What’s the Lesbian Equivalent of “He’s Tall”?

Height, the holy grail of a straight woman’s yearning. Like the actual Holy Chalice, it’s a cup from which they hope to drink that symbolizes happiness, eternal youth, infinite abundance, clear skin, cleared debts, free healthcare for all, the dissolution of the police state, and the key change in Love on Top. Height in a man isn’t just a cure-all (But he’s tall…), it’s the main attraction (He’s tall!).

As if a straight man’s life couldn’t get any easier, there is this. It’s not contingent on or an addition to personality, effort, lifestyle, beliefs, or values, just: His bones are long! I love life, and living it.

It’s been established that Straight Women Are Not Okay, and this is just another drop in the ocean. But the ecosystem is not ours to disrupt, and so as much as we want to intervene, we can only watch as they follow the light beam of a car rather than that of the moon.

Within these anthropologic observations exists an exercise in self-reflection. An opportunity to Carrie Bradshaw our own community. Turning the mirror, couldn’t we help but wonder what, above all else, we value? What exists in a vacuum of our singular desires? Ultimately: what’s the lesbian “He’s Tall”?

Like many heroes of our time, I took to Twitter for the answer. There didn’t seem to be a general consensus, but based on people’s replies and the likes attributed to each one, we created a solid foundation from which to work. Let’s investigate each one, descending from most to least agreed upon.

She’s Tall

Lol. I’ll admit I’m intrigued by this answer in that if I saw a taller woman in, say, high-rise tailored pants, I’d take a brief n’night on whatever surface was available to me. But I’ve also got to give to it my mediums and smalls. For example, Janelle Monáe is 5’0! (?????!!!??????)

Attractive Hands

Remember when I suggested everyone at Autostraddle take a picture of their hands so we could test the Ring/Index Finger Theory and everyone was like “Whoa, what’s Erin’s deal?” but also it inadvertently became a thirst trap? Well, look what’s sort of paying off now, based on another idea of my own making!

She’s Queer

This one, honestly, blew my mind. It was the simplest and yet immediately rang most true. Not to be all Your Friend From High school Who Still Lives in Your Hometown about it, but sometimes knowing another gay person can really be the sweet spot.

Good Hair

This does track, as it’s certainly canon in Do I Want To Be Her or Do I Want to Be With Her. It also seems to be the most utilized signifier. Hm.

She Beat Up My Dad

Look, if I had my way, this would be our answer.

We Wear the Same Size Clothing/Shoes

I have to laugh. This can’t be true. Are y’all really out there going, “Wow, she sucks as a person, but at least she wears whatever size H&M has decided to make up based on no real gauge of the human body!”?

Has Pockets

When I tried to clarify if this applied to a person, the response was simply: “Sure.” To which I’ll respond: sure.

Are these all of our options? No. But they’re honest answers and I respect them. Do you? It doesn’t matter, because it’s important we come together on a final answer and eat at the dinner table LIKE A FAMILY. It’s free to do so in the comments!

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

Erin has written 205 articles for us.

197 Comments

  1. Thank you Erin, for having the wherewithal to ask life’s most important questions.

    The answer is hands/fingers, which are similar to height in that no one has control over the shape/size of their hands/fingers.

    And, hands are so much more important than height. How does being able to get something off a high shelf compare to having hands shaped perfectly for various sex acts? It doesn’t.

  2. I am not throwing my hat in with the hands or hair options, mostly because I’m contrary, but also because overly-focusing on physical attributes is a really straight thing to do, although I understand that straight cis couples are largely restricted to just staring at each other because they can’t hold a conversation and also hate each other.

    The only sensible choice here is pockets. Have you ever seen the grin on a practical femme’s face when she finds a dress she likes that has pockets? Or the contrasting despair of a butch weeping tender tears over a pair of trousers inexplicably without them?

    The person with pockets can never be that ex that always made you carry their shit around, ergo is already close to perfect.

  3. No one mentionned Eyes ? For me it’s the eyes. Flirty eyes.

    If there’s good eye contact, then she can be pocketless, moneyless, stubby-fingered and an emotional trainwreck, I don’t care just keep looking into my soul, babe.

  4. This is an interesting question. Generally speaking, I can kind of imagine discussing if a friend’s lady-love interest were queer or had good hair. Can’t imagine caring about hands or pockets. And I would definitely ask about emotional and fiscal stability.

    Of course, I can’t imagine asking a straight or bi friend if their male love interest was tall. I really don’t care.

    Do they treat you well? Are they stable?

    Good then. Let’s talk about something else. (I am not really the best person to talk with about your crushes and your new loves.)

