Debbie: I relocated a couple of years ago from down South to Manchester for work and see the North West as home for me now, hopefully for the long haul.
Having been recently promoted with work, I spend much of my time in the office project managing events and build installations for various retail clients. The job keeps me busy, well-travelled, focused and challenges me both creatively and logically which I love.
Claire: I’m Claire, I’m 33, born and bred in Manchester and I eat my cream egg with a teaspoon! …how do you eat yours?! I’m currently at work (not working!) listening to Emile Sandi’s latest album, and answering your questions! Not a bad job I hear you say…it works for me just now, and means I can scoop cream eggs at any time of the day! I’m interested in everything, from photography, to theatre, to eating and drinking, to comedy, to wondering how a spider can get washed down the plug hole with such force…only to reappear the next morning!? I’ve just landed the part of‘playing the patient’ in the playroom hospital drama at my lovely little niece’s house! I never get to audition for the role of ‘doctor’ – my ears are too big for the stethoscope (apparently!)
Did you have any challenges or any interesting stories about your previous dating experiences and relationships?
Debbie: No major challenges with dating. No massive dramas to report, which I know is unusual in the lesbian world it seems. I consider myself lucky to call ex-girlfriends ‘friends’ who I regularly keep in touch with. I believe the key to happiness with yourself and with another is to know and love yourself, know your worth, have values and limits that you live by and be open to new and exciting experiences and journeys that others can take you on – be vulnerable, strong, sexy, proud and giving, and, when the universe thinks you’re ready, the same will come back in abundance…..which it has and I feel extremely lucky to have found it. After all, I deserve it.
Claire: My dating history is a fairly quick read! I dated men in my teens and early 20’s, but in the back of my mind I knew for sure that hard, hairy chests and games of ‘footsie’ with massive man feet were not at all the things that made me light up inside…when I started to realise that it was ‘BBC Breakfast’s’ Susanna Reid that made me gorpe open mouthed at the TV screen, I knew it was time to date women, so I signed up (reluctantly and shyly) to some online dating sites. I went on a date with a scouser as one of my first experiences. I wanted my date with a lady to be as far away as I could from my home town and anyone that knew me or could have seen me …so sad, and silly when I think about it now, but I really wasn’t too comfortable with myself, and my sexuality at this point. I remember her perfume being so strong, and not to my taste, that I spent a lot of the date with my coat sleeve over my nose! “I have a bit of a cold that I don’t want to give to you,” I lied…which didn’t stop her from trying to throw her mouth onto mine at the awkward ‘take care, lovely to meet you’ stage!! ….I knew then that my perfect girl would have a hard time meeting the ever increasing high standards that I seem to have set myself! …I still wonder to this day what perfume Susanna Reid wears, and if I met her would it put me off!?
Was it hard to find other women for love previously?
Debbie: I came out at 16. Finding feminine women I was attracted to in my late teens/twenties was an uphill struggle which generally ended in disappointment on a night out. I remained single for a long time and questioned why I wasn’t attracted to anyone. Perhaps my standards were too high or I wasn’t a ‘true’ lesbian’ because I didn’t look like one in the stereotypical sense of the word. Internet dating helps you connect with women who don’t always frequent the scene and femme centred dating events such as Pink Lobster Dating are a much needed gateway to interact with women who you may have more in common with and are attracted to. I believe today’s lesbian scene is “near-equally” matched in terms of butch/femme identities.
Claire: It was hard…I found…for me, I am wholly attracted to femme women, and the gay scene around my home town of Manchester does not seem to home many femmes, which is another reason I tried online dating. I know that you cannot choose who you fall for, and so I tried not to dismiss any interests just because they were not the femme form that my dream girl was in my mind! I did struggle to be initially attracted to women who were not femme and so meeting anyone at all, for dating or befriending or sharing meatballs with, was a rare occurrence…
What had you tried before if anything? E.g. online dating, speed dating, matchmaking, bars, friend intros…
Debbie: Online has been quite successful for me in terms of making friends, potential lovers and girlfriends etc. Online dating definitely served a purpose in my life, though it isn’t a channel I would tap into again even if I were single. You can’t beat meeting someone face to face.
Claire: I had tried online dating, but I found it a little impersonal and cold, and time consuming flicking through faces & facts. It’s sometimes difficult to get the full picture of a person from an online profile, they may not be good at selling themselves, but their smile might be magnetic. I love to meet and chat to new people face to face, to see a reaction, or a smile or a nervous hand play! I was set up on a date once by a friend …I trusted her (!) it was a lovely night, but there was no chemistry for me. I haven’t been on too many dates to have any horror stories I’m afraid! I’m an old fashioned fan of ‘the look’ – the eye contact and the mutual attraction.
What did you do on your first date? And what happened next…
Debbie: Now I have a tendency to give too much detail with questions like this, so I’ll keep it family friendly and say… we drank tea, ate cake and punted along the river reciting poetry to one another off the back of a cigarette packet :)
Claire: Debbie and I arranged to meet at a bar on our first date…we drank red wine, shared Tapas and found out a little more about each other… :) What happened next continues to be very special and rare.
What do you like to do together as a couple?
Debbie: I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but we fit together and orbit around each other really well. I’m a confident and sociable person who is as much of a night owl as I am a daytime adventurer. Claire has the same adventurous streak in her and equally enjoys the simple pleasures in life. I enjoy anything and everything when she’s with me - Love and Adventure is our mission statement :)
Claire: We share a lot of similar likes, but equally we are both interested in setting out to try new things. We eat good food, watch good (and bad) movies together! Walks are a favourite when we venture out, and socialising with friends/meeting new people as a couple. We play squash together and I rarely win! We dance, do hair (really!) and make up (Deb is good with a foundation brush) and meditate every Sunday at 4pm….ok not really, but I know we’d both be up for it! :) Time spent together, whether we’re washing up or dressing up makes me smile inside and out.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us? When do we buy a hat ;)?
Debbie: Thank you for firing cupid’s arrow that day and aiming soo directly. The arrow is embedded deep; where is shall hopefully remain for a good long while.
A ‘hat’ purchase is not too presumptuous….let’s wait and see ;)
Claire: It has been the most amazing year, I’m very excited about our relationship and everything we have to look forward to and share together…. I’m blessed and grateful to the Pink Lobster Dating Ladies for throwing love and happiness my way, I could never have dreamt it. I very much hope you will be buying a hat in the not too distant future…Thank you x