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The Hook Up: How to overcome fear of rejection

I’ve recently developed a crush on a pansexual, single friend of mine. I’m not usually emotionally attracted to people the way I am to her (and, you know, her being hot doesn’t hurt). We’re pretty touchy feely with each other and she usually seems so happy to see me that when she doesn’t pay special attention to me I fall into that 80-year, Pablo Neruda-quoting cycle of despair you once detailed. She’s really special and I want to go for it, put I am usually attracted to people who are assertive and act on their own feelings very clearly. I have no idea if we’re friendly or flirting and terrified of rejection. Is there a way to let her know I’m interested without wearing a sign that flashes “platonic” or “super gay” for every interaction I have?

How to "Let it Go" and move back into the dating scene

Advice on clean breaks and new beginnings.

The Hook Up: How do you €œknow€?

Hi Anna, I have always thought I was a lesbian (or at least bisexual). I’ve had crushes on several girls, but they were all straight. The only lesbians I’ve ever met have already been in a relationship. Because of this, I ended up dating men and marrying a man. We’ve been married for five years, and as time passes I keep feeling that I made a mistake. What do I do? How do you know for sure if you are a lesbian or not?

7 Ways to Know It's OK to Sleep Together

I know I’m not supposed to say this, but I wish gay women had more rules. Say what you will about heteros—Lord knows I do—but at least those beezies have a dating blueprint. All gay women have is The L Word. I’ve never seen a lesbian movie or TV show analyze how long to wait before sleeping with a new woman. Lesbians of my generation take a lackadaisical approach to sex and dating that probably stems from growing up in the hookup culture combined with, “Fuck it, we’re gay — it’s not like anyone expects us to wait until marriage.” The upside of no rules is doing whatever you want. The downside of no rules having no fucking clue what you’re doing or what you want or if what you want is what you’re supposed to want and what you will want in the long run (i.e. tomorrow morning).

Personally, I’m torn. Both casual hookups and chastity have their relative merits. For the first few years of my twenties, shortly after coming to terms with my own gayness, my attitude towards sex was similar to a child’s attitude towards ice cream cake: more is more. Actually that’s still my attitude towards ice cream cake. Apologies to any girls out there who resent being compared to ice cream cake. The hookups took their toll, as false intimacy always will. I was careless with myself and others. I hardened.

After a while I got sick of hurting the girls who cared for me, and being hurt by those who couldn’t care less. So came another extreme: chastity. For six months, maybe more, I didn’t sleep with anyone. It was super boring. Now I straddle the line between decadent girl gluttony and puritanical abstinence with uneasy balance, always trying to find that perfect yet elusive spot between too little and too much. To balance out this piece, I conducted an informal poll of my peers for tips to find that sexy sweet spot when its OK to slut it up (Lawd I love alliteration).

Here are seven tips for knowing the right time for sexy time.

1. You aren’t going to run into her constantly.

Call me closed off, but I don’t want to sleep with anyone I’ll have to constantly see. There’s few moments more awkward than the moment you see that girl who slept with you, then never texted again. Or maybe you’ll never want to text her again! Either way, it’s best to sleep with someone not entangled in your social circle. Then no matter how poorly or wonderfully the relationship goes, it can progress naturally with both women’s consent.

2. You could send her a nude selfie without fear.

Hella beta, I know, but also hella true: being comfortable around someone naked is a great barometer for how really you are to have sex with that person. Don’t get confused: I’m not suggesting you send girls nudes. You shouldn’t, especially to strange girls you don’t trust, especially if you are underage. I’m just saying that if you’re 100% sure that a girl wouldn’t share the image of your bod with the world no matter how hot that bod is, she’d probably treat your body right. By the way if you must send nudes, make sure your face isn’t visible. You’ll thank me later.

3. You know her full name by heart.

Does this conversation sound familiar?

“How are things going with that girl?”

“What girl?”

“That girl.”

“Oh yeah her. Ok I guess.”

“What’s her name again.”

“……”

“Do you not know her name?”

“Give me a minute… MANDY. Her name is Mandy!

“Mandy what?”

“No idea, I’d have to check Facebook.”

If that conversation sounds familiar, STOP, do not pass go, do not sleep with Mandy until you know her last and middle name. You should not have to Facebook search your paramour’s last name.

4. She bought you dinner.

Or lunch. Or planned a romantic date. Or made you an adorable surprise. Basically she put in a noticeable amount of effort into pleasing you. Raise your expectations and keep them high: You deserve someone who tries.

5. You’re comfortable with them hearing you snore. 

I really, really hate to admit this, but I’m a delicate-ish snorer. Blame it on a slightly deviated septum inside my otherwise excellent upturned nose. If someone’s sexing, then spending the night, I need to know they can hear my ladylike wheezing and still be attracted to me. This requires trust. How do you know you trust someone? When you let them hear you snore. BOOM.

6. You aren’t blacked out or even browned out.

Two quick definition for you dreary, emotionally stable souls who never over-indulge in satan’s brew.

