How do I get the girl?!
November 12, 2012 3:26 PM   Subscribe

Help me navigate my way through dating in my twenties and escaping the perpetual friend zoning: lesbian edition. Long story with links to my dating profiles for critiquing.

I've gone through most of the dating threads here on MeFi and have favorite'd every post I feel could apply to me, but I'd love to hear some advice that can be tailored for a twenty-something lesbian who is having a difficult time landing a long-term relationship. It's something knew I've always wanted as I am not hardwired for casual encounters/flings/short-term relationships. I like having a strong bond with someone and I maintain them with family and friends, though ideally I'd really love to have a girl I can call my own -- one I am physically, intellectually, and emotionally drawn to that I can take out and have fun with and have sex with regularly and everything is mutual. My standards are basic and realistic, and I am not a practitioner of settling.

My history: I've been in the dating scene for about 4 years now -- 2 of those years exclusively dating women and I have met up with a total of 9 at this point. They've all varied between non-starters, short-term flings, and one long-distance relationship (the latter crashing and burning as I'm certain she found someone else). What I find to be the most frustrating of all is that more often times than not, things end on their terms. I'm either sent to the friend zone after the first date or involved in a short-term fling that ends with, "I'm not looking for anything serious." I have enough experience now to know how to balance on that fine line between being eager and aloof, and I exhibit enough assertiveness to let a girl know that I am interested without being overbearing -- so, what gives? I do tend to fall hard and fast, but as I said, I find that balance. I'm also more of a go-getter because I feel like I wouldn't achieve what I want by simply waiting for it to fall on my lap. This is why I have no problem initiating first moves with girls. Every date I've had has been via online dating because I live so far from the gay scene in my area. Really, it's my only option, but it has proven to be a very frustrating medium because it's largely a numbers game and it's easier for people to have a grass-is-greener mentality. Hell, maybe I'm guilty of it, too, though I try not to be.

Those of you follow posts here closely may remember my previous threads, so by my own admission, yes, I'm young, immature, naive, and have a lot of growing up to do; I'm definitely still a work in progress. :) For those who don't, here is a link to both my PlentyOfFish and OKCupid profile just to get an idea of who I am. My writing accurately reflects how I am face to face; however, I can't help but wonder if there is something off-putting about me in person that I cannot pinpoint. Every girl I've taken out has been visibly entertained (busting up laughing, lots of witty banter exchanged), but first dates seem to be my expiration date. I'm still in school living at home, and I'm beginning to seriously wonder if that's turning these girls off.

In the past two months, I've met up with 3 girls. The first one told me she was getting more involved with someone else when I tried to arrange a second date, and her honesty was met with a graceful "wish you well" exit. The second awesome but it seems we've implicitly assumed that we will just be friends, and the third? I felt the strongest connection with her after maintaining daily contact. It takes a very particularly witty person to keep up with my dry humor and she wasn't like most girls who essentially feed into what I say. I loved that she was able to dish it and take it and I felt like I found a great catch, AND she's very pretty too boot! After talking since Tuesday, we met up on Saturday and I definitely felt the chemistry. She took a moment to tell me how much fun she was having with me but I noticed that after about two hours, she kind of ended the date abruptly by saying, "Wanna get out of here?". It was midnight after all, so I drove her home just a few blocks away, and gave her a farewell hug and a kiss. No text when I got home and nothing the following morning. So I thanked her for coming out, that I had fun, and that I was looking forward to next time. Her response was, "I had fun too :)!". Asked her how she felt that morning (sent at 11:30AM, she had a strong drink the night before), and I didn't get a reply until about 10PM.

Normally when I notice a dramatic decline in contact, my gut tells me their interest waned while my head makes "they're just busy today" excuses. From past experiences, my gut has NEVER failed me. When I tried to make another date for tomorrow, she said it sounded fun, and followed up with another text saying, "And I think it's more of a friends thing for me :\". Once again, I tried to handle it like a G with, "Bummer! Well, it was pleasant meeting you, and good luck with all your future endeavors! :)". While I'm sad, I appreciated the opportunity of cutting off quickly like a guillotine. I understand that these are merely first dates and they owe me absolutely nothing, but when I've friend-zoned someone, I've always sincerely admired them as a person and have been genuine about it by giving them enough time and space for feelings to dissipate, and often times one of us eventually reconnects and we maintain a real friendship. I really wish more people were this way, although at the same time, I can understand how awkward and uncomfortable it would feel for them. What I don't get is that a couple of these girls (during the dates) will ask me something or say something that implies that they're thinking there will be a next time with me. Girl #1 asked how far of a drive I am to a new city she may be relocating to for work while the last one (Girl #3) asked if the rules at my house are strict/lenient, and how my parents felt about me spending the night elsewhere. There is never any follow-through and I'm beginning to take words with a grain of salt.

