Lesbian Profiles - How To Read Between The Lines

Want to know if a woman is right for you before you’ve even met? Look for these subtle signs hiding in her online user name, photo, and more.

By Tracie Potochnik

ny lesbian who takes a peek at the prospects online will find herself immersed in a sea of possibilities: With pages and pages of potential dates to peruse, you might think you’re more than ready to say sayonara to singledom. But how can you tell if that cutie who shares your love for spicy food and Jon Stewart is as perfect for you as she seems? According to dating and relationship experts, you can get a pretty good idea by turning a keen eye to her profile—not just at what it says, but more subtle hints that she may not even be aware are there. Here are some tip-offs that can tell you what kind of woman you’ll really meet on your first face-to-face date—and beyond.

The pose she strikes in her photo
Of course, photos are a great way to gauge whether you’re physically attracted to someone. But the settings of pics can also offer insights into their personality as well, says Manhattan-based psychologist Carol Friedland, Ph.D., who has extensive experience
Women who use the phrase “no drama” have probably gone through some difficult relationships.
working with the gay and lesbian community. Someone who uses a casual, candid shot, for instance, is probably easygoing and will place few expectations on her date to act a certain way. Photos that appear more staged, however—say, she’s dolled up and posing seductively or looking decidedly tough on top of a Harley—may indicate a preference for more polarized roles, where one partner’s more “masculine” and the other more “feminine.” People who post these kinds of photos may also be harder to get to know, since “they’re trying to put forth a persona, a certain image,” explains Friedland, and it may take some work to get to know the real individual. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you like a challenge—just know she might be a bit of a tough nut to crack.

Hidden clues in her user name
People didn’t choose their actual name, but they do choose their user name—so consider those few succinct syllables a concentrated dose of what you’ll get if you meet someone in person. Not surprisingly, provocative names such as “SexyLolita” or “Ilovetrouble” likely indicate she’s out for some no-strings-attached fun and should be a red flag for the more relationship-minded. On the other hand, cutesy names (think anything including the word “snuggle” or referencing a baby animal) suggest she loves being taken care of, so proceed full speed ahead if you like planning the dates, picking her up, and putting her on a pedestal in general. Also take note of usernames that clearly identify their orientation and persona, such as “Butch76” or “DubuqueDyke”: This person is probably way out of the closet and enjoys declaring it to the world, says Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and author of Gay Relationships: How to Find Them, How to Improve Them, How to Make Them Last. If that’s what you’re looking for in a date, you’ll be in heaven, but if you’re, say, not out at work or to some relatives, you might not be a great match.

What “no drama queens” really means
A random sampling of lesbian profiles will almost certainly uncover the phrases “no drama” and “no head games.” Should you take this request at face value, or is there more to it? According to our experts, there’s definitely more. For starters, women who use this phrase have probably gone through some difficult relationships, perhaps recently. “The hurt is talking,”
Women who go into extensive detail about their past relationships are making an effort to bond at lightspeed.
explains Tessina. “She’s probably not going to be ready for a commitment for a while, since she hasn’t finished processing her previous relationship.” And while this may seem paradoxical, these types might actually be drama queens in denial. “Drama haunts their personal lives, but they don’t understand how they participate in that,” points out Tessina. “It might mean that they’re blaming their ex for what went wrong in the past and don’t take responsibility their actions.”

Is she raring for a relationship?
Not all lesbians, as the joke goes, show up on their second date with a U-Haul. But stereotypes aside, some women do tend to get very close to someone they’re dating pretty darn quickly. So how do you identify them, whether it’s because you are hoping to bond quickly or want to avoid that scenario? The answer may lie in their personal essay: Women who go into extensive detail about their past relationships and innermost desires are making an effort to bond at light speed. For instance, you haven’t even met her yet and perhaps you’re hearing about her teenage coming-out experience in her profile: This could mean she’s craving a serious relationship pronto. And if she’s casting a really wide net—looking for a woman ages 20-55 within 500 miles of her hometown—she either lives in a very small town or is dying to settle down (and is even willing to relocate). If you are, too, go for it—but if not, proceed with caution.

How to tell if this is her first time
Some of the “woman seeking women” ads you’ll encounter are from girls who’ve never slept with a woman but are curious about doing so. And while some profiles are open about the fact that its owner is experimenting, in other cases it’s not as obvious. If getting to the bottom of this question is important for you, keep an eye out for gender-neutral phrases like “I’m looking for someone who…” or “the person I’m looking for…” verses gender-specific ones “I’m looking for a woman who, " or “the woman I want should be…” says Tessina. Gender-specific phrases suggest the person is comfortable with the idea that she’s gay, says Tessina; gender-neutral phrases might mean she’s new to the gay dating scene, bi-curious, or not 100 percent sure that women are her thing. While this type of person might not be your very best bet for a long-term relationship, it’s not necessarily a reason to write them off—everyone has to start somewhere, and who knows? Maybe it could be with you.

Tracie Potochnik is a writer living in Providence, Rhode Island. Her online profile included a casual photo, a decidedly neutral user name, and no mention of cuddling.
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