Blacked out: When you wake up and don’t remember anything from a certain point in the night onward.

Browned out: When you wake up and can remember snippets from the night, but not the entire night, past a certain point.

Don’t have sex with someone for the first time when you’re drunk. They can tell, even if you can’t. Three drinks max pre-sex, no shots.

7. She’s said, “I really like you.”

Hearing a girl say “I really like you” melts my frozen heart. Hold out for the “really“—I like you isn’t enough. Girls should like smoothies and really like the girls they sleep with.

What do you think? How do you know when it’s cool to sex up a lady?

The Hook Up: How to talk to pretty girls and what to do if a partner refuses to change

Most people who meet me find me outgoing and confident, but put me in front of a pretty girl and I just don’t know how to act. There’s this girl I see all the time, and I know she’s friends with my friends but as soon as I see her I get nervous and try to find other people to talk to and pretend I’m being all aloof and mysterious. Really I know I have loads to talk about, but I don’t know what to say. How do I go from being a random girl to cool and savvy? All my friends know I’m totally weird but they say they love my confidence. I just don’t want her first impression of me to be, “So she finally said hello and now she’s looking at me funny.” A little advice?

The Hook Up: How to deal with a girlfriend'€™s unsupportive family

My girlfriend and I have been together for nearly a year and a half and things could not be going smoother. We love and support each other, my friends like her, my mom likes her, most of her family likes me. The only problem is with her mother. She does not like having a bisexual daughter and likes that we’re together even less (I’m the first girl my girlfriend has dated). If you asked her mother what she thought about LGBTQ people, she would say she’s pro gay rights, pro same-sex marriage, belongs to a very progressive faith community, etc. However, when it comes to my relationship with her daughter, she tells her it’s not real, that she’s only dating me because I “paid her any attention,” that she’ll grow out of it and find a man, and that the only way she can handle this is to pretend it doesn’t exist (she even ignored me when I came to meet the family). It’s putting a strain on their relationship (her mother won’t admit that either) and while I do my best to support my GF, I feel so powerless. Our relationship is only getting more serious and I’d like to at least have a cordial relationship with her whole family, but is there anything I can do?

The Hook Up: The only advice you need

About two months ago, I met a girl at a weekend conference for a student society that we’re both president of at our respective universities (she lives about half an hour away from me) and we both come from the same city. We hit it off and I was super attracted to her. Aside from exchanging emails about linking our societies we haven’t spoken but I would like to meet her again. Is it weird if I follow her on Twitter/Instagram and maybe start a conversation with her? I know she’s single and into girls but I don’t know how to indicate to her that I like her.

Am I being completely naive/or silly? And if I want to speak to her some more how do I go about it?—Desperately Seeking Someone

Anna says: Like this: Hi Society Girl, It was great meeting you recently. I enjoyed your company and your hotness. Would you like to get a beverage with me this week? Sincerely, DSS

Or, if you’d rather go about it the hard way, then feel free to try to lure her into your skivvies with months of compelling tweets and clever Instagram comments—don’t come right out and compliment her, that’d be too easy. Instead make obscure literary references from Pablo Neruda — not the one that every lesbian uses about the spring and the cherry trees, but something safer, a poem about a table, perhaps. “Like” and “favorite” almost everything she says and does on social media, so that you will always be at the forefront of her mind. But ignore her references to attractive celebrities—your silence will imply your displeasure at her commenting on Jennifer Lawrence’s Golden Globes dress, when really she should have eyes for no one but you.

Then, when she doesn’t respond to every social media comment you compose, agonize inwardly for days, and then solicit the help of no less than three of your closest friends (and one less close “impartial” friend) to analyze your crush’s every word, punctuation choice, and hidden meanings. When you and your sleuths discover a possibility of flirtation from your crush, rejoice! When it appears she is not flirting but simply commenting neutrally about her feelings concerning this morning’s english muffin, become horribly depressed and vow to get over her in favor of someone who actually returns your affections. This only lasts 45 seconds, however, and then your resolve to win her back comes at an even stronger force. Switch your literary references for TV and movie references and throw in quotes with more suggestive metaphors: caves, oysters, and, on a particularly bold day, the Grand Canyon.

Years pass and you are no further near to her heart than you were when you first started, so you redouble your efforts and add her on Google Plus and Pinterest. You track her locations on FourSquare and Facebook check-ins, and then stake out her favorite restaurants and bars, hoping against hope that she will show up at the same time and place when you are there yourself. Then one day she does! But you never rehearsed this part and instead of talking to her, you simply stare in her direction briefly and then look away. How could she not say hello to you? Didn’t she see you glancing at her with Nerudian longing?! Can’t she tell by the number of times you’ve blinked in a minute that you are ovulating and hence desireful of her? As you are contemplating the perfect combination of words, swagger, and sexy-table-leaning that will cause her to spontaneously rip off her clothes right there at Applebee’s and confess her undying love for you, you take a deep breath and fall to the ground because you’ve been pursuing this girl for 80 years and you just had your hip replaced and some jerk knocked your walker out from under you while reaching for their fried chicken tenders and the force of the blow and the force of 80 years of waiting around and hoping and stressing yourself out causes your heart to explode and you die.