    For me personally, good chemistry is the most important, followed by pretty lips and a nice butt.

  5. Erin, to date, I have never read an article you have written on Autostraddle dot com that has not made me laugh, feel deeply seen, and also maybe slightly chagrined. An intoxicating combination, I will always come back for more.

  6. “She’s so tall”

    Her long-fingered hands were mesmerizing
    As they intently played a suggestive fugue on the promising countertop
    She nonchalantly tossed her impeccable hair revealing a sneaky undercut
    Her peekaboo sleeves teazed me with a view of her tantalizing shoulders
    As her acuminous jawline cut through the swirling fog in my brain
    Her eyebrow quirked up as she gazed into my soul with her green/blue/brown eyes
    You’re so tall! I gasped, giving it to her straight
    But that only made her slouch more
    She turned away to catch her train
    Not realizing my love was in her little back pocket
    You know the one that can’t really hold anything bigger than a chapstick
    But why would you even bother
    I wantonly caught a last fleeting glimpse of her candysweet lips
    Before she grabbed her suit jacket and wiggled her glorious butt on her way out
    I never told her that I loved her for her brains, not her money
    Although that certainly helped

    • It has to be this. All the other answers are hilarious and wonderful, but there is a difference between swoon-worthy and an absolute can-do-no-wrong get-out-of-jail-free card. I’ve heard people fixate on the haircuts, hands, muscles, etc. of their crushes and people they’ve just started dating, I’ve never known a queer person to refuse to break up with a partner, or even get back together with a horrible ex, because of any of those reasons. I have absolutely heard versions of the following:
      “We fight all the time, but she’s a top!”
      “They’re emotionally abusive, but they’re a top!”
      “I know things ended really badly and I said then that I never should have gotten involved with her in the first place, but she’s a top!”
      “She’s engaged to a man and will never leave him, and I’m not poly, but she’s a top!”
      “She pressured me to participate in [dangerous kink activity] and laughed when I had reservations about it, but she’s a top!”
      “She’s married to a man and doesn’t want to leave him, they have a child, she lives on a different continent, and she also is now starting a serious relationship with a second man and dating a THIRD man, I never wanted to be poly and am still not sure I do, but she’s a top!”

  7. Maybe we can go with how handy(pun intended) she is? Or how good she is with pets, though that puts allergy suffers at a disadvantage, no?

    In a related note, I thought this girl liked me only to find out she liked my cousin because “he is so tall” (around 6″ 3′). I was awkward and that was an awkward situation. In college(a year before I discovered trans women don’t have to date men), I was into a woman because she was so tall. 6ft+ on the school’s basketball team, and gave off this butch vibe. As far I know she was straight and wanted someone average sized to get back at her ex-bf who was on a different school’s basketball team. Called it her kink.

  8. um i have to agree with the straights on this. i’m 5’11” and if i see another possibly queer woman around my height, or even… taller (which hardly ever happens and when it does i’m gone) i am immediately attracted to them.

    also i’m literally always shocked when i discover how many hot celebrities are an entire foot smaller than me but how would i know because i have only seen them on stage or tv?? i swear they all look tall!! i recently found out christine and the queens is 4 ft 11 and that was all i could think about for the rest of the day

  9. Ok as much as I agree with “good hands”/”hot hands” etc as a thing that we’re all not-so-secretly noticing/looking for, I don’t think it’s quite the equivalent of “he’s tall,” because it’s too on-the-nose, you know? It makes me blush just to imagine talking about a crush’s hands with friends, or telling my friend that I want to set her up with someone who is cute and has…really good hands. “He’s tall” is *perfect* for straight people, because you’re essentially saying “he fits societal norms for masculinity AND he probably has a big dick.” There’s a nice plausible deniability there about what you’re actually talking about, which there isn’t with hands.

    I vote for “good hair”/”good haircut,” because “he’s tall” can save the most average-looking straight man, and I think that good hair can similarly convince you that someone is an absolute dreamboat even when they’re just like, a normal person. Also it seems like a sufficiently “safe” thing to say about someone that doesn’t feel like you’re objectifying them or want to sleep with them *yourself* but is still saying “yeah she’s hot, you’ll be attracted to her.”

    Honorable mention to “pockets,” though. It’s mysterious and feels right, and who doesn’t want pockets?

  10. I’m fun sized so I can’t be all, “Someone taller” because that’s literally everyone who has gone through puberty and isn’t an ethnic minortiy where height is not a thing. I agree with the “She’s queer” but add “she’s single”.

