How To Share Public Spaces With Lesbians: A Guide For Men

As seen from the view of a dude who is about to make it real weird. (Shutterstock)
As seen from the view of a dude who is about to make it real weird. (Shutterstock)

Whenever I go out to a non-LGBT bar, be it with a group of friends, or on a date night, I end up sharing awkward exchanges with straight guys about my sexual orientation. I’m social, and usually happy to engage in conversation with a stranger, but these experiences make me want to ignore all dudes ever. This is a shame because I know that there are many straight guys who are not douchebags and could share in an interesting conversation. It’s shocking to me though how frequently I encounter blatant disrespect. To try and help these weird guys out and maybe make my outings a bit more pleasant, I’ve put together a handy guide for those males who seem unable to hold themselves together around the big “L” word.

We don’t expect you to assume automatically that we are lesbians, but don’t be narrow-minded, at least leave room for the possibility

Yes, believe it or not lesbians do visit bars and restaurants that aren’t LGBT-focused and we blend right in. I’m not saying that you have to go in assuming every girl is a lesbian, but try picking up social cues and not being completely blind to the obvious stuff. If we’re holding hands at a bar, chances are it’s not because we’re sisters or best friends. Don’t make us spell it out for you.

If we do end up having to explain to you that we are gay, try to contain your reaction because acting “surprised” is awkward and rude

Are you really that taken-aback that we aren’t interested in your penis?

Please don’t tell us that we don’t “look like” lesbians

HOW RUDE. We don’t take this as a compliment, and it’s actually quite offensive. What it says to us is that you view the world through stereotypes, and that your stereotype of lesbians is negative. Go read a book, take a trip, watch a documentary, do something to expand your horizons, really.

Don’t have “the pervy reaction”

You won’t be the first guy to tell us that you think lesbians are “hot,” but you will instantly be labeled by us as a disrespectful douchebag who lacks self-awareness. Plus, your perception of “hot lesbians” is most likely based on lesbian pornography created for male viewing or on girls making out at Mardi Gras – it’s not necessarily that we’re against porno or friends kissing for beaded necklaces, it’s that we’re not those girls and we’re not doing this to look “hot”. Also, why are you even thinking about my sex life? We met 30 seconds ago, you creep

Don’t ask us to “prove it”

UGH. We’re not making out for you, so stop trying to use us to act out your dreams of directing porn. Would you ask a straight couple to prove it?

Don’t try to show us how “open minded” you are for being “cool with” us, we don’t owe you a medal for not being a total bigot

It’s 2014 dude, you’re not a pioneer for being “ok” with the gays. And please, please, please do not tell us that although you’re cool with lesbians, you wouldn’t be cool with a guy hitting on you, this just drops you instantly from overly-intrusive drunk guy to insecure assface homophobe.

Don’t ask us if we’ve ever “been with a guy”

Man, why are you asking me about my sex life again? WE JUST MET. The fact that I’m a lesbian is not an invitation to ask me about my sex life. Also, what this question usually implies is that you think we’re not really lesbians, that we’d be straight if we met the right guy. Maybe you haven’t met the right guy yet to make you a gay man? This is just not your business and is incredibly disrespectful, especially if I’m out with my significant other. Which leads me to the most important rule of all….

If we’ve already gone through the intrusive experience of explaining our sexual orientation to you, do not continue hitting on us!

This is the golden rule, and although it seems obvious enough, most people would be shocked at how often lesbians have to deal with this. If I’m out with my girlfriend and you approach her, I won’t hold it against you- after all she’s like, super beautiful. However, once she makes it clear to you that we are together, and you still try to pick her, or both of us up (yes, this happens), congratulations you’ve gone from being innocently flirtatious to straight-up predatory. Imagine for a moment that I was a guy, her boyfriend specifically; would you continue your advances? My guess is no, unless you like being punched in the face. By doing this you’re insulting us by implying that our relationship isn’t real enough to merit you backing off, you’re making us uncomfortable, and you’re ignoring what we just told you. Please, do us all a favor and expand your “bro-code” to include that hitting on lesbians, especially if their girlfriend is sitting right next to them, is the most uncool. TC Mark

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