Posted February 16, 2011 by in LOVE-LIFE

Hipster or Gay? – How to Tell

by Fondant Fancy

It’s Saturday night and I’m at a straight joint somewhere in the West End. It’s the first time I’ve been non-gay clubbing in a while and I have to keep on reminding myself that most of the women here aren’t fair game.

There’s one I have my eye on though. She has a resplendent quiff, à la Lol form This is England ‘86, and she’s bloked up her cutesy, floral dress with a pair of DMs. She’s equipped with a pint of Guinness and a “fuck you” scowl. She has to be a fan of snatch, surely.

Noticing me check her out, my friend says, “She’s not gay, you know. She’s just a hipster”.

And this friend, let’s call her Nikki (generic lesbian name), happens to have experience in these delicate matters. She spent an entire night at a bar in Shoreditch flirting ferociously with a girl who was sporting a part-shaved Joan of Arc bob, a sleeve of feminist-looking tattoos and a pierced eyebrow. Come now. Can you get much more dykey than the pierced eyebrow? It’s been a lesbian standard since about 1992.

So Nikki, having downed about a litre of whiskey, thought she’d pulled. Poor Nikki. When she asked Joan of Arse for her number, she was met with that slight head-tilt thing that the more sympathetic straight girls do when they realise that a lesbian is coming onto them. “Sorry hun, I’m not gay”, said Joan of Arse.

Now back to my failure. How could I be so naïve? I even catch sight of my very own gayed-up grrrl getting off with a big, beardy man later on.

As mainstream fashion goes Sapphic, real lesbians are becoming harder to spot.

Up until fairly recently, it would’ve been safe to assume that the androgynous Agyness Deyn was gay. But, as most lesbians know (and are frankly quite gutted by), she’s not.

The (not so straight…) Rihanna is constantly lezzing her hair down. And who the hell knows what’s going on with Elly Jackson of LaRoux? Same could be said of Romy Madley Croft of The xx. But she’s definitely gay, right?

Hell, even the über-straight Emma Watson has lopped off her hair. What’s a lezzer to do?

I’m not saying that it’s ever been possible to assume that a woman with short hair was gay, but “typically lesbian” haircuts have crossed over to our cock-loving sisters. Not since Annie Lennox put on lesbian chic with her carrot crop in the mid-80s have gay girls needed such impeccable gaydars. The a-symmetrical fringed, choppy bob, the Justin Bieber, the various skinhead-style shaves… all featuring atop the head of a straight woman near you.

So what does it even mean for a woman to “look gay” these days? Well, ask most people what a lesbian looks like and I expect they’d describe a great brick of a chick, who rolls her own tampons.

The seriously pretty, non lipstick-fearing pixies aren’t even getting a mention. And why? Most of them are just straight art students from Dalston. So how do you tell the difference between a lesbian and a hipster?

It’s a tough one, but there are a few little give-away signs. Remember, lesbians travel in packs. So I put it to you that the more guys your gamine beauty is with, the less likely she is to be gay.

Is she making out with a bloke? That’s always something to look out for…

Is she making out with a girl? Well, she’s taken, but at least she’s gay. Wheyyy.

Apart from these tells, there’s really no way to be certain. You’ll have to trust your instincts. Of course, you could try having a flirt and seeing what happens. Even if she’s straight, maybe she’s a bit experimental. Always good if you fancy a night of awkward poking instead of sex.

So, next time you’re on a night out, see if you can spot the difference. Guess correctly and you may get to take someone home. Guess wrong and, well… at least you tried.

Anyway, here’s a brief guide to distinguishing the elusive lesbian from the not so elusive hipster:


-       Actual lenses in their NHS-style glasses frames (gays have notoriously bad eyesight, doyn’t ya know)

-       Drink bitter. Lager is for hipster pussies

-       Like Lady Gaga non-ironically

-       Will not tilt their heads condescendingly when you flirt with them

-       Won’t wear any American Apparel, because of the brand’s misogynistic ad campaigns

-       Feels awkward about reading Vice for the same reason