  11. i just finished watching a wnba game (lynx vs. liberty) where lisa leslie (w rebecca lobo and kara lawson) was commentating and they were talking about chamique holdsclaw and wnba’s history and she said, “she has the best hands in the game” and there is so much lesbian energy in that situation that im gonna have to go ahead and agree with hands as the lesbians’ “he’s tall”

  12. I had to read this whole thing twice to really understand what you were getting at here, so I guess my gay brain can barely compute how the straights think?

    But for me, I think “they’re queer” is the equivalent. Instant hotness boost. But I can’t really say why? Maybe just the implication of potential mutual attraction… but also, I’m just initially less suspicious of people who I know are queer. Harder to feel attracted to someone who has a 50/50 chance of being a Republican or some other variation of asshole.

    • You’d be surprised; I don’t want to TL;DR but since I’m living in a different country for now and I’m guessing you’re not from here either, a woman was explaining part of Canadian politricks to me after I asked why so many people were booing at a Pride thing that happened recently. She told me a lot of the LGBTQ+ people present at that event are conservatives. ‘Tis strange.

      • I mean, it definitely happens, and I know there’s still racism/misogyny/fatphobia/etc in the queer community, but I’m pretty sure the ratios are somewhat better than for non queer-identified people.

        • What I want to do is ask the people who vote this way why they do it because maybe I’ll be able to understand their reasoning better with an explanation. I know there is a lot more to any group than just the stuff they’re most known for but since they’re pretty consistent with showing hate, you really gotta wonder why the recipients of the majority of it would affiliate themselves with that group.

          Also, the politician who was there was likely there because the guy responsible for the event itself invited her so I found it even more bizarre. There were heterosexual people there too but it was really over the top. Maybe the alcohol made them less inhibited……

  13. Definitely good hair for me. And jackets. If you look good in a jacket, I will text you back.

    P.S. yes, I know this sounds very much like Cam & Rhea, but who isn’t looking for a Butcher to her Esposito or an Esposito to their Butcher?

  14. Alright, I’ve looked through these, and… really? No-one picked lips as their number one?

    Well, allow me! Though I appreciate things like being tall (am also tall) and nice hands, the thing that really keeps me interested are lips. Full. Kissable. Lipstick or au natural. Yes please. On my face. Makes me do that lip bitey thing. If they do it too, score 10 points.

    • Lips are a good choice! And they’re comparable to height in that you have to be born with them, unlike a good haircut, muscles, or dance moves.

      Katiezord, you have inspired me to amend my answer: nice hands AND lips are the queer women’s equivalent of ‘he’s tall’.

  15. I wanna add that along with “she’s queer”, for me “she recognises that I’m queer” is also a very important thing for me.

    Like, that queer-to-queer eye contact thing. That’s hot…

  16. I really think the answer is “She’s Queer” I totally admit to not noticing a woman before I learn that fact and then get obsessed with how hot she is after.

    But I think the Hands thing is on to something. I went and looked back at that older article, and Sorry Erin, yours didn’t move me the same as everyone else, but I really felt something when I looked at Reise’s

    • That happened to me mid-conversation once. I was talking with a good friend that I was sure was straight (and that I’d never noticed “that way”) – and then she mentioned that she’s only mostly straight and had been involved with a couple women. Once I knew, I seriously couldn’t stop thinking about how pretty her lips were.

  17. This has been fascinating reading but it took awhile for me to even understand what the premise was because I have never once heard anyone say they were staying with an otherwise-meh-or-awful person because they were tall. I guess that’s a thing and I just never knew? Weird.

    My husband is quite tall but on my list of reasons why I am with him that one would be tacked on at the very end with “like I guess it’s convenient to get him to reach stuff but whatever, I have stepstool technology and also I can climb on the counter if I really need to.”

    None of my straight female friends have ever said “wow, your husband is amazing, he’s so tall,” but I can tell everything I need to about gender dynamics in their relationships by how much they gush over the fact that he cooks and is really good at it and does most of the grocery shopping and food prep. It’s like…yes, it’s awesome that I have a partner who does that, and is good at it, and assumes that household work should be shared and looks for ways to do his half. I definitely appreciate him. But…would y’all gush so much if he were a woman doing the same? I don’t think so.

    tl;dr: ugh, patriarchy.

  18. I just wanted to add that having a preference for taller men isn’t exclusive to heterosexual women, bisexual woman often hold this preference as well– which apparently makes them “not okay” in this writer’s eyes??

    Whatever the case, I’m surprised a strong or defined jaw line wasn’t mentioned as I’ve noticed many gay women find that to be a desirable trait in women (Tegan and Sara, Moenning).

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