DeAnne Smith and The Powerful Surprise Absurdity of the Suddenly Topless

famous and funny

DeAnne Smith is a professional Funny Lesbian and she’s famous. Way back in 2009, when everyone was just a baby, Crystal interviewed DeAnne, which you should read because it’s hilarious and informative.

DeAnne’s been on Last Comic Standing, Good News Week and is responsible for An Honest Lesbian Relationship, the video that will make you LOL and also die of embarrassment at the same time. Look, AfterEllen interviewed DeAnne and she was funny there as well. She’s probably funny everywhere. Here she is talking about a waffle sandwich!

Welcome to DeAnne’s new column on Autostraddle dot com, home to famous and funny people we want to have drinks with.
Every once in a while, something happens that forces me to realize that I am not kick-ass. Oftentimes, this feeling results from a ten-minute struggle with a stubborn jar of gherkins. Sometimes, the feeling coincides with the release of an Ellen Page movie. Most recently, it came from finding a spider in my cereal bowl.

I mean that literally, by the way. “A spider in my cereal bowl” is not a bad Japanese translation for a particular waxing pattern or a euphemism for a sexually transmitted infection, although I’m starting to think that it should be. (“Yeah, I’m on a three-day treatment. [Whispers] There’s a spider in my cereal bowl.”) No. Recently, I had to deal with the fact that, right there in the middle of my gluten-free muesli, sat a spider.

Not just any spider, but a huntsman. If you have ever been to Australia, you know why this was horrifying, more horrifying even than the teeth and lips of Nicole Kidman circa 2008.

First, the teeth and lips of Nicole Kidman, circa 2008:


Now, a huntsman:

They’re gigantic, even when cupped in the hand of what appears to be a Vulcan. And here’s a Huntsman fact: they don’t build webs. In my opinion, that’s the only cool thing spiders do. They build webs! Spiders have all the materials for a fulfilling, happy life magically compacted in their own butts, which is something no other creature on this earth can claim. Except maybe for Sofia Vergara. Have you seen that ass? Jesus.¹

Without the web-building, huntsman spiders are pretty much just large, hairy homeless people that eat bugs and try to live in your shed. They’re jerks.

But the point is this: I freaked out. My friend ended up dealing with the spider for me. Before you fruitarian, goddess-spirit, eco-lesbians get your functional, outdoorsy, water-repellent clothing in a twist, let me just say, that’s a sweet carabiner key chain you got there. Oh, and she didn’t kill it. She captured it and put it out in the garden.

Me? I stood by helplessly. I write “stood by helplessly” because it sounds much more dignified than what I actually did, which was jump up and take off my shirt in a blind panic. “Stood by helplessly” is the official line my memory and I are taking on this one. Got it? Stood. By. Helplessly. That’s also the official line we’re taking on what happened at the all-girl kegger in ’05, when my friend’s hot girlfriend cornered me on the dance floor and tried to make out with me.

And I know what you’re thinking. “You’re being too hard on yourself” and “That reaction is totally valid” and “Tell us more about the all-girl kegger and the hot girlfriend.”

The experience of being rescued forced me to confront an unpleasant reality. I like to fancy myself more of the hero than the princess in such situations. I mean, I’m a dyke. I have a severe haircut. I own my own motorcycle helmet.²

But the truth is, much like the jegging, which is neither jean nor legging, I don’t fit easily into either the rescue or the rescued category.

I am neither girly enough to get away with daintily alighting atop a wooden chair, my frilly lace frock a’quiverin,’ nor am I butch enough to scoop the spider up in my grease-stained hands and chuck it aside like…like…like whatever a butch girl would chuck aside. I don’t even know. A deflated football? An ill-fitting drill bit? The notion of mandatory gender conformity in a society that unfortunately demands polarity? I possess neither the bravery of the butch nor the coyness of the femme. When I see a spider, what I do is, I remove my own clothing. My power, apparently, is the surprise absurdity of the suddenly topless.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there are only two ways of being a lesbian. There are probably at least two and a half, if you count Melissa Etheridge. I just wish my kind of lesbian, the bookish androgynous sort, had a bit more, um, practical competence.

See, when the girly girls were learning how to take their bras off under their shirts (sexy) and the butch girls were learning how to fix shit (sexy), I must have been in the backyard reading (Sexton). Somehow, I missed out on a whole heap of skill-getting, from dealing with spiders to dealing with…whatever girly girls deal with. I don’t know. Eyelash curlers? Tiaras? Unwanted sexual attention from men who can’t reconcile their feminine appearance with the dominant lesbian stereotype?

