Lesbian dining clubs
Time Out finds food for thought in the world of lesbian dining clubs
Odd socks, biros and lesbians: where do they all go? After the age of 30, lesbians magically disappear off the scene to no one knows quite where. This becomes something of a pressing issue if you are freshly single, feel like expanding your social circle, or are just plain bored of the usual suspects. One possible solution is the dining club circuit. To the uninitiated, the notion of a dining club can offer up wildly different impressions.
On the one hand, they present a civilised way to meet other women over a glass of wine and fine food. On the other, they summon a nightmare scenario of scary singletons negotiating awkward small talk. So what’s the real story? Of the three or four dining clubs mentioned in Time Out’s listings, the Champagne Dining Club comes with the highest price tag. A bit of a one-woman show, it’s run by Jackie who holds regular events every month or so in stylish venues across London, mostly in Mayfair. (The night I visited, the club took place in a Moroccan-styled restaurant called Isis comprising loose cushions, low tables and the occasional belly dancer. All for £60 a head.)
Once past Jackie and her handshake (her fingernails were two inches long and painted green) I was swiftly dispatched to a seat and left to my own devices. The women gathered there had an amazing variety of jobs. One was a director of operations for a primary health trust. One was a defence lawyer. Another a deputy head at a primary school. There was also a head of a pupil referral unit, a family therapist and even a beauty editor who worked on a national newspaper.
I’d stumbled on a gaggle of power dykes, all rather self-defined, confident (yet strangely camera-shy) women aged between 30 and 55. They had lots to say for themselves and were rather sceptical about the lesbian scene. Needless to say, it was the therapist who mused whether ‘80 per cent of the women here tonight have been recently dumped’. Going around the table, we soon established that the percentage was probably even higher, a fact that everyone found highly amusing. So what were they looking to get out of the supper?
‘You want a bit of civilisation but a bit of debauchery as well,’ a civil servant confessed. A company director, meanwhile, was ‘bored of paying for younger women’ and wanted to find someone who could pay her own way. Most of them were first timers to the experience and by the end of the evening (and rather a lot of wine) phone numbers and business cards had been summarily exchanged.
The second event – this time run by the organisation Women4Women – was altogether different. Far more of the women here were regular attendees, with a greater proportion of couples. This felt like a warmer affair, with the hosts providing a more personal service: ‘In general it’s women aged over 40 or those who fancy them!’ Organiser Carol was keen to stress the policy of inclusion. ‘It’s an awful thing to go into a place blind. There’s nothing worse than standing around on your own’.
Rather than going for expensive restaurants, Women4Women dinners centre on various ‘themes’. They’d had tapas and Thai nights, and a ‘superstitious supper which involved a tarot reader’. The latest took place outside the Royal Festival Hall on a summer evening, where a three-course meal cost £30.
Like the Champagne Dining Club, it too advertises through a website as well as in Time Out listings, but it also drops flyers on the scene. The women here are less in the closet than the higher earners at the Champagne Dining Club. Their demographic too is slightly different. I met a ticketing operations manager for London Transport, lots of police and prison officers, an insurance underwriter, a psychotherapist and a lawyer. There were also a few faces I recognised from the previous group.
Dining clubs provide ample evidence that lesbian life doesn’t end at 30. In fact, rather than disappearing, it seems that these women have instead decided to live life to the full. So I guess a glass of wine and a bit of belly dancing is more than they deserve. Join them if you dare.
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Great ! I would be attending ASP, as a 50+ professional women who came out late, missing the scene years! Problem live in North West, need something like this here.
Interesting place, i hope to have same adresses from you. We are in couple, with my husband in visit to London in April and i like to know same beautiful place were i can meet other womens wen we have a good dinner and we drink good wines or champagnes.
I have recently started to come out to my family and friends. I am in my forties and am living in Bangkok at the moment but am relocating back to the UK at the end of the summer,to my home in Twickenham. I want to socialise with likeminded women but wish I could meet someone who would partner me and give me the courage I need to enter the lesbian social scene. I know it sound really wet that a person in there forties should be so nervous and I am sure once I got in the door of somewhere I would be fine. If you would like to "buddy me" or just give me some tips on how to push open the door and walk in, I would greatly apreciate it.
Greetings to one and all. I have recently come out of the closet and I want to find a decent restaurant to go to in London that I can take a lady too. Have you got any good ideas for me please? I do not drive just yet so I am worried that that will narrow down my chances of meeting someone soon who is decent enough to go out on a date with. Can you suggest some decent ga women's restaurant's for me to visit please? I am a 32 year old student with no dependants. Please reply to this message soon to give me some helpful tipsand advice? Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely yours from Miss Emma Lucy Jones.
My partner and I are coming to London for a few days and would love to know where to dine, we are arriving August 28th until the 31st.
sounds good but how on earth do i get a contact number or address to get going on one of these fine dinning experiences.......
This sound good Specially as I am new in the scene. would love to join but could I have the address?
Is there any dining clubs for the age 17 up? I am not old enough to go clubbing so it would be nice if there was a place where you could go eat good food and meet nice women to talk to :) / Jenny
it sounds good that it makes me want to come give me your address and u will see me thereok bhy babes