Greetings, Dames Nation!
May we all be as joyful as this sweet pup, truly an expert in her field.
Hello, darlings, it's springtime here in the Northern Hemisphere, and while we sneeze and sniffle our way through some truly glorious weather, we also wish to share some of the Quality Content you love and deserve. Your Dames were both traveling this week, so this issue is split roughly in thirds:
First! A special guest edition of Ask TBD.
Second! A special guest-penned deep dive into the One Direction Fandom as a whole,
Third! A little link roundup at the end.
Enjoy! We will see you all next week!
Special Ask Two Bossy Dames Guest Advisor, Anna!
In which Radiant Gem & Old Baby Queerness Expert Miss Anna Rae pinch-hits for us:
Hey Two Bossy Dames, Not sure this is in your wheelhouse, but I am a 30-year-old lady and I have recently admitted to myself after a long time that I am attracted to other ladies (as well as some dudes). I've never dated a woman before, and I am worried it's too late for me. Do you think there are women out there who would be willing to date a newly-out woman with no queer dating experience? I worry that at my age I will just be wasting people's time.
Thanks for your help,
Old Baby Queer
Dearest Old Baby Queer,
Let me start by saying, Congratulations! Welcome! We are VERY EXCITED to have you! I am so happy for you that you’ve discovered your queerness! Being queer is one of my favorite things about myself. I hope you’ll come to agree and think the same thing about yourself, too.
Now, perhaps more importantly, I want to tell you that I see you. I really, really understand how you’re feeling. I am uniquely qualified to answer this question because I could have written it myself. This past October, at the even older age of 31 (a new 31, but still), I realized that I was queer. That said, I think many queer women would also be able to answer this question for you, too. It seems to me (though I have only collected anecdotal evidence) that many women don’t realize they’re queer until later in life. I have a few thoughts on why: Queerness, bisexuality, and sexual fluidity still aren’t given as much attention as a binary of gay and straight are. I had crushes on a few women in my 20s, but not as many as I had had on men, so I never thought to act on those feelings or to connect them to my sexual identity. And, even if you recognize those feelings, women’s attraction to other women is often dismissed a phase or male-attention seeking behavior. Did I kiss other women at parties in college? Yes. Did I never think twice about it because other people saw it as a “fun party girl” trait? Also, yes. And consider this – how often are we encouraged to focus on other women’s looks? How can you tell if you think a woman is pretty because you wish you looked like her, as we are socialized to do, or because you want to kiss her? What is the difference between having a “girl crush” and having an actual crush on someone? Sexual identities can be complicated! But, again, congratulations! I’m proud of you for discovering your queerness.
Once it clicked into place for me, it all seemed so obvious. The prospect of dating women was so thrilling – it was new and something I immediately knew I really wanted. But, then I reached the place I think you are in now: I was scared. I’m 31 years old, and I spent more than a decade gaining confidence in my abilities to date and have sex with men. It was something that I knew I was really good at. All men are different, of course, but I felt like I had developed some very strong, transferrable skills along the way. I knew nothing about dating women! And, even more terrifying, I knew nothing about having sex with women.
Old Baby Queer, trust me when I tell you this next part – your transferrable dating skills are still transferrable. Dating women isn’t starting over. If you already feel confident in your flirting or dating skills, that confidence and those skills will still apply. If you aren't feeling confident in your dating or flirting skills -- I have good news! You've likely spent much of your life socializing with other women. You already know how to talk with women, and once the butterflies kick in and you feel a spark, I'm certain you'll successfully transition that chatting into flirting [My quick tips for flirting across all genders? Ask lots of questions, lean in when you laugh, and touch your date's arm at least twice when talking to them]. Now, people told me variations of this advice when I was panicking before dates, but I could only believe them up to a point. I understand if you still have some reservations, but know this – if you wanted to go on a date with a woman and not tell her that you had just recently come out, she wouldn’t be able to automatically tell.
There may be a few women who might not want to date someone new to the queer dating scene, but, for the most part, that is not the case. Women will want to date you for your myriad of amazing qualities, not because of your relationship history (or lack thereof). If you want to weed out anyone who might have some hang ups about dating someone who has just come out, you can feel free to write Baby Queer in your online dating profiles. But you are under no obligation to do so! I told some women on the first date, I wanted until the third to tell another, and some women I didn’t tell at all.
I am more nervous to have a sex with a new woman than I would be if she were a man, but that’s okay! I tend to be very upfront about all of my feelings and say something like, “I’m nervous because I don’t have much experience,” but I have high hopes for you to be smooth, unlike me. “I want to make you feel amazing; show me how to do that” is pretty excellent line that I’m giving you to start using.
