Online dating is hard enough as a straight woman: for lesbians, the codes are different. Here’s how to ace it.
First off, we are all for lesbian-specific dating apps. Apps like Her and PinkCupid are excellent places to meet queer ladies in your city, and we fully encourage you to sign up and upload your best pet picture for maximum gayness.
However, as a purely numbers game, Tinder remains a surefire way to connect with queer ladies in your area. It’s the biggest dating app in the world, and often, women looking to find a lady-loving-lady come to it as their first port of call.
As such, we are here to help you perfect your Tinder game, step by step.
1. If you are a lady looking for another lady, change your settings to ‘looking for women.’
Even if you are bi/pan, and also have your eye on some tasty fellas, this is the best way to make sure that the Tinder algorithm sets you up with lady matches. Because there are so many more dudes on Tinder, when you click ‘looking for men and women,’ the female profiles proffered are incredibly sparse compared to the male options. If you’re bi/pan, once you’ve been through all the queer lady profiles in your area, wait a week or so, so that the ladies have some time to find you and match with your sweet self, then switch to ‘looking for men.’ Then be inundated with matches from all the dudes because it seems that men literally just swipe right to any female with a face (in fact, she doesn’t even have to have a face, what are we saying?)
2. Get your display picture right.
Tinder gives you six blank photo slots to work with. No pressure, but that means you have six photos in which to wow the love of your life/future bed buddy. When possible matches swipe through profiles, they can only see your first photo. If they like the look of that photo, it is likely they will click on it so as to see the rest of your photos. As such, making your display photo on point is crucial.
First, you have to decide what sort of woman you want to attract. If your display picture is you in a bed of weed, surrounded by Broad City posters, it is unlikely you will attract a straight edge power lesbian, for example.
Second, even though it is super important that your personality shines through, the display picture’s most essential job is to convey visual information about your face to women who may want to have sex with you. That means that silhouettes, far away shots, and group shots are not ideal. We love women’s’ bodies just as much as the next lesbian, but the eyes are the window to the soul. Save the beach shot for the gallery. The same goes for a quirky art visual or cartoons – definitely have one of these in your gallery, if you want, but its place is not in the display picture. Face it, if you were deciding who you might be attracted to, would a highly saturated sunset photo make you scream, ‘This one! I like her!’? Exactly.
3. Picture variety matters.
Selfies are great. They are empowering! You’re taking back the male gaze and celebrating self-love and flattering angles! Yay you! However, a Tinder profile that literally consists of six similar selfies is not very intriguing. We all have a billion selfies in our camera roll, but the aim of Tinder is to suggest to possible mates that you actually have a life, and/or friends, and/or interests. So trust us on this one, and maybe limit it to two selfies in the line-up.
4. Choose photos that actually reflect who you are and what you like to do.
Even though you want to put your best face forward, it’s a good idea to not just literally lie. Eventually, if everything goes according to plan, you are going to meet the woman who liked your profile in person, and it will soon become very obvious that you are not actually best friends with Katherine Moennig (side note: if you are actually best friends with Katherine Moennig, ignore this. That will definitely get you a lot of matches and we wish you luck).
If you are a bookworm, cool! Celebrate that, and upload a pic with you and your favorite tome. But there’s no point in photographing you reading Ulysses unless you are prepared to lie through your teeth about being a Joyce fan – and trust us, from personal experience, Ulysses is a really hard book to lie about having read when you are trying to impress someone.
If you’re super into fitness, show off that bod. If you’re not super into fitness, still show it off – literally every body is a bikini body. If you mostly enjoy eating pie, get that picture of pie up there, stat! Lesbians are a humor-appreciating people, so don’t be afraid to post ‘non-hot’ photos. There are only so many ‘candid’, laughing photos that a girl can take.
