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Breaking the lesbian code 

There are a lot of signals flying around this week, but women aren’t sure how to read them. Plus: My partner’s friend is an ass.

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Q I am a 38-year-old lesbian, very femme, very out. I have a coworker I can't figure out. We've worked together for a year and gotten close. We are each other's confidants at work. We stare at each other across the office, we text until late at night and we go for weekend dog walks. Her texts aren't overtly flirty, but they feel more than friendly. I've never had a "straight" girl act like this toward me. Is she into me? Needy? Is it all in my head?
—Workplace Obsession Roiling Knowing-If-Nervous Gal

A Five weeks ago, a letter writer jumped down my throat for giving advice to lesbians despite not being a lesbian myself. Questions from lesbians have been pouring in ever since—lesbians apparently don't like being told who they may or may not ask for advice. Three weeks ago, I responded to a man whose coworker asked him if he might want to sleep with the coworker's wife—a coworker who was "not [his] boss"—and people jumped down my throat for entertaining the idea because it is NEVER EVER NEVER EVER OK to sleep with a coworker and/or a coworker's spouse. Now I am responding to a question from a lesbian who wants to sleep with a coworker. Farewell to my mentions, as the kids say.

Your straight-identified workmate could be straight, or lesbian (lots of lesbians come out later in life) or bisexual (most bisexual women are closeted, and others are perceived to be straight despite efforts to identify as bisexual)—and lots of late-in-lifers and/or closeted folks don't come out until some hot same-sex prospect works up the nerve to ask them out. If your coworker isn't currently under you at work and you're not an imminent promotion away from becoming her supervisor and your company doesn't incentivize workplace romances by banning them, ask your coworker out on a date—an unambiguous ask for a date, not an appointment to meet up at the dog park. And this is important: Before she can respond to your ask, WORKING, invite her to say "no" if the answer is no or "straight" if the identity is straight. Good luck!


Q I'm a lesbian, and my partner recently reconnected with a childhood friend. At first I felt sorry for him, as he was having a health crisis. But he's better now, and his behaviour gets to me. When I refused to go on a trip with him and his husband, he guilt-tripped me for weeks. He constantly wants us to come to his house, but they're chain-smokers. I'm going to Los Angeles to interview a celebrity for a project, and he's trying to insert himself into this trip because he wants to go starfucking! He also wants to officiate at our wedding! My partner won't stand up for me when I say no to this guy. How can I get my partner to listen to me or get her jackass friend to leave me be?
—Can't Think Of A Clever Acronym

A Burn it down. Call or email your partner's friend and tell him you think he's a pushy, unpleasant, smelly asshole and you don't want to hang out with him—not at his place, not on a trip and not at your wedding, which he not only won't be officiating but, if you had your druthers, he wouldn't attend. That should do it. You can't tell your soon-to-be wife who she can't have as a friend—that's controlling behaviour—but she can't force you to spend time with someone you loathe.


Q I'm a 40-year-old lesbian in Alabama, and I work with a woman I find impossible to resist. The catch is she's 66, straight and has two children. I love her deeply, she loves me, but we don't have sex. The odd thing is that she vacillates between heavily making out with me every time we are alone together and saying, "No, I can't, I'm straight!" Why does she do everything but sex if she's straight?
—Feeling Really Unsure Since This Remarkably Amazing Temptress Entered Domain

A That nice straight lady from work is making out with you because she likes it (the thirst is real), or because she wants you in her life and believes—perhaps mistakenly—this is the only way to hold your interest (the thirst is faked). If she likes it, then she's a lesbian or bisexual but too invested in her heterosexual identity to "go there." (Alabama, you said? She may not feel safe being out in your community.) If she's making out with you only because she's lonely and values your friendship and/or enjoys the ego boost of being your obsession, you don't want to keep making out with her—for her sake (no one feels good after making out with someone they'd rather not be) and for yours (those make-out sessions give you false hope and prevent you from directing your romantic and erotic energies elsewhere).


Q I'm a woman in my early 60s with a healthy lifestyle and an even healthier libido. I've had almost exclusively hetero relationships, but I've been attracted to women all my life and all my masturbation fantasies involve women. The older I get, the more I think about a relationship with a woman. The trouble is it's hard to see how I'll meet women who would be interested in me. There's rarely anyone my age on dating apps. I don't even know what age range is reasonable. Also, who is going to be interested in a rookie?
—Energetic Lonely Dame Envisioning Relationship

A Emmy Award-winning actor Sarah Paulson is 43 years old and Emmy Award-winning actor Holland Taylor is 75—and Sarah and Holland have been girlfriends for almost three years. Emmy Award-winning talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres is 60 years old and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actor Portia de Rossi is 45 years old—and Ellen and Portia have been together for 13 years, married for almost 10. There are lots of non-award-winning lesbians out there in relationships with significant age gaps—and at least one lesbian in Alabama who desperately wants to be in one. So don't let the lack of older women on dating apps prevent you from putting yourself out there on apps and elsewhere. As for your rookie status, there are two examples of lesbians pining over rookies in this very column! Remember: If you put yourself out there, you might be alone a year from now—but if you don't put yourself out there, you'll definitely be alone a year from now.


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