Top ten stupid questions people ask lesbians

If you’re a woman who fancies women, I guarantee you will have rolled your eyes at some of these idiotic queries.

 

1. Would you sleep with a man if he was really, really hot?

I can appreciate an attractive man like I can appreciate an attractive coffee table. I can look at it and say, “My, that’s one mighty fine piece of carpentry,” but I don’t want to wake up next to it and make it post-coital poached eggs.  

2. So what do you actually, you know… do ?

Well. It all begins with something we lezzers like to call the "joining of the lunar essences". We hold hands, look deeply into each other’s eyes and harness one another’s erotic energy. Next comes an elaborate tea-drinking ceremony. Between sips of Lapsang Souchong, we name our favourite pre-1927 feminist poets. If we agree on more than three, we can move onto the binding of the goddess egos.

Seriously, if you need to ask what two women do in bed you have no imagination. Or internet access, apparently.

3. Why are you all so obsessed with cats?

Because they’re great. Next question.

4. Are you all feminists?

Well, the good ones are. But, you know, all the good men, carrots and dogs are feminists too. But lesbians, like other humans, come in all shapes, sizes and political persuasions. No, we’re not inherently feminist. Some lesbians aren’t too fussed about the sisterhood. Some lesbians read Nuts un-ironically. And, as porn has taught me, some lesbians are Nazis.

And, incidentally, not all feminists are lesbians. Turns out you can shag men and still believe in gender equality. Who knew?

5. Have you listened to the new Tegan and Sara album?

Nope.

6. My boyfriend and I are thinking of having a threesome. Do you want in?

This is a question I’m asked pretty regularly by women on online dating sites. While I’m ever so flattered to be chosen as a conduit to a couple’s first taste of menage, I can think of a few things I’d rather do than titillate a bisexual girl’s boyfriend. Like drink an entire bottle of shampoo. Yeah, I’d rather do that.

7. My mate’s sister’s personal trainer is a lesbian. Do you want her number?

I don’t know. What’s she like? Do we have anything in common? Is she into stubby, hirsute Semites who spend a disproportionate amount of time Googling the symptoms of rare diseases? It’s an insulting misconception that a lesbian will automatically be interested in any other available lesbian. OK, sure, we regularly get drunk and sleep with our friends. That’s different though, gin is involved. So much gin. Lesbians love gin. Plus, our friends are hot.

8. What’s the deal with strap-ons? Are you trying to be men?

Firstly, there’s a lot more to lesbian sex than strap-ons (again, use your imagination. And/or the internet). In fact, many of my people find them ridiculous and unnecessary. I once went to a sex shop with a friend who was looking to buy her first one. She insisted on trying it on (over her jeans, of course) and, after a few minutes of fumbling with the harness, the absurdity of helping to attach a rubber cock to my mate began to sink in.

But there are, of course, gay women who love using strap-ons. And no, they’re not trying to be men, they’re having sexy fun times appropriating masculinity. There’s a big difference.

9. You call yourself a dyke - why can’t I call you that?

Right. Spend fifteen years trying to figure out who you are, while panicking about whether your friends and family will accept that person. Have entire sections of society discriminate against you and douchebags you went to school with ask you a ton of stupid questions (see this article). Discover what it feels like to be devalued and ridiculed in mainstream media and politics. Done all that? Then you can call me a dyke. Maybe.

10. Did you have to chop off your hair when you came out?

I have a bona fide Jewfro that grows outwards rather than down. Having short hair is a lot easier for me. Shocking as it may be, I didn’t chop off my resplendent mane because of lesbianism. Some women happen to look good with short hair. Deal with it.

 

Members of the group Dykes on Bikes at the gay pride parade in San Francisco. Photograph: Getty Images

Eleanor Margolis is a freelance journalist, whose "Lez Miserable" column appears weekly on the New Statesman website.

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I believe only Yvette Cooper has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy Corbyn

All the recent polling suggests Andy Burnham is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy Corbyn, says Diana Johnson MP.

Tom Blenkinsop MP on the New Statesman website today says he is giving his second preference to Andy Burnham as he thinks that Andy has the best chance of beating Jeremy.

This is on the basis that if Yvette goes out first all her second preferences will swing behind Andy, whereas if Andy goes out first then his second preferences, due to the broad alliance he has created behind his campaign, will all or largely switch to the other male candidate, Jeremy.

Let's take a deep breath and try and think through what will be the effect of preferential voting in the Labour leadership.

First of all, it is very difficult to know how second preferences will switch. From my telephone canvassing there is some rather interesting voting going on, but I don't accept that Tom’s analysis is correct. I have certainly picked up growing support for Yvette in recent weeks.

In fact you can argue the reverse of Tom’s analysis is true – Andy has moved further away from the centre and, as a result, his pitch to those like Tom who are supporting Liz first is now narrower. As a result, Yvette is more likely to pick up those second preferences.

Stats from the Yvette For Labour team show Yvette picking up the majority of second preferences from all candidates – from the Progress wing supporting Liz to the softer left fans of Jeremy – and Andy's supporters too. Their figures show many undecideds opting for Yvette as their first preference, as well as others choosing to switch their first preference to Yvette from one of the other candidates. It's for this reason I still believe only Yvette has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy and then to go on to win in 2020.

It's interesting that Andy has not been willing to make it clear that second preferences should go to Yvette or Liz. Yvette has been very clear that she would encourage second preferences to be for Andy or Liz.

Having watched Andy on Sky's Murnaghan show this morning, he categorically states that Labour will not get beyond first base with the electorate at a general election if we are not economically credible and that fundamentally Jeremy's economic plans do not add up. So, I am unsure why Andy is so unwilling to be clear on second preferences.

All the recent polling suggests Andy is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy. He trails fourth in London – where a huge proportion of our electorate is based.

So I would urge Tom to reflect more widely on who is best placed to provide the strongest opposition to the Tories, appeal to the widest group of voters and reach out to the communities we need to win back. I believe that this has to be Yvette.

The Newsnight focus group a few days ago showed that Yvette is best placed to win back those former Labour voters we will need in 2020.

Labour will pay a massive price if we ignore this.

Diana Johnson is the Labour MP for Hull North.