In 21st century New York, single lesbians have a lot to contend with. First, you have to accept that the single community consists of about twelve available women (less once you exclude those still speaking to their exes). Next, you have three lesbian-specific, seven-day-a-week bars between Manhattan and Brooklyn in which to find the single girls you may be compatible with. Finally, if you don’t have enough confidence to slay a water buffalo with, you probably wouldn’t feel comfortable approaching any woman on the street. So what’s a girl to do in this town?!
Enter Milagros DuBouchet, creator of LEZ Factor.
CherryGRRL (CG): You manage some lesbian-specific group(s) on Meetup.com. How did that directly impact your decision to create LEZ Factor?
Milly DuBouchet (MDB): I organized the “NYC Women Who Like Women” Meetup group as an afterthought. I knew that a Meetup group would be one of the easiest ways to connect quickly with gay women who have an interest in the subject of dating. There are currently about 350 women in the group and we’re rapidly growing. I organize free monthly mixers in NYC where we structure activities and discussions about women and dating. At the events, women get to meet other women, outside of the pressure-filled club/bar scene. They also get to practice being social, while discussing common dating issues. So far, we’ve hosted 7 events and had more than 200 women take part. The energy has been absolutely incredible. I’ve quickly learned that the lesbian community yearns for a more casual outlet to meet other women, and that many of them would appreciate support with their dating challenges.
CG: Who is LEZ Factor’s core demographic?
MDB: Our core audience would be lesbian, bisexual, and bi-curious women who are single, between the ages of 21 and 35, and looking to attract more women. In broader terms, LEZ Factor’s services are for any women looking to have more successful romantic exchanges with other women.
CG: What are some of the common missteps in the process of approaching women?
MDB: The biggest mistake women tend to make is what I call “pre-rejection,” or rejecting themselves before they even approach the woman they want. Examples include, “She’s probably straight,” “She’ll probably get offended if I approach her,” “She’s probably not single,” or “I’m probably not her type”… I can go on forever! They create these roadblocks due to a lack of confidence, and low confidence can be detected from a mile away. If you approach a woman with these types of hang-ups, you can kiss your chances goodbye.
CG: So how do we move away, as women, from those preconceived notions and negativity-laden roadblocks?
MDB: It’s all fear-based, and usually, a fear of rejection. Moving away from that takes a lot of convincing that you can truly attract anyone you want. You really have to believe it, though. The only way to build such a positive mindset is to work on establishing a solid base of self-confidence. Once you stop caring what others may think of you, rejection becomes a neutral occurrence. It takes time to be unaffected by rejection but it’s critical to the entire process. A woman who truly believes she can get anyone she wants would never say, “She’s probably straight.” Instead, she’d say, “In my world, straight women don’t exist!” [Laughs]
CG: Do you believe that gender roles or sexual identity play a role in how women actively pursue one another?
MDB: Absolutely, although I wish gender roles weren’t a factor. I also feel women aren’t doing enough “active pursuing” of other women. Feminine women often sit back and wait to be approached rather than being proactive about who they want. “Masculine-centered” women feel pressured to make the first move, but are often paralyzed by fear. I feel that a lot of this fear can be attributed to inadequate social abilities. For example, a lot of women are concerned with not knowing what to say or how to say it. No matter what your sexual identity is, your ability to develop genuine connections with other women will dictate how limited – or limitless – your interactions will be.
CG: Are you encountering any resistance from women who don’t want to admit that their “game” or “swag” isn’t as good as they thought it was?
MDB: There will always be some level of resistance. Pride and resistance to change are powerful enemies! It’s difficult to admit that what you’ve been doing for a long time really isn’t working. I think women are less resistant when they learn that LEZ Factor is about teaching women how to enhance the way they interact with women as a means to becoming more attractive. If I said LEZ Factor teaches women how to “pick up” women, I’m sure a lot more people would have a difficult time buying it. LEZ Factor’s mission is a lot more modest than teaching women how to have “game.” It’s primarily about attracting women from the inside out.
CG: I once blogged, “I want to live in a world where women can be as forward towards one another as men have been for the last two thousand years” … Do you think we can get there? What is stopping us?
MDB: I always say that in a perfect world, women would express themselves openly and honestly when interested in other women. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world. As women, we tend to be over-analytical and that can easily work against us in the world of romance. A lot of women also worry too much about other women’s opinions! If we collectively gave less of a shit about the unimportant things, we’d all play in a totally different dating arena.
CG: What have you learned from the process of creating and developing LEZ Factor?
MDB: One very important thing I’ve learned is that men and women harness a lot of the same fears when it comes to interacting with women. A lot of men are terrified of being rejected. So are women. Men experience extreme anxiety at the thought of approaching an attractive woman. Lesbians deal with the same issue. Men have always complained about not understanding women, and as ironic as it sounds, women do also! More than anything, this process has confirmed that LEZ Factor can and will provide a much needed service to the women in our community.
CG: Is New York the greatest place on Earth to meet women?
MDB: No question! In New York City, we have women all over the place. Literally, women from all types of backgrounds and from all walks of life are always at your disposal. You can meet a woman on the subway as you commute to work or even at the supermarket while buying dinner. The opportunities are endless, but the key is to be open to those encounters. That’s what makes all the difference. I often hear women complain about how difficult it is to meet women outside of a lesbian club or bar. If you really believe a lesbian bar is your only option for meeting women, then I can understand how the potential to meet women in NYC can seem very limited. That’s the exact perception I’m looking to change!
CG: How did you get involved with Curve Magazine (Curve sponsored the LEZ Factor Launch Party)?
MDB: I really wanted LEZ Factor to partner with some of the biggest names in the lesbian community for our launch event. I contacted about 20 companies for support and Curve Magazine expressed a lot of interest in collaborating with us. I was impressed by their enthusiasm to support something new. The NY Liberty (the WNBA team) has also been incredibly supportive and they’ve expressed an interest in establishing a long-term relationship with us. I think Curve Magazine and The NY Liberty both recognize the potential in LEZ Factor. These partnerships have been instrumental to showing the world that we’re onto something here.
CG: What are your long-term goals with LEZ Factor? What do you want its significance to be to lesbians?
MDB: I’m extremely passionate about helping women become better versions of themselves. If I can empower women to find their self-worth, and teach them to leverage it to attract the women they truly desire, then I’ll be incredibly gratified. I’m also a huge advocate of dating with integrity. In other words, I’m a fan of women having a good time, but doing so honestly.
Hopefully, LEZ Factor will help women to become more social, attract more women, and enjoy the process while staying true to their core values. In the long-term, I would love for LEZ Factor to expand nationally, with trainers running operations in cities such as Miami and San Francisco. I see us creating a movement of lesbians who become better socializers, better daters, and most importantly, better women.
To check out the services LEZ Factor is providing, check out their website. To follow LEZ Factor on their journey to creating better women, check out their Facebook and Twitter. Finally, if you’re in the NYC area, check out the group on Meetup.com.
[Kristina's Note: I attended the Curve-sponsored launch of LEZ Factor in NYC's Meatpacking District one Fall evening with my girlfriend, and met Milly through a mutual friend I did not realize we shared. She immediately hugged me, said she recognized me, introduced me to her girlfriend, and presented me with a “thank you gift” for doing the interview/covering the event. The gift was 6 red-velvet (MY FAVORITE) cupcakes from Baked by Melissa. I have interviewed quite a few people in my time as a blogger, and this was one of the most thoughtful, and generous little things an interview subject has ever done. We wish Milly all of the success in the world, and I'm looking forward to popping into (read; crashing) her events in NYC.]