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Gay Girl Struggles

(written from the perspective of a cisgender girl)

In the last month or so, I’ve begun going on dates with a girl. Here are a couple of the nuances I’ve noticed about myself and society and how we react to lesbian relationships:

  1. Going to the bathroom. Right before lunch one day, she said she had to use the restroom, so I figured I’d go as well, because I believe that’s actually engrained in our bones as girls. We’re in the restroom and nothing is weird until I walk into the stall next to her (which, in hindsight, I should have thought twice about). While we were doing our business, I realized I had never pooped directly next to someone I also wanted to kiss. So that was my first weird Girl-Dating experience.
  2. People will sit with you on your dates. The first event we went to together, we sat alone. Just before it started, two of her friends waved and came to talk with her. They asked her if they could sit with us, which she had no problem with. I didn’t really either, but I just know it wouldn’t have happened if I were sitting with a guy. When you’re with a guy, you can pretty much assume that people think you’re together. On a constant basis, I get the look when I’m hanging out with guy friends. It’s either the “wow-I-had-no-idea-you-could-get-a-girl” look or “I-thought-one-of-you-was-gay” look.

    *cough cough* heteronormativity.

  3. Holding doors. As much as I hate to admit it, there definitely is a social construct surrounding men holding doors for women. If you’re going up to a door as a girl and a man (usually older) walks up at around the same pace, there is an absolute assumption that he will walk just a bit faster to grab the door. Some may find it charming, some may hate it. That’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about how many times we’ve both opened a door for ourselves because we didn’t want to go through the dancing charade of unclear societal gender roles. It’s just easier that way.
  4. Who in the world is gay??

    Some girls may have the Gay Look, but that’s also just how certain people choose to present themselves. You can’t just assume someone is gay because they’re wearing cargo shorts. It gets difficult.

    First, you have to have a gay friend, which I was lucky enough to meet in the first couple of weeks of classes.

    Secondly, find you a girl that suits your fancy.

    Thirdly, beg your new friend that is gay to find out if said girl is also gay.

    Last, hope and pray that she’s interested in you, nevertheless still being interested in girls at this moment in their life.

    Again, I got pretty lucky. I’ve been going on dates with a girl for the last month or so and she’s phenomenal.

  5. Introducing her to others. Before you put any labels on the relationship, this dilemma gets even worse. Introducing her as your friend seems ingenuine, but you don’t want to rush into things and call her your girlfriend. Even if you say girlfriend, there is still a small population of people who use girlfriend to mean a friend that is a girl, and then things can get confusing
  6. Free Political Advice. This isn’t something I’ve personally experienced, but my friend who has been in a long-term gay relationship has. She brought up the fact that you can walk down any street and as long as you’re showing some sort of affection to your girlfriend, even if it’s just holding hands, you can get free political advice! Sometimes, you’re even lucky enough to encounter a person that can tell you how to be saved by Jesus Christ himself!
  7. Your relationship really isn’t taken seriously. Things have gotten better, I will definitely admit that. However, a couple of weeks after I started going out with this girl, one of our mutual guy friends actually asked me out on a date. To be clear, he was 100% aware of the fact that the girl and I had been going out. Not only was it moderately offensive, it showed how much work was still left to be done. Lesbian relationships, casual or not, deserve to be as seriously recognized as straight ones.
  8. Who do you run to? You have no idea who you can go to for advice. If you make a friend and casually bring up the fact that you have a girlfriend, there’s no knowing if you’ll get an awkward, slightly uncomfortable response, a rant about sinning and how you need to be saved, or a warm welcome to the gay club.
  9. Welcome to being the Hall Lesbian. As honored as I am to have the title, it’s a little weird for everyone to take one aspect of my personality and broadly label me. I know it’s not meant as an offense; I think everyone deals with this new group of people in society in different ways. I’m just lucky to live in a country that is open and welcoming to change.

So, those are just a few things I’ve observed since we’ve started going out. Regardless of the differences and scary new experiences that are challenging to deal with, I encourage you to pursue the kind of relationship you want. Seek out friends that have similar beliefs, ask that girl out, hold hands proudly in public, because the worst thing that can happen is that you meet a bigot, turn around and walk away, and love yourself just the way you are.

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