A Chapstick Lesbian’s Guide To Dating High Femmes

Surviving high maintenance when you’re low maintenance.

I have had the same face powder since I was in high school. Ninety-nine percent of my outfits involve a blazer or a faux-leather jacket, and a t-shirt. The only jewelry I wear is a pair of stud earrings. I love to cook and ordering takeout offends my New England thrifty sensibilities. I sew my clothes when they have a rip. Basically, you could say that I’m low-maintenance. In the lesbian community, I’m sometimes considered a chapstick lesbian. Responsible and self-sufficient. I pride myself on my independence and place a lot of value on keeping things simple. Okay, fine, I guess you might also say that I’m a little uptight.

Despite this, I seem to have a tendency to date about as far across the “maintenance” scale as possible. My type is so high femme, so high-maintenance, that she schedules all of our trips around her eyelash appointments. I also seem to find myself intrigued by wild and reckless party girls with a lack of time management.

My skin remains pale as a ghost until the summer gives me a smattering of freckles, but I recently discovered that I have a talent for applying spray tan in the shower. On nights out, my arm provides stability to a confection of lace, pleather, and platform heels. Usually, those heels are extra wobbly due to innumerable glasses of tequila on the rocks, quickly tossed back while I steadily sip my whiskey-gingers or PBRs.

Sure, I often provide a steady post and a freshly cooked meal for this wild creature, but what I learn from high femme women is incalculable. I’m drawn to their passion and the stunning creativity that feeds them. Their flame keeps me warm, and I try my best to fan their fire so they can keep being unapologetic, unpredictable, and astounding. If that means I have to vacuum at least once a day to keep the constantly shedding hair/weave at bay or watch Sex and the City for seasons at a time, so be it.

From my affinity and experience observing the high femme in her natural environment, I’ve learned some important lessons to pass on to those of us with a simple, four-step going out routine. Did you know that there were different face-brush things for different powders, lotions, and… other things? Yeah, me neither.

For my fellow low-maintenance, chapstick lesbian, and/or anyone who thinks stilettos truly look like a medieval torture device, read on to find out these survival tips for dating a high femme:

1. Vodka sodas and tequila waters are actual drinks that people want to drink.

Why? I DON’T KNOW. But they are.

2. Don’t say anything about how bad the drinks are.

You’re only going to lead to a character assassination of your own beloved PBRs, and PBR doesn’t deserve that disrespect.

3. I could write a novel on the things I’ve learned about hair.


If you are a hair care minimalist, just know you will never fully wrap your head around all the beautiful, complex, intricate hairstyles and methods that women craft. And that they will take time. Be patient, don’t ask too many questions, don’t touch without consent (duh).

4. And do not be alarmed if a tape in extension or two gets ripped out during sex. 

5. I was today days old when I learned that Sephora wasn’t just a makeup brand.

Really. I thought it was just a bunch of different makeups all called Sephora. Apparently they sell all types! Wow! Who knew? I mean, I’ll trust my girlfriend on that. Too scared to enter one myself.

6. Misogyny sucks. 

So this one is a little less funny than the others. With these women, I’ve learned just how misogynistic the lesbian community can be. If I had a beer for every time women ask me a question about my girlfriend when she’s standing right there or apologize for flirting with her, I’d be the drunkest person at Cubbyhole. Look, I might technically wear the pants (sometimes) in the relationship, but let’s f*ck off with that condescending bullshit. I’m not her keeper. My girlfriend is a professor, a badass, and her own person.

7. Do not f*ck with a high femme’s beauty routine. 

OK, cool, now that that’s over, did you know how intense relationships can be with a beauty team? When there’s a nail salon next door, but your femme insists on traveling deep into Queens, don’t ask why. You’re in for about a 15-minute talk on how the nail technician has been having a tough week with her kids, that she misses her dog, and how dare you suggest that she cheat on her beloved nail technician. The fabulous gay man at the hair salon, the Long Island eyelash attacher person (technical title), the spray tanner extraordinaire… they are all on a first-name basis. They’re texting, and they’re deep family-secret level close. Don’t mess.

8. Indulge her ridiculous phases.

While the cast of characters remain the same, the beauty routine itself is ever evolving. Sometimes ice rolling is the critical morning ritual. Other days, it’s facemasks followed by turmeric shots. Next week, you might find yourself carting in Amazon box after Amazon box of cayenne pepper cleanse. Fiscally responsible? Probably not. FDA approved? Nah. But just (ice) roll with it.

9. Brush up on which Kardashian is which.

An encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture comes with the territory. A review of the Kardashian-Jenner clan (are there more?) wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep up with, for conversation’s sake. I didn’t know how many nuances and sociopolitical-economic lessons were contained in the show. Also, they fight a lot, and it’s pretty funny. And that’s kinda lit.

10. Glitter.

Known as the herpes of the craft world, glitter will haunt your dreams. You’ll find it on your bed, your hair, and even your cat. I don’t know where it comes from or how to get rid of it. I brushed some glitter off my phone just to type this.

11. You don’t own her.

High femmes beautiful, show-stopping, and naturally the center of attention. People are going to flirt. Don’t let it get under your skin. They’re gorgeous. You see that, so others are going to as well. Trust her.

12. You are now her “instahusband.”

Congratulations. Learn her angles. Take candids. A lot of them so she has options.

13. High femmes hate splitting

Pay for your first date, and then alternate who pays.

14. Honor your high femme.

High-maintenance femmes are intoxicating and the light that makes life interesting. Respect, protect, nurture, enjoy, support, and learn from them.

15. And seriously. Don’t suggest going to a different tanning salon. I’m begging you.