I've always found it perplexing when men insist lesbians date women because we "can't find a man".
Have they met men?
Anyone with a vulva who's been on Tinder knows racking up male matches is like shooting fish in a barrel. It doesn't matter if you're not conventionally attractive, if your profile only has a single out-of-focus image and no information, or if your job description reads "current inmate". You'll be brimming with "Hey" – and the more creative "hot pic" – messages in no time.
I don't think it needs to be said, but straight men aren't exactly discerning about where they put their dicks.
Landing a woman, though? That can feel akin to discovering a winning lottery ticket on the footpath.
Besides the fact there are simply fewer queer women than straight men, we're also way pickier about who we'll give our time to. And as if it weren't already difficult enough to be a woman who likes women, trying to decipher if a girl is actually into you is like trying to work out what happened to Ross' son after season 8 of Friends (does anyone else find it weird he just disappeared?!?? WHERE ARE YOU, BEN?!)
Watch: Madison Missina on lesbian sex versus hetero sex. Post continues below.
Thankfully, there are a few hacks you can use to make it easier to tell whether she's straight and "just being nice" or queer and DTF.
1. It's in the details.
Straight women are masters at showering each other with compliments, which is nice and all, but it also really complicates flirting for queer women.
Is she cooing over your jeans because she wants a pair? Or because she wants to get into them?
The answer is in the details.
Straight women (and queer women who are just being friendly, for that matter) will compliment you based off of something general – your cute dress, those amazing shoes, or how on-fleek (is that still a thing people say? I'm so millennial it hurts) your eyeliner is.
But women who are into you will be way more specific. They won't just point out how great your eye makeup looks, they'll let you know how well it highlights your peepers. Read: "Wow. That eyeshadow really shows off how beautiful your eyes are." In short, a girl who's complimenting not just your lewk, but how you look IN IT is crushing hard.
2. Proximity matters.
Have you ever noticed you tend to stand closer to people you feel connected to during conversation? That's a psychological phenomenon known as "zoning", introduced by researcher, Edward Hall in the late fifties as part of a study into proxemics.
Though it sounds overly science-y, proxemics is essentially the study of personal space, and it can reveal a lot about who's secretly crushing on us.
In his research, Hall discovered four "zones" we all allocate to different people, based off of our relationship to them. Basically, the more intimate our relationship, the closer we stand to someone. In the closest zone, known as the "intimate zone", we stand around 45 centimetres (just under half a metre) apart.
And though this zone is typically reserved for partners and close family members, it can also apply to people we've just met with whom we have romantic or sexual interests in.
Part of the reason it's so easy to spot two people flirting at a bar is because they're standing in very close proximity to one another.
What's really fascinating about proxemics, is that if someone we don't feel close to, or don't want to feel close to, stands in our intimate zone, we'll readjust the space by stepping back – often without even noticing.
So if you're hearting the beautiful woman you just got the nerves to strike up a convo with at the coffee shop, try subtly closing the space between the two of you so you're in the intimate zone (just remember, it’s half a metre – any closer and you'll probably come off a creeper), then wait for her reaction.
If she's just being friendly, she'll readjust to the distance by stepping back. But if she's keen, she'll hold her stance.
3. Making adjustments.
We don't usually get hung up on whether our hair is perfect or our push-up bra's buoying up our tits enough when we're hanging out with our mates. But when we're in the presence of someone we think is a bit of a babe, we'll adjust our hair and clothing to ensure we look our best.
It's something body language experts refer to as "self-grooming" – a combination of conscious and unconscious gestures of attraction involving touching our faces and bodies.
This might include repeatedly brushing your hair back into position without realising it, or more deliberately touching your lip. And it's an easy form of non-verbal communication to look out for when you're trying to figure out if the girl next to you at the bar is just being friendly, or wants to be way more than friends.
4. Look for the love triangle.
The way someone looks at your face can actually tell you a lot about how attractive they find you. At least, according to TikTok.
Earlier this year, the "Triangle Method" went viral on the platform after several creators posted videos explaining a secret way to find out if someone is attracted to you.
Though it's not a new theory (body language experts have been talking about the so-called "Love Triangle" for decades now), most of us are unaware we do this when we find someone attractive.
The theory suggests that, in typical social conversations, we look at people's eyes while they speak, but when we think someone's a bit of a hottie, our eyes will move triangularly around their face to take more of it in – dipping down to look at their lips before moving back up to their eyes.
So next time you're talking to the sexy barista who always puts a lil extra syrup in your vanilla latte, watch for her gaze. If she gives you the triangle, that's your green light to slide a napkin across the counter with your number on it.
At least, that's what I'd do. But what would I know? I'm a millennial.
Nadia Bokody is a queer sex columnist, YouTuber and professional over-sharer who is working on being a less cringe millennial. Follow her on Instagram for more.
Feature Image: Getty.