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The Lesbian Dating Society

Pre-pandemic stories of lesbian love

By Jesika BabylonPublished 4 years ago 10 min read
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A chapter in the life...

So I did a thing. In 2005 I found myself single in the city and realizing that I had gone about my life pretty much all wrong. Sure I'd traveled the country, lived in amazing places, met wonderful people, and had my share of disappointments, but there was one major thing lacking (aside from a commitment to a career): relationshopping.

Also known as "dating." Yes, that's a word now.

I spent my early adult-ish life hopping from one relationship to another, some long-term and some shorter, but never doing anything remotely resembling going on dates, dating, or having carefree fun. I was just getting completely, irrevocably, deeply involved within nanoseconds of meeting a woman and along with that came serious responsibilities.

I can hand you a dozen roses worth of excuses for why this kept happening - living in a rural New England state with a dearth of anything resembling obviously lesbian women (or the only available ones had already slept with everyone I knew); being generally unfit, emotionally, to have one-night stands or casual sex (not my bag, and there's a general acceptance that a lot of dating involves having sex - newsflash, it doesn't always and there's nothing wrong with that); longing for the kind of relationship that feels like a comfy pair of socks (a long-held dream and visualization that requires more work than I ever thought necessary).

Being generally pretty clever but not always on the ball with my own inner space, I finally cottoned on to the fact that I couldn't do what I'd always done and expect to get different results.

Enter The Lesbian Dating Game!

Flyer for the show

I'm jumping ahead a little bit in this story. Let me explain:

Moving to a large-ish liberal New England city, finally, in my early 30s, I realized that it was literally a smorgasbord of opportunity for a single lesbian, looking for love, and acted accordingly.

I made it a mission to go on dates. When I say dates, I mean I went on about 450 dates in the span of 10 years. Sometimes more than one date in a day. I set myself some guidelines: I would not not not fall in love at first sight. I would definitely not play the Uhaul game and cohabitate with anyone I was dating, and I would absolutely not pine for a GirlFriend.

I managed two out of three, so me and Meatloaf, we are OK on that score.

I should probably explain that when I say "dating" or "dates," I don't mean that I slept with 450 women. When folks I talk to give me that line, I ask them what's wrong with them. A date is meeting someone for coffee, or lunch, or to go for a walk, and learn more about them. Sometimes a date ends with sex, or a kiss, or a handshake, or with rolling out of a slowly moving car to avoid getting woman-handled. But I've never gone on a date expecting to sleep with anyone. My take is that if you're dating for the purpose of getting laid, you're doing it wrong, and you should reexamine your motives. You should especially not tell someone that you just want a date when you really just want to have a shag, it's rude and I'm all about manners!

In my case, my mission was to learn about myself, and what I wanted and needed from a relationship, as well as what I had to offer. My analytical brain catalogued the feedback I got from dates, and dates that turned into friends who then turned to me for dating advice. It was a neat little cycle that I can sometimes visualize, and it's the thing that changed that part of my life. Learning about my deal-breakers and must-haves gave me a great base of operations to compare my dates to - no more feeling an attraction and turning that into a year-long recovery process.

I spent 10 years drinking more coffee than I care to remember, exploring different parts of my new city, and meeting so many women, from literal rocket scientists to car mechanics, biker chicks to college professors, high school dropouts to airline pilots. My one criteria for a first date was that the person was a woman-loving woman. Seriously. I realized I had to open the pool, pee and all, and immerse myself in the experience of approaching everyone on her own merits, and not based on my pre-conceived notions of how they would be based on how they looked, their profession, or their level of education. This is harder to accomplish than you might think, especially if you were not born into the generation that doesn't give a crap about your gender identity, your orientation, or your presentation. It's hard to break 30 years of conditioning, and it's even harder to explain to someone else how to break free of theirs. But I am nothing if not tenacious.

Long road to change

I wrote a lot of prose while I was waiting for a date to show up. Sometimes I wrote a LOT, since sometimes a date is not a date, it's just a ghost of a date. I learned a lot about confidence, and patience, and being rejected, and my own self worth. I went from someone whose self-image was unattractive, unworthy, and generally unlovable to someone with a pretty healthy sense of being good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, someone people actually like! (points for you if you remember that sketch from SNL)

It takes a lot to get to that point if you don't have it innately or programmed into you from having wonderful parents and a great community. It takes a lot to change the attitude that if you get rejected, it must have something to do with how stupid your pickup line is, or how poorly styled your hair is, or your general unattractiveness.

One notable thing I learned from going to straight clubs over the years is if you watch dudes on the prowl, even the seriously unattractive, slovenly ones will approach a woman, get shot down (sometimes quite rudely), and then shake it off and go to the next one (once they are done harassing the first victim). It's like they have a greasy coating that lets them ignore the constant rejection. It's like they automatically assume that the object of their desire is missing out, rather than dodging an unwelcome bullet. I found this fascinating to watch because compared to women approaching women and getting rejected, the difference was a complete 180.

A woman (including me, in the beginning of my journey) will ask another woman, usually politely, to dance, or to get a drink, or shoot some pool, and may be rejected, usually politely. She will then slink back to her friends or scurry out of the club, return home and agonize over what is wrong with her that she couldn't get a date or a dance. She will likely journal, or self-medicate with drugs or food, depending on her usual routine. She may talk to friends but is unlikely to believe them when they say there are plenty of fish in the sea, and that they should try again (having been on both ends of this, I know it to be a truism).

