When I realised I was gay I imagined that now things would be easy. I’ve always been comfortable in the company of girls. My friend list has only a handful of men on it (not that I hate men). So I thought that now that I realised I wanted to date women my life would be a whirlwind of good times with the lesbians! And while I’m definitely having a good time, as a new lesbian I’m finding that it’s not as easy as I initially thought.
As background I’ve been on the ‘scene’ for 6 months but I realised I was gay 2 and half years ago. It took me 2 years to pluck up the courage to meet anyone face to face and work out my new situation in my head. I wanted some sort of gay girl interaction so (apart from the couple of lesbians I already knew) I used chat rooms and dating websites. Any interaction ended either abruptly or with a realisation that the person I was talking to was just a bit of a time waster.
One anonymous lady came to my rescue (I’d like to thank her whole heartedly) by answering my Craigslist plea for a friend for Pride with the suggestion that I join a lesbian meet up group. Initially I ignored the idea – I’m nothing if not shy to begin with and the thought of walking into a room full of women on my own made me feel sick. But after no other responses to my invitation I decided to take the plunge and forced myself to go to a group. My first outing was brilliant – the ladies were amazing and I love spending time with them.
The thing is that I think I was extremely lucky. I’ve been out to other places without this fabulous group of women and getting yourself included into a gaggle of gay girls when you’re by yourself is harder than resisting *insert your hot girl here*! Now it could just be me but I’ve spoken to a few others about it and they say the same – girl spaces can be decidedly cold.
Is it because any girl you speak to automatically thinks that you’re hitting on her and therefore will quickly get her girlfriend into the conversation before said girlfriend comes and makes it all too obvious that you are not welcome? Is it that we are so busy dealing with lesbian drama that we don’t have time to acknowledge new people? Is it that we’re so busy crushing on the hot girl in the corner that we don’t want to risk her thinking we’re involved with anyone else? I don’t know really. One thing I do know is that simply liking ladies isn’t really enough. There is a heck of a lot more to being a lesbian than rocking up at a bar and fitting in. I’ve found anyway.
Drama seems to follow us like make up stains follow a drag queen! As I said I’ve only been out and about on the ‘scene’ for a small while but I’ve already seen (and been caught up in) some drama. Trying to stay out of it is difficult – you can try to stay impartial but you end up hearing something or seeing something and even if you don’t talk about it; with what you know you may end up in hot water for not sharing, or annoying someone because you talk to someone they no longer like. Girl on girl drama is nothing new to most of us I suppose – from playground arguments to housemate spats, we’ve all had issues when in close proximity with a girl for a prolonged amount of time. Speaking to more experienced lesbians this is apparently part and parcel of having a lesbian friendship group. According to my clued up sources when a group of girls get close, inevitably there will be waves or a fracture in the group – maybe made worse by the fact that we’ll probably end up falling for the same girl/each other at some point. This was something I was definitely not prepared for. Being much much older than school age and having only lived with other women twice, I’ve not had too many personal issues with girls since I fell out with my friend at university. Does that mean that we can only have a few close friends and that those friends need to be reasonably unconnected? Does that mean that we shouldn’t even try to have a friendship group but instead go to our favourite lesbian establishment and hope that there are some familiar faces? If you’re new to it all and not that brave then that’s a prospect that leaves you at home watching your box sets of the L word (Shane McCutcheon makes everything better!)
And it’s not just friendship drama – love drama is the root of all evil! Navigating the lesbian love scene is much more difficult than I imagined it would be. Firstly you have to work out if the woman in question is gay (even in a gay bar that’s a not a certainty). If she’s not, then forget it – you’re done for. Being on a highway to nothing with a straight girl is a huge pain in the derriere (to be fair though it’s not really much better if the lady in question is gay but not interested). Let’s not forget the minefield of flirting vs being friendly. You can spend hours discussing whether or not she’s standing that close to you because she likes you or because the music is loud and she can’t hear what you’re saying.
Not that it gets that much easier if you’re lucky enough to find a single lady who is interested - that’s a whole new chapter of drama. We jump in and drown in a sea of immediate love. After only a few weeks of knowing her we can’t live without her and will lose friends for her, can’t go out without her, can’t have a conversation without referencing her, can’t help but make sure people know she’s taken if she talks to someone else – the list is endless! Thus far I haven’t joined that particular group of ladies but I’ve observed plenty of them. I’ve armed myself with a list of things not to do if I get myself a girlfriend. But really who am I fooling – I’d probably do the same thing if my ‘shall remain nameless’ crush became my significant other.
I guess in the end it comes down to this - We’re ladies and as such we are complicated and beautiful beings. As women when we are close we are like family, and when we fall out it can be epic. But we are changeable like the wind – I guess that’s why the drama.
So if you’re one of those lovely ladies who have been in the lesbian ocean for some time, take a newbie under your wing - or at least point her in the direction of someone who will- and help her navigate the land of lesbian! And if you’re new try not to be put off by the unfriendly façade, get yourself out and about with the ladies. It’s definitely worth it.