The Art Of Lesbian Dating

Want to make the first move but don’t know where to begin? Expert Diana Cage lends some real-life advice to keep the lovestruck from striking out.

By Chelsea Kaplan

ave you zeroed in on a potential love interest but are unsure of how to make the first move? We asked Diana Cage, host of The Diana Cage Show on Sirius Radio’s OutQ and author of Girl Meets Girl: A Dating Survival Guide, for her tips on approaching the object of your affection—and guaranteeing she’ll return your advances. So get set for dating success!

What’s one of the trickiest aspects of the lesbian dating scene?

One of the things that I hear ladies talking about the most is how both parties are afraid to be the aggressor. We were all raised with, um, let’s
If your self-esteem is intact, rejection will barely register as a blip on your radar.
see—zero vocabulary for initiating sex. In fact, for the most part I’d say that those of us raised female are taught that the only way to get dates is to flirt and be coy and hope people come along and demand that you go out with them. It’s easy with guys; you pretty much just have to stand there and someone will come along and start hustling you for a date. I’m not saying this never happens with girls, but it’s rare. If you want to be successful with the ladies, you’ve got to learn to make a move.

How can a woman tell by another woman’s body language if she’s available and interested?

If she’s out and by herself, she probably doesn’t really want to be alone—if she did she’d stay home. It’s also promising if she’s at a table of girls who all seem to be friends. Go ahead and approach her. Ask her a simple question. Check her out in a way that makes her feel hot, but don’t go overboard or it will seem like you just got out of jail. If she leans into you when you talk to her, it’s a sign she’s interested. If she likes you, she will encourage you to pay attention to her. She’ll ask you to join her, she’ll laugh at your jokes, and she’ll listen to you.

OK, so what’s the next step?

I always recommend flattering the object of your attention. Compliment her appearance, her intelligence, her singing voice or whatever it is you notice
We were all raised with zero vocabulary for initiating sex.
about her. A long, slow glance and a sweet smile will always get someone’s attention. Approach with confidence and ask a girl you’re interested in if you can buy her a drink. Try asking her to dance with you or to join you at your table. Listen to her as she speaks, and ask her questions about herself. Whatever you choose, don’t ogle her—you’ll seem like a pervert.

How do you deal with your advances being rejected?

Being out in the dating world means occasionally facing rejection. If your self-esteem is intact, rejection won’t register as much more than a tiny blip on your radar. Reminding yourself on a regular basis that you are attractive and worthwhile can help you start believing it about yourself. Remind yourself as often as you can that you are desirable, but keep in mind that doing so doesn’t mean that every person will desire you.

What are some of the best and worst places to meet other women?

You know where we meet each other? Through other dykes. For one thing, we recycle exes. Another thing is we all know each other, so we’re good at fixing up friends with friends. If you are single and looking, make it known. Tell everyone you know that you want to meet someone. Go to parties or throw a party and tell all your friends that they have to bring along one person you don’t know. Get out, get involved. Turn your flirt on and smile at every pretty girl you see.

Joining an activity group of some kind expands your social circle dramatically. Start dropping in on your friend’s book-club meetings or get involved with a film festival. You’ll meet new people to whom you may be attracted, and you’ll also have access to all the people your new friends know, and you may find that you like one of them.

Check out queer film festivals, erotica readings, art openings, yoga, the gym, dance clubs, bars, the library, Pride festivals, activist groups, feminist organizations, LGBT organizations (especially good if you’re just out), or any queer-sponsored event.

OK, and the worst places?

In my opinion, the worst place to meet women is at giant drunken lesbian events like Dinah Shore. You might meet someone, sure, but she might not remember you the next day.

Chelsea Kaplan is deputy editor of and regularly appears as a guest on XM Radio’s Broad Minded and WBAL Baltimore’s The Shari Elliker Show. Her blog, “I’m Somebody’s Mother?” can be found at
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