Lez Miserable: “Straight girls, please stop flirting with me. Now.”

Join our newest columnist, Eleanor Margolis, as she takes a frank, funny and cynical tour through life as a twentysomething lesbian. This week, she painstakingly explains to straight girls why she doesn’t want to be the guinea pig for their same-sex exper


Straight girls, let’s get one thing clear: you don’t want to sleep with me and I don’t want to sleep with you. I mean, I have nothing against you – some of my best friends are straight. Sure, I prefer them not to rub their heterosexuality in my face, but I’m cool with whatever it is they do.

What I’m trying to say to you, straight girls, is stop flirting with me. It’s not that you all do it – I’m not saying that you’re swarming around me like pre-teens around Harry Styles. But enough of you do hit on me and I’m struggling to figure out why.

Typical scenario: I’m out with friends somewhere straight. Let’s say a Wetherspoon’s. I get introduced to someone’s mate – a girl called Emily or Poppy (you know, straight girl names). Emily/Poppy is pretty. She has long blonde hair that she wears swept to one side in one of those trichological tsunamis. She keeps her tampons – I’m sorry – “tampies”, hidden away from polite society in a Cath Kidston zip-up pouch. Her anus pipes out Vivaldi’s Spring every time she farts. That kind of thing.

Emily/Poppy and I get talking. I mention something about being gay.

I don’t open with, “Hi, I’m Ellie and I like fanny.” But somehow it just comes up. Emily/Poppy is intrigued. Just to be clear, this woman does not fancy me. Trust me on this one. At best, Emily/Poppy is what I like to call a “top half-only lesbian”. THOLs will occasionally get pissed and snog their female friends, but anything in the pant zone is out of the question. Why the half-arsed dabbling? Who knows. Maybe they saw some girls on Hollyoaks do it.  

In reality, the thought of being in close proximity to my genitals makes Emily/Poppy feel a little bit sick. That’s absolutely fine with me – the thought of cuddling up to a penis makes me feel equally queasy.

A glass of white wine later, Emily/Poppy is starting to get handsy. She tells me my short, bushy hair is cute and runs her misguided straight girl fingers through it. My face is quickly turning maroon and I’m shooting “help me” looks at my friends. It’s not that I’m uncomfortable with flirtation (well, no more so than any other quivering dollop of neuroses) – I just don’t know what she wants from me. Should I flirt back? Maybe it would freak her out if I flirted back. Is she assuming that I fancy her? I don’t. I tend not to fancy straight girls – it’s an emotional self-preservation policy that I’ve implemented since re-reading my teenage love poems to hetero classmates (they’re full of flower metaphors and anguish).

But what’s the harm in a bit of meaningless flirtation? Hell, maybe she’s not a THOL after all. Some straight girls are up for going all the way, you know, to see what it’s like. Can’t I just brush it off, or at least take the compliment? Well actually, no. You see, straight girls, I’m not a toy. Lesbians aren’t big, hilarious human-shaped vibrators that you can try out then throw away when the novelty wears off. We have feelings. A lot of feelings, actually. Oh God, so many feelings. I’m fine with sexual experimentation; I just don’t want to be your guinea pig. Nor am I a durian. The durian is that Chinese fruit that smells repulsive – sort of like petrol mixed with poo – but supposedly tastes incredible. A lot of straight women have a durian-ish attitude to lesbian sex. The idea of it repulses them, but if they could just manage to hold their noses and give it a try, they think there’s a chance they might like it. I’m simply not prepared to act as an ambassador for same-sex fucking. The thought of a woman forcing herself to sleep with me on the off chance that she might have a good time is utterly degrading.

So, next time a woman tells you she’s gay, spare a thought for her possible unwillingness to show you the lesbian ropes, just because you happen to fancy it in the moment. In fact, here’s a plan: take one willing straight female friend, drink a bottle of wine together, put on some Ani DiFranco, drunkenly feel each other’s tits, then spoon one another into a deep and forgetful sleep.


Not exaclty that kind of guinea pig. (His name's Oreo, in case you were wondering.) Photograph: Getty Images

Eleanor Margolis is a freelance journalist, whose "Lez Miserable" column appears weekly on the New Statesman website.