What to Say to Someone Who Met a Lesbian

A couple of weeks ago, Laneia posted a list of search phrases that led people to us here at Autostraddle, the largest independent LGBTQ women’s news and entertainment site in the world, and – given how advanced the species that inhabit our surrounding galaxies are and how little use they would have for a website dedicated to the goings-on of a group of people who have been marked by their sexuality or gender – presumably the entire universe. Many of them were an enlightening, if not sobering, look into the human mind. For example, surely in a moment of desperation, we know that someone posed to the internet the phrase “things orange” before landing on this very site. Ouch. But also: god bless the broken road.

Along a similar, more relevant path to the person who asked “can you walk around in public with we vibe in pussy” was a person who wanted to know “what to say to someone who met a lesbian”, which I find not just haunting, but multilayered. Ultimately, what does anyone say to someone who’s just met anyone? More to the point: what does anyone say to anyone? The other day I overheard a guy ask the cashier at the grocery store if she was having “fun today.” Hello? We are all searching and failing.

Despite the unifying nature of this question’s root and the tailored subject matter, to this person’s probable dismay, the answer wasn’t here on Autostraddle, the largest independent LGBT news and entertainment site in the universe.

Until now.

Stop wandering, friend, and rest your weary eyes. I’m here to tell you what to say to someone who met a lesbian.

Before diving in, I asked for clarification on the angle: Was I talking to someone who met a lesbian, or was I talking to someone who knew someone who met a lesbian? It was no matter; I would do both, because I am nothing if not thorough when the time permits and I’m adequately hydrated and also I’m feeling the vibe in or around the pussy.

Let’s begin.

What to Say to Someone Who Met a Lesbian (Directly)

  • Congratulations! (etc.)
  • A rare find!
  • Three weeks to however-long-it-takes-your-lesbian-to-overinvest-emotionally of good luck!
  • Eat your heart out, Oprah!  (this one can really be applied to any situation, because it’s sort of like you’re saying you have something on Oprah, which you don’t, and as if you could ever, and plus it just seems like a fun thing to say )
  • Blessed image!
  • Wait, where are they? No reason.
  • Was it [redacted pop singer]?
  • Boom-boom-boom, a-let me hear you say way-o!
  • I’m smashing the like!
  • What’s your address? I’d like to send you a card.
  • Are you staying hydrated?
  • You can take that to the bank!
  • Mr./Mrs./Ms./Mx. luck over here! Gotta get me some of that. (you can laugh here)
  • Are you Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos because HOOOOOO!

Advice for What to Say to Someone Who Met a Lesbian (Indirectly)

  • Greet them with various felicitations – ones you’re comfortable with. Don’t step too far out of your “vibe” as that will be unsettling, which is the opposite of what we’re going for here.
  • Remark on its scarcity.
  • Tailor your affirmation of this blessing to the topic at hand.
  • Literally make up a phrase as if it is an old saying that people use frequently. Have fun here!
  • Employ the kind of vernacular that has become a part of our modern daily lives to express joy.
  • Ask a cryptic question and then clarify it’s for no reason.
  • Out someone famous!
  • Song lyric.
  • Put your own spin on the vernacular that has become a part of our modern daily lives to express joy.
  • Another mysterious question that involves that person’s home address as an indication of good things to come.
  • Express concern for their should-be excited physical state.
  • Throw in a rogue actual saying that people use frequently that may or may not totally apply.
  • Assert its fortuitous nature; wish aloud you could get some of that.
  • Reference an old HBO TV show that probably not a lot of people under 30 have watched.

Good luck out there!


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Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 200 articles for us.

47 Comments

  1. Erin, any time you post something (but especially when it’s under Fake News) I get the urge to propose. Then I remember I don’t want to get married. Then I reread a line like “I am nothing if not thorough when the time permits and I’m adequately hydrated and also I’m feeling the vibe in or around the pussy” or “Literally make up a phrase as if it is an old saying that people use frequently. Have fun here!” and the cycle continues.

  2. I met a lesbian (or bisexual or pansexual – how does one really know) once, and to date it is one of my favourite moments from that dark period in my life.