It's gotten to the point that I can't cry about it anymore… all I do now is just laugh at how ridiculous my bad luck is. Even the most resilient would get jaded -- but at the same time, I refuse to allow things like this (what I think is beyond my control anyway) to embitter me. I feel like all I can do is have a sense of humor about it because at worst, they make for funny anecdotes. I've had guy friends tell me not to worry, and they tend to say things like, "Oh, you're too hot for her anyway." Well, thanks brah… but it still doesn't stop me from wanting her. :/

Maybe what I need is an attitude change. I want to be more easy-going about all this and be like all the cool people who don't get so bent out of shape over trivial matters like this. I want to be like those people who can enjoy dating for its own sake carefree. How do I stop over caring? And how do I go about getting the girl? I want that ending where we run hand in hand through a flower field to the chorus of "Happy Together" and walk off to the sunset with Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" as the song for the closing credits.

On an ending note, I'm beginning to feel this way: :) Thank you for reading!
posted by HiphopAnonymous to Human Relations (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is just... a thing about liking girls, I think, more than guys, because you kind of *have* to have female friends without maintaining a potential for interest in every available girl or you'd go crazy--not just them, but you, too. In the end, nine in that many years is just... not a big sample size. It's not a tiny one, but it's not that big.

For straight people, four years in the dating scene comes at, like, 20ish. And to have dated nine people in the course of late high school and early college, especially when you consider "non-starters" in the total? Normal, maybe low end of. And completely normal for none of those nine to have worked out all that well. And completely normal to feel heartbroken about a bunch of those.

And, in terms of being a lesbian, pretty normal for a bunch of those to be, "I kinda thought I might like you, but maybe not." Like most people at that kind of adolescent stage, you'll find that things take off a lot more once, yes, you're living away from home and all that, but that doesn't mean everything's doomed to failure in the meantime. The happy ending isn't really a thing in the real world, but at least the long-term, more stable relationships totally come at some point, they just don't tend to show up workably in the first few years of figuring out who you are, in relationship terms.
posted by gracedissolved at 3:34 PM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

If I'm following you correctly, you've met 3 women over 2 months and none of them has wanted to pursue a relationship with you. And some of them haven't been the most gracious or clear about cutting things off. That's not a lot--I don't think it means you're doing anything wrong or that you have ridiculous bad luck.
posted by needs more cowbell at 3:36 PM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

I think you come off sounding fun in your OKC profile.

The only thing that was off-putting for me was the use of "hoodrat" and "thang" but as I'm not your target audience, you can take that or leave it really - just down to personal preference.

I agree with gracedissolved and needs more cowbell though - you sound like you're being hard on yourself and your expectations for how easy online dating can be are a little off. If you were a year in with dozens of rejections, maybe I would feel differently about this advice, but as things are, what I would say is this:

Keep going. You will find somebody, and there is nothing wrong with you.

Good luck. Internet hugs.
posted by guster4lovers at 3:44 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

It takes time. Lots of people go on first dates that go nowhere. It isn't just you! Don't stress, keep dating, eventually you'll meet someone and it will just work.
posted by baby beluga at 3:45 PM on November 12, 2012

she kind of ended the date abruptly by saying, "Wanna get out of here?".

It may be that you are reading signals incorrectly, because if I said this to a girl on a date, the "we should go back to my place and have lots of sex right now" would definitely be implied in this statement. She might have said the just friends thing as a face-saver.
posted by elizardbits at 3:47 PM on November 12, 2012 [9 favorites]

I took the "Wanna get out of here" to mean "Let's go home and have sex", too. It might have been a misunderstanding.
posted by eq21 at 3:52 PM on November 12, 2012

I like your profile. If I were gay and in your area, I'd consider going on a date with you.
posted by eq21 at 4:00 PM on November 12, 2012

On one hand, I don't think "friendzoning" is really a thing.

On the other hand, I think dating between women can be complicated by the happy kumbaya we're all sisters together culture of the lady-loving ladies' community.

