Some lesbians thrive within the context of a nightclub. Some lesbians are brilliant, fantastic dancers who don’t even need to engage in any real-life conversation in order to make a connection with another woman. They just twist their bendable hips to the beat of the music and seductively lock eyes with a gorgeous girl creature from across the bar, and BAM! Suddenly they’re making out, hands all tangled up in each other’s hair, grinding into each other’s bodies, without ever having exchanged a single word. Some lesbians can take shot after shot of tequila, and somehow, manage to not even blackout and make a fool of themselves. Some lesbians can last until two am without falling over or breaking a heel or loudly telling off their ex in front of a large crowd.
Some lesbians have such loud, booming voices and such finely tuned, razor sharp hearing that they’re able to actually CHAT over all that loud club music blaring from the speakers.
I’m NOT this kind of lesbian.
I fiercely love lesbian bars and dutifully attend as many lesbian parties as I can manage, but I’m not the best version of myself in a clubby environment.
I’m small—tiny even—easily lost and panicked when tossed into a large crowd, and my face doesn’t sparkle and pop in the dimly-lit flickery nightclub lights. My complexion looks pale and sallow when bathed in strobe lighting. I don’t really dance, either. I live for fashion so I’m always wearing extremely bizarre sky-high shoes that don’t allow me to stand for more than five minutes at a time, let alone get down and dirty on the dancefloor. I don’t know how to have nightclub conversations, either. I’m the absolute worst at nightclub banter.
And my personality is just too dark—I’ll start talking about mass incarceration or casually mention that my high dosage of Lexapro is killing my sex drive or something equally as uncomfortable and depressing, which just ends up bumming everyone out. People don’t want to be bummed out at the club, I’ve learned. I mean dramatically discussing your views on abortion doesn’t jive well with Miley Cyrus singing about taking ecstasy (or “Molly” or whatever it is the kids are taking these days), you know? If I take a shot (which I will, because I have terrible social anxiety and require many personality drinks before I can even enter a club), I’ll most likely fall asleep on the bar table, wake up drooling and upset, unable to find my quilted Chanel purse—which leads to a full-blast meltdown, black mascara tears falling down my puffy face, which is no fun for anyone (don’t you all want to date me? I’m such a blast!).
Don’t get me wrong: I go to all the lesbian parties, majorly believe in the beauty of le lesbian bar and always have a ball—it’s just not my best look, babes. I do better on a panel ranting about the “rampant misogyny within the lesbian community” than I do on a dancefloor, you know? It’s a shame. It’s a shame, because I’m an extremely horny entity (despite the Lexapro) and all I want to do is be in a room full of dykes, wildly lusting after them and all their gorgeous dyke beauty.
I used to think I was screwed—destined to a sexless, loveless life. I mean, if I don’t ever pick up girls in the lesbian bar, where the hell am I going to find someone to date and have sex with? Dating and sex are the two things that make life worth living! What’s the point of dealing with all the darkness in the world—the anxious pressure of the city, the crushing weight of career expectations—if you’re not even going to get laid? There is no point, sadly.
My mother used to always say: “Where there is a will, there is a way.” I had the will to meet girls, so I figured out a way to meet them outside of a club. I learned to accept that I can go to clubs and party my face off, but I probably won’t take anyone home with me at the end of the night.
I’m sloppy in the nightclub—but I slay in the feminist book club, baby.
And there are so many places where lesbians gather, that aren’t clubs, places that socially awkward geeks like you and I will shine like the top of the Chrysler building! So don’t worry your pretty little heart. Just listen to me your lesbian (nerdy) big sister, and you’ll be having more sex than Shane from “The L Word” (OK maybe not, but you see where I’m going).
So here are my top picks.
But please, ladies—I want to know where all of you go! Let’s share the love, so all the young lesbian nerds out there know that they’re not screwed in the dating department just because they suck at dancing and start slurring after their first glass of wine. Let’s let the queer youth know that there are unexpected places to meet lesbians, that aren’t clubs.
1. The Internet
I know some lesbians are going to get their Calvin Klein boy shorts in a twist over this one, but hear me out, babes: The internet is actually a great place for shy women to meet other shy women. I agree: The internet DOES NOT replace human-to-human connections. The internet should not be eradicating queer nightlife culture. Nor should it be contributing to the demise of lesbian bars.
However, it’s a great place to meet girls to make plans to go out! When I was a deeply closeted teen lesbian living in white, straight Westport, Connecticut, the internet was my saving grace. I used to go on internet forums and meet other teenage lesbians in neighboring towns who would invite me to these cool girl punk rock shows in the city, and we would all meet up and feel like WOW! THE WORLD IS SO MUCH BIGGER THAN WE THOUGHT! It was a game changer.
I’m no longer a closeted teenage lesbian living in Westport, Connecticut, but hey, I still use the internet to meet lesbians all the time. In fact, almost every woman I’ve ever dated, I’ve either met on OKCUPID or Tinder or even Facebook (Facebook is the great secret online dating site).
I’m totally uncomfortable chatting up a cute girl at the bar, but totally comfortable sending her a private message on social media. I can show off my wit in the safety of my apartment. I can see if she’s deep and cool, by asking her questions like “What is your favorite movie?” And she can actually have the time to think of something that’s equal parts smart and equal parts witty and equal parts indie and equal parts moving. It’s a surefire way to start a relationship with a stellar introduction.
