Y’All Need Help #22: Spring Cleaning Part 1

Q 11:


I need help. When I was in my early 20s, I dated a few men, even some long-term, but never slept with them. I told them (and convinced myself) I was saving myself for religious reasons, even though the real reason why is I didn’t want to have sex with a boy.

Around the time I started coming out, I was also very depressed. During the time in college/post college when everyone was experimenting and hooking up, I was dealing with crippling depression and anxiety. I didn’t date or hook up with anyone, nor did I try. I barely even left my house. (I’ve since gotten treatment for my depression and I’m an entirely different person).

The only two girls who I had the opportunity to have sex with, I decided it was fair to be honest and tell them it would be my first time, and they got weird about it and ghosted. Both of them were old friends turned crushes.

I’m almost 30, and the past few years, I’ve gone on dozens of first dates, rarely a second, never a third. I’m just extremely unlucky I guess, and haven’t met anyone I wanted to meet up with again (I’m not being too picky-I’ve gone on so many weird first dates I could write a book).

So anyway, here’s my question: how do I let women know I’m a little anxious about sex because of my lack of experience without freaking them out? I’m definitely not a prude-the timeline of my life events just worked out that relationships/sex were not a priority in my early 20s and somehow now I’m 30 and a virgin which I’m embarrassed about. There seems to be this stigma that I’m weirdly religious or weirdly unattractive, or that I’m going to be clingy and emotionally attached to the first woman I have sex with (the first two aren’t true, and I doubt the third one is).

So please give me advice. I’ve gone on a couple casual dates with a someone I really like, and I’m afraid she’s going to run as soon as it’s time for this conversation. How do I be less anxious about sex? How do I explain that I just want someone to know they should be a little patient with me the first time, but it’s not A Really Big Deal? How do I even approach this topic without me getting embarrassed and her freaking out? And when do I even bring something like this up? Please help.

A 11:

Yeah all these women need to do is just ask like, “Hey so if we do have this sex, are you going to be in love with me or cry or then tell me you’re straight or something?” so you could be like, “Nah man, I just wanted to give you the ol’ heads up that the first time we have sex won’t be in a dimly lit coffee shop bathroom or whatever. I’m gonna need it to be a little more chill than that.” and then THEY could be like, “Cool I am nothing if not chill. Let’s go get some bespoke soda and talk about our favorite books!”

But let me back up a bit and suggest that you don’t bring up the virgin thing until you’re sure that sex will be on the horizon — the sparks are flying, you are grooving on each other like it’s 1977, etc. — but I don’t mean like while you’re making out ahead of the impending sex. Maybe bringing it up on the second date is leading them to believe that it’s a bigger deal to you than it actually is. I have a whole caravan of matter-of-fact things about me that require some gentle patience and care, like I will definitely need to hysterically cry (probably while sitting on the floor) about my dead father sometime in the next six months at any given time, but I wouldn’t talk about my dead father on a second date unless we were very sloppy drunk and I was ovulating. Does this make sense? I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep this week.

Anyway that’s my advice! Don’t bring it up on the second date and wait until you have reason to believe that sex is a thing y’all will want to do eventually. By this time you’ll hopefully know each other a little better and you’ll have already made it clear that you’re not gonna move into their house the morning after you have sex.


Q 12:


I began dating this woman over Christmas – she’s clever, funny, driven, independent, athletic, confident – and I thought it was going GREAT and heading toward a real relationship. Fairly out of the blue, she tells me she has fun when we hang out and wants to continue but doesn’t want anything serious and wants to keep things casual. I was surprised I’d been interpreting things incorrectly. I said “OK” because January is long, cold and alcohol-free, so, I do want some fun! With the caveat that if either of our feelings change then we’ll need to adapt.

Do I take what she has said sincerely? Or, is it more likely she’s just got a bit freaked out and maybe needs some time to cool off? Help me, I wear my heart on my god damned sleeve.

P.S. This has been a pattern over the past year, I am wondering if I’m doing something wrong…?

