You’re a grown-ass woman. You know that “having a gay friend” is not a thing. Gay men are not a handbag. You have friends, and some of them are gay. And, okay, some of them are the besssssst to party with and maybe there is a 98% crossover rate in terms of gay and also such a fun time, but that still doesn’t mean you can compartmentalize the people in your life via sexuality, that’s silly.

The point is, some of your guy friends like other guys. Yes homo. Sometimes these guys will take you out on the town to gay events or to bars or areas of town that have specifically been designated as gay or gay friendly. The first step, before we even get to the list, is thinking about why these areas exist. Imagine there were places you couldn’t go out dancing with your significant other because people would be rude or you could be in actual danger. Spoiler alert, this article is about having fun and thinkin’ about privilege, and I know it sounds like those two things do NOT go together, but I promise that they do.

Limitation note: I have never been to a lesbian bar and don’t know the first thing about the scene therein, so, sorry y’all, but this guide is just about man-on-man-on-Madonna establishments. “Jeeeeze,” you are saying, “shut up, Monica, this is not, we get it. We’re modern women and we know what is up.” You are right and I’m sorry. Let’s do this!

Keep your grabbyhands to yourself, grabbyhands

Grandma Heisey says: no touching. Just because you know for a fact that these dudes won’t return your cheeky advances doesn’t mean you can make cheeky advances. Being a gay guy kind of means implicitly that you don’t want a lady touching oyur crotch, you know? Especially not a stranger. Not all gay guys are cool with frivolous straight make outs. (Like, some are, so this is a weird area. Just don’t go grabbing anyone’s face until it’s clear that that’s the thing to do, k?) Also, would you call a random girl you didn’t know a slut or a bitch? I don’t care if you think it’s sassy, control yourself.

This is not where your bachelorette party goes

Unless “this” is Remington’s, in which case, fair enough.

Story time is for preschool

“OMG I’m suuuuuuch a fag hag” is the number one Shut Up statement at this year’s Shut Up Olympics. The gold medal in Shutting Up goes to it. Don’t say it! Gay guys out at a party do not care or want to know about the other gay friends you have. They don’t want to be set up with your gay cousin from the country and they definitely don’t need a long and detailed history of all the ways in which you are just like Carrie Bradshaw. If everything you have to say to a person centers around one aspect of their personality, chances are they are hating this conversation, and your shoes.

Know when to make your exit

You knew going into this evening that the flirt/take home options for you were limited-to-none. If your pals have paired off with Mr. Right-This-Minute or whoever, let them and head on out. You can meet up with friends if the night is young, or if it’s go-home time, remember: Mr. Falafel Wrap is still out there waiting for you.

Don’t flirt if you don’t mean it

Straight ladies: flirting with lesbians because you’re drunk and it feels kind of sexy and dangerous is not a good look. If you’re into a lady and you want to really give it a go, go for it! (Don’t assume they’re into you immediately, or anything, but you can put yourself out there.) Otherwise you’ve officially become that guy from the other weekend who talked to you for three hours, mumbled something about his girlfriend and disappeared into the night, aka the worst.

Don’t take no shit

Misogyny can breed anywhere, but it can get especially out of hand in predominantly male spaces. I’m not saying all gay bars (or even many gay bars) are like this, but don’t let anyone make you feel like an imposition on the scene as a lady. (As long as you’re not being one, and I’ve taught you how not to, so DON’T LET ME DOWN) On a related note I swear I will slap the next gay dude that says vaginas are “gross.” I don’t think your sex stuff is gross, man. Also like, not to get too Hippie Aunt Cheryl on you, but you’re alive because your mom has a vagina. I’m not asking you to touch it, just don’t be a jerk about it.


*I’m so mad at grad school for making me like this. 

~ Monica Heisey 

Read more of Monica’s Grown-Ass Woman guides on sneak-cercisesaying notwittertalking about your body anxietieshangover maintenancevintage clotheshow to have a long-distance relationshipsounding smart at cocktail parties, and packing to disappear.