“The Softest Kiss Of My Life”: How A Good First Date Affirmed My Queerness

I’d confidently say everyone loves a horrible first date story. You could be hunkered down on a table at the pub on a Saturday night, cackling with coworkers in the lunchroom, gossiping with your lash lady, anything and get the same raise of the eyebrows when you say, “oh I had a horibleeee date last night”. 
Human beings are, at our core, nosey little things. We love a good story to be a good audience for, something that serves as a prompt from a big reaction and a launch pad for the sharing of our own war stories. 
It’s a communal process, a form of storytelling that builds and reinforces social bonds through vulnerability, sympathy and laughter. The relatable and entertaining nature of bad date stories also lends itself to the attention economy, where stories must capitalise on short attention spans and compete against a saturated media landscape. 
I’m going to tell a first date story today. Now let me spoil the ending, it’s not bad or overwhelmingly woeful, it’s going to be just a good date. Crazy, I know! It requires a bit of backstory though. 
Now, I love women. Although it took me a long time to articulate it to myself, ever since I can remember there’s been a tenderness I’ve felt for women that goes beyond a purely platonic relationship. Due to the depth and intimacy of my female friendships, I struggled to dissect friendship from romantic attraction and often conflated the two. 
It wasn’t until my 20s that I started to unpack this distinction and reconcile my attraction to men, women and non-binary people. I settled with the label 'bisexual' at 21 but I’m not too attached to it, I’m really just attracted to hot people and if ‘bisexual’ indicates to others that anyone is fair game then amazing. 

The gap between admiring women and dating women has been a journey I’ve particularly struggled to traverse.

While dating in general has been like an obstacle course to me, the gap between admiring women and dating women has been a journey I’ve particularly struggled to traverse. After being socialised to just pursue friendship with women I found it particularly confusing to attempt to flirt with women or recognise when I’m being flirted with (I also struggle with social cues in general). 
I had three dates with women in the last year that all went horribly, like crying to your best friend on the phone from a public bathroom bad. I’d jokingly said to my friends during Mardi Gras, “One more bad date with a woman and I’m handing in my ‘bisexual’ badge - voluntarily!” 
However, one Wednesday night I’m swiping on the apps (as you do) and end up matching with *Margaret. She’s my type to a tee and probably one of the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen in my life, I don’t know where it came from but I decided that I was going to throw away the insecurity this time and present the most confident version of myself. I messaged first, a little “Hey gorgeous!” text, and the whole conversation was easy. 
We planned to see each other on Sunday but, of course, had a cheeky little 11pm phone call to suss the vibes. It was fun, flirty and the banter was top tier. We did talk about my lack of experience with Margeret asking why I didn’t seem nervous, I said honestly that being nervous wasn’t a helpful emotion for me so I’d rather just see what happens with us as long as she feels comfortable with that. 
Sunday couldn’t have come round quicker! The original plan was to go to a juice bar in Newtown and take her to my favourite candle shop but that fell to the wayside when I realised that the shop isn’t open on Sundays. I also had an emergency come up with a friend and while Margeret, the sweetheart, offered to reschedule to another day I was a bit scared that my confidence streak wouldn’t last that long. So we replanned to something a bit more chill, a little restaurant dinner and a movie back at mine. 
I offered her to park in my apartment building where I watched her do the cleanest reverse park, who knew good driving could be so sexy? We went to one of my favourite Korean-Japanese restaurants to share pork kimchi jjigae and chicken katsu with a variety of banchan, the conversation was easy and it seemed like in no time we ended up back at mine. 

I remember slowly pulling back and being unable to compute the softest kiss of my life.

I knew I wanted to kiss her but I wasn’t quite sure how. It was a question that floated in the back of my mind as I showed her my shelf of shells and crystals (yes I’m a woo-woo girl, sue me). I was holding a piece of amethyst when Margeret asked a question, the content of which evades me, and I said something in return. She broke out in the most beautiful smile and kissed me.
I remember slowly pulling back and being unable to compute the softest kiss of my life. While my brain cells regrouped, I panicked at the silence and looked back to my shell collection, “um, and this is an abalone shell”. She must have found my nerdy rambling endearing and, with the patience of a saint, talked for god knows how long until I built up the courage to kiss her again. 
There was a soft, slow growth of affirmation in my chest. I kept having to pull away, catch a breath and sigh, “wow, I do like girls huh”, which always started an episode of giggles. It’s one thing to know theoretically your attraction but there's something deeply gratifying about confirmation - that the ‘bisexual thing’ was real
There’s something glowing about a good date, the type of date that reaffirms who you are and provides comfort. Although dating is often defined in social narratives through shock and bewilderment, it can be easy to forget that dating is also meant to be a positive tool for exploration. 
Sexuality has been a facet of my identity filled with tension and anxiety, it’s a part of myself that has always felt too vulnerable and precious to me. I had to fight to acknowledge it within myself, to hold myself through realigning my self-perception and grapple with exposing this hard-won part of my identity to the judgement of outsiders. 
Going on this date with Margeret though showed me a different way, that dating doesn’t have to chip away at us or be a means to an end. It is a way for people to feel affirmed in what they know about themselves and discover things that they may have hidden for our safety. 
Now, I want to ask people for their good date stories – who were the people and experiences that made you more comfortable with yourself? That seems like a nice thing to connect on. 

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