A 12:

Always always take what she says sincerely! Even if you think she just got freaked out, be determined to live in the world that is actually playing out in front of you, which is the one where she doesn’t want anything serious and wants to keep it casual. HAVE FUN in that world! That world is so fun omg. Alternatively if it’s actually NOT fun for you there, you should go ahead and close up shop. Wanting more than someone can or will give is usually a fucking bummer, and it’s super within reason to put an end to things that fucking bum you out.

If you’re having fun, have fun and don’t let your imagination/hopes run away with you. If you’re not having fun, end it.

P.S. You’re not doing anything wrong! The people you’re dating just happen to be in a place where they don’t want anything serious. It’s the same as if everyone you’ve dated was super into brownies and you’re more of a sherbet fan — you’re not wrong and neither are they, you just have incompatible dessert desires. YOU’RE GREAT.


Q 13:


I’ve been very casually dating/hooking up with someone for a few months now. We have a lot of fun together and have
terrific chemistry, and I have a crush on them (which they know). What’s complicated is that only about a month before we started hooking up, their partner of two years had unexpectedly broken up with them and completely broke their heart, so now they’re feeling very emotionally unavailable. We’ve been upfront about our respective feelings from the beginning, but it is still sometimes difficult for me to want more than they can give.

Ultimately I would like to try actually dating them, but they’ve said it’s going to be a long time before they’re ready for that with anyone, and we’re both seeing other people right now. I’ve done a lot of personal work to be fine with continuing this situation, but I also haven’t seen them alone for about a month and I just don’t know how they’re feeling about everything. And to top everything off – we work together. Not in the same program, but the same organization. So that is something that I’m taking into consideration when I think about our potential future – the fact that I have to be able to see this person every so often in a professional setting and not freak out, regardless of our history and current situation.

A 13:

The subject line of your question was “Unsure what’s happening” but the body of this message suggests that you do know what’s happening and that you don’t like it. If you want more from them than they’re able to give right now, and the current setup is painful or upsetting for you, you should end things and heal from that disappointment and move on. You have so much to give and be and do and you should be giving being doing all of them in ways that make you HAPPY and not miserable or freaking out. It’s beyond OK to not be fine with continuing this situation, so don’t go trying to be a version of yourself that you’re not just so you can keep casually hooking up with someone who doesn’t want to be emotionally available to you. That is the first act of a romcom when we’re waiting for the protagonist to meet the person she’s actually going to end up with.


Q 14:


I’m poly and bi and in a long term relationship with an awesome dude. I was dating a bit and it was ok and then my dad got really sick (had a debilitating stroke nearly a year ago). My partner is super supportive and he and I spend a lot of our free time visiting my dad and helping calm down the various family members and caretakers.

Since this happened, I have been way less interested in dating and sex in general and I feel drained a lot, and I miss pursuing my new queer interests, but I’m also just not feeling up for it. It seems like this may just be how things are for a while, but maybe this attitude is apathetic? When I try to take time for myself on weekends I feel selfish and like a neglectful daughter. Do you have any advice for someone trying to balance caretaking with having a life and being a happy person?

A 14:

Aaaaah I want to run to your house with your favorite sandwich and a large banner that reads WHAT YOU’RE FEELING IS SUPER NORMAL BUT ALSO YOU SHOULD TAKE VERY GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF I LOVE YOU and also a pocketful of jellybeans because last night I put some jellybeans in the front pocket of my denim shirt and not only did I feel like a grandpa but also I kept remembering they were there at the best possible moments, and I bet you could use a very convenient and well-timed dose of jellybeans.

Taking care of other people at this level — I’m speaking from the experience of having two babies but most relatably I lived with my terminally ill grandmother until her death — is exhausting. You feel like you’re living in a bubble that’s so thick that you can only see what’s right in front of you while everything in the distance blurs together and you wonder if you’ll ever know it again. And while this is absolutely the norm, it’s not a sustainable one. Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish and doesn’t mean you’re neglecting your father. You have to give yourself breaks to do the things that are comforting and/or energizing, otherwise you’re going to break.

