Questions about love and sex in the city of Iowa City can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org (queries can also be sent anonymously using this form). Questions may be edited for clarity and length, and may appear either in print or online.
Maybe you can help me. I’m kind of new to IC and I’m really shy, so I don’t get out much. Is there any place to meet gay girls in town that isn’t some sleazy bar? I’ve tried using Tinder, but bi and lesbian women here are few and far between… at least online. I want to meet some sweet girls, but I don’t know where to start. Please help!!
Signed, Lonely in the City
Welcome to Iowa City! Although I do think that IC is, comparatively, a great place to be queer in the Midwest, I too have found that queer community (going lone wolf to Studio doesn’t count) is not so easily found. I say the word community because, tbh, that is where the “sweet girls” are to be found! I think, honey, that you may not like my advice, but here it is: Start by building friendships.
Now it’s possible that you already came to Iowa City with a great set of friends or have automatically made them, but I think it’s telling that you don’t mention that in your letter at all. If Tinder or OkCupid isn’t working out for you, a great way to meet eligible babes is through friends. I don’t necessarily mean having them set you up — though, why not? — but rather, friends can open up your social circle and contexts. Comfortably getting out of your comfort zone is a great way to meet new potential partners and playmates and also will generally make you feel better.
However, the reason why you should focus on friendship is not as a means to a lady end. Rather, having strong relationships where coupling or sex is not the main intention — though, fair warning, you may fall for friends — is going to make you a happier and more secure person. Girlfriends can do a lot, but “be my main source of emotional support and social stimulation” is a tough sell for most people and may be particularly hard to find if you’re shy. If what you really want is advice on how to pick up women while being shy but having no interest in platonic or romantic relationships, I’m not your advice guy. (Though best of luck in finding your guy.)
So, honey, you need to get out more. Tap into natural sources of community: work, school, your favorite activities and passions. It’s a lot easier to strike up conversations with people when you have something built in to talk about. Be on the look out for events geared toward queer people and women and women-adjacent people specifically: film festivals, readings, art exhibits, political rallies, etc. Have friends set you up with other friends until you have buddies who can help get you out of the house and to an event. The more you feel connected to this place, the more you will open up and be available to a lot of different kinds of energy. Including that “sweet girl” kind you crave! xoxo, Kiki
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 196.