Maybe my kind has skills after all, like the ability to over-process my innate responses and then expound at length in an attempt to justify them to myself. I mean, so what if Ellen Page would have totally fought off that spider with a pithy one-liner, and then karate-chopped open a jar of gherkins? My encounter ended in exposed breasts.

Even if they were my own, that’s still a little kick-ass.

1 Okay, listen. On one hand, I know it’s wrong to objectify women like that. On the other, bitch is fiiiiiiiiiine. My feminist and lesbian sides are in constant battle. When confronted with American Apparel ads, for example, my inner dialogue goes something like this:

Lesbian Side: A svelte 19-year-old in nothing but shiny underwear and tube socks? Hot. I’d hit it.

Feminist Side: Hmph, it’s degrading! Yet another example of how men are socialized to have sexual desires and women are socialized to meet those desires and to internalize accepted definitions of feminini…

Lesbian Side: I know how we can settle this.

Feminist Side: May I share something? I’m disappointed with your ability to engage in active listening, but I’m open to starting a dialogue with you about…

Lesbian Side: Let’s mud wrestle.

Feminist Side: …

Lesbian Side: …

Feminist Side: Put down the hose.

Lesbian Side: You’re sexy when you’re angry.

2 As I don’t own my own motorcycle, this is really less of a kick-ass thing than a safety and preparedness thing which might, in fact, be the complete opposite of kick-ass.


DeAnne Smith is a hilarious and famous lesbian with a website and a twitter account.

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I care a lot about my hair. Unrelatedly, I say short, funny things at

DeAnne has written 22 articles for us.



    My first instinct when confronted with a spider is to scream as loud as I can for as long as I can, and if no one comes running, KILL IT DEAD with someone else’s shoe as quickly as possible.. And then to drown it in the toilet, to be sure.

  2. When confronted with a huntsman yesterday I pretended not to be scared to preserve masculine integrity, but it ran under my bed when I chased it with a container and now I’m afraid to go to sleep lest it crawls into my mouth and I accidentally eat it. I’m a vegetarian.

  3. i’m laughing so hard. i just peed a little.
    love love loooove the part about the inner dialogue, it’s my life all the time.

    and deanne : great writing style ! i thoroughly enjoyed this article and am really excited to see more from you :)

  4. I understand. I found a huntsman in my sweatpants once, I didn’t realise it was there until I felt it crawling up my leg. It was terrifying. I had to stand there and let it crawl around for good minute or more while I contemplated the best approach to getting it, or me, out of the pants.

    • This sounds really awful and horrifying, Crystal. Were you crying? Because I am crying for you right now just imagining it.

    • I would have definitely shit my sweatpants adding a second uncomfortable element to the whole scenario.

      I still want to go to Australia, but I will wear a wet suit and tight fitting hat the entire time. It may be my first ever trip without photos.

    • When he was 8 one of my friends put on his grundies, didn’t see the huntsman in the crotch and it bit him on the BALLS! He had a massive painful red rash all over ‘the area’ for two weeks! He has only been able to wear boxers ever since.

  5. so wait a minute now. you’re saying that all i have to do to get you to take your shirt off is sit in your cereal? little freaky for my tastes but i could be down as long as it’s not soy milk in there. ruined my last pair of jeggings that way.

  6. This is why I love you, DeAnne.

    And HELL YES to the whole queer gender normativity thing. Whenever people ask me “butch or femme?” I ask back “can I claim geek?”. But I like your answer better – after all, I am often topless anyway.

    But eek spider in your cereal bowl!

    <3 the Fuck Yeah Boat Person at your Adelaide Feast show

  7. I demand more! Also, I plan to use this description of spiders in all future confrontations with said 8-legged creatures.

  8. My tried-and-true method of spider disposal is as follows:
    1. Find spider-squishing object (heavy, flat surface, et al.) that I never want to touch again
    2. Throw at spider from a safe distance

    • Be nice, huntsmen look scary but all they do is eat other bugs, including some that acutally bite, and prompt girls to get topless. We should thank them and build them tiny cereal thrones.

      Also, there are so many Australians on this thread, or am I the only one who sees it?

      • Australian here! (Newtown, Syd to be exact)

        We have a huntsman currently living between our fly screen and window in the bathroom. My lovely girlfriend pushed him out there from inside with a broom. He’s been there for about 2 weeks. I saw hi to him every morning as he perves on me in the shower.
        We named him Spencer.