Instead of trying to do the exact same things you used to — you mention dating, sex, and pursuing queer interests — do versions of them for a while. It can be incredibly frustrating to be in that bubble trying to have the exact same kind of fun you know you’ve had before, but not being able to enjoy it like you used to. You’ll compare this time to those other times and no, they won’t measure up, and you’ll feel even more defeated and distant than you did before. Tweak your usual fun things so they’re just slightly different but still in the same spirit — like instead of one-on-one dates, go with a group (or solo) to a trivia night, or fuck it, go crazy and instead of seeing a movie at night, go to a museum in the morning. Just do something for yourself, and if any guilty feelings pop up, slam them in the face with a frying pan.

Also don’t be afraid to schedule some therapy!


Q 15:


I’m in my 20s and I was dating this girl for about two months last year, but then she broke it off with me because she’s not in the dating mindset right now. I’ve given her space and I’ve desperately tried to move on, but I really like her and I can’t help but feel like she’s The One. I just have this strong feeling. Should I wait for her to be ready to date again?

A 15:

She is probably not The One. I don’t know you and therefore I have the luxury of being very blunt when I say that you have to move on and you should never ever wait for anyone! YOU COULD BE HIT BY A BUS FULL OF EVANGELICAL HOMOPHOBES ON THEIR WAY TO A CANDLE-MAKING SEMINAR TOMORROW and your last days of life will have been spent waiting for a woman who broke up with you months ago after dating for all of seven or eight weeks! NO I WILL NOT ALLOW IT. Get out there and L I V E.


Q 16:


I am a high school junior who has had a major crush on her best friend (who now lives halfway across the country) for four years. I recently found out that aforementioned best friend likes me back. This would be great, if not for her parents’ homophobia, our inability to properly discuss our feelings, and the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing.

Can our scintillating literature-based phone calls and mutual exchange of poetry transcend our physical distance, my insecurity/social anxiety, and her occasional aloofness? Is the way we feel right now worth any potential pain?

A 16:

You should keep doing what you’re doing until it isn’t fun anymore, and then very gently but firmly stop doing it. It’s fun to have a crush who crushes you back and it’s also weirdly fun for it to be a little dramatic and pining and constrained for a while, but if things can’t progress out of either of those states — crushing without fulfillment and the low-key constrained drama — the fun will always and absolutely end, I’m sorry to say.


Q 17:


Is there a right way to do rebound dating? I’m not over my ex but I like the girl I’m dating right now. But I feel guilty that I haven’t told her that I’m still in love with my ex (who might want to get back together with me at some point). Or am I just a terrible person?

A 17:

Hm. The right way to do rebound dating is probably the same thing as the right way to do any dating, which is that you should be honest and respectful. If you’ve been reading the other questions in this post you’ve seen that many, many people like to begin seeing people “casually” when they’re “not in the right mindset for a relationship” or not “totally over their ex” and you will have also noticed that this has felt like a slap in the face for many people who thought they were definitely headed for a relationship. So while I definitely don’t think you’re a terrible person, I do think you should let people know FROM THE JUMP that you’re keeping shit casual for now, just looking for an activity partner to hang out with, maybe do some rock climbing; definitely not looking to settle down with them. Then if and when those people break things off with you because I told them they had permission to look for someone who is in a relationship mindset, please be supportive and understanding of that and don’t make it harder for them than it already will be.


Q 18:


There’s a girl I think I like. I think she likes me. Should I do something about it?

A 18:

Look I made you this t-shirt:


Q 19:


I recently had to travel, and didn’t see my girlfriend for about a month. I came back a few days ago and things feel different! It feels like she’s a little less genuine or that our relationship isn’t as emotionally deep! She says she had to pull back a bit over the month in order to not feel bad all the time. Makes sense but feels awful! Any advice?

A 19:

This will probably pass pretty quickly if you both keep doing things that are good for relationships, like talking, sharing meals, having fun, not dwelling on the past, laughing at videos of pandas falling out of trees, etc. If it doesn’t pass within a week or two, you should be like HEY WHAT’S GOING ON, ANGELA. FEELS LIKE YOU’RE NOT PUTTING MUCH EFFORT INTO COZYING BACK UP WITH ME IN THIS RELATIONSHIP BLANKET. It really shouldn’t take more than a couple of days to get back on track after being apart for a while.


