The New York dating scene has long been a muse for movies, TV shows and novels: When Harry Met Sally, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Girls to name a few. Sarah Jessica Parker made quite the living from a show where that was its entire premise – complemented by some Jimmy Choo’s, numerous Cosmopolitans and one sex-crazed best friend. But that’s the world of STRAIGHT dating… what’s QUEER dating like?!
I’ll admit when I first moved here as a musician with a finance job, podcast and my “adorable” Scottish accent, indiscernible to Americans from any other English speaking accent (English/Welsh/Irish/South African/Australian) I thought to myself ‘there are literally millions of women in this city, I’ll have a date every night!’. It hasn’t quite panned out that way…
In any city, when you’re LGBTQ, the numbers game is always a factor. New York’s population is 8 million. Not bad odds, right?! Oh but wait. What about age? Sexuality? Women identified? In my head, what was initially an ocean filled with plenty of fish, sharks, even octopi, we now have something akin to a paddling pool, where I probably know all the other fish who are age-appropriate, single, and moreover, my type!
Now we have an idea of the size of the dating pool, what does being a queer woman dating in NYC really look like? As a new transplant to this city, I took to the apps. Tinder, Bumble, PoF, HER. With mixed results…For the purposes of keeping this blog fairly whimsical and hopefully as amusing as a light feather tickle, I am going to briefly recount some of my least favourite dates in this city.
The Girl With the Blue Hair
Now, blue hair isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but this was not what was advertised on my date’s profile. Just to be candid about my own online profile, here’s a quick outline: solo photos only (I don’t force a potential match to pick me out of a crowd) I might be playing a guitar, messing around on vacation, casually posing with my dog – because who can resist anyone with a dog? In my bio I own up to being a Star Trek nerd and what I like doing at the weekend. I like to think it’s honest, light and shows my personality. And if I had blue hair, I would most definitely disclose. Aside from that, she tried to guess my star sign and said she “wanted to change the cultural landscape with her art”, and whilst I thought that was an admirable goal, sadly the stars were not aligning for us.
The Girl Who Saw Two of Me
Second, there was the one who turned up hammered. Not just tipsy…but hammered. She had been to a work happy hour before our date, and arrived 40 minutes late. She seemed to think the date was going fairly well, possibly mistaking my working-out-an-escape-route face, for interest. She proceeded to plant a kiss on me and asked if I wanted to see her tattoos. I wanted to see the check. Incidentally, she had a tattoo of her area code on the inside of her bottom lip. Did you know 919 is for North Carolina? CHECK!!
The Girl who Wasn’t a Match-a
I’d put a lot of effort into this date. I’d planned for us to grab a coffee and walk along the promenade of the East River on the Upper East Side on a beautiful spring day. I had researched places to get matcha lattes as I knew my date preferred matcha to a regular cup of joe. My favourite cafe spot did serve matcha, but my date inquired whether this was sweetened or unsweetened. It was apparently sweetened, and my date does not like sweetened matcha. So… we went to the 3 other places on my researched list only to find that none of them served unsweetened matcha. My date said there was a place in Chelsea she regularly goes to so we could go there and come back. From the Upper East Side… to Chelsea… FOR MATCHA. Now, dear reader, if you are not familiar with the geography of New York City, this little round trip would have taken approximately an hour and a half, so forgive me if I was somewhat bemused by this suggestion. I thought it was a joke. When I laughed she got a little huffy and said: “Don’t try and change me!” Ahem. I ran away faster than Roadrunner. There was a Steph-shaped hole in that door.
Metaphorically speaking, of course. I did actually accompany her on the quest for matcha. She was hot. I am weak.
Now, it hasn’t all been bad. I have met some lovely women, some of whom I remain friends with, well, because that’s just what we do as queer women isn’t it? But I’ve come to a conclusion, nay a resolution, for this year and I’m hoping that by committing it to the internet, I shall stick to it:
Ditch the dating apps in 2019.
No more artificially engineered produce for me… I’m going organic, baby! I have realised I have quite a lot going on in my life and I’m taking time to focus on my day job, my music and everything that goes with that: a songwriters circle I produce, a podcast I host, charity gigs I organise, and then my own tour and music releases (ahem, shameless plug for a Spring single release and U.S. tour, details can be found by following my Instagram).
I am a busy lady, and I love my life and the wonderful creative network of friends I have, but I don’t think I’m too busy to find someone nice to date whenever she so happens to appear – likely in a puff of smoke with an angelic choir behind her. I don’t want to spend my precious time swiping for validation, sending out carefully crafted messages and getting boring responses (if anything at all) or going on dates with emotionally unavailable women. Can I get an Amen?!
I felt validated in my decision recently when I met someone at a queer ladies event whom I found very attractive, but predictably unavailable. However, I admitted to myself I probably wouldn’t have swiped right on an app because I would have thought she was a bit young (under 30). The swiping culture has made me a bit jaded, filtering out people because of the smallest of things. But you can’t get a feel for someone’s charm via an app.
I am part of a beautiful technicolor community of queer women in New York now whom I enjoy spending time with as friends. If I happen to meet someone that way, or through anything else I do, that’s fine. But I’m letting go. Throwing caution to the wind. It feels like I’m going bra-less into the dating wilderness. But my puppies don’t need much support, anyway. I won’t suffer another self-imposed black eye from running away from any other hot, eccentric matcha ladies.
App-less in Manhattan, going analog in the city…
by Stephanie Manns
Stephanie Manns is a financial analyst from Scotland, now based in New York.
She is also a singer-songwriter and host of the podcast “NY Artists Collective – This Next One’s About”