The Hook Up: Approaching girls in clubs and family dinner etiquette


I’m a bisexual girl in her early twenties who goes out a decent amount with her friends. I don’t outwardly look to hook up with someone, but if the opportunity arises then I’d usually go for it. I’ve found this effective when it comes to guys, but not really with girls. When I try for more than just a hook up, I usually don’t get a second glance. I’ve come to realize that it is hard for gay girls to tell that I’m bi, which I find slightly bizarre because a decent portion of guys think I’m gay. That opinion usually changes when I’m assertive.

All that being said, how can I get gay girls to look in my direction. Pretty much, how do I combat my shyness for girls that I don’t usually possess for the opposite sex.—Dazed & Confused

Anna says: Shyness doesn’t work so well for getting, well, anything, but especially a lady’s attention. As you figured out with guys, assertiveness is also the key to getting girls to glance back at you.

Read this previous column on overcoming shyness.

As I talked about a few weeks ago in this post on how to talk to pretty girls, you get gay girls to talk to you by talking to them first. Don’t be like 99 percent of lesbians, sitting in the corner, slowly sipping your domestic beer, and waiting for someone to approach you. Be proactive. Be confident. If you think the ladies are blowing you off because you “look straight,” then throw in a reference that lets them know you’re not. Don’t let them blow you off, in other words. Open with something like, “Hey, Girl In The Hot Pants, my friend says this shirt/nail polish/hair style makes me look straight. Do you think she’s right?” In 15 seconds, you’ve let her know you exist, told her you’re not straight, and asked her opinion, meaning she will be forced to engage with you, at least for a minute. That’s the first step.

I’m also not entirely sure what you’re after in general. When you say you “try for more than just a hook up,” does that mean you want a date? A girlfriend? A second hook up? Or is it more that you try to express any kind of interest and are blown off? If that’s the case, the problem might be that you’re not being direct enough. If you’re just friendly chatting with a girl and not letting her know you’re interested in her, then yes, she’ll probably just assume you’re not hitting on her and move on or go back to chatting her friends. I’ve had this problem a lot. I thought saying anything to a girl would show that I was interested in her—otherwise why would I be talking to her at all and not slowly sipping my domestic beer in the corner? But it turns out that merely remarking on why a bar’s design was so full of purple (true story) wasn’t enough to convince girls that they should make out with me. You have to show interest and social value—give her a reason to want to stay and talk with you and hopefully make out with you later. What can you offer? Something that’s worked well for me in the past was reading palms, and I honestly don’t even know that much about palm reading. But once you start talking about someone’s life they usually fill in their own details, which helps you be even more “psychic” than she might have originally perceived you. Plus you get to touch their hands, which is intimate and nice.

Your problem might also simply be situational, however. Queer women, in my experience and years of advice giving, aren’t incredibly likely to come home with a stranger from a club. It does happen, of course, but not the way it does when pursuing a guy hook up. There are more barriers. I’d suggest a venue change (or go online) if you find you’re really not having any luck. As you’re chatting with your lady of choice, ask her what she likes to do socially in her spare time? Then segue this into a date-like activity. For instance, “I like going to art shows.” “Oh, have you seen the newest installation at the So-and-So? It’s amazing. We should go.” Or: “I like to go dancing.” “Oh, there’s this blues dancing club I’ve been wanting to check out. We should go together next week. When are you free?” This kind of asking out can require a little planning, since you’ll need to actually have suggestions of where to go based on her interests, but it’s a pretty easy way to establish commonality and that you’re in-the-know. If her hobbies are really obscure or weird, and you can’t follow up with any activity that combines burlesque puppetry or French films about trains, you can always supply the activity yourself. “Do you like hiking? I know a great place with the most incredible sunsets.”

Those are just a few tips to get you going, Dazed & Confused. AfterEllen crew, how do you approach a woman in the bar? What has worked for you?