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September 13, 2010 | by  | in Features |
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Auntie Jac’s guide to cultivating lavender, for beginners

How can you spot a lesbian/bi/bi-curious female?

For years, this question has mystified the women-loving women of the world. Before ‘Blue Thursdays’, we tried: a blue star tattoo on the inside wrist, silver rings worn on the thumb or middle fingers, the ankh, labrys, lambda, the colour lavender, rainbows and numerous awful haircuts.

Hands up! Scientific studies suggest lesbians have much shorter index fingers than ring fingers compared to straight women. This may be related to androgen exposure in utero, showing a biological basis for homosexuality. It’s also ‘handy’ to note most gay girls tend to keep their nails short. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a sign of being butch—it’s practical for amorous reasons. I’ll leave you to figure out why when you meet Miss Right!

The Gaydar is a debatable concept, but I can usually pick the queer girls fairly accurately. Watch for body language, flirting, or verbal cues like the use of feminine, or gender neutral, pronouns and queer-friendly topics of conversation. No single sign will guarantee she’s gay, but you’re looking for an overall picture here.

So if you want to find a queer girl, go where other girls go, smile, talk, make friends and maybe you’ll meet Miss Right. Don’t forget to drop some hints yourself!

So what do you do when you spot a gay girl you like?

You’ve noticed her rings, rainbow bracelet and the way she blushes when you look at her, what next? Often, two girls who obviously like each other will flirt, hope and secretly wallow in self doubt… While each is patiently waiting for the other girl to make the first move.

What’s the simplest secret to getting a girl? If you like her, let her know! Women’s intuition unfortunately doesn’t extend to mind-reading for most of us.

To be out, or not to be out?

The problem with visibility is that everybody can see you! The reason behind subtle signs to identify other lesbians is that it hasn’t always been safe to be out. In making ourselves obvious to other gay girls, we are also making ourselves obvious to homophobes, pervy guys and people who might be cool with our orientation but we’d rather didn’t know right now. We each need to find our own sense of balance and work out how ‘out’ we’re comfortable with being at any given time.

Where do you meet a girl?

Lesbians can be found any place women go. We’re probably shopping at the same supermarket, contemplating membership at the same gym, or sitting in the same lecture as you. If you’re not confident enough to approach a girl outside of a queer context though, join UniQ and come to meetings or movie nights. Look online for a lesbian dinner club, walking group, book club or the pink sofa dating website. My friends and I have a semi-regular L Word DVD night at my place and hit a gay bar. Making your own girly-centric events can sometimes attract some cute ‘friends of friends’. Put yourself out there and extend your social circle. Often the best way to meet someone is to make friends with other like-minded queer people or queer-friendly straight people and meet their friends. You never know, they might know someone you’d really like!

What if it works?

Once you’ve met someone, you get to figure out the relationship and sexual aspects. It’ll be just as fun and angst-ridden as anyone else’s love life!

You might wonder about other issues though. How do you tell your parents? What’s the deal with civil unions? Are there queer parenting options? How do you deal with homophobia in the workplace? This is where that awesome social network you’ve been building comes into its own. You now have friends who understand what you’re going through. They probably know of some great professional and volunteer resources. The internet is also your friend, especially for anonymous information if you’re more comfortable as a closet dweller. There is a world of lesbian-friendly information out there, all you need to do is look.

The easiest way to cultivate ‘lavender’ friendships and romance is to become a part of the LGBT community. You’ll expand your social options and probably learn a lot along the way; be it the name of a good lesbian novel, gossip on a hot bisexual actress, the website address for rainbow families, or a tasty recipe for vegetarian chilli ‘non-carne’. You might meet me—don’t be shy, come and ask me to autograph your copy of Salient with my cell phone number, or maybe we can just introduce each other to some cute friends!

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