5. The ‘About Me’ bio description bit is not optional.
“Oh, but I might just leave it blank, to retain an air of mystery!” Two words: na oh. Writing a one line self-description or joke in your Tinder bio will not make you seem too keen. If anything, it shows that you are not apathetic and/or arrogant enough to think that your pictures alone will do the trick. Remember, most of the time, the women seeing your profile on Tinder will not know anything about you (or will only know of you through your ex’s best friend, as is so often the case). This is your opportunity to give them a taste of your sass, your wit, your sense of humor, or even just some basic life facts.
Something like, “I’m a 30 year old social worker who likes tea, Tegan and Sara, and beer, and dislikes people who are rude to waitstaff,” is great, because you’re revealing a few aspects of your personality, and you’re making clear what your values are. Plus, suitors who don’t also like the iconic Canadian pop duo know to back the hell away.
Weird jokes or quotes are also rad. One of the most popular bios one of our staff members ever had was “I have had three burritos delivered to my house this week and it is Tuesday.” We don’t have scientific data to back this up, but lesbians love burritos. It’s self-deprecating, which shows that you’re not a douche, and is a siren call to anyone else who likes having Mexican food brought to their door.
6. Be moderate and canny with your emoji use.
This one is a bit more subjective. Maybe you find a lot of emojis a really big turn on. But a bio filled with love hearts, salsa girls, and wine glasses may make you appear a bit, how do we say this…. Annoying? Cutesy? If you disagree, that is great, because there are different strokes for different folks etc. but, generally, from our extensive research, emojis are not exactly hot.
The one thing emojis are really useful for though is making very obvious that you are a gay lady. Sometimes – and obviously this sucks and shouldn’t be this way but, hey, straightness is the assumed ‘blank slate’ in this world unless signified otherwise – queer women are assumed to be straight by other queer women, just because they don’t look ‘gay,’ and are then swiped left. Tinder’s algorithm is not perfect, as discussed, and sometimes queer ladies will be presented with the profiles of straight women who have not elected to ‘look for women’. So swiping right on the profiles of women who are not definitely queer can sometimes seem like a waste of time to the savvy lesbian Tinder user. If your aesthetic does not scream ‘gay,’ then it is easy to fly your sexuality flag by putting a rainbow emoji, two dancing girls emoji, or some other unmistakably queer emoji, into your bio. And if you think that you shouldn’t have to do that because people should know that being gay does not correlate to a particular aesthetic, then all power to you – you just might miss out on some matches.
7. If you’re going to link your Tinder account with your Spotify, be wary.
Tinder now gives users the option to link their profiles to their Spotify accounts, and from that, to choose a bunch of songs as their ‘top songs,’ which will then be displayed on their profile for all to see. This can be great, because someone might also be obsessed with listening to the Matilda musical soundtrack and boom you have a connection. But if you don’t want possible love interests to know that your most listened to song is Selena Gomez’s ‘Hands To Myself,’ just remember to edit your top songs – otherwise, Tinder will automatically display your actual top songs. Obviously, if you are confident enough to think, “If they don’t like me at my High School Musical, they can’t have me at my Erykah Badu,” good for you. But if you’re not that self-assured in your diverse musical taste, perhaps give the top tracks a good old switcheroo.
8. Know that you are amazing and desirable no matter what your swipe to match ratio is.
It can be a real self-esteem deflator when you take a deep breath, swipe right on someone you whose profile you are super into, and then… nothing. The thing to remember is that there are so many possible reasons that you have not matched that woman, and none of them have anything to do with you not being good enough.
To prove our point, here are some possible reasons why she has not swiped right:
She literally has not seen your profile yet
She is only on Tinder to see who is out there, like window shopping
She is straight
She has a type, and you are not it. Better to find out this way than after months of mooning after someone who simply isn’t interested in you (through no fault of your own)
She’s seen that you are mutual FB friends with her ex and she can’t be bothered dealing with that connection
She has a system where she only swipes right to every seventh profile, because seven is the most magical number
It’s probably Number 6, tbh.
Good luck Tindering, ladies!