Q 20:


I’ve lately realized I am gay, kinda late in life (been married twice to men). Currently I have no interest in a relationship as I would rather concentrate on school and other things. Yet it seems important to me to realize that I am not straight. Should I come out to others? Or, since I don’t want a relationship anyway, would it just be attention whoring?

A 20:

It is important that you realized that you’re not straight! And fuck YES you should come out to others! YOU ARE SO GAY you should definitely talk about it. And if someone accuses you of attention whoring that person can kiss your ass.


Y’All Need Help is a biweekly advice column in which I pluck out a couple of questions from the You Need Help inbox and answer them right here, round-up style, quick and dirty! (Except sometimes it’s not quick, but that’s my prerogative, OK?) You can chime in with your own advice in the comments and submit your own quick and dirty questions any time.

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Laneia is the Executive Editor and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here.

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40 Comments

  1. #6: This question could have been asked about me two years ago and everything has turned out SO WELL that I wanted to share. I spend a lot of time in athletic clothes and used to look pretty dorky otherwise. Then I started dating someone who has a great eye for fashion and who wanted to see me better dressed. I was never particularly happy wearing bad fashion choices and I had a distant desire to dress well but I had NO idea how to start so I never dealt with it. My fashionable date started slowly, gently opening up the conversation. “I love shoes more than life itself! How do you feel about shoes?” “I love shopping for clothes! How do you feel about clothes?” “I love reading fashion magazines. Do you want to look at one with me?” “I’m cultivating X aesthetic for my outfit tonight, what about you?” And then I would indicate a willingness to learn from her by saying things like, “I don’t know anything about clothes! I’d love your help!” Slowly her comments took a next step to, “I’d really love to dress you some time. You have a great body.” etc.. it was masterful; she made me feel very comfortable. Less than a year later, she had helped me replace my entire wardrobe, listening to my opinions and needs, and I feel so much more confident and happy. I realized I used to have an underlying sense of dread that I did not look good in my clothes. Now I feel great leaving the house and I’m a person who gets compliments on her outfits! Someone you’re dating who dresses badly might really enjoy your help with that if you approach it right!

  2. hiii long-haired person in question #5!!! as another stubborn queer with long hair, this is what I have to tell you:

    – short fringes
    – undercuts
    – unnatural colours
    – asymmetrical layers

    nb: if none of those work for you, i second what laneia said and think you can just amp up the other parts of your look. if you’re not into the idea of dressing more andro, you could go in the other direction and blossom into a hard femme instead?

  3. Q.10….

    Everything about this reads as a power imbalance to me. The teacher/student relationship, the secrecy from the gf, the explicit invitation to a threesome, but after graduation.

    Right now it reads as though everything is on the teacher’s terms, and what I might suggest to the student is to think about what they want their relationships to look like (including friendships), and to let themself know that it’s not only valid to be clear with others about those desires, but will make it far more likely that they materialize.

    As someone who’s working on that clarity for herself, I really wish the very best to them.

    Also, whereas finding the truthful heart of yourself and choosing your own course of action is your responsibility, the reactions of the university/ gf to the teacher’s own actions are absolutely 100% not. I would be especially concerned if this was intimated by the teacher in any way, as this would be very clear emotional abuse/manipulation.

  4. Dear #14, I am so glad that you are getting a chance to spend time with your dad, but I do also hope you are taking time for yourself! My wife and I have been doing foster parenting for a year and my goodness the care taking does take a toll. I’ve been switching around my employment in order to keep some sense of sanity and not feel completely overwhelmed. So please be nice to yourself. I love Laneia’s advice to do variations on the nice things for yourself. Before I would take myself out for hikes in the woods. Now I have a hard time fitting in that my down time, but I still try to take a walk around my neighborhood by myself every now and again.

    Also I keep thinking that maybe I should try this therapy thing that I’ve heard people talk about. I’ve been impressed with the counselor my kids see.

