H-E-L-L-I and I’m on Twitter @HiShelli. And it’s just because on Twitter, that’s how people who don’t know me… I mean, in real life, that’s how people say hi to me, how they don’t know me. They’re like, “Hi Shelli.” But my homeys are always like, “Ayo, Shelli.” So that’s how you can find me. I’m very online. Very online.
Christina: Can confirm. As a fellow very online, Shelli’s on there. Shelli be online.
Shelli: I be on that bitch. I be on that bitch.
Drew: So something we do like to ask at the end of each of our podcast episodes, because—
Christina: We like to check in.
Drew: We like to check in. Because we’re really working towards more direct communication and more, I don’t know, just being clearer as a community. And so our question for you is… Wait, was this a date?
Christina: Were we just on a date?
Shelli: I mean, it wasn’t a date, but it was being good getting to know y’all more.
Drew: That’s a great answer.
Christina: Love that.
Drew: Great answer.
Christina: Love that energy. Love that. Beautiful. Chef’s kiss. Love throwing that at people.
Shelli: Good, yeah. So it wasn’t a date, but I like kicking it.
Drew: Thank you so much for listening to Wait, Is this a Date? You can find us on Twitter and Instagram @WaitIsThisaDate. And you can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christina: Our theme was written by Lauren Klein. Our logo is by Maanya Dhar and this podcast was edited, produced and mixed by Lauren Klein. You can find me online @c_gracet on twitter.com the website. And you can find me on Instagram @christina_gracet.
Drew: And you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok @draw_gregory. And you can find Autostraddle on all social medias @autostraddle.
Christina: And go visit autostraddle.com because that’s the reason we’re all here today.
Drew: Thank you all so much. And see you next week.
Christina: Yeah. We’ll absolutely see you next week. And we can’t wait.
Drew: Yeah. And maybe next week will be a date.
Christina: Hey, maybe it will be. Wilder things have happened.
Drew: Except you know what? I also think it’s important to clarify to the listener that if you ask someone if something’s a date or not, you probably should take that as sort of a moving forward that you… I don’t think every time you see someone, you should… That’s not really direct communication as much as it is not really respecting someone’s boundaries. And we do like boundaries here at Wait, Is this a Date?
Christina: The gayest thing about this podcast is that the outro is a boundary.
Drew, in a voice memo: I know the whole thing for me is having people all over the world who I follow on Instagram, who I flirt with, because it’s like there’s no stakes and it’s not real. But sometimes someone will post a picture and I’m like, “I really wish it was real.” And that’s impressive. Because then I think it from their angle and I’m like, “What an impressive selfie that person took and how incredible that they did at their thirst trapping.” Good for them. I wonder if I ever post pictures where people say, “I wish I lived in LA or wherever I am at the time.” I hope so.