Have I convinced you to give dating women a chance? Start small – download Tinder and tell yourself you won’t message anyone first. Have fun swiping right on all of those cute ladies! [A small note on Tinder and other dating apps, though: As soon as you select women to start showing up in your matches, you will see other women who you know in a different context if they are also interested in women, and they will see you. If you haven't told any of them, you may get some confused but excited texts. It didn't bother me, and if anyone saw me on a dating app before I came out to them, they didn't mention it, but that is something to know.] Do you have queer women in your life? Talk to them about dating! Ask them to go to gay bars or queer takeover nights with you. I know they are going to be as excited as I am for you. Start consuming queer media. It may seem silly, but being able to discuss the L Word or Tegan and Sara will make you seem – and feel! – like a more practiced and permanent part of the queer community. The only person whose time you should worry about wasting is your own, and dating women is way too fun to not start right now. You’ve got this!
Your fellow old Baby Queer,
Age-Appropriateness Is A Lie: Welcome to The Funnest, Most Exuberant Cult* On Earth
(*You won't be asked to give up any of your worldly possessions, though your family members mayyyy begin to look askance at the lavish quantity of gifs on your phone.)
Not wanting to leave out Zayn, Liam, Niall or Louis, we asked Cherished Damespals Alicia & Syazwina to furnish a deep dive on the One Direction fandom as a whole. These bolts from the blue can sneak up on you, and we think it only right that you be prepared when & if it does. Take it away, friends!
In case you’re new to this here weekly missive, you’ll have missed the excellent introductions to one Harry Styles of One Direction fame by the honourable Dame Sophie. She and Dame Margaret have very generously offered us their soapbox, that we may wax lyrical about this wonderful, vibrant, dramatic fandom.
Before we dive in, an introduction:
Yes. Yes, let’s pretend for as long as you both want, you adorable dorks.
—and this Anglophile clickbait video. And the both of us can safely say that the overwhelming charm of the one and only #UnicornBroccoli, Harry Edward Styles, was a shot straight to the heart of Dame S [Indeed, it waslike a bullet in the dark.-- Ed.].
Syaz spent literal years spelunking the Tumblr caves for Directioner gold and no longer remembers a life without these five (note: yes, we still count Zayn in) newborn puppies in her life, but she believes that, for the mildly curious, this is a decent video to ease oneself into the emotional juggernaut that is One Direction.
Alicia, on the other hand, believes that the first step to tapping into your latent One Direction feelings is by checking out their blockbuster documentary, This is Us. She dares anyone to watch it and not find them endearing — to not be completely charmed by them worrying about what they would wear after being put together as a band, or by Harry’s visit to the bakery where he used to work, or by their parents talking about missing their kids (which will absolutely make you cry; it gets everyone), or by their nerves when playing Madison Square Garden.
If we may be so bold as to sum up the experience of signing up for this heavy-duty emotional rollercoaster, we would compare being an adult Directioner to being in Fight Club: No one really talks about it, but once you’ve confirmed your suspicions that there is a fellow Directioner in your midst — your ears carefully plucking out inside phrases they let slip, or the sigh in their voice when they hear certain songs at the grocery store — the flood gates open wide, and you realize that you’ve found your people.
Joey knows what it’s like to be in our Fight Club.
Both Alicia and Syaz have made very dear friends this way, by indulging en masse in the joy (and welcome break from the stresses of reality) of being among people who leave no stone unturned in their detailed analysis and ardent affection for these five goofballs and their every move. You can start with sighing over their questionable fashion choices and general immaturity, to discussing their PR strategy for solo albums, to musical analysis on their evolving vocals and song arrangements. It is a diverse, ever-changing, highly passionate place to be, and it’s wonderful. It’s filled with smart people — many of them women and girls — as well as those who just want to love without expectation.
Now that we’re at it, let’s talk briefly about the stigma of That Thing Women Love — the cultural double standard that plagues only the objects of affection of women from childhood to adulthood, be they literature, music, film, or art. There is a mindset imbued in the collective psyche that whatever elements of pop culture that women enjoy must be flimsy or only subjectively good. Perhaps it’s a symptom of heteronormative expectations of femininity, a more annoying version of policing women in the public sphere. The most recent example of this is in the smorgasbord of articles that have cropped up exclaiming surprise at Harry Styles’ debut music, praising it as ‘unexpected...due to its genre’, as if the object of young girls’ affections and loyalty could not have won both by being very talented.
Obviously the lad is multi-talented. And deeply ridiculous.
Who shimmies suggestively while sporting fake walrus tusks?
Harold Elizabeth Styles, is who.
It’s not a new thing, this disparaging of female fandom, but both of us adult Directioners cannot encourage enough the exploration of fandoms, be they boy band or non. Life is too short to not expose yourself to some of the simplest joys the world has to offer, and One Direction — individually or as a sum of its parts — is one of the best and most joyous there is. In our discussions with Dame S and fellow Damespal Beth, we like to joke that being a Directioner is a bit like tapping into The Secret: your fave (boy) will come to you at the right time, and your 1D song will hit you at the perfect moment that you’re the most ready to accept them.
It’s a simple equation: One Direction makes good music, and they’re charming and delightful. It’s a whole new world, as Aladdin says, and we’ll be darned if we’re not extending a hand and pulling you on for the ride.
