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!


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

Erin has written 208 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.

    • so you’re on board no other questions asked if they have nice hands

  2. Are we talking physical characteristics only? Because I gotta say “she’s so emotionally and fiscally stable” is what really does it for me.

    • while i cosign this sentiment, this seems due to a person’s effort both personally and professionally, while being tall is just sort of something you have. more along those lines

    • At first I thought you were collectively threatening all our dads, and I thought, wow, she seemed so reserved in person

  3. 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.

    • “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.”

      This made me snort-laugh.

    • There really is nothing worse then buying a pair of pants and then realizing after that they do not have pockets. I also love a good shirt with a single breast pocket.

    • I gotta say, when I discovered my favourite dress had pockets (after like 6 months of wearing it – it’s thick) the joy I felt and displayed was probably a sight to behold.

    • Hahaha, I kind of like this version of your answer (says the aquarian constantly in trouble over capricorns)

  4. well that didn’t work the first time. (because I’m a Sagittarius who chases after Cancers. Probably).

    “She’s a *arbitrarily compatible astrological sign here*”

    • Jay

      I second this! I’m also a Sag who constantly falls for cancers!

      • As a cancer in a relationship with a sag I very much love, I am very happy to read anecdotal evidence that sags can care for cancers.

          • And she elevates the discourse around here, escalates our acquisition of important queer knowledge, helps us construct identities, suggests concrete things people can do, and…uh…has a spine of steel and people stair at her? I don’t know – sadly for me I do not know Riese personally.

  5. I’ve been told I have good hands to play Beethoven but I have no idea what that means. Should I put that on a dating profile?

      • I see what you did there…and you must be correct, since playing a piano well requires good fingering skills, yes-no?

    • Absolutely. It says that you have a longer than average handspan and you could play any ladies lucky enough to date you like a musical instrument.

    • It means it’s a damn shame if you’re not a pianist but since I play various instruments, you could also play guitar and/or woodwind instruments. Long fingers are a blessing when it comes to this stuff and I only manage because I’m hardheaded *fun sized person with fun sized hands*

  6. 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.

    • With these hungry eyes
      One look at you and I can’t disguise
      I’ve got hungry eyes
      I feel the magic between you and I

    • I’m not gonna go into too much detail about one of my great grandfathers but when my great grandma divorced him, the fucker said their son is not his because, “His eyes are blue”.

      Other than colorblindness which is not what happened here, I will never understand how it’s possible for one to not even notice the color of the eyes of the person they’re married to and impregnated twice. Normally, that’s one of the first things I see.

  7. As a Tall married to another Tall I felt compelled to stump for Team Tall, but then I remembered how many times I’ve gone from 0-to-crush based on someone’s new haircut.

    • There is also the opposite phenomenon of finding someone attractive until they open their mouth and say something terrible, and your crush instantly evaporates.

  8. I remember a comment on another AS article about how we are attracted to women who can take care of themselves, and this also seems like a good contender

  9. 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.

      • Yes. That’s the correct takeaway from my random musings. Can’t believe I’m the only one with that criteria.

        • You’re not. One of the dearest things about the love of my life is her sweet little bum. Just like a pussycat’s top lip, minus the whiskers of course.

          • Wonderful imagery !

    • “…followed by pretty lips and a nice butt”

      CLEO

      Here’s to Looking at Love from Both Sides, Now.

      • Hah. That really wasn’t intentional. But it’s true that butts do follow lips.

    • forearms was also down but with exactly one vote so let’s get it to two

    • Forearms YES! Now I’m reconsidering, and maybe it’s just a “from the shoulders down” kind of thing? Fingers, hands, fore arms, upper arms, shoulders…

      *fans oneself*

    • “she’s a bette” is an extremely polarizing statement.
      half of the world will swoon, and half will run away.

      • if i knew how to post pictures i’d post that one of bette screaming at the bus stop post silent retreat to this comment

        • Personally, I think there could be overlap between “she beat up my dad” and “she’s a Bette.” My argument is a gif of her shoving the old white guy who she got into a fender bender with.

