We Were There: Queer Ladies Speed Dating at Strand Bookstore, Valentine’s Day Edition

Let me tell you about some things I really love. I love books and cute queer girls who like to read books. I love independent businesses that support queer communities. I love Gabby and Katrina and champagne and cupcakes. And I really, really, really love our vibrant smart gorgeous funny perfect Autostraddle community. It’s my love of all those things combined that makes it impossible for me to stay away from Queer Ladies Speed Dating at Strand Bookstore, even though I have a girlfriend and thus I never actually go on any dates (except when someone has to go to the bathroom and Gabby has me fill in). I just can’t say no to an event that puts so much positive stuff together in one room, ya know?!

In case you missed my very enthusiastic post urging you to attend this event, let me remind you that on Wednesday, February 6th the Strand Bookstore in New York City hosted its third Queer Ladies Speed Dating event and as predicted, it was fucking fantastic. Gabby and Katrina were the perfect hosts, facilitating great dates with super on point prompts such as, “Do you smoke weed?” and “Kittens: cute baby cats or fur-covered menaces?” and keeping Beyoncé tunes in heavy rotation all evening. About 100 humans showed up and together we went through 24 bottles of champagne, 150+ boozy cupcakes donated by Prohibition Bakery and a lot of dates! The Strand staff was lovely and welcoming (per usual – thank you, Strand!) and Gabby reminded everyone to return the favor and purchase some books at The Strand – support the people who support us, y’all!

I hope everyone who attended had a blast and maybe even made a love connection or two! At the very least I hope you found a friend because you all seemed so nice and funny and honestly you all had really amazing hair, just FYI. If you live in the New York area and couldn’t make it this time, I hope you’ll join us in the future, because there will be more and more events like this in the future!

ALSO! A bunch of people who do not live in New York commented on my original post asking if events like this could happen in their cities, to which I’d like to say a big resounding YES. Here is the secret: MAKE IT HAPPEN. It sounds corny but it isn’t. This specific event began because a queer staff member at this specific bookstore thought it would be a great event and her boss believed in her. Make the people around you believe in you! Pick your favorite independent bookstore (or music store, or craft store, or or or the possibilities are endless!), pitch the idea, promise you will take care of everything and then make it happen! Email us and we will write about it. I’m not kidding. Our dreams and goals and aspirations are to use this website to create 3-D queer communities for y’all. We support you. We will help you make this happen. And you will look damn good doing it because it’s a proven fact that all Autostraddle readers are super sexy. I’m not good at science so I can’t explain it beyond that, I just know that it’s true. Promise.

So anyway that’s enough words. I know you’re not here for my motivational speech about creating community, you’re really here to see a bunch of cute girls speed dating while surrounded by rare books. Don’t worry, my feelings aren’t hurt, that’s totally why I’m here too! So without further ado, feast your eyes on these brave little toasters. By the way, in case it isn’t obvious: I love you all so much. Happy early Valentine’s Day!

The photographs © Vanessa Friedman 2013.

If you see a photo of yourself here that you do not want on the Internet, please email carrie [at] autostraddle [dot] com so we can remove it.

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Vanessa is a writer, a teacher, and the community editor at Autostraddle. Very hot, very fun, very weird. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 404 articles for us.


  1. I vote that someone create a gallery of all the special moments between Gabby and Katrina that have ever been captured by a camera. I die.

  2. I love my wife dearly but I almost wish I was single so I could attend this. (Okay, not really, but these sound like super fun events and I love The Strand.)

    Could there be the possibility of doing an event here that’s more of a mix-and-mingle type thing, with the goal of just making friends/meeting new people as opposed to dating? My wife and I would both love to meet other book-loving Autostraddlers and perhaps make some queer friends (b/c ironically we don’t really have any) but obvs married people can’t speed date. ;)

  3. I cannot believe I missed this event again! Is there a mailing list I can get on that reminds me of an upcoming one, so I don’t make another stupid mistake of not noticing an article post about it?

    • I second the mailing list!!

      I somehow ALWAYS manage to miss the NYC based events and I end up hating myself since I’m constantly wishing I had more queer friends in the area!

  4. On behalf of San Francisco Dyke march 2013 we will be putting on a speed dating event benefit. I’m supposed to head it, but I’m not sure of the step by step. Can I get some help SF autostraddlers????

      • Awesome! Next Tuesday (1/19) at 7pm the Dyke March is holding a meeting at the LGBT Center on market st. All are welcome to attend and we are in need of more volunteers too. Kelly, hope to see you there! If you can’t make it email me at [email protected].

  5. I’ve never done a speed dating thing, this might have to change at some point, looks a whole load of fun. I’m in a more than friends type of relationship at the moment, yeah I like splitting open relationship hairs…besides the point is to meet new people and hopefully at the least make new friends, although a bit of love, lust or passion is no bad thing.

    On another note..second row, second pic (via vf-8)…be still my beating heart!

  6. so are we supposed to have received emails if we had any matches, then? because I was sure I had at least one…

    • hi! strand bookstore is actually 100% in charge of dealing with the paperwork / matches, so the autostraddle staff has no idea about the status of emails and such. last time it took a few weeks for emails to be sent out, so i assume it might take some time. i’ve emailed the strand staff and if i get an answer i’ll be sure to pass it on. don’t be nervous! if you think you had a match then i bet you did!

      • thanks Vanessa! On reflection I figured out it could well take a while, what with all the inputting paper into spreadsheets and cross-referencing and also doing their normal strand jobs, but I (obviously) get nervous easily…

  7. So can something like this happen in Boston in the near ish future? Because that would pretty freakin awesome…

  8. UPDATE for everyone who participated! i checked in with lizzy and she has confirmed that all matches should go out by the end of next week. some people have reportedly already received their matches, so be on the lookout and double check your spam folders. but also don’t freak out if you haven’t received anything yet because lizzy is a magic human being but she is not a machine and i know for a fact that all the matches are not complete yet, okay? yay i love you all i am wishing everyone happy matches and deliciously old smelling rare books forever and ever amen.

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