On the third hand, dating three ladies and not making a romantic/sexual connection with any is not a particularly indicative streak of anything but the odds of it being hard to find a partner.

Especially given the compounding factors of your living far from the scene/with family.

I know it's not simple for you to date more, but I think the only answer is for you to date more. Sigh.

Also, dancing is a sexier date than dinner or a museum or whatever.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:17 PM on November 12, 2012

Your OKCupid profile gives the impression that you are fun, active, funny and smart.
It's not you. It just takes some time. You are doing all the right things, so keep at it.
Twenty or so years ago I was in your shoes. Well -- not exactly as there was no internet dating -- but meeting girls who like girls while you are in college can be challenging. This might make me sound ancient, but I met some nice women in my school's women's center. But in a nutshell -- keep at it. You will knock someone's socks off (and vice-versa) before you know it. Good luck.
posted by Lescha at 4:19 PM on November 12, 2012

I'm seeing a fair number of favorites on the comment addressing her remark as a possible sexual advance -- did I just really misinterpret it as a lightbulb above her head turning on and realizing she'd rather have me as a friend and thus ending the date? One thing I found strange was that we both started with strong drinks, and then had the same beer afterward. She finished her's, and downed the rest of mine when I couldn't handle it anymore...

I know that she prefers more aggressive girls, and I figured kissing her on a first date was already a big move. She could've had me if she wanted, but I like to get to know girls first and really establish a strong connection beyond intense texting. I'm a little sad that I didn't seize the opportunity if this was indeed the case (haha). However, I'm not one to put out on a first date and honestly, a girl who would is not the kind of girl I'd like as a long-term girlfriend anyway.
posted by HiphopAnonymous at 4:39 PM on November 12, 2012

Yeah I'd read that as "let's go somewhere and make out" at the very least. If that doesn't work for you, that's totally fine, but it sounds like that may have been a different kind of mismatch than you are assuming.

My cynical take: dating as a lesbian sucks. And not in the fun way. I've been single for I don't want to talk about how long, because I'm picky and lazy and usually it takes me a long time to become physically attracted to someone (so internet dating is a total failure.) And there just aren't that many available queer women out there, period. Your numbers are not alarming to me at all.

As for "friendzoning," that's at best an unhelpful way of looking at it. What "I think we should be friends" means, in the context of lesbian internet dating anyway, is "I think you are a perfectly nice person but I'm not going to fuck you." It doesn't actually mean that they have enough time or energy to make a point of bringing you in to their social lives. I've said that to... well, most of my internet dates so far, and I am actually Facebook friends with a couple of them and when I run into them at the bar we make friendly small talk, so we're friends that way, but I am busy (and lazy, and antisocial) so that's the extent of it.

I wish I could tell you how to get the girl, because that would imply that I know.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:12 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

It is 2012. You're totally entitled to be comfortable with what you're comfortable with, and you really don't have to ever do more than that, but be aware that "aggressive", with girls as with guys, is probably going to entail WAY more than kissing on a first date.

This is where the "it just takes time to get used to this" comes in, really, though.
posted by gracedissolved at 5:45 PM on November 12, 2012

It's a numbers game and you haven't been on that many dates. You sound fun and a great catch. It sounds like when someone "friendzones" you there is no follow-up. The lesbian community is terribly/wonderfully incestuous and expanding your circle of IRL lesbian friends will only help you meet a potential partner while also having fun before the uhaul shows up. Also, as someone that identified as femme and liked aggressive girls, I have to agree just a kiss is no where near aggressive enough. When it comes to dating young lesbians it is too common for two rejection-fearing, hesitant women to misinterpret each other's cues.
posted by saucysault at 6:33 PM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's gotten to the point that I can't cry about it anymore… all I do now is just laugh at how ridiculous my bad luck is.

Oh honey, you might be much happier to take dating WAY less seriously. Your luck really doesn't sound that bad. Your recall of each girl you've met is way too precise, you have to let those girls go. Try shifting your perspective about meeting someone from OKcupid; instead of considering it a "first date" it's really just meeting someone you pre-screened to decide if you would like to try dating them. Most of the time the answer is no for one or both parties, that's just how it goes. You gotta kiss a lotta frogs, as they say.

I'm struck by how different your self description is here on from what you posted on OKcupid.

