Dykes and Their Emotional Support Albums

The holiday season makes me immediately think of corny holiday movies where the “ghost of Christmas past” comes back to haunt some poor soul who isn’t quite ready to face the music. The weather calls for it. Where I live, the sight of white snowcaps and icy streets in a dark morning call to mind a time for reflection. Winter is the time where things begin to turn and start over, so of course movies like these are on almost every channel and streaming network. Being in isolation has only made me want to watch these movies more, even though I am the definition of a grinch.

Think of all the dykes in your life. The ones that have come and gone, those that stayed and are maybe your friends, lovers, coworkers. Now imagine that each of them has come back into your life all at once. What do they say to you, what are they wearing, how are they coping? I know that I lean heavily on music during difficult times, so I can’t help but imagine what each dyke stereotype of your past is listening to during COVID lockdowns.

The cover art of Fiona Apple's "Fetch the Bolt Cutters"

The Vegan: Fetch the Bolt Cutters — Fiona Apple

Chances are The Vegan talked your ear off about how this new Fiona Apple album was gonna shit on the other girls (and it did, it was phenomenal, Shameika a household name!) for weeks before the album actually dropped.

Why not any other Fiona Apple album? Oh she’s got them all on rotation but this one is just hitting her right in that empathetic rage she’s got festering due to an ineffective government careless with the lives of its citizens. The Vegan is in crisis because this level of mass suffering is not something she was prepared for outside of animal cruelty documentaries available on Netflix. She’s distraught and has probably been racking her brain about how to “get involved” and help people on any grounds that she can. Her song of choice from this album? “Ladies,” of course. Because she’s gay and the way Apple croons “LADIES LADIES LADIES LADIES” is enough to get any dyke a little smug and hot. Also because you’re still “only eating chicken” and refuse to go full vegan. Yet another woman to whom I won’t get through, am I right?

The cover art to Sufjan Stevens' "Carrie & Lowell"

The Harper: Anything by Sufjan Stevens

I could have simply called this “The Closet Case” but there is a very specific kind of closeted lesbian we’re talking about here and she is so perfectly portrayed by Mackenzie Davis in Happiest Season. Is that song about the Lord or another man Sufjan would like to consume, who’s to say!

The Harper is probably listening to “The Only Thing” and staring longingly out the window thinking about her life, her choices, and the love she could have if she just opened herself a litttttle bit more. As The Harper struggles with questions of whether she is ready to come out, she can listen to the breathy, feathered vocals of sweet Sufjan; the perfect companion for the isolation hornies.

The cover art to SZA's "Ctrl" album

Your Toxic Ex: Ctrl — SZA

Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Your toxic ex has absolutely texted you during this ordeal because she was “just thinking of you” and hoping you’re making it through all this. She’s so fucking hot and so dangerous for you. She knows you’re not single and she probably isn’t either, all the more reason to crank up “Love Galore” and scream sing “WHY YOU BOTHER ME WHEN YOU KNOW YOU GOTTA WOMAN!” as if she isn’t the architect of her own mess. She’s furloughed or has outright lost her job and is probably spending all that time thinking of you and every other woman she has ruined without realizing the damage she’s done.

That lack of self-awareness and the cheating is exactly why you left her, you hear me? You left her for a reason! It doesn’t help that Ctrl is an absolutely classic album with legendary bops on it. Your toxic ex will probably lie about having a negative test and swears she’s just coming over to see you and make sure your okay. When that strap is inches deep in you and she’s ordering you to cum you’ll be wondering how exactly you got here.

Listen, when SZA said “real niggas do not deserve pussy” she was talking to Me and YOU! Don’t give it up mama I believe in you!

The cover art to Frank Ocean's "Blond" album

The Lex Lover: Blonde — Frank Ocean

The Lex Lover is your one dyke friend or acquaintance that moved across the country to date someone they met on Lex (or another dating app). It only took her about 3 months to make that decision, but the vibes were so strong that she couldn’t resist. Now they are quarantining together and passing COVID to each other like spoonfuls of homemade Borscht.

The Lex Lover is at the point in the relationship where she’s having some regrets about how swiftly she moved in with an almost stranger all because her loins were screaming. She’s probably confided in you too soon in a completely unrelated conversation about these regrets and now you’re stuck with the weight of watching this person you kinda know dissolve a relationship. But hey, all dyke drama is good dyke drama. She’s probably gonna put on Godspeed and sing to it while she’s driving down a dusty, empty road in the middle of nowhere town she moved to, living this cottage core life. Who will take the chickens in the divorce? A sad story indeed.

