Post-lockdown dating diaries: I have a different kind of nervousness for women I’m attracted to
24th Aug 2021
Hannah Kingston reports on the joys (and trials) of post-break-up, post-lockdown dating in Australia.
She’s tall, dark and handsome, just my type. I internally gasp as she strolls through the fairy-lit bar. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone so beautiful before. The neurotic side of me immediately runs into an overcompensating mode in a bid to ensure that she fancies me back.
I can hear myself talking like a speeding train but I can’t shut up. She later tells me that she didn’t really understand what I was saying when she first sat down. We (I feel) instantly hit it off. She’s smart, I’m sweating. She’s funny. I’m saying the first thing that pops into my mind. Disaster.
This is a different kind of nervousness. It’s the nervousness I reserve for women I’m attracted to. I’m less experienced with women than men and therefore tend to go further up the random Richter scale when in a dating scenario.
Is it because I inherently respect and admire women more than men? Am I allowed to say that in a national publication? Well, I’ve said it now.
Being bisexual is great because it means that there’s a greater variety of people to obsess over and be ghosted by.
It’s also very confusing sometimes. Am I in love or does that person just reply promptly to my texts? Am I in love or does that person just like reading? Am I in love or does that person just take horoscopes as seriously as me?
I remember when I was twelve, watching Mr and Mrs Smith, everyone was going on about what a ride Brad Pitt was while I was staring longingly at Angelina Jolie. Uma Thurman was another obsession, particularly in Kill Bill Vol I & II. Revenge is best served in a yellow jumpsuit am I right?
Googling “girls kissing”, “gay quizzes” and “is Uma Thurman gay” as a youngster already confirmed what I knew to be true. It just took me a few more years to get there. I wasn’t sure if I was actually bisexual or I just had very intense #WomenCrushWednesdays. I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure, for fear that it would be viewed as a phase, a bid to be different à la veganism or a septum piercing, or even worse, people thinking I was saying it to act out some sort of male fantasy on a disco dance floor.
Doing the majority of my growing up in an all-girls-former-convent secondary school, where the sex education consisted of “just don’t have sex” didn’t give me the vote of confidence I needed in my sexuality. I didn’t even know having sex with a woman was an option really, I was too busy being bemused by the fast and furious presentation of nappy style sanitary towels.
I lived in great fear that speaking about my undying love for Uma Thurman would result in my peers thinking that I fancied them. I used to hate getting changed for P.E in case I accidentally made eye contact with someone’s chest. There’s really nothing like 2013 teenage angst with a splash of Catholic Guilt. If it was a candle, it would smell like inner-turmoil.
It’s interesting to me as an adult that people are somewhat surprised when sexuality comes up in conversation and I mention I’m bi, given that I actively spend a lot of time in gay bars, trying my best to figure out if that girl is gay, or on a hen party. Unfortunately for me, that girl is usually on a hen party but I will only realize this after an hour of my best attempt at “come hither eyes” on the George dancefloor, always clocking the penis straws too late.
I have really gotten away from the story. Let’s dig in.
*Hayley is the holy trinity, funny, smart and beautiful. Bonus point for the fact that she drinks cocktails as fast as I do.
While we’re drinking cocktails in a bar, my friends are getting ready to go to a rave. I, not expecting the date to go well, because, let’s face it, it rarely does, promised them that I would attend. I have a conundrum on my hands. I don’t want to leave a great date but I don’t want to be a bad friend. It feels intense to ask someone you met an hour and a half ago to come to meet your friends and travel 45 minutes to an undisclosed location at 11pm.
I take a slug of my gin and ask the question. I do not want to miss this opportunity. She’s game. I don’t know much about the rave, other than the fact that it is allegedly going to be the event of the century. By the time we approach my friends, they are, for use of a better term, “lit”. They insist that we grab the minibus ahead of them alongside some very nice, but very on-drugs strangers.
The animated chat is slipping through my fingers. The tinny sound of techno music playing off a phone and lack of know-how as to where we’re going feels like the opening scenes of Taken, 3? 4? 5? How many times can someone’s daughter go missing in all fairness? My dad is not Liam Neeson and he can’t get to Australia with border closures so if this ends up being a dangerous situation, we’re snookered.
We arrive. The “rave” is a string of fairy lights on a tree and someone playing music off a laptop. I was expecting a stage, strobe lights, smoke machines, food trucks. My stomach drops. It’s like that moment when it’s your turn to play a song at a house party and no one is enthused by your choice. You feel lame. The rave is a swell of forty shirtless bodies dancing around a laptop on the side of the road. The vibe is weird.
I so want to bail from the moment my boot hits the sand, but every time I say “do you want to leave?” in my mind, it sounds sleazy. I continue to do a weird shuffle dance back and forth on the sand. The air is balmy and not a drop of water on site. I am overcome with dehydration and mild shame for my Mark Corrigan style dance moves.
“I think I’m going to go.” I don’t know if she wants me to go with her, but I know I need to stop being such a nervous Nelly about the whole situation. “I’ll grab a taxi with you and make sure you get home safe.”
My fear of rejection often stands in the way of being assertive but when she asks if I want to get McDonald’s in the taxi, I know it’s on.
Here’s another reason I’m more nervous around women, and it reads as so juvenile, I can barely type it. I find sleeping with women much more intimidating because I can’t help but compare my body to theirs. With men, I don’t take issue because we have different ingredients.
Comparison truly is the thief of joy but it can be difficult to get out of your own way when you’re feeling both mildly stressed and very excited at the same time.
Then there’s the added, in my case, imagined pressure that I should know exactly what I’m doing. Objectively speaking, no one knows exactly what they’re doing 99% of the time.
Luckily, in this instance, I’m too busy having fun to take note of my insecurities.
Less than 48 hours from our first date, *Hayley picks me up and hands me a vegan Magnum. It’s the reminder I need that romance is not dead. Less than 48 hours later, I’m on a plane to eventually reside 8 hours away from my one and only truly great app date in a very long time.
All good things have an expiry date, particularly pesto, and romance.
PS. Stating bisexual on my dating profile does not mean that I am interested in having a threesome. I do not want to be your third, okay?
PPS. If like me, you spent a lot of time confused re. your sexuality, just know that you are not alone and I am right here with you. With time comes clarity.
PPPS. Petition for Pride to be a year-long event?
*Name has been changed.
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