Navigating the lesbian circle

Last week I had my first experience with the lesbian circle, something I’d heard all about, and felt lucky to have escaped run-ins thus far.

For those who aren’t aware, the lesbian circle is basically when a group of lesbians (usually from the same city) have a connection or association, because of sleeping with each other and their exes or best friends. In today’s age, apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge allow you to avoid those instances by seeing the connections ahead of time. However, apps like Her, and OkCupid don’t. In my particular situation, a quick last minute date was set up on OkCupid, so there were no hints to connections or even time to scrub my friends list.

Me and *Bev (not her real name) have matched on OkCupid in the last year a few times. Matched meaning, we both liked each other. We’ve sent a few messages back and forth but never have exchanged numbers or met in person. I’d met someone and closed my account; she’d closed hers, we both had gotten serious with someone else while we were just barely talking. The timing just wasn’t right.

So last week we match again. This time, she sends a message, and it’s very brief, straight to the point, basically saying, “Let’s get together. How about two days from now?”

We meet at a fancy sushi restaurant on her side of town, and order some rolls and chef’s choice; risky and exciting, but it paid off. It was an octopus salad, and it was amazing. The rolls were good, too. We were off to a great start.

Bev works in the sun and with her hands. She’s tan, strong, hands-on, cute, and funny. She’s personable, punctual, and open. As we are asking the questions that you do on dates, taking in all each others appearances, and seeing the things that you’ll remember throughout your relationship, she said something. She said the thing. She said, “I think you know my friend.”

After a split second of panic, reminiscing, evaluating the treatment of girls I’ve dated and what they might possibly tell someone else, I came back to the present and said, “Uh oh.” Luckily she laughed. I asked who her friend was and she said “Jessy.” *Jessy was her neighbor, and instantly it clicked. I sighed in relief.

The last time we spoke, Jessy told me she started sleeping with her neighbor across the street. I wasn’t sleeping with Jessy then and hadn’t for months. The thing is Jessy is polyamorous, and that is not a secret from Bev or me.

So my first question to Bev was, “Do you live across the street or upstairs?” She said across the street, and I laughed. We had acknowledged our connection, but neither of us was offended or bothered by it. We talked a little about Jessy and how she was doing, and who she was doing. While it seemed like that could be an awkward conversation, it really wasn’t. It was like we had a built-in past, a connection. I automatically felt a little more comfortable with her, and excited to get to know her. I obviously think Jessy has good taste—she dated me.

I feel it’s important to note that neither Bev nor myself identify as poly, and made that clear over dinner. We finished sushi and went to a bar before I gave her a ride home to the street I was already familiar with. We talked about getting together for some recreational non-sexual activities with Jessy, and definitely seeing each other again.

My first experience with the dreaded lesbian circle wasn’t all that bad. In fact, if anything it was promising. I try not to live my life with any regrets, including who I dated or didn’t. 

The circle isn’t as threatening or scary as you’d think. It may just work out in your favor. Get out there. Date who you want, and remember: Someone else’s mismatch, may be perfect for you. She’s always someone’s ex.