Like medieval German poetry, lesbians (and bisexuals, heteroflexibles, queers, pansexuals, and womyn-loving wimmin) are frequently misunderstood.
You may have read about them in a Women’s Studies class, glimpsed them briefly on Grey’s Anatomy, or in the plaster aisle at Home Depot, but it’s a rare thing indeed to experience lesbians in the wild. Who are these mythical beings? What do they wear now that hipsters have appropriated flannel? Is it true that lesbians move in together after the second date? What does Rachel Maddow have that I don’t? These are some of the questions you may have. While we generally abide by the school rule that there are no stupid questions, when it comes to queer women, sometimes there are stupid questions we’re tired of answering. You should avoid uttering the following statements if you’d like to steer clear of arguments, severe eye rolls, physical confrontations, and being equated with a cave person.
1. Who’s the “man” in this relationship?
Neither. Both. Only when it comes to killing the spiders. In most cases, the relationship in question involves two women: that’s what makes them lesbians. Even in butch/femme pairings, it’s insulting to assume that a queer relationship is imitating a straight one, especially under the rigid and outdated gender roles that the “man” question usually implies.
Possible comeback: “I don’t know. Who’s the man in yours?”
2. So if you like girls, are you attracted to yourself?
This question dates back to the Victorian era, when Freud postulated that homosexuality may have roots in narcissism, and his so-called castration complex. If this theory actually held water, wouldn’t we all be fervently masturbating in a mirror while playing Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” instead of going on dates? Same-sex attraction does not equal self-sex attraction (not that that’s a thing).
3. How do you have sex?
Well, first we make an offering to the Goddess. Then we walk counter-clockwise in a circle around a bowl of flax seeds while reciting lines from the Indigo Girls canon. Somewhere around the seventh rotation, our vaginas fuse together in spiritual and ecstatic union. Afterward, we drink rooibos tea and discuss prison reform.