  5. Question 15 : When I look back on all the ones I thought were The One… omg they were so not the 0ne. I felt for sure I would absolutely die from heartbreak and loneliness when [insert name(s) here] rejected me. But with hindsight I’m so relieved the relationships never panned out !

    It may not seem possible, but that voice you hear is a crazy mix of hormones and fear and is not to be trusted. I know it’s strong, and it’s desperate, but it’s not your entire being, there is much more to you than that. What this knot of angst thinks is right for you, really _isn’t right for you_ !

    My wise-old-wolf advice is, be good to yourself, treat yourself like a lover, like your main lover in fact, because that’s what you are. Treat yourself with dignity and respect.

  6. Q5: Even when I have a “gay haircut” I still get read as straight (probably because the idea of a queer brown person is unthinkable) so I’m VERY VERY SALTY about the whole “queer markers” thing. Do what you want with your hair. People who are going to give you shit for not “looking gay enough” aren’t worth hanging around.

  7. Is it just me, or does Carol Tinkerbell Bernard’s name keep getting longer, and longer, and longer ?

    Carol Aird Tinkerbell Junior Bernard Spiegelman Sullivan

    I absolutely love it, I mean what a pedigree ! But when I saw the caption for Her Adorableness, I just had the teensiest thought that I was going crazy…

  8. Q5: ‘Tell this person how to cut her hair!!’ says Laneia.

    So: cut your hair, or do not, according to one principle and one principle only, namely, the way you want your hair to be. You love your long hair so keep it that way, up to the point of fighting for it. By this I mean: if other people put conformity pressure or compliance pressure on you because of your supposedly ‘ non- gay hair’ – this being nonsense in the first place – resist. Consider that, if they do this, it is likely that they will put more pressure on you regarding other things.

    I am absolutely with Creatrix Tiara, above. She strongly hints at other mechanisms of exclusion, and this is definitely serious. Should it happen that your citizenship in Queerlandia ( I borrowed this from Morgan M. Page) depends on conformity and compliance regarding very personal matters – your hair is part of your body, woman – Queerlandia is in need of interventions from within.

    As an aside: I sense anxieties like ‘ am I queer enough, am I gay enough, will my inexperience ruin everything …’ in quite a lot of the other questions. If I could only share a bit of trans woman fierceness with you all…it is not your fault, there is nothing wrong with you, there is something seriously wrong with ‘ communities’ that make you feel this way.

    Have you ever thought of your long hair as a flag of defiance? Just an idea …

    And now I will attempt to throw magical roses across the ocean at Laneia’ s feet. She deserves them.

      • Thank you! Mine is too, btw, and always was, for many years the only ‘feminine’ attribute I could have, now it’s a red henna-dyed mane way down my back …hence the ‘ flag of defiance’ idea. I believe this day and age needs power femmes …

        Enjoy your day!

        • Power Femme! Love it. Also count me in for defiance flags too.

          I get read as straight 99.9% of the time. My first time at camp I tried to strike up friendly conversation with fellow campers in the grocery store, during the stop off for supplies. I was met with intense confusion. They thought I was just some random person. Even though there were a bunch of us all running around the store at the same time. They thought I was part of the 1% of people in the store that were straight. That was fun!

          It does bother me a lot day to day, but also I like to think of myself as a deep undercover secret agent. Infiltrating the world of the straights and reporting back to queer HQ. Not that anyone would want to know that information. It’s mostly deeply boring and/or infuriating.

          • Hey, I like the Undercover Secret Agent idea! Behind enemy lines …

            I do understand that being read as straight when you do not want that to happen can be frustrating … maybe somebody should invent some mystical Power Femme badge that looks stunning on Power Femme attire? Considering that some ladies are really interested in femmes they would learn to identify that symbol in no time I think. Just an idea …

            And be careful on your missions!