But I strongly suggest you try option number one.

Continued on AfterEllen…

5 Common First Date Faux Pas

Written by yours truly

First dates are a nerve-wracking and often perplexing affair. I would know. As a cheerfully single girl living in the lesbian Mecca that is West Hollywood, I’ve gone on what feels like hundreds of first dates: some horrible, most forgettable, and occasionally magical. There’s no one way to guarantee a great first date, but here are some common slip ups you’d be wise to avoid.

1. Failing To Knock
Women are people, not slacks, and your date does not and should not have a curbside pick up policy. I dislike interaction with the outside world as much as the next writer, but civilizations are cobbled together by petty social niceties such as ringing the doorbell or chewing with your mouth closed. Seventeen-year-old boys remain slouching outside some ranch style abomination to avoid exchanging basic pleasantries from the father of the girl from whom they’re about to coax a BJ. Adult lesbians knock, exchange a warm hug, and say “What a lovely home.” Even if her home is not lovely in the slightest.

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2. Latching Onto Your Phone
As engrossing as we all find our rich virtual lives, the real world can be so much more rewarding—if you live in it. Dates are exciting! Girls are awesome! There is the potential for sex! So why can’t you stop pressing refresh? When you’re on a date, put your phone on silent and then put it away. Don’t be that horrible couple sitting over a beautiful plate on a gorgeous night and only having eyes for their iPhone screen. Cell phones and the internet are intensely tempting, so do yourself a favor and eliminate the temptation by putting your phone away. Away does not mean face up on the table or nestled lovingly between your thighs. When someone can’t put down their phone, it tells me that person is insecure and so uncomfortable in their own skin that they must constantly escape it. Not to mention an inconsiderate bore.

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3. Putting Forth Zero Effort
There’s a million little ways not to put in effort, and as a consummate slacker I’m reasonably well-acquainted with most of them. Asking a girl out is a massive feat in it’s own right, so why do so many lesbos fuck up the follow through? The #1 first date not putting in effort faux pas is basic and infuriating: pick a damn date spot. Personal anecdote time: Last month, I was asked on a date by a former flame who I disposed of after learning she had a secret boyfriend. She ditched the boyfriend, moved to L.A. and blew up my phone with heart wrenching texts like, “For the past year, you’ve been the voice in my head.” This appealed to my narcissism, so I gave her another shot and she showed up for the date by parking outside my apartment, violating rule 1. When I got in the car, she said, “So where are we going?” and I barely suppressed the urge to jump out. Within two minutes, I knew that this girl wasn’t hung up on me, she was hung up on herself.

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4. Revealing Traumatic Anecdotes
We all have our shit. Some of us have unusually potent, sticky shit. That does not mean you can wipe it on others. Emotionally intimacy is not a great personal strength of mine; I admit that freely. As a southern Catholic, my approach to personal crap is, “If you don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist.” When a girl tells me all about her childhood/teen/recent trauma right off the bat, I don’t think, “What extraordinary depths this fine young lady possesses” or “How impressive that you overcome so many obstacles.” I think “Emotionally unstable,” “Can’t let go of baggage,” and even “Victim complex much?” Save the sorrows for your BFF and focus on having fun and being entertaining. No one wants to date a deb.

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5. Shifty Eyes
On our third date, a former girlfriend noted that I “make even less eye contact than service industry professionals.” Scathing, but accurate. There’s something disconcerting about meeting another person’s gaze, especially when that person (like a date) is someone I want to impress; I wonder if they might look behind the blue of my iris and see into my soul. I don’t even want to peer into that cesspit, much less let my date have a looksy. According to my extensive research, increased eye contact significantly improves your general appeal while simultaneously improving an interaction’s quality; “Eye contact imparts a sense of intimacy to your exchanges, and leaves the receiver of your gaze feeling more positive about your interaction and connected to you.” Hold your date’s gaze for about five seconds at a time, let your eyes flick away, return and repeat.

"This is precisely why I befriend all my exes once they’ve stopped hating me for always writing about them in this column. It’s not due to our shared history or mutual love of Buffy sing-alongs. It’s so I can still have bartering power a few months down the road when the custody battle fallout has simmered down. I’ve lost too many copies of Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin over breakups. NEVER AGAIN."

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The Hook Up: The hardest part of breaking up is getting back your stuff

"Man, I’m so jealous. I want to go to gay paradise. Especially if gay paradise is also an island vacation. I imagine lots of cabana girls in flannel bikinis fanning me with organic palm fronds and all the Big Box stores playing Tegan and Sara endlessly on a loop. “Hardcore superstar by far! You’re the ultimate star.” And I’d be like, “Yes. Yes I am. Pass me the quinoa, pretty lady!”"

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The Hook Up: Dealing with jealousy after an infidelity and gay paradise