Much to my surprise I’ve become a queer chickie having an existential moment. Here’s the deal: Said queer chickie met a queer chickie. No drama. No complications. Fell in love. Said queer chickie is a femme professional and career-driven with all of the etiquette that is needed for a professional woman. The other queer chickie is not as polished as me. She does not have the same table manners or etiquette.
Let me clarify—she is not a cavewoman! Rather, she is someone who’s comfort level is not at a formal dinner working your silverware from the outside in. She is a no-frills kind of woman and does not place value on artifice or even pay much attention to the fact she may not have the most stylish jeans, shoes, or hair cut.
Instead she is the most genuine, authentic, kind-hearted, funny, communicative, thoughtful, loving, intelligent, supportive, affectionate, sensual, hopeless romantic this queer chickie has ever met. I feel shallow that I care about how one holds their fork or rotates one of five pairs of shoes, even though it’s no consequence at the end of the day.
I love this woman and she has captured my heart. I just never saw myself with someone who maybe didn’t have all of the same etiquette and social manners as me. With that said, I have never felt more loved, able to communicate in a safe space, had more adventurous fun, felt more comfortable just being me, and we are oh so compatible in bed and the sex is holy moly! So, what the heck is up with me?!
Anna says: Holy moly, indeed. My first bit of advice is that you not refer to both yourself and your partner as the same thing. THIS “queer chickie” was confused. But I think I’ve got it sorted out. You are the professional lady with the pressed pants and the fancy fork situation on lock. Your genuine, loving, and supportive girlfriend, while not a neanderthal, could benefit from some Emily Post-style manners classes. But from your letter it doesn’t sound like a deal breaker, just an annoyance. So where do you go from here?
If your specific concern is only in regards to business dinners and such, then by all means, tell her the rules. We don’t learn about dessert spoons in school, after all. She might simply not know what’s up and would appreciate being let in on the big secrets of dishware placement. If it’s a sensitive issue for her, then blame a third-party target. “Honey, I love taking you to these dinners, but it would make things go smoother with my boss if we hold our cutlery as if we’re addressing the Queen.”
Alternately, you could ask her to pay more attention to style and manners as a favor to you on special occasions. Compliment her first, using any of those descriptors you listed in your letter. And then give her specific advice. Some people’s notions of “dressing up” and “table manners” are wildly different than others. Like, if you want her to wear earrings or iron her socks, then ask. If you want her to stop accidentally eating from the wrong bread plate, then speak up. Just don’t scold her publicly or use inflammatory language, like “You eat like a bear,” or equivalent.
Approach moderations to her etiquette with courtesy and flattery, and it’ll be hard for her to take offense. “You look so hot when you wear Banana Republic sweaters” is much nicer than being all, “I thought I told you to never wear Crocs in public.”
As to changing her day-to-day comfort levels and habits, that’s more of a long shot. If your girlfriend is a no-frills, low-maintenance kind of ghey ladee, then she’s probably not suddenly going to develop an affinity for Gucci and weekly, French tip manicures. You might take her shopping once in a while to give her wardrobe a makeover, and she might take your input seriously because we like to please our partners and look attractive for them. But as a lo-fi girl myself, I’m pretty attached to my sweatpants, if you catch my drift.
Good luck, queer chickie. I hope she gives peas a chance.