The cover art of Reba McEntire's "Rumor Has It" album

The Farm Dyke: Rumor Has It — Reba McEntire

The Farm Dyke is closely related to the Lex Lover, but The Farm Dyke was raised on a farm and doesn’t just wear Carhartt as a fashion statement. She gets up early to make the coffee and tend to the horses, and look longingly out the window toward a love she can only yearn for. Lockdown has made Farm Dyke very sentimental for her exes or the secret love she’s been pining after recently. The woman she’s been yearning for recently is probably an older dyke who has a farm just down the road. Name is probably Sheila and she’s got a working woman’s hands. The Farm Dyke can sing, and mainly listens to classic country, even the problematic kind. She only talks about Dolly Parton and Reba though. She’ll put on You Lie and wash the dishes in that enviable farm sink as she stares at the sunset just beyond the window.

The cover art of Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love"

Miss Empath: Hounds of Love — Kate Bush

Maybe the most annoying of them all, Miss Empath will not stop talking about what an empath she is. She can’t help it, she just feels things more than most. Broken people? Don’t get her started! They cling to her lick magnets. Once she’s done “healing” them, she has to think, “who will heal me?” Miss Empath doesn’t do anything but talk about how they are the center of everyone else’s world. They don’t recognize how self-centered they are because they spend their time dwelling in self-centered emotion. They are very emotional!

That’s why Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love is their comfort album. They like to listen to the slow, contemplative Mother Stands For Comfort and perform a choreographed dance. She’s not a dancer though, please refer to her as a movement artist only!

the cover art of Grae's Moses Sumney

The Poet: Grae — Moses Sumney

The Poet has been using her time away from her job to write and write constantly. She’s been yelling at you to stop buying your books on Amazon no matter how fast they get to you. Use Bookshop.org or buy directly from the publisher! The Poet has been writing quarantine poems about longing and The Body, how much she misses the religion of touch. Have you heard of Aracelis Girmay? Oh, you have to read The Black Maria, it won a Whiting Award (seriously though please read more poetry)!

When the Poet isn’t drinking coffee and staring into the blank page, she is listening to music. Earlier this year when Moses Sumney put out Grae, her whole life was changed. With songs like Gagarin and Colour, it’s hard to choose which one song she leans on the most for comfort. Sumney’s tantalizing vocals and remarkable range (and his daring fashion) make The Poet see the poet in him, and therein lies the importance. The Poet only truly admires other poets which is why she hasn’t texted you back yet. Maybe if you could pronounce Aracelis Girmay she’d be a little more inclined to notice you. The Poet has only kissed you but only that has had you hooked ever since so you’ll put up with the fact that she’s a “bad texter” and frequently responds in lines of verse when you ask how she is.

The cover art of Toni Braxton's self-titled album

The Older Dyke: Toni Braxton — Toni Braxton

Everyone on this list wants to fuck the Older Dyke. She’s got a car, a house, a rescued pit bull, and gray hair. She has some job where she works with her hands a lot and everyone finds that incredibly sexy. Depending on where you are, the Older Dyke can be between 40-60 years old. No matter where she lies on the spectrum she’s got it going on and you want a slice of whatever she’s serving. The question remains if she’d want anything to do with your young ass.

The Older Dyke doesn’t play games, she’s very open with communication, affectionate, giving, caring; her only downfall is that she only dates women ten years older than you are. Somehow through all this, she’s been able to keep her job, we love an essential worker. When she isn’t working, she’s sitting out back with her dog around a fire or sculpting in her home studio. She once winked at you and it was better than anything anyone has ever offered you before.

When she’s sitting around that fire what is she listening to? “Seven Whole Days” by Toni Braxton, from an era where black women were truly SINGING about heartbreak and the men they loved were singing about breaking those hearts. Braxton’s signature velvet voice is one that brings comfort to her heart and a little sway to her hips. She’ll lip sync and dance with abandon and that’s just another reason why you’re in love with her.