  9. If i saw a spider of that size my first instinct would be to grap my shotgun and blast it to spider hell.

    • I think if I saw a spider that big my brain would fail completely. I don’t know how to respond to that shit. Especially if it was in my food.

      • My brain would completely fail as I went into the panic attack to end all panic attacks and I would never be able to use that bowl/table/room ever again (if I ever got past the panic attack)

  10. the picture of that spider scared me. i don’t like spiders. they’re creepy and need to exist a good distance from me at all times.

    • Seriously, the picture almost sent me into a panic attack, and I only glimpsed it for a fraction of a second before I flung my arm over my eyes so that I couldn’t see the pure evilness of that spider

      Now every time I close my eyes I see that picture, I’m so going to have nightmares of giant spiders hunting me tonight.

      • My mom is like this with snakes. I’m the one afraid of spiders and, ironically, my favorite gif on the Internet is that b&w flashing spider one where it looks like it keeps zooming in… (GIS spider optical illusion gif)

  11. I agree, Sofia Vergaracan is the only other creature on earth who can claim said magically compacted power.

  12. Last time I ran into a huntsman I took my pants off in the middle of the street. In my defense, the bastard ran up my pants leg but I don’t think my elderly neighbours knew that…

    Either way, entirely justified reaction.

  13. This is honestly the most hilarious thing I have read in a very long time– and that’s sayin’ something cuz I read Autostraddle everyday. Just ten minutes ago I wanted to rip off the head of a Santa Claus mannequin in the Apple Store window and throw it at an innocent passerby. But now I just want to hug everyone and blow sparkles out of every orifice in my body. So thanks for ruining my standard holiday scowl and putting a smile on this scrooge’s face. Merry fuckin’ Christmas.

    • clearly, the jegging is at the heart of this article. it’s symbolic, it’s comfortable, and it’s a portmanteau. i’m going to be freaking interested.

    • I think jeggings are better than regular leggings as a form of pant, as the possible symptom of skinny jean evolution rather than forgetting to wear a longer top/dress/whatever

  14. i love spiders too, and hate american apparel ads. thanks for liking my sweet carabiner key chain! (i have like, 3)

  15. As soon as someone takes their top off, we should all just get naked and have a sexy party.

    You know, just an idea.

  16. I like to pride myself in my ability to remain calm in the face of imminent bug interaction, but if I saw that spider anywhere in my apartment I’d wet my boy shorts. And not in the good way.

  17. ohmygosh. this is the funniest thing of my life.

    if i told this story, it would sound like this: “this morning there was a spider in my story and then i took my shirt off because i’m a baby.” teach me your ways.

    • I literally squeaked with fear when I clicked on that link. Oh dear lord. That is absolutely terrifying, and reading the description did not help matters. I assume you killed it dead. Gah.

      • Actually, since I am a non-bug-killing person and I didn’t realize that it was an Evil Poison Spider of Death… no. We picked it up in a cup and put it outside. O_O It wasn’t until days later when my brother linked me to an article about funnel webs (as part of his constant campaign of trying to get me to move back to the States) that I’d realized what I’d done.

        But nobody was hurt! There’s that, right?

  18. “Spiders have all the materials for a fulfilling, happy life magically compacted in their own butts”



  19. Two years ago my super hot printmaking professor told me it’s bad luck to kill a spider and she had some spiritual tie to them. I haven’t harmed one since.

  20. this is totally fantastic and filled my belly with giggles. also I feel like I have that same inner monologue in regards to American Apparel but perhaps with less mud wrestling and a bit more guilt…durrr

  21. “They’re gigantic, even when cupped in the hand of what appears to be a Vulcan.”

    I saw that picture, thought, “Uh… why is he doing the ‘live long and prosper’ sign whilst holding a terrifying spider?!” And then I scrolled down and read that line. Made my night right there.

  22. Even though this may get me killed I am going to relate the story of the time my girlfriend got a wasp in her shirt and suddenly took it off out of nowhere. Like, one second she was standing there, the next she was flailing around and ripping off her shirt. It was hilarious until I realized she’d been stung a couple times… ^_^;

  23. i showed my straight, extremely feminist best friend the inner dialogue just so she could finally understand my inner turmoil and stop hating on me every time i mention wanting to do sexy things with her roommates/shakira/girls in american apparel ads.

    i think it worked? hopefully she’ll be a little more understanding now.