You should be upfront about the fact that you're only interested in a long-term relationship. Your profile currently says that you are looking "For new friends, long-term dating, short-term dating" -- you're state here that you're not comfortable with short-term dating and you're definitely not looking for friends! be honest on your profile.

I definitely think that living at home is a deal breaker for many people--not all! So that will make it more difficult to find a relationship. So is living far away from the "gay scene."

As a lesbian who dated a lot of OKcupid people I would also translate "Wanna get out of here" at the very least as "let's escalate this date at another location" but more likely "lets go back to my place/your place and have sex." especially because you then drove her home! Considering your description of how she finished off your drink, I'm 99% positive she wanted to go have sex with you.

Kissing someone on the first date can be a bold move, depending on the person, but it's not all that bold. Dating is really about kissing, right? It's kind of expected if there is real chemistry being established.

When online dating, don't get embroiled in texting or messaging people, message them the bare minimum amount it takes to set up a first meeting, then meet them. If the first date goes well, you text them to say so and as soon as they respond in kind explicitly propose a second date. If they text you first you respond "me too! Would you like to see that show coming up on Friday that we were talking about?" they say yes, you say "great, I'll meet you there at 9:30!" and then quit texting. What I'm trying to say is meet people in person, get to know them in person. If you feel chemistry with them, kiss them! If you want to hold off for a couple of dates before having sex, that's fine! Don't worry about it! Life is too short.

Meet a lot of girls. My mother told me "there are so many great girls out there who would love to meet you. Let them meet you!" It's great advice. Just meet people. Let them meet you.

but one last thing. this "how do I go about getting the girl? I want that ending where we run hand in hand through a flower field to the chorus of "Happy Together" and walk off to the sunset with Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" as the song for the closing credits." does not describe a relationship.
posted by palegirl at 9:18 PM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

Your profile is great! If I lived in your area and was still in my 20s, I'd totally hit on you. You don't need to change a thing there, seriously.

Dating is hard, and dating women sometimes feels even harder, is all. Lesbian sheep syndrome is definitely a thing. Even though you're good at making the first move (go you!), it's entirely likely that you and/or your date will miss some pretty obvious cues, whether from sheer nervousness, or from the societally-encouraged expectation that the other person will 'man up' and be blatantly obvious and direct and get things started for you.

I mean, that's a normal problem one has to overcome when dating women. It's cool, you'll get there! Figuring this stuff out really does get easier over time!
posted by 168 at 6:05 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Loving all the feedback so far :) I'm trying to refrain from answering my own thread but I have another concern: I think this has happened before (wtf?). Around early September, I picked up a girl, we got drinks at a dive bar, and about an hour or two in, she also pulled the "Let's get going." Dropped her off at home, used her bathroom, gave her a farewell hug, and she insisted I text her when I got home. I did, but never heard from her again. Do you think her intent was the same as this last one?

These girls need to stop assuming I'm Miss Cleo as if I can read their minds. That, or I need to stop being so clueless and take advantage of these opportunities...haha. I didn't know putting out on a first date was a common expectation in the lesbian dating world...
posted by HiphopAnonymous at 8:55 AM on November 13, 2012

Well yeah, you put out on the first date and on the second date you move in.

Seriously though, my experience has been that lesbian relationships move fast and if you miss the momentum (sp?) you get quickly slid over to the "friends" lable. No need to be rapey but since you said you prefer femmes, and lesbians are naturally reticient, you need to be much more overt in your moves.

Facepalm, yeah, going into her house and then immediately leaving? She wouldn't have invited you in just to see her etchings. She made a move and without you stepping up she probably assumed YOU rejected her.
posted by saucysault at 9:24 AM on November 13, 2012

I went on a date via OKCupid with a woman who put something to the effect of "I don't kiss on first dates. If that's an option, I spend half the date stressing about it and can't enjoy myself, so just know up front that it's not going to happen" on her profile. I found that to be very helpful for both of us, really, because it removed a lot of the ambiguity.

A couple of people have mentioned upthread the disconnect between what you are saying you actually want and the way your profile is reading - making those match more closely will do you a pretty substantial favor.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:53 AM on November 13, 2012

Well, I have a definitive answer. I carelessly shot off a couple straightforward texts and was told, "I'm not into random hookups :/". So, either I did miss that window of Saturday evening, or I was correct in taking everything at face value.

Thanks all! :)
posted by HiphopAnonymous at 5:13 PM on November 13, 2012

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