Dear Diana: Femme Spotting

I’m a high femme who often gets read as straight by most lesbians. Other than by adding rainbow accessories to my outfits, are there any good queer markers for high femmes?

Listen sister, I feel your pain. I mean what’s a girl got to do to get a little attention around here?

Hello? Butches? I’m talking to you. Stop thinking we’re hanging out in the bar being all bicurious, trying to pick up a lady so we can have sex with her in front of our boyfriend. Because that’s gross.

I once saw a straight couple walk into the Lexington with that sort of thing in mind. I think the dude was wearing a flowy rayon shirt? They didn’t stay long. I guess they didn’t find a bunch of big ol’ tattooed, pool playing bulldaggers as hot as I do. Ha. Good because that means more for me!

Oh wait, this isn’t answering your question at all, is it?

OK, there are a few ways to queer yourself up even when you dress like a lady.

Bust out your take-me-seriously glasses. The only drawback to this one is that Lisa Loeb co-opted the hoochie librarian look in 2000; effectively watering down a high femme standard. God damn straight people always get their fashion ideas from queers! This tip wont get you read as gay on the street, but it will still help you out in the dyke bar.

Learn to flirt. Be more aggressive. Don’t be afraid to tell a woman she’s hot. If you are waiting for the other woman to make all the moves and she’s wondering if you are really gay, no one is going to get any. If you are high femme the onus to make the move often falls on you.

Tattoos are an option. Don’t get anything cheesy like, say, a big Lambda on your forearm, because people will laugh at you. But there is something about the juxtaposition of a little Marc Jacobs cocktail dress and visible tattoo that reads queer.

Finally, try dressing like a drag queen. Female femininity, as much as female masculinity is a construct. While your gender may be inherent, your presentation of it isn’t. I was not born wearing false eyelashes and a push-up bra, were you? So if you take your femininity to another level–hone it, perform it, make it unique–the intelligent women, the ones with a trained eye, will read you queer.

Got a question?

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