  9. Long hair/gay attire, I absolutely agree, that you should wear it just as you please, but I guess (at least that’s what I ask myself) the question is how to be visible for other lovely ladies or potential dates! I am a lazy/tomboy femme with long hair and personally do not intend to pass as straight, but I guess I do most of the time :(
    I wear a pin on one of my bags and yesterday I wore rainbow ribbon in my hair (but that felt quite blunt and maybe other gays think “gee, why does this straight lady sport our symbols??”).
    Idk, I want to make myself seen without being too blunt. Any ideas on that one?

    • PS: I feel very very gay and it feels so very obvious and without-a-question for myself (yet I have my (un)fair share of internalized homophobia, why else would I not want to be too blunt about it…)

    • Looks like an opportunity for creativity to me – and, here and now, as an opportunity for brainstorming. Me, I wear a bronze labrys, for several reasons. It so annoys TERFs, it says: hey, I have an axe! …and it signifies my inclinations I think. Not absolutely sure about # 3 though, but as I am a trans woman and not young any more I assume I am not allowed to play anyway. Which does not stop me form joyfully grinning at the wonderful world of girl- on- girl culture I want you all to enjoy.

    • Hi Ophelia,

      I go to these regular women-loving-women meetups where I am one of the very very few with short hair. It’s really opened my eyes to the wonderful variety of expressions we have. So I don’t think any gay woman would assume you’re an impostor for wearing a rainbow ribbon. We just get a bit lost in the sea of straights. How are you at eye contact ?

      Have you considered an Autostraddle pin or three ? A Tomboy Femme tshirt would broadcast very nicely too, lol.

      I don’t know if where you live there are meetups of any kind ? For me this made a big difference. It feels so good to let my hair down jk

    • Hi, fellow lazy/tomboy femme with long hair. The following are some of my fashion tools: doc martins, oversized coats/sweaters, overalls, blazers, button ups, big weirdo dresses. generally doing the opposite of what cosmo would tell you to do to catch a man.

      MOST IMPORTANTLY no matter how you dress, I find that a)making lingering eye contact with cute girls and b) dropping queer culture references into conversation will get the message across to anyone that matters. good luck!

  10. I legit clicked on this link expecting to read questions about non-toxic window cleaners and concerns about being a hoarder. But this is good too. ;)

    Q1 – I was wondering the SAME THING yesterday. Glad to hear that more galleries are coming.

    Q7 – I had similar concerns about not wanting to objectify women when I started coming out to myself in the 90s. I’m bi and I had this idea that it was OK to have NSA sex with men but not women – like I felt like I was kind of using the men I has NSA sex with (even though it was consensual and I was open about not wanting strings or commitment) and that it was really, really, really wrong to use women that way. Which when I write it out, sounds like nonsense.

    My self-diagnosis is not that I was suffering from internalized homophobia but internalized 2nd wave feminist anti-sex attitudes / general weirdness about sex. And I think you may be suffering from that too.

    My prescription is 3rd wave sex-positive queer feminism. Appreciating women and women’s bodies and sexuality in consensual, non-exploitive ways is being a good feminist.

    For me, realizing that there really is a difference between objectifying someone and appreciating their body made a difference. And also, I really like it when my partner appreciates my body. I know the difference between people noticing my body in a way that makes me feel icky and a way that makes me feel sexy and appreciated. So I try to appreciate others in non-creepy, consensual ways. It’s a dance. And it can be fun.

  11. Hey #5, I could have written your question ten years ago. I felt exactly the same way.

    As a (usually) more femme presenting person with long hair who liked to dress up in cute thrift store treasure outfits I would get frustrated at how straight I looked. I felt like the butches that I loved to date had it so much easier in this department because everyone knew they were gay because of how they presented themselves to the world. That is what I wanted. I didn’t want to have to constantly come out to people in my life, I just wanted my gay look to do it for me.

    For a while I tried to have other markers in my look that would out me like wearing my keys on a carabiner. (Is that even a thing?) I would even dress up butch sometimes just to see if I liked it. I really encourage you to do whatever experimenting you want to do with your look to see what feels right for you. If you like the haircut suggestions, try them out. But if they don’t seem like you, then go back to the way you wore your hair before.

