There was a steep learning curve when I got into my first relationship with a woman. Even though I had had sex with women before, I only started going on dates with women a few years ago — and very quickly got into my first relationship with a woman. And in a lot of ways, it’s not as different as you might think — we hang out, we go out, we have tifs, we get over them, and we’re building a life together. The biggest change about being with a woman wasn’t about the relationship itself — it was how other people responded to us.
That’s not to say that same-sex relationships are the same or are treated the same — they’re all as different as the people involved in them. And some same-sex relationships will have challenges that I’ve never experienced. But as a couple with two of us who both read as femme, we’ve gotten some real zingers coming our way. From men thinking we want to have a threesome with them (NOPE) to people assuming it’s just a phase (ALSO NOPE) people think a lot of very frustrating things. It’s like when they see two women with long hair kissing, their brains cease to function. Here are the things I wish people would stop staying to me and my partner.
1. “Are You Two Sisters?”
No. And also — gross. It seems like when people see two women being intimate but not in an overtly sexual way, their brains jump straight to assuming they’re family. Just because we might be physically close and relaxed around each other doesn’t mean we share a gene pool. In this case, it’s pretty much the opposite.
2. “But Are You *REALLY* Together?”
Of course our relationship is just a ploy to trick you, an Adonis, out of your rightful spoils. The amount of double takes and disbelief we get is totally nauseating. It’s amazing that if I make up an imaginary boyfriend, many men will happily move along, but if my literal partner of three years is in front of them, they’re just not so sure.
3. *It’s Just A Phase*
Ugh. A thousand times ugh. I know that tons of queer folk probably get this, but there’s something about looking feminine that makes people assume you’ll eventually revert back to a masculine partner. It’s really heteronormative, and just frigging annoying.
4. “You Don’t Seem Gay”
Well, I’m bisexual first off — but bi-erasure is whole other issue. But I find this one infuriating, because it’s so reductive. It assumes all queer people in the world only look or act one way. Some queer folk are also alternative, some aren’t, some have long hair, some have short. There’s no way to “seem” gay, unless you literally see me with my tongue in a woman’s throat. Then, fair enough.
5. “When Are You Having Kids?”
Because if you have two sets of ovaries, you must be desperate to procreate. I get asked this way more with my girlfriend than I have in any other relationship. Take all of that societal pressure on women to be maternal… and double it.
6. “So Are You The Dude?”
Nope, no dude here. As you see, we are two cis women. Move along now, alright?
Also in this category: “Who will be the bride?” “Who will carry?” “Which of you is top?” and other deeply invasive, inappropriate questions trying to gender us.
7. “Do You Miss Dick?”
Again, I’m sure other couples get this, but from an informal poll of gay friends, we seem to get this a lot more than some less femme couples. I think it’s again the really reductive, heteronormative association of femininity with masculinity, but also — how is that an appropriate thing to ask someone!?
Like I said, every relationship is different — but being a femme in a relationship with another femme has its own challenges. People reveal their assumptions and prejudices more easily than you might think — and it can be really frustrating to see.
Originally posted on Bustle