A few weeks ago New York Magazine’s pop music critic Jody Rosen reportedly discovered a page from a 1988 Women’s and Gender Studies class held at the University of Wisconsin. It is titled “When You Meet a Lesbian: Hints for the Heterosexual Women”
The list was issued to help heterosexual women of the 80s deal with the extreme weirdness of meeting a lesbian. As a lesbian, and a hero, I thought it would be helpful to go through the points on the list now and add a few notes, hopefully to help heterosexual women in 2014 when they happen upon a lesbian.
WOMEN’S STUDIES 103
WHEN YOU MEET A LESBIAN: HINTS FOR THE HETEROSEXUAL WOMEN
1. Do not run from the room. This is rude.
Lesbians and bears have many things in common, one of these is that they will be attracted to your campsite if you leave food out; the other is that they will both chase you if you run. Stay perfectly still unless;
2. If you must back away, do so slowly and with discretion.
Lesbians can only see you if you move, as portrayed on film in Jurassic Park. The Tyrannosaurus Rex was meant to symbolise lesbians. Jeff Goldblum was meant to symbolise a man that I would sleep with even though I am a lesbian.
3. Do not assume she is attracted to you.
You should not assume she is attracted to you. However, are you funny? Do you think I’m funny? Are you a pretty brunette wearing a plaid shirt? If you answered yes to one or more of these things, chances are good.
4. Do not assume she is not attracted to you.
Assuming makes an ass out of you and lesbians. But it makes sense. She is a lesbian isn’t she? You are a lady, right? And WHAT a lady. What are you up to later, do you want to get a free-trade coffee and listen to Ani Difranco?
5. Do not assume you are not attracted to her.
In fact, you are probably attracted to her. She seems great. Who wouldn’t be attracted to her? She’s so funny, writing all those things on that thing about lesbians Jodie Rosen found. LOL. What a great lady.
6. Do not expect her to be as excited about meeting a heterosexual as you may be about meeting a lesbian. She was probably raised with them.
This doesn’t make any sense, I was raised with wolves and I am still excited when I meet a new wolf. Also, we ARE still very excited to come across a heterosexual in the wild. But my co-workers are getting quite annoyed at my excited shrieks of surprised delight every single morning.
7. Do not immediately start talking about your boyfriend or husband in order to make it clear you are straight. She probably already knows.
Lesbians have the ability to go a few hours into the future and see whom they are going to meet. That’s how we always know if you have a boyfriend or husband, we travel forward in time, then back, and then look you up on Facebook. So don’t concern yourself with talking about your male partner, unless you would like to have some kind of human interaction where you share information. In that case, please DO talk about your husband, but call him ‘hubby’ so that I know there is no future for us.
8. Do not tell her it is sexist to prefer women. Do not tell her men are as oppressed by sexism as women and women should help men fight their oppression.
You definitely shouldn’t tell lesbians this. Or any person who is sane.
9. Do not assume she hates men. On the other hand, recognize that she may not want to attend an event where there will be men.
Please ensure there are no men at any events I attend. This includes the political process, industry, jobs, business, sports, on the internet, entertainment and all other events. Please just show directly me to your basewoment where I will live out my man-less days.
10. Do not ask her how she got this way. Ask yourself how you got that way.
Which way do they mean by got ‘this way’? How awesome I am? In which case I can tell you, I was born awesome. Or do they mean ‘this way’ as in to this specific Internet site. Either way, ask yourself how you got that way and then ask yourself why you feel the need to ask so many questions, and then ask your therapist for an appointment tomorrow.
11. Do not trivialize her experience by assuming it is a bedroom issue only.
Do not trivialize my experience by assuming it’s a bedroom issue. But DO trivial pursuit my experience by assuming it is a board game issue and bringing in the special 50 Shades of Grey Trivial Pursuit edition which is actually very confusing because all the pie pieces are shades of grey, actually let’s just forget the whole thing & play Scattegories instead. Or have sex.
12. Do not assume she wants to be treated like a man.
Incorrect. Please assume I want to be paid an equal wage for equal work, and to have every privilege that happens in life forever for no reason.
13. Do not assume that her lesbian relationships, unlike male-female relationships, are free of problems like envy, communication failure, struggles with commitment, etc. On the other hand, do not assume she is in an unhealthy relationship.
I’m sorry, haven’t you seen Ellen and Portia together? Lesbian relationships are free of all problems, including ‘we haven’t saved enough mistreated farm animals’ or; ‘our lives don’t have enough precocious English children in them’
14. Do not assume that you and she can not be friends. Do not assume you can.
Do not assume that you and she cannot be friends and do not assume you can. But do assume that you can be F.R.I.E.N.D.S, although there weren’t many gay people on that show. I’ll be ugly naked guy. But do not assume that we’ll be friends if you are Ross. We will in fact be enemies. Be prepared, but do not assume.
15. Do respect her individuality. She is a lesbian, but she is also Mary, Pam, Lori..
All lesbians have several personalities. Sometimes you are a Mary, a real princess. Sometimes you are a Pam, an animated coke-addict, and sometimes you are Lori, a Tank Girl. Lesbians are like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re gonna get (except that it will be a lesbian of some kind).
EXPERIMENT: PRETEND TO BE A LESBIAN FOR 24 HOURS. WHAT KIND OF THINGS DO YOU NOTICE ABOUT HOW DIFFERENT THIS FEELS.
DO YOU NOTICE YOU ARE USING CAPS LOCK A LOT MORE? DO YOU NOTICE THAT NOTHING IS DIFFERENT EXCEPT THAT NOW YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO WOMEN INSTEAD OF MEN? IF THE LATTER, CONGRATS, YOU ARE BECOMING A REAL WOMAN/LESBIAN. IF YOU NEED ANY FURTHER HELP IN BEING A LESIAN FOR 24 HOURS, OR PERHAPS STAYING A LESBIAN FOREVER, I RECOMMEND TWEETING @BROCKLESNITCH FOR ADVICE.