    Eventually, that’s what I did, I gave up trying to out myself in my look. I realized that my femme self was just going to have to keep coming out all the time. And honestly, it’s not that bad.

    I wanted to share my experience to let you know you’re not alone in your desire to flaunt your rainbow flag in your look. It’s okay to want to look gay and it’s okay to be gay and not “look gay.” I wish you all the best on your journey.

  12. Q5…undercut! you can still have your femme long hair but an undercut definitely queers things up. Or if you aren’t ready to go full undercut just do something asymmetrical with or without a bit of a shaved side. Doing a nape shave (even better with a sweet pattern) that shows when you put your hair up is adorably queer and still femme (I vote for this one – I think the contrast is, in itself, queer). Whatever you do, I hope you love it!

  13. I have LOVED reading about queer haircuts. I think this is a super fascinating thing. I had a big old crisis last year because I have been in a hetero marriage for a long time, was working in a conservative field and just generally leading a closeted life, and my hetero marriage didn’t seem to be fitting anymore. I had very long (pulled straight, well below my waist) hair and dressed like tomboy femme maybe? I decided I wanted to read as queer by more people.

    I have NEVER done this before; I always figured presentation had to come from some deep place inside your heart. I cut my hair and ditched skirts and dresses for the most part. I am normally no-makeup, short nails, basic jewelry, I actually love my armpit hair and my significant biceps. The dresses or skirts I wear are toned down, gray or green, no florals etc… So I am not really that femme presenting, even though I, like, feel femme?

    Just cutting my hair and doing away with skirts made a huge difference in how people interacted with me and I LOVED it. I am still absolutely dressing true to myself, but focusing more on an aesthetic that is coded as queer, which feels super comfortable to me. I am pregnant right now and that changes things for sure, because fuck a bunch of non-legging-pants when you’re pregnant, but I’m about to cut my hair even shorter. I have gotten tons of complements from very norm-y people, saying it fits me much better, too.

    I absolutely agree that this is 100% problematic on both a social and personal level. My therapist kept telling me that. But I just really like how I’m walking through the world right now and what it says to people.

    That said, if you want to overlook the problematic-ness of it and want your long hair to be read as queer, try a hat. It sounds funny and patent. But a slouchy beanie or one of those ball caps popular with BMX and mountain bikers and other outdoors athletes can go miles towards butching up an outfit.

    • I love this: “I always figured presentation had to come from some deep place inside your heart.” For a lot of people I think it does, but (especially for those of us who are sort of *shrug* about fashion, or could kind of go either way in terms of skirt vs pants), it’s so so helpful to realize that that isn’t always the case. Sometimes you can just like, choose a way to dress or wear your hair and lean into it!

      I definitely did this a bit too — I was tired of wearing dresses and skirts to work, mostly bc of the unfair sexism of men being able to wear like comfy cotton polos or sweaters and me “having” to dress fancier, but also because that plus my long hair meant I was always read as straight. I still love dresses for fancy events in my own life/on my own terms, but now I have a sort of work uniform of button-downs/polos/flannels under crew-neck sweaters with jeans (to be fair, I work in an arts-non-profit, so it’s v casual). At first I felt like a bit of an impostor, but now it feels totally natural and comfortable and “me.”

      I think it’s amazing that we have such a strong sense of “living your truth” etc in the queer community, but that’s not always how everyone interacts with fashion/hair and other aspects of presentation. It can be super valid to try on different fashion personalities to see which feels right. And maybe none of them will feel right, but you’ll just like one of them and decide to make it your own!

  14. Q5: It sounds like your hair is ripe for sk8r boi-era Avril Lavigne long layers with literally no volume which is, imo, VERY GAY. Think the tomboy skater chick that you had a crush on in every 90’s teen movie, you know? GAaayyyy!

  15. Q 5:

    No cutting or shaving required, the hairstyles of the Amazons from Wonder Woman movie

    Also if you have enough hair consider a 6 section sectioned ponytail using red-orange-yellow-green-blue-purple hair bands in that exact order because that’s the rainbow pride flag.

    And I looked there’s def some pride hair barrettes out there.

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