The cover art of Phoebe Bridgers' " Stranger in the Alps cover

The Tenderqueer: Stranger in the Alps — Phoebe Bridgers

The Tenderqueer can’t stop and won’t stop engaging in sexuality and gender discourse on Twitter. Every bad take makes you roll your eyes a little deeper, but they are only 21, and you were that young and silly once, too. One thing you admire about them is how openly and boldly queer they are. They refuse to shrink and that’s a super power. However, they just aren’t sure when to shut up. They dress in bright, pastel colors and paint words onto their fingernails like “butch” and “soft”. As you can probably imagine they are not doing super well during stay-at-home orders. They miss going on dates to the cemetery and then texting the poor girl after to say “I wish I had kissed you.” After said date, they come home to listen to a little Phoebe Bridgers. They love “Punisher” but really feel that “Motion Sickness” describes every hardship they’ve ever gone through.

The cover art of Prince's "Sign O The Times" album

The Mean Femme: Sign O The Times — Prince

She’s bold, she’s dangerous, she’s here to tell the Tenderqueer to hush. It’s the Mean Femme. With nails as sharp as her perfect cat eye, The Mean Femme is sure to make you quiver with a mix of fear and ecstasy. You and Mean Femme maybe hooked up a couple times, it didn’t work out, and so you decided it was best to be friends. You’re probably better for it, getting devoured by her was something that sent a shiver up your spine. What makes her so mean? She’s been out since she was like 10 and had to endure the homophobia of every adult that crossed her path as she moved through the world as an out preteen. She developed a thick skin young and expects everyone in her life to have the same skin. She’s definitely a leatherdyke and somehow always has adoring men and women buying her the things she wants the most. Let’s be honest, you envy her. Her fashion sense, her body, her desires and whims. She’s something to behold. She loves Prince more than she loves diamonds and pearls. He was probably formative in her discovering her sexuality and sensuality. Sign O The Times is one album she puts on because she has exquisite taste, particularly If I Was Your Girlfriend. That song and Prince in general perfectly encapsulates what she envisions as seduction.

The cover art of Joan Armatrading's "Walk Under Ladders" album cover

THE LHB: Walk Under Ladders — Joan Armatrading

The Long Haired Butch would like you to think her comfort album is a hip hop album from the 80s or something. But that girl is as soft as anyone and she leans on the smooth vocal stylings of Joan Armatrading to get her through the loneliness that has been the past 10 months.

She’s a December baby and thought that she would be able to celebrate her birthday this year and the reality has got her very down. The LHB is the OG bad texter, but she’s your friend, so you tolerate it. The two of you are probably in a COVID pod together so you’re in the car when she’s driving around cry-singing The Weakness In Me. The LHB either came out very young or much later in her life and either way her community means more to her than anything. She tries to stay out of drama but loves to gossip with you about who’s dating who and who’s the most annoying person you both know. She’s a damn good friend, one that you wouldn’t dream of replacing. When you are in crisis, she’s there. She may not be this reliable in her romantic relationships but damnit she tries!

the cover art of X-Ray Spex' "Germ Free Adolescents" album

The Goblin: Germ Free Adolescents — X-Ray Spex

The Goblin will voluntarily refer to themselves as a goblin. They probably have a name like Wrench and questionable shower habits. How exactly you know The Goblin is a much a mystery as where they got their last meal. Was it Tinder? A house party? Who can say for sure, certainly not you.

The Goblin is struggling because they can’t bum an herbal spliff from one of the queer witches they were fucking before lockdown. They are the perfect balance of a dyke that goes to hardcore shows and one that will make you kombucha with strawberries they got from a community garden. The Goblin may smell like a hoagie but they are for whatever reason absolutely phenomenal in bed which is why y’all know each other. They are probably an Aries and really revel in that chaotic energy. When they aren’t calling old friends to vent about the current state of the world and railing against the laughable circumstance that is a Biden presidency, they are probably texting your nipple pics and saying they wish you’d come over. Their song of choice? “Germ-Free Adolescents” for Poly Styrene’s unique voice.

Which of these dyke stereotypes do you know? Which ones did I leave off the list? What is YOUR emotional support album? Sign off in the comments!

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Dani Janae is a poet and writer based out of Pittsburgh, PA. When she's not writing love poems for unavailable women, she's watching horror movies, hanging with her tarantula, and eating figs. Follow Dani Janae on Twitter and on Instagram.

danijanae has written 157 articles for us.


  1. my wife, who is a long haired butch at the moment (covid), but wouldn’t identify that way, is wondering what we call dykes whose emotional support album is “Californication” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I was thinking something like, Handsome Dyke’s in Long Term Relationships with Women who aren’t from Southern California and Don’t Actually Enjoy Long Drives.

