Rules for lesbian dating

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Only a single outlier turned up a dud: French; a human resources major; hopelessly boring, but pleasant enough. There was the soft-spoken grad student from New Zealand with whom I walked for hours through the Père Lachaise Cemetery, searching in vain for Jim Morrison’s grave while we compared the queer cultures of our respective countries.

There was the American with a teeny-tiny septum ring and a head of wild curls, gleeful over any chance she got to escape the apartment full of French children where she was au pairing; we sat along the Seine, drinking red wine from the bottle, commiserating about femme invisibility and disagreeing about Wes Anderson (my take: overrated).

I’m on the femme-ish side of the presentation spectrum, where I tend to tragically blend in with the boring straight majority; in a pre-app dating world, the only surefire way I had of alerting someone to my gayness was recklessly flirting my way to a point of no return.

I had to be sure I wasn’t misidentified as a friendly straight girl, who are notorious accidental flirters.

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Early on, I thought about making up a fake meet-cute to tell people at parties.

No furiously whisper-guessing about someone’s sexuality with your wing-women; no accidentally falling for not-even-questioning-a-little-bit straight girls, as were the hallmarks of our pre-digital youths. But with the powers of Tinder and Ok Cupid, I found women to have adventures with.

From the get-go of an app date, you know and she knows. I discovered the potentials last spring, when I was living in Paris by myself. Some encounters turned into full-fledged flings; some, memorable friendships.

For my second Tinder date in New York, I used my signature move, plopping myself on a bench in front of a bar in my new Brooklyn neighborhood with a book. Short-sleeve button-down shirt, backwards panel cap — just like so many other lesbians on a first date. That was it: the first generic queer connection, where everything always begins — it’s never strong enough to carry through a date on its own, but it’s that first nudge toward comfort, toward companionship, toward finding commonalities that go beyond queerness.

I felt her hesitant approach from my periphery, but I didn’t move until I heard my name. But there was no way I’d ever have confused her with anyone else. And discovering differences, too — the good and the bad. I know that most of my online dating good fortune has probably been pure, dumb luck.

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