  24. Okay but. How did that horrible thing get into your bowl? Was it already there when you retrieved it from the cupboard and went unseen as you showered it in cereal? Or worse, did it fall out of your cereal as it was poured – sort of like a toy prize? I mean, I can’t quite decide which of these scenarios is the worse one.

    Cause really, when a spider that enormous is a part of your day, it doesn’t really matter how. It’s awful any way you look at it.

    What I mean to say is you made me laugh a whole, whole lot and I can’t wait to see more from you.

  25. you know….
    I totally understand.
    I CAN be kick-ass, there are things that are…. VERY kick-ass about me
    (Like going down a relly steep slope on a snowboard without a helmet when snowboarding for the first time… okay, actually it was silly.
    Or protecting a girl from bad guys with my kick-ass martial arts skills)
    but I’m not butch enough to fight a spider.
    You know what I did when I just saw thE PICTURE of that spider? I screamed, shut my eyes and jumped of the chair I was sitting on so suddenly that it fell to the floor and my sister came to look if everything was alright.
    So. Don’t feel bad about yourself (:
    I love girl that are neither femme nor butch. But in between. Because, yo know what’s so good about them? Sometimes I can eb kick-ass and help her, because she’sa girl… and sometimes, she can protect me from the spiders (;

  26. And there is the reason I never want to visit Australia. Spiders.
    I mean I have trouble dealing with with “big” spiders in England. One was on my bed once, I screamed and then burst into tears.
    I wasn’t even in the bed, I just moved the sheets but I spent the whole night thinking there was a whole colony in there just waiting to crawl on me.

    Anyway spiders aside, this cracked me up so much.

  27. You guys, I just realized something about myself. I am slightly less afraid of fuzzy spiders than spindly spiders.

    I am spider racist.

  28. This, this right here was the highlight of my Christmas. Note that I am writing this on my new iPad and still staying strong on my prior statement.

  29. But Huntsman spiders are the friendly spiders of Australia, but since we’re all telling horror stories…A few years ago my brother was drying himself off with a towel after getting out of the pool, he turned around and there was a huge huntsman on the back of his towel holding on for dear life. Needless to say it’s always a good idea to shake your towel before drying yourself.

    Deanne you were hilarious at the Adelaide Feast shows!

    Tiara the Merch Girl – I’m pretty sure I saw your boobs at the Feast Festival too #little known trivia

  30. Thats so exciting! I went through a mad commenting phase, then life got in the way…. Yay for lil old Adelaide!

    • oopsa that was meant to be a reply to Isobel.
      (and my ridiculous excitment is due to the fact that 98% of my friends are straight!!)

  31. That spider is endboss huge.

    Still, I think I’d maintain, and find a tupperware container and liberate it, I’ve never really been afraid of them.

    Also, THIS.

  32. T take off my shirt when faced with large spiders too!!!!


    Sorry for the all-caps, I’m not normally that type of a person.

  33. I almost dropped my phone when I saw that spider. At least you’re not alone in the whole unwanted fear of spiders. I also love that you have a helmet. I also have the same lesbian/feminist dialogue. I also love the picture you used for said dialogue. I can’t wait for more!

  34. The worst thing about huntsman spiders (sidenote: is the plural ‘huntsmans’ or ‘huntsmen’?) is that they friggin JUMP! They jump really far and don’t need a run-up. When I was about 10 one jumped onto my hand, ran up onto my neck and then started scrabbling around in my ear lobe/carotid artery area. That is why I fully appreciate that the only sane response is to shed all clothes immediately and then cower in the corner.

    Hilarious post, well done AS and DeAnne. (Dude, that’s a confusing name.)

  35. “See, when the girly girls were learning how to take their bras off under their shirts (sexy) and the butch girls were learning how to fix shit (sexy), I must have been in the backyard reading (Sexton). Somehow, I missed out on a whole heap of skill-getting, from dealing with spiders to dealing with…whatever girly girls deal with. I don’t know. Eyelash curlers? Tiaras? Unwanted sexual attention from men who can’t reconcile their feminine appearance with the dominant lesbian stereotype?”


  36. I just saw this on twitter and I read it and loved it and nearly peed my pants when I saw the spider photo. And then read the comments and realized that I read it/loved it/needed to change my panties 2 years ago as well.

    It might have to become my Christmas tradition for even-numbered years. Someone tweet it to me in 2014? Or whatever replaces tweeting by then?

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