Five queer folks share their stories and offer some no-nonsense dating advice
BY HARRIET ARGENT, IMAGE BY DEBBY HUDSON FOR UNSPLASH
There are some moments in life we will never forget.
They are burned into our brains either because they were magical experiences or because they provided years’ worth of embarrassing memories to keep us awake at night.
Going on your very first date, especially with a woman, is one of those moments for a lot of people.
First dates are glorious, if not slightly weird experiences, and for many of us they can be eye-openers and affirmations in discovering our sexuality (even if they are the most nerve-wracking things in the world).
Now that pubs and bars are back open in some shape or form, you might be planning dates again, maybe for the first time with a woman!
So here are some stories from five queer women. They share their first date experiences and offer some advice on what to expect:
Make sure it is a date
Polly Angelova is a young bisexual woman living in Cardiff and faces the common internal questions that bi people everywhere can sympathise with: “Did she ask me for a drink as friends, or is this a date?” She often ends up spending the whole time analysing the situation, wondering whether they are just “hanging out” or not.
Polly’s first date with a girl was one of these ambiguous situations, because she didn’t actually know she was on one. She says she has never managed to get a girl to go on a date with her where both parties knew it was a date.
“I did once have a girl think I asked her out on a date when I was just trying to be friends with her, and it was super awkward because instead of asking me, she told a mutual friend that I’d asked her out. She assumed that because I fancied girls, it was a date.”
“She assumed that because I fancied girls, it was a date.”
Needless to say, Polly and the girl never went for a coffee, date or otherwise, again.
Now that Polly is in a relationship, she has to explicitly tell any girls who know she is bisexual that she is not trying to date them when she asks them to do things with her.
We feel your pain, Polly.
Her advice to anyone going on a first date with a woman is to sharpen those communication skills and make sure both people know it is date, especially if you are a bisexual woman with a lot of female friends.
Warning: you might fall in love
Sophie Armishaw met her significant other, Chloe, back in March 2019 after talking to her on a dating app.
They met for the first time at a train station in Nottingham, and, honestly, it sounds like the first date of dreams.
Sophie remembers, “We ended up spending the whole day together. We walked, talked, and I tried to impress her with my knowledge of art in Nottingham contemporary gallery. It ended with a sunset stroll down the canal.”
Before the date began, however, Sophie admitted she was incredibly nervous, partly because it’s only natural, but also because it was her first proper date.
“As cheesy as this sounds, it was just like the movies”
“I arrived a bit early to meet her at the train station to try and calm my nerves and, as cheesy as this sounds, it was just like the movies. When I saw her, I froze, and the only thing I could do was look at her and smile.”
Sophie added the moment she saw Chloe coming through the train station, she knew she was in love.
If that is not the best first date ever, I don’t know what is!
Sophie’s advice to anyone going on their first date is to be yourself. I know everyone would say this, but let your beauty shine through by you just being yourself.”
No more gender roles
Steff Hanson is 25 years old and a YouTuber from Worcestershire. She identifies as a cisgender lesbian, although she has been on dates with men in the past before realising her sexuality.
For Steff, there was a big difference when it came to dating women, mainly because of the absence of gender roles that she found were always present in dates with men.
“On a first date with two women there are no gender roles society has forced upon them”
“The gender roles are not there in the sense that the guy on the date is expected to open doors, pull out chairs, walk their date home and other things guys are pressured into. So the main and obvious scenario on a first date with two women is that there are no gender roles society has forced upon them.”
Steff also said she gets a lot of questions about who pays the bill on a date with two women.
“I tell them it’s whoever would like to or is able to, or most commonly, we split the bill.”
Aside from gender roles, the other thing Steff noticed was that dating women seemed to move faster, maybe because there was less of an expectation on how queer dates will go.
“Lesbians have stereotypically been known to move fast in relationships, but some people want to take it slow, like myself. My advice is to not push it and make sure the other person doesn’t feel too rushed into anything.”
Again, it seems good communication skills are vital in the world of queer dating.
Much less pressure
Chloe came out as bisexual when she was 14, but didn’t have a “proper” first date with a woman until she was 20. To make things even more exciting, or perhaps nerve-wracking, she went on a blind date.
“I had gone out for drinks at a gay bar with two friends who fancied each other, so they invited someone for me. Then we all went back to her house, drank tequila and talked all night.”
“It was super chilled and fun, and we pretty much repeated it every weekend for a month until one of us had the courage to make a move. I didn’t really have any expectations because before that, I’d only hooked up with girls in clubs, and I didn’t have any lesbian friends at that point to ask.”
“Dates with women are much less formal than with men”
Chloe says she doesn’t get too nervous on dates with girls because it feels like hanging out with a friend to her, and she finds there is much less pressure about what will happen.
“Dates with women are much less formal than with men, because there’s not really the same concern about them turning out to be a creep,” she laughs. “There’s much less pressure for things to be sexual too, I find guys always try and make a move on a date, but girls tend to wait a lot longer, and it is usually more about talking and connecting.”
The advice Chloe has to give to anyone planning their first date is not to get caught up in expectations or worries about where the date might go.
“Just go into it with the intention of getting to know someone new.”
Maybe bring a present?
Ariane Sierro and her now partner had an unusual start.
They met online in a Discord chat after teaming up together against the admin who was apparently being sexist.
What a power couple!
This consequently got them banned from the platform, but it also got them talking, and the pair began watching movies online together and engaging in some light flirting.
“The first date was a discovery for both of us. The first time we saw each other, we didn’t know how each other looked.”
Ariane and her date met up in Berlin, just as restrictions were being relaxed, in October last year and spent the day eating in fancy restaurants, shopping and discovering new places in the city before going to an LGBTQI coffee shop in the afternoon.
“We were both too shy to hold hands or kiss, but it was fantastic”
“We were both too shy to hold hands or kiss, but it was fantastic, and we both got a little present for each other. It was really different to dates I’ve been on before because I was being myself, and there was no trying to impress the other.”
Ariane’s piece of advice for someone who might be nervous to go on a date with a woman is, if you’re talking through a dating app or some other platform, learn about the other beforehand because it helps when you meet.
So, what have we learned?
Well, dates involving coffee shops can go very well, being yourself is vital and dates with women are blissful experiences with no pressure or gender roles.
Armed with this advice, you can now go off into the world of queer dating, and remember, always ask if it is a date first!
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