    I was a 17 year old metalhead, visiting a goth synthpop club that rarely carded anyone with my emotionally and sexually abusive boyfriend of over a year. I had barely made my way through the crowd by the entrance, when my crush from junior high came bouncing up to me for a drunken and over-enthusiastic hug. She was wearing the tightest PVC skirt and her nipples, barely covered by black electric tape, were definitely not contained in any way by her fishnet top. It was a confusing moment for me, which became even more confusing as my boyfriend pulled me over to the bar so that he could talk to a friend of his. The friend introduced my boyfriend to a magnificent “high goth” woman, who completely ignored the piece of shit I was dating and stretched out her hand with elven grace towards me and said … “And who is this lovely creature?”, and every time my boyfriend tried to speak to her she acted as if he did not even exist, and I deeply wished I could do the same.

    I met a lesbian (maybe). Feel free to practice your responses on me. Eat your heart out, Oprah!

  3. “The other day I overheard a guy ask the cashier at the grocery store if she was having ‘fun today.'”

    Recently I was in the grocery store buying some meat for the dogs I was dogsitting and the cashier excitedly asked me what I was having for dinner. I just said, “Um, not that.”

    I’m a great conversationalist!

      • I don’t think I look particularly pleasant to chat with either. In fact, just based on my facial expression, I’ve actually had random people ask me if everything was ok when I was actually having a perfectly fine day. But I also live in the Southern United States and a lot of people here are really into casually chatting with strangers.

    • I think asking about having fun is a solid question if you slow down to think about it, and that ‘not dog food’ is a good start to ‘what’s for dinner?’, but I am a known grocery checkout conversation dork. It’s such a strange setup- you have, say, 45 to 180 seconds of interaction with a person who you probably don’t know at all. What are you going to do with that time to acknowledge that you’re two human beings, to transcend the merely transactional? The possibilities are endless. It’s usually weird. It is wonderful.

      I might tell the next one that I met a lesbian and see what happens.

  4. Y’know, I was having a fine morning. Reading on my phone while I wait for my coffee to brew. And I’m laughing along to this article, imagining myself saying these things to someone. But then, Erin. BUT THEN.

    I had the horrific thought that a straight man might say any of these things to ME and felt a deep and resounding existential horror.

    My point is, we’re all just worrying too much about drinking water and where it’s appropriate to wear vibrating eggs while the world is full of darkness and cis men

      • This question has led me on a deep and introspective adventure through my psyche, mainly because I only very slowly realized I did not actually know what song you were referencing.

        At first, the way-o made me think of day-o which made me think of that scene from Beetlejuice where they’re all dancing around the table to who youtube tells me is Harry Belafonte. When my brain decided no, those lyrics don’t match at all, I thought it was that song Informer with the licky boom boom down. And THEN, i got stuck on the “boom boom” part, which just made me think of that vengaboys song and how it still gives me preteen Feels every time I listen to it.

        Finally I just… looked the song up (what an age we live in!) and felt an immediate and painful pang of nostalgia and regret because there are so many things-SO many things-that should’ve been left in the 90s and honestly, this song is one of them.

        Ultimately, I think the answer to your question is fundamentally unknowable. I mean, we can all talk about what we would do in extreme situations, but do any of us REALLY know what we’d do if a cis man quoted a 90s song that should have been lost to time to us if we haven’t been there?

        Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

  5. Related question: Could you do a post on what to say to people who claim they know a lesbian, once talked to a lesbian, etc. in an effort to show they aren’t homophobic?
    Oh you’re gay? I think the cashier at my grocery store is too… smh

  6. Here is my fav that I use when it comes up……

    “Really! A real live lesbian?

    Wow you’re lucky. it’s rare to see them out in the wild! They usually stay hidden at independent coffee shops, organic markets and standing right in front of you.

    Right after if the dumbass remembers her name will ask if know her.

    “Well I’ll have to check with my copy of the Lesbian Registry if I don’t I’m sure my Ex will.

  7. What I did after reading this:

    1. Laughed out loud
    2. Frantically shared it with all the LGBTQIA people in my contact list
    3. Paused
    4. Frantically shared it with all the straight people in my contact list
    5. Patted myself on the back for a job well done

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