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Interview with dating guru Kathy Belge

Kathy Belge

You might know freelance writer Kathy Belge for her butch/femme advice column that once appeared in Curve, Lipstick & Dipstick, but her good advice carries special weight in the dating scene. And now she’s offering to share dating tips with the lez-masses in person in a several city tour in conjunction with meetup.

In her first Lesbian Dating Skills Clinics in Portland Belge jumps into Part 1: Dating Basics this Sunday February 12 3-5:30 pm. Location to be given after registration. Special introductory offer. $60 per person or $100 for two includes wine, snacks and hand-outs.

Just in time for Valentine’s day, this workshop is for women who are new to dating, coming out of a relationship and need to refresh their skills or any woman who just wants to get better at dating and meeting quality people.

We got the chance to ask Belge what it’s all about and what skills (or ladies) you’ll really walk away from this workshop with.

qPDX: Why did you decide to start a lesbian dating workshop?
Kathy Belge: I’m a writer and I write a lot about the LGBT community. I’ve been wanting to do something a little more interactive with the, where I get out there and interact face-to-face with people. I came up with the idea of doing a lesbian dating boot camp because it’s something that I think will benefit the community and I think it will be fun.

q: Tell us about what makes you qualified to lead a dating workshop.
KB: In addition to my own dating experience, I’ve been writing for more than nine years about lesbian dating and relationships for About.com (lesbianlife.about.com) and as my alter-ego, Dipstick from the Lipstick & Dipstick advice column in Curve magazine. I also write a dating blog for Inferno and love and dating advice for several other websites. I’ve published two books, one which is a lesbian relationship guide (Lipstick & Dipstick’s Essential Guide to Lesbian Relationships) and the other which offers a lot of dating advice (Queer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide for Teens).

What makes a lesbian dating workshop different than other dating workshops? Is the information translatable for whichever genders one typically dates or are there specific differences? Will this be geared towards a butch/femme audience or does that not matter?

I think the biggest difference for lesbians is that we aren’t socialized learning how to date. Even today, many women take a passive role when it comes to dating. These workshops are designed to be a positive and fun way to build up dating muscles and practice dating skills.

Sure, some of the information will be translatable for people who don’t identify on the lesbian/bisexual/queer spectrum, but this workshop is specially for women who want to date other women. It’s meant to be a safe place for them to talk about some of the unique challenges lesbians face—like how do you know if the girl you like is even queer?

I also think we do certain things differently, where we meet, how we flirt and what we talk about on our first dates.

The workshops are not geared toward butch/femme. Any one who identifies as lesbian or bisexual is welcome to come.

Will there be any sort of differences in dating tips based on age? How long you’ve been out? Level of experience?
The first workshop I’m doing is dating basics. It’s geared toward women who are just getting back into the dating scene, perhaps after coming out of a long-term relationship or someone who is newly out. It’s also just geared toward women who haven’t been having much luck dating and wants to build a strong foundation for dating.

Does place make a difference? Would you have different advice for Portland lesbians vs ones in say San Francisco or New York? Why or why not?
Great question. Yes, place does make a difference for some things, but for others the advice would still be the same. For example, there might be many more places to meet other lesbians in New York and the culture of dating is going to be different there. As of now, I have plans to run the workshop in Portland, Seattle and San Diego.

What do you think is most important for workshop attendees to leave with?
I want workshop attendees to leave with confidence that they can ask someone out in a manner that works with their personality, feel confident about what to do and say on a first date and have the skills to end the date in a way that they desire.

What’s your ideal date?
My ideal date is just one where I click with the other person. I love it when there’s an easy rapport, lots of laughing and a common set of values. We could be doing anything—at happy hour, going for a walk, attending a show. It’s the energy between two people that makes a great date.

Name a particularly good experience and bad experience you’ve had and why that was and how you might change it in a future date.
One of my best dates was one that wasn’t supposed to be a date at all, we were just meeting up to go to a concert together. But there was a nice attraction between us and it ended with a sweet good-night kiss.

I’m going to keep it positive and not talk about any dating nightmares….Although I have to say, I’ve had some dates that didn’t go over all the well, but really haven’t had any night mare stories.

Anything else you want qPDX users to know about you, the workshop or your other projects?
I just started these dating workshops and am really excited about them. I think it’s a natural extension of the work I do as an advice columnist and writer. I plan to offer them in different cities when I travel and will probably expand on the topics as time goes by.

The first workshop is Feb 12 from 3-5:30pm at a private residence in NE Portland. There’s a discount if you bring a friend, so come check it out!

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