Observing these two wildly different reactions made me realize that it is all about framing the interaction. Offering dating advice to my friends and asking them pointed questions I was able to suss out that most of the time, when a woman gets rejected, it has ZERO to do with anything about the asker, and everything to do with the one being asked. It's a little bit like a job interview, though - you rarely get to ask the interviewer or hiring manager what it was that made you lose out on the job. Luckily, my situation gave me a window into that and it was one of the most valuable things I've found.

Sometimes she's just waiting for a girlfriend (or boyfriend) to arrive; maybe she just got dumped and really doesn't want to wade in again; she could be a psychopath and the asker just doesn't look wealthy enough to be a sugar mama (bullet dodged!); maybe she's got a thing for a certain type and you're not it. What all of these things have in common is that they aren't about whoever is asking, her personality, her inner self, her worthiness, it's all about the one being asked. If I took it personally every time someone said she wasn't interested, I would have been devastated at least once a week.

So, change the frame. What I mean by that is, work on being able to tell yourself, and BELIEVE, that unless you were a total prig and did something unforgivably rude (try to get her interest by criticizing her; demanding that she do something for you in exchange for buying her a drink), she was just not in the right place to say yes to you, and the reason might be a really good one, or a really lame one, but doesn't really matter. Your self-worth is not measured by how many women say they'll go out with you, and if it is, you have some therapy sessions to attend. My therapist loves that line. Changing the frame means getting the focus off of you, and putting it where it belongs, on the one making the decision to give you her attention, or not. Then move on accordingly and keep practicing taking those risks. It'll only get easier until you, too, are able to accept rejection for what it is - an opportunity that wasn't right for you.

It's not the gate to Narnia, I promise

Let's see, what else is important for you to know? Did I have bad dates? Yep. Did I have great dates? Yep. Did I have one-night stands? On very, very rare occasions, yes indeed. Did I have a lot of fun and learn even more? Absolutely. Also, did I teach a seminar, create a live game show, and publish a book of advice? Yes, yes and yes.

This is the book. A labor of love, literally and figuratively, a childhood dream come true thanks to the magic of self-publishing!

Redesigned flyer

The Lesbian Dating Game Show was created to showcase single lesbians who didn't mind getting up on stage and answering sometimes embarrassing questions. There was live music from a local band, and audience members could put their phone numbers on a card addressed to the contestant they wanted to go on a date with.

It worked in the city where there are tons of women looking for fun things to do, and a huge community that I was a part of for a long time, making advertising a snap. The shows were really fun and I got a real sense of success from putting them together, gathering contestants and entertainers, finding a venue, and coming up with the questions. I was not as happy at being the host and having to perform in front of crowds, but I pushed on, and did my best. I'm not someone who wants to be the center of attention, but am often there even when I don't try. But this was my baby, and I was determined to see it through.

Perhaps you're wondering why I went to all this trouble, and how I got the idea that I could succeed with this. I talked to a LOT of women who were very confused about the dating process. They had questions about everything from how soon is too soon to ask for a second date? What's the definition of a successful date? Is it okay to have sex on the first date? How can I tell if she's "the one?" Should I pick up girls in bars? How do I meet women without going to a bar? Where are the girls?

After fielding these questions for the last 5 years of my 10 year odyssey, I decided to start writing it down, question and answer style, and found an opportunity to talk to a gathering about what I learned. From there, I decided that women needed more than just the once-a-week lesbian club night or local indie coffee shop where they could meet, safely (ish, in the case of the clubs) other women.

I needed something creative, that could draw people from every social segment, all ages, etc. I wanted to make it fun, and structured, and easy to get some edutainment. A retro-themed game show live on stage seemed to fit the bill. My ultimate goal is to replicate the show and franchise it to GSAs, colleges, and maybe even lesbian clubs to host their own version. If you're a producer or promoter, shoot me an email, I have all the details!

In addition to the age-old dating questions, I also got questions about relationships, and how to make them last. Given that I spent 10 years single-ish, I didn't understand why anyone would think I had the answers about long-term relationships! I usually just said that my experience is with dating, finding dates, and the methods behind doing it well. Relationships are a completely different animal and there are only a few hard and fast rules: be respectful, be kind, be honest, and compromise. Everything after that is dependent on the dynamics of the two people involved and the water under their bridge.

I guess a great ending to this short story is the true ending: Six years ago I met the girl of my dreams. We started dating, moved in together, drive a Subaru (and a Toyota and motorcycles), and have adopted, so far, 5 rescue animals. We work every day to be better to each other, to ourselves, and to make a living that supports and nurtures both of us. I won't lie, I still don't have all the answers for everyone in a couple, but I have the answers for mine: keep the positive in mind, work on remediating the negatives, and keep going on dates. As a work in progress, we're...working, and that's all you can really ask for from a relationship.

Feel free to get a copy of my book, whatever gender or orientation you are, and I hope it can help you resolve some questions - or send it to a friend who is having doubts about her (or his) dating ability, and will it ever happen. Because it will! Thanks for reading and I hope you've enjoyed this little trip.

dating
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About the Creator

Jesika Babylon

Author, creator, consultant, animal lover, interested and interesting with lots of stories to share.

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