BY OLIVIA MARBLE ’21
When I was single, all I wanted to do was find someone with whom I could cuddle and go on cute dates. So I did what any desperate college student would do: I downloaded Tinder. While I’m bisexual, I figured I’d end up matching with more women than men since women’s colleges are notorious for being a hub for queer people. I swiped right on almost every woman on the app because all of them were so gorgeous. I swiped right on a few of the guys who were cute and seemed like they would not send me a picture of their genitals right away. I waited.
Almost immediately, the majority of the guys I matched with messaged me. Some sent me gross messages like, “So are we gonna do this or what?” Some sent me basic conversation starters like “What kind of music do you like?”
It was a fine experience overall, but I thought it was interesting that none of the women I matched with messaged me. Later, I asked my friends about it, and they said they also almost never got messages from women they matched with on Tinder. I asked a straight friend of mine if she would ever message a guy first on Tinder, and she looked at me with a horrified expression. “That’s so desperate though!” she said.
Society tells us that men are supposed to make the first move. From movies to TV shows to books, the media is filled with examples of men pursuing women, but there are very few examples of women pursuing men, and even fewer examples of women pursuing women. As a result, men are more confident than women in pursuing people to whom they are attracted. It can lead to relationships if the other person is attracted to them, but it also contributes to a sense of entitlement and aggressiveness when it comes to flirting. Once a guy got so mad that I wouldn’t go on a date with him, he told me that all his friends said they would “give someone a chance” if they were asked on a date. Almost every woman I have talked to has had a similar experience in which a man has been aggressive, entitled or manipulative when flirting with them. This leads to women associating flirting with being predatory, which further ingrains in queer women’s minds with the trope of “predatory lesbians” portrayed throughout media.
Even when women decide to flirt with other women, it’s often undetected because affection between women is normalized. Two women can hold hands, cuddle and compliment each other without it being perceived as flirting. My ex-girlfriend and I flirted with each other for two years without realizing that the other one was interested. Finally, a mutual friend of ours told us to just start dating already.
It’s a wonder that queer women get together at all. This has to change. I’m not suggesting that queer women become more aggressive or manipulative, but even a little more confidence could go a long way. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I urge all you wonderful women who love women to be a little more forward than you are right now. Don’t just compliment your crush’s outfit — ask them out for coffee! Introduce yourself to cute people at parties! Message that person you matched with on Tinder! Put yourself out there, and even if it does not work out, you’ll move on and find that special someone you have been looking for.