  2. I hate, hate, HATE the use of the word tenderqueer. It 100% feels like all the snarky uses I’ve seen are making fun of genderqueer people, and anyone with a particular nonbinary or gender nonconformity aesthetic. It makes me so sad to see Autostraddle picking up on the fun of telling genderqueer people we’re too weird, too much, too *cringey* to have around.

    • This. I mean, I recently read a piece by a BIPOC writer about the tenderqueer and I definitely understood what kind of personality they were referring to and why they disliked and criticized that kind of behaviour. But then again, I did not really understand why this behaviour should be specifically linked to a certain gender identity/presentation when it sounded more like a combination of toxic personality traits and unchecked privileges that many people across the gender spectrum might exhibit.
      Or am I missing something? Are there any leading sources on the tenderqueer??

      • That was my impression as well, that someone set out to critique bad behavior but wound up linking it to specific identities and presentations in a way that misses the mark. Even the word is like…the only reason this seems catchy is because it rhymes with genderqueer? Implying that all genderqueer people are toxic? Idk, it just feels like the way this has developed does more to alienate genderqueer people than to critique actual issues with shitty and entitled patterns of behavior.

    • I can see the superficial resemblance to the word “genderqueer” now that you point it out, but I really think it’s just meant to be tender (i.e. overly emotional) + queer? It has never occurred to me in any context I’ve heard it in that it would be intended as a slight against genderqueer people, in part because it’s a different category of word (the “queer” in tenderqueer is used as a noun, while it’s usually an adjective in genderqueer), and also because none of the associations people make with it relate in any obvious way to a particular gender, as you’ve said.

    • Hopping on the thread to say that as someone who came of gay-ge during the rise of the word, prior to this comment (and the subsequent ones) I’d literally never heard any link made between Genderqueerness + Tenderqueerness ? Not to pretend I’m the queer word police but I’m pretty sure its etymological root is in the ~uwu soft~ online aesthetic, or at least that’s how I and everyone I know has been using it.

      As well, this is a light fun article about albums heavily relied on by general subtypes of dykes. This kind of listicle is generally by its very nature a lil simplistic, but I thought it was pretty bang on. To quote from this article: “One thing you admire about them is how openly and boldly queer they are. They refuse to shrink and that’s a super power. ”

      So a) Dani explicitly states that she (or the narrator) admires their queerness, as opposed to trying to make them sound cringe. To me it sounds even a bit more like the folks Dani’s referring to are some variety of baby gay, more that limiting them to a certain gender presentation. Most people have known or even been this queer at some point, and they come in all shapes sizes and gender presentations. Another article written by by Dolly Rose this November (mentioned in a comment below) was definitely more critical of tenderqueerness, but again here’s a direct quote from that article:

      “In tenderqueer discourse, much is often made of their sartorial choices—overalls, cozy sweaters, primary colors, bowl cuts… jokes are made about their craft fairs, daytime dance parties, and birdwatching clubs, but I believe it’s important to state that the tenderqueer can present themself in many forms.

      As far as I can tell, the hallmark of a true tenderqueer is an unwavering avoidance of responsibility or culpability at all costs, paired with the use of social justice and personal advocacy language to ensure that lack of accountability.”

      So not only does the article specifically state that a bowl cut doth not a tenderqueer make, it gives us a solid working definition of what doth, which in no way includes anything pertaining to genderqueerness or any other presentation.

      I’m not trying to dunk on you here, and as a GQ person i see your willingness to fight when you feel someone’s being cruel to your people. I think tho maybe the word tenderqueer isn’t pointing at the people you think it is.

  3. Oh damn. I got to Toni Braxton and thought, “That’s what I want to be listening to” and then read the description whole sitting in my house with my pit bull rescue. Suddenly feeling very called out. But I’m short on gray hairs (so far) and have never been out there winking at folks or dancing with abandon.

  4. Wow, this is hilarious. If I am ever single again, my dating profile will certainly be Gob4gob.

    I don’t have questionable shower habits… I only want someone to come to hardcore shows with me after the pandemic is over and revel in chaotic energy!!

  5. i saw that toni braxton album in the media library on wordpress last night and was like I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE WHAT CONTEXT THIS ALBUM WILL EXIST WITHIN ON THIS WEBSITE and now here i am a 39 year old woman, very pleased

  6. Okay but what kind of dyke just listens to Burn Pygmalion by The Scary Jokes over and over, thinks about her past relationships, and feels bad about herself??? I swear it’s emotional support somehow

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