Lamya H in Salon:
I’m excited about this date, I really am.
It’s been a while since my last heartbreak, and my best friend has personally taken on the task of deciding for me that it’s time to move on. She has yelled at me to download Tinder, cheered me on as I cobble together a profile. Encouraged me to swipe right a few times, talk to women I match with. It’s taken a while, but I’m starting to get into it. And now I’m excited about this date.
She’s risen to the top of my tinder crushes, this date. The banter – an essential component of all my crushing – has been electric, and she’s smart and funny and gorgeous to boot.
We’re meeting for ice cream, and she’s a little late, my date. I scan the passing faces for resemblances to the photos she has up on Tinder, wanting to spot her before she does me. “Look for the hijab,” I’ve told her, a little anxious to reveal what’s under the hats and the helmets in my own pictures. “I’m hard to miss.” Her nonchalant response – neither fetishizing nor surprised – puts me at ease. I’m excited about this date.
Except we spot each other at the same time, exchange shy glances and quick hellos before ordering, sit down with our ice creams, and her second question to me is: “So. Tell me, Lamya. How are you queer and Muslim at the same time?”
Always, the except.
This happens often enough that I have a strategy. For basic white girls with no subtlety, for women at lesbian bars making small talk, for those who have taken no time to get to know me and are obviously not invested in my answers. For quick dismissals, for moving on.