Finding a date when you identify as a feminine lesbian, a.k.a. femme, certainly has its challenges, and we all know that dating can be challenging enough. Deciding the location and type of date -- will it be a casual lunch or evening cocktails? -- choosing the right dress and heels to wear, and thinking of the right things to say about yourself is no easy feat. Added to these difficulties is finding the person to go on a date with in the first place -- do you brave a blind date or take the daring step of approaching someone at a club or bar? While dating is tricky for the majority of people, as a married femme couple, we think dating as femmes can be an especially difficult task.
Femme lesbians and bisexuals suffer from what we like to call "femme invisibility" -- because we don't conform to the stereotypical look of a lesbian, we slip under the radars of both straight and gay people.
Before we managed to meet (thanks to MySpace!) we found it difficult to find other femmes, even when out in the gay scene. Other lesbians mostly assumed we were straight or hetero friends of gay men. You feel like you need to have "gay" written on your forehead or maybe even ditch the heels and dresses for a polo shirt and jeans to get noticed. Even when you tell people you're gay, they still don't believe you. You start wondering how you're going to prove that you're, in fact, gay.
If no one can tell that you're gay, then how can you know if the pretty girl is staring at you because she's also into women or she just thinks your outfit is cute? Much courage was needed in order to approach such women, and even if you managed to get a kiss or two, you were still left wondering if it was just a bit of experimental fun.
So you snagged yourself a date, where do you go? This is a very important part. as it's where you'll get to know each other one-on-one. Do you pick a fancy. intimate restaurant and pray that the waiter doesn't ask if you're sisters? Or do you stick to the gay bars and put up with the bouncer on the door asking you "Do you know what kind of bar this is?" (Yes, really, we had that on our first date when entering a lesbian bar!) Perhaps going for a coffee is the safest option, but not the most romantic.
Many femmes on dates have experienced the staring eyes of men -- fellas who eventually come over to your table and try to join you. Oh, straight men. Why can't you just let us be? Many femmes have been told "You're too pretty to be gay!" or "You just need to meet the right man!" Last we checked, looks didn't determine sexual orientation, and we couldn't be swayed by the attention of one man. For some reason, men swagger over and linger even when we give them the obvious cue to leave: "I am gay, this is my girlfriend, and we are on a date." In fact, some take that as an invitation to sit down and join us, because they clearly see us as a challenge. No, boys, you will not turn us, you cannot join in, and you most certainly cannot watch. There is often a blurred line where these men think that because you're a femme couple, they have a right to intrude on your sex life. If they tried this with a straight couple, they'd be guaranteed a black eye.
Because of all these issues, we created Finding Femmes as a safe space for women to meet other women. Read more about our work here and see our video below on more femme problems.