So don’t diss the internet, ladies.
You can make a great initial connection online, but once you DO, get your ass to some queer-owned coffee shop and meet-up in real life, because they need our business and the internet—I REPEAT: the internet IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE for a real life hangout. Though sometimes I wish it was because it’s so much easier to throw a filter on my face than paint it with makeup, but that’s a personal problem.
2. Athletic Clubs
Look, I’ll admit it: I hate sports. I’m TERRIBLE at sports. And I feel wildly isolated in my un-athletic lesbian existence. In fact, I’ve been pitching “The Identity Crisis of Being a Lesbian Who Hates Sports” for months now, but no editor seems to be into it (hint, hint Trish Bendix).
But even though I get heart palpitations entering any sort of soccer field (PTSD from gym class), I force myself to go to women’s sporting events all of the time. You know why? They’re teeming with queer girls, honey. Hot, strong, badass queer girls unafraid of getting hit in the face with a softball! Where do I sign up? Sweaty sexy derby girls, whizzing around on roller-skates, their hair flapping behind them—they’re the fucking coolest creatures on the planet. They tend to have great style and are excellent in bed too. Soccer girls? So hot, so nice, so friendly, so fierce. Who doesn’t want to watch a bunch of fresh-faced women kick around a soccer ball? I know I do.
And lesbian athletes aren’t like the terrible male athletes in high school; those greasy-faced boys who walked around all entitled, jeering at the blondes, and being all creepy. Lesbian athletes are actually appreciative when you come to their games. So don’t worry if you can’t play with them—just get dressed up real cute and go watch them play. You’ll meet plenty of other athletically inept lesbians too, and you’ll really bond over your lack of hand/eye coordination.
3. Cherry Grove
I know you’ve probably seen the “SNL” skit making fun of the lesbians of Cherry Grove, but let me tell you, babes: That’s not the Cherry Grove I know! The Cherry Grove I know is a helluva lot more fun and sexy. So, If you’re not already planning your summer in Cherry Grove, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. It took me way too long to understand the power of Cherry Grove and my younger self is very upset with me.
Cherry Grove is full of all kinds of lesbians. There are older, established lesbians sitting on the beach ready to passionately discuss business and books with you. There are creative, artistic lesbians who paint and get up early to catch the sunrise. There are wild party animal lesbians, hungover, looking chic with mega sunnies strapped to their faces. The beautiful part is everyone is united on the beach. There’s a lesbian for everyone on the beach.
So get on the fucking ferry, girl. I’ll be there, looking like a misfit in my slutty white bikini— I’m dying to talk to you on the beach.
4. An Animal Shelter
Looking to meet the dyke of your dreams with a heart of gold? Looking for a lady lover with her life strung gorgeously together? Head to the pet shelter ASAP, babes.
The cream of the lesbian crop adopts their pets. It says something very profound about a woman who will adopt a vulnerable little animal and let them into her home. It probably means they’ll be into us vulnerable women, too, and let us into their warm homes as well!
It also means they have their shit together. You can’t get a dog when you’re a hot mess party monster whose sole existence is all about staying up late taking drugs at parties. A lesbian with a healthy, adopted pet is the kind of lesbian you want to date at this stage of your life, babe. She has a tender heart but is also wildly responsible. She takes walks outside. She isn’t squeamish or too much of a neat freak either.
And what better way to kindle an everlasting love connection than at the very place she’s adopting her new precious fur baby? So start volunteering girl. It will make you look as hot as any go-go dancer in the universe (unless of course, you’re a go-go dancer who volunteers at pet shelters. Then you win, duh!)
5. A Feminist Book Club
Oh, I love me a book club! I’m my best version of myself, slugging back a glass of wine, discussing a BOOK with a bunch of lesbians in a cozy space. Plus, listening to a woman breaking down a novel gives you excellent in insight into her brain. It gives you a little bird’s eye view of what she’s passionate about, what she cares about, what moves her.
Plus a lot of lesbians use book clubs as a place to show off their fetish-y horn-rimmed glasses. And I don’t know about you, but a sexy woman talking about a book in glasses—now, that’s what really gets me hot and bothered.
6. An Ani Difranco Concert
I went to my first Ani Difranco concert in the SEVENTH GRADE. I was bewildered. The place was full of girl-on-girl action, my pimply adolescent self couldn’t even handle it. My hormones raged as I watched girls clutching hands, singing along to wise Ani lyrics.
Fifteen years later and it’s still such a high quality of lesbians at an Ani concert. I went recently to a small show on the Upper West Side and I felt like I was with my people. It was full of smart, politically-inclined, queer women who understand the poetry of politics! And you have a great opening line: “Is this your first?” And then you guys can bond over your mutual love of Ani and talk all about how her music saved your life when you were a depressed closeted teenager. True love always starts with a shared love of Ani Difranco.
And if you’re a baby queer girl and you don’t know who she is, you should. So get on Ticketmaster and order your concert tickets and fall in LOVE for the rest of your life.
Zara Your Lesbian Big Sister