Despite loving West Side Story and hiking as a kid, it took me a long time to realise I wasn't straight. Every coming out process is different, but for many of my sexually-fluid female friends and I, unwinding the internalised biphobia that told us there was nothing gay about wanting to kiss our school friend's cheek and stroke her hair while we talked about boys was a confusing process.
Once we were ready to come out to ourselves and everyone else, many of us were already in our early twenties, far beyond the sloppy teenage years, with no experience navigating girl-on-girl sexual tension. Which left us with a lot of questions in the gay bar: what if she thinks I'm straight? What if she's just being friendly? How do I… kiss her?
I'm not saying bi girls don't have game, but I for one could do with some direction. Enter: the lesbian lothario, who might be able to advise us wretched souls on how to be gay. I asked four womxn who mostly get with womxn for their advice, on the basis they've been grafting a lot longer than I have.
Founder of OKHA: The Queer and Black Bookclub
"Here's the difference between a girl being friendly and a girl being flirty: they're fucking gay. They're queer, they're same-sex invested. But if I'm trying to chirpse a girl, I'm so obvious with my energy and manner. I'm far more tactile with people I'm interested in than people who are just my homies. Give them eye contact, little touches, tell them they're cute, be silly towards them.
"Realistically, if you want to get with someone, the most you can do is let them know that you're feeling them. Be like, 'Hey, I think you're fab. Let's go get some drinks, go to a bookshop, let's go do something.' And then whatever happens following that is beautiful.
"My main concern usually isn't what someone's sexual orientation is, but whether they're feeling me. Because even if they've spent their whole life dating people of the opposite gender, you might be that person to bring it all to the other side. But something to definitely avoid when you're queer flirting is assuming someone's gender or pronouns. That can really rub people up the wrong way, and show that you're not really in touch with what it means to be queer now."
LICK Events Founder
Knowing if a girl is being friendly or flirty is a tricky one, because even if someone is being friendly it doesn't mean they aren't interested. Some people aren't good at flirting. I'd say, if you fancy them, flirt anyway and you will soon find out!
My flirting never gets misread as friendliness, but then again I'm extremely flirty. I think good eye contact and body language is key to showing someone you're interested, though. I know for some people it doesn't feel easy, but confidence really is everything. If you walk into the situation with confidence, you will more than likely always get the outcome you want. Walk over, flirt for a minute and then go straight for the kiss – that's what I say.
Legendary Lesbian Memer
If she is laughing and you are laughing, if she touches you, if she leans into you during conversation, if she is smiling at you – chances are she is flirting. And context is important. Are you at a lesbian bar? Are you at a party with other gay women? If you're in a predominantly queer environment, I think you can safely assume that any flirtation is exactly that – a romantic overture. If you're going for a hookup, you need to read the cues, but sometimes they aren't so obvious, and lesbians do have to be hit over the head on occasion. However, it really is as simple as going for it. Take the leap, because if you don't no one may ever push things over the edge.
If you're enjoying a drink with a girl, the conversation is flowing, you're laughing and you feel chemistry with her, why not ask her if you can kiss her, or ask her to come back to your place. If she wants to she will, and if she doesn't she won't. But my biggest piece of advice is that if you want to initiate a hook-up, you should, you know, initiate it.
A girl is being flirty if she makes intense eye contact with you, like she's trying to spell the alphabet with her eyes, and she touches your knee. If you want to initiate something, kiss them on the cheek! If they want to kiss you back they'll kiss your cheek, and then you can kiss their neck, and if they kiss yours, go for the lips.
The friendship / relationship early confusion thing doesn't happen if you communicate your intentions – I think womxn who are used to men making the move are worried about being forward or whatever, but honestly, just say what you want from the second you start talking. Just don't talk about your ex as the way to flag up that you're queer lol.