Written by Bianca Williams
The striking thing to me about lesbian dating is how common it is to see makeshift families of women bound together by former romantic ties. Lesbians in Washington seem to date within groups of former relationships or their friends’ former relationships, which in any other cross-section of dating society would seem psychotic or narcissistic.
What better candidate for your next romantic entanglement than the best friend of your ex-girlfriend? Part of the problem is that the District has had only one exclusively designated lesbian bar, Phase 1 near Eastern Market. (And even there you’re bound to find a confused straight male or two who came in for the eye candy. Tip, fellas: That is really annoying.) This means that if you date someone who frequents that one bar, then date her best friend who frequents that bar, then break up with both, you’ll have to find someplace else to drink lest you be subjected to a double whammy of side eye that rivals anything seen on “Real Housewives.”
Other options to Phase 1 (which suddenly closed for renovations in January) are the nomadic monthly women’s parties that roam from bar to bar. But even if you are tenacious about keeping up with the newest parties, the average lesbian won’t go unless she can bring her makeshift family/baggage with her.
Going online can be hit or miss. There’s a very real possibility some of the profiles with the “lesbian” box checked aren’t gay or women at all. And if you meet your potential lesbian mate in person, there’s no telling whether she’s actually into women or just “bored with men” for the moment. Basically, “lesbians” invented catfishing before it was popular. Another strike against us is our inability to approach other women and strike up conversations in person or online. If the goal is a girlfriend (or a boyfriend, for that matter), women do not approach first, period. Most opt to stare uncomfortably from across that crowded girl bar weekend after weekend, or the digital equivalent: stalking some hopefully lesbian woman’s social media page.
I decided to make myself mostly immune to the local lesbian epidemic of comfort-zone dating. (Two of my exes are within six degrees of each other, but I was involved with them at different times in my life, and anything after a month in lesbian time is the equivalent of two years.) If everyone was going to one spot for drinks, I’d go to another. If no one approached other women, I’d strike up conversations first. If the trend was to date the BFF of your ex, I didn’t. I’m meeting people who’ve never heard of me or anyone I’ve dated. Dating is just as fresh for me now as it was when I first entered the scene 10 years ago. And that’s like half a century in lesbian time.
Bianca Williams, a native of the D.C. area, is an independent filmmaker and an engineer and lighting operator for local events. Her article was originally published in the Washington Post among several stories of Washington, D.C., area daters.