And so, as a sort of induction package, we would like to offer up a primer kit of our favorite charming, ridiculous and lovely moments to lure you into joining us:
The beginning is the very best place to start, says Actual Dame Julie Andrews, and you can watch One Direction’s own on British reality show, the X Factor, where the five boys were put together into a boy band by Simon Cowell — here they perform, for the first time ever as a group, a cover of Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn
Five years later, Grown Up Direction does a bit of (very welcome) fanservice in a nod to their beginnings, with another cover of Torn
This is one of Alicia’s favorites of their live performances — singing crowd fave Ready to Run on SNL in 2014
An adorable, almost heartbreaking clip from their documentary, This is Us, where Zayn’s mum tries to feed him every moment she can
In one of the most ridiculous marketing ploys ever cooked up, 1D Day was an interactive live stream to promote their 3rd album, Midnight Memories, and consisted of just about every fanservice moment you could imagine, including Harry Styles in a cook-off challenge (he is devoted to Branston pickle) and the boys dancing around in underwear (it is tasteful, or as much as five young men backstage can be)
This is the most wonderful perfume ad you will ever see
In this music video ode to their fans, go on a series of virtual dates with all of the boys (they know what you want)
A compilation of Harry’s best takes at concert banter, filled with dad-jokes, puns, and innuendoes (essentially, all the reasons he is so loved)
The boys and one of their favorite collaborators, James Corden, duke it out in dodgeball (and sports-appropriate outfits)
They’re so big, they’ve even been to Sesame Street
Their very game take on Carpool Karaoke
Another of our favorite videos of them with James Corden, a post-Zayn One Direction plays Tattoo Roulette (it is as stressful as it sounds)
The band’s nod at their History, released just as they announced their hiatus post-tour.
To our new recruits, if you’d like to shout at/with us about your favorite One Direction moment, song, lyric or goofball moment, we can be found doing the very samehereandhere. DM threads or devastating GIF marathons are part and parcel of this life.
On behalf of your reborn soul, what can we say, except—
Swoon, we'll catch you.
Quick Li'l Link Roundup
Just a few things Dame S is at least half-in love with this week. Dame M is on a much-deserved vacation & we'll be reunited next week, huzzah!This week, we were on Bellwether Friends talking about Josephine Tey's classic detective novel, The Daughter of Time, yaaaay! Darling hosts Anna & Alene invited us on for another literary deep dive. If you dig this one, you may also enjoy our appearance on the show last year, with the lovely Ally of girl gang fame, talking about Persuasion. The female gaze and feminist literature are pretty much this newsletter's entire reason for being, so imagine how very seen & understood we felt reading Anne Helen Petersen's piece unpacking the radical feminist aesthetic of Hulu's adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood. The way she contextualizes the female glance in this production alongside other films like Daughters of the Dust (which I have been meaning to see) and Bright Star (which I love deeply) is compelling and bracing.Ludacris freestyled classic bedtime picture book Llama Llama Red Pajama on LA's Power 106 morning show. It is nearly way too cute to be believed, and is apparently part of a longish-running tradition on the show, so you can enjoy several other performances if you like this one.Nicole Richie Styled Her Chicken Coop To Match Her House. That's all. I'm not going to say anything further, I trust you all to click through to have your Stars [really, is Nicole Richie a star? Hmmm]: They're Just Like Us thoughts confirmed. Obviously, we are all working in the wrong fields and should become the type of Chicken Lady someone at Nicole Richie's income level should have on speed dial.The most excellent musical sisters of Haim released a new video for their song Right Now, directed by PT Anderson. I would pay so many dollars to see Este and Alana only doing their percussion thing for 30 minutes or so, it's not even funny. Once again proving there is no field of endeavor beyond her grasp or interest, Beyonce announced the establishment of the Formation Scholars program at two arts colleges & two HBCUs. The female gaze and feminist literature are pretty much this newsletter's entire reason for being, so imagine how very seen & understood we felt reading Anne Helen Petersen's piece unpacking the radical feminist aesthetic of Hulu's adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood. The way she contextualizes the female glance in this production alongside other films like Daughters of the Dust (which I have been meaning to see) and Bright Star(which I love deeply) is compelling and bracing.File under: Delightfulness Enhanced by Extreme Improbability: a Frank Lloyd Wright house is on the market for the first time, with all of its original furnishings intact! Finally & obviously, I would not let this week end without some Styles thoughts, I mean, come on. Cameron Crowe -- yes, the Cameron Crowe, former teen reporter from the trenches of 70s classic rock bacchanalia, writer & director of Say Anything & Almost Famous -- lent his imprimatur to a cover-star profile of The Boy King of Rock. Both of Your Dames had a really solid yell about it on Twitter last week, and I'm not sure which detail we found more enchanting, Harry's sticking up for teen girls' enthusiasm for the things they love (though we and many other women have been yelling about this for ages, it's nice to have a dude in the trenches with us), or his long-term residence in the attic of an Orthodox Jewish family in suburban London. Crowe was also the guest on Rolling Stone's Music Now podcast this week, talking about the experience of writing the profile, and SURPRISE he's just as wild about Harry as Harry is wild about classic rock. Please just imagine these two living, breathing rays of sunshine hanging out & admiring each other.