Hey there. I am really bad at telling if a girl is straight or gay. I've hung out with this girl a few times and I want to ask her out. She doesn't have a boyfriend. Should I try to date her if she's straight?
LOTS of complications packed into that email, no? In no particular order, here is my (admittedly scant) wisdom on straight women and butches:
- If she's actually straight, you're not going to "turn" her. If you identify as lesbian, think about this: is a really hot bio-man going to suddenly turn you straight? No. (Okay, except for maybe Jake Gyllenhall, and even then, only for a night.) And wouldn't you think that a guy who presumed that he could turn you was an arrogant arse? See what I mean? Respect straight women's sexuality. That said...
- Sometimes, "straight" women are still figuring things out. After all, I was a "straight" woman once. So was my DGF. So was my buddy C. Just because she's straight now doesn't mean she'll still be straight in six months. And THAT said, tread lightly because:
- It generally sucks to be someone's experiment. You're trying to build a relationship with her and SHE'S still trying to figure out whether she wants to go back to her ex-boyfriend? Yuck. Who needs that kind of pressure? And it doesn't feel particularly good when they go back to guys, either, saying that they decided they think of you as "more of a friend." Do you really want to be someone's coming out confidante, experiment, and lover? (The correct answer is: NO.)
- Straight women flirt with butches. I don't know why it is, but many straight women flirt with butches a LOT. It's like we're "safe" recipients of flirtatious adoration. Then if we ever try to make a move, they can suddenly be like: "Oh no--I'm straight, you know that!" I have a few straight friends who will hug me, hang on me, and tell me I smell good, look hot, etc. But I guarantee that if I ever DID anything, they'd flip. This really, really sucks if you're attracted to any of them. (I, personally, feel lucky that 99% of the time, I am attracted to other butchy types, because they tend to be more obviously "out.")
- There is a difference between bisexual women and straight women who are "experimenting." I know more than one lesbian who says she won't date bisexual women. This strikes me as silly. If someone has a track record of dating men AND women and identifies as bi, she's not "experimenting;" she's genuinely bisexual. (If she's never dated a woman, though... tread lightly.) Yeah, I know it might be a little mind-boggling to those of us who are 0-1's or 5-6's on the Kinsey Scale, but some people truly don't care about their partner's gender. They are not "undecided."
I cannot, however, speak to is how straight women respond to dating trans men. I know a handful of trans men-straight women couples who seem to be dating without incident. If any readers want to speak to this (or anything else I've left out), please comment!