          • best scene

      • omg it IS

        like, Bette is so pretty, and so vulnerable, but so controlling, I literally could not spend three hours in her presence

    • Rae

      i just remember that time she saw that photo portrait of Older Peabody(blanking on her name…i wanna say penelope but that seems fake…) from the 70s and started crying…it makes me roll my eyes every.time.

      so pretentious!!! i love art too but pull it tf together bette jessus crust

    • :)

      while i cosign this sentiment, this seems due to a person’s effort both personally and professionally, while being tall is just sort of something you have. more along those lines

      :)

  10. Surprised no one said jawline! The Lesbian Jawline, when combined with a powerful smirk, is a deadly combo indeed.

  11. Shoulders.

    Will throw myself into traffic for a lady in an off the shoulder top

    • Em

      God, shoulders. I am all about shoulders.

      When my friends and I left Ocean’s 8, they were like “I’m sorry there were no shots of Cate Blanchett’s exposed back and shoulders, but we hope you enjoyed Sandra Bullocks.”

  12. Eyes, when they’re blue or green (cause it’s not that common as brown ones)

  13. Being a pastry chef, that plays several instruments and sketches, I would like to think it’s all about the fingers and hands. But damn, a strong jawline and forearms.

    • Q: How do you tell if you’re making love to a nurse, a schoolteacher, or an airline stewardess? A: A nurse says: ‘This won’t hurt a bit.’ A schoolteacher says: ‘We’re going to have to do this over and over again until we get it right.’ An airline stewardess says: ‘Just hold this over your mouth and nose, and breath normally.’

      • I was reminded of this reply last night because I’m reading Faust and this was there:

        Most sentimental sensualist-
        Philosopher at once and beast-
        Led by the nose by a young flirt!

  14. 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.

  15. “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 occurs to me that this answer might be inextricably linked to the “nice hands”/“strong forearms” answers.

    • out of everything i feel like this is it we’ve cracked the code

    • 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!”

    • WE HAVE A WINNER.

      (also, i just registered for the first time on autostraddle after reading it for years and not commenting, cuz too lazy to create an account… but this tea COMPELLED ME)

  16. Al

    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.

  17. Literally just came here to say: omg did NOT know that about Janelle Monáe and the thought of being at eye level with her is doing things to me????????? physically?????

    • small4small (jk my fiancé is very tall & FTR I think “tall” holds up for her even more so than most men bc my face is right at boob-level at all times, pretty ideal)

  18. 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

  19. 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?

  20. 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”.

      • Weeeeeell, as long as people don’t think you’re underage when that was forever ago; they stare at your butt…. and then stay away because they think you’re jailbait. XD

  21. I’m not sure this would be my first choice, but I submit “husky voice” for your consideration. Think Jodie Foster, KStew, Shane…

    • Do you mean that the muscle is only really visible when she’s flexing? It’s so difficult for women to develop their bodies to a super mega ripped level, I’ve only seen three who clearly spend an inordinate amount of time at the gym and calorie counting.

  22. 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”

  23. 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……

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

    • I believe I’m on record in favor of pretty lips and a nice butt!

      And yeah, lips are important.

    • 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’.

  26. knowing how to do things with their hands – fixing a bike, whittling an oar, driving a boat, etc (I used to live in a town by the ocean, ok???)

  27. Cute tall blondes with blue, green or grey eyes. Delta Goodrem for example ?❤️?

  28. 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…

    • ….please have pity on us and wear something that explicitly indicates we have a chance. I was interested in a woman with shoulder length hair, short well groomed nails, often wears plaid and long sleeved shirts, we’d look at each other for a long time and sometimes for each other, we’d smile, aaaaand……..

      She’s a married Jehovah’s Witness. ?

      • I have the, “I hope she’s gay/ please be gay” eye contact coupled with resting bitch face. XD

        • @queergirl that’s why it’s the equivalent of “he’s tall”

          “She’s not really my type but…..she’s not my ex or my ex’s ex”
          “We don’t have the greatest sex but…..she’s not my ex or my ex’s ex”

          Mind you, they’re a LOT more elusive than a man of above average height….

  29. 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.

  30. it’s definitely “good hair” for me but like, shout out to
    ~*~a good shoulder/collarbone/neck situation~*~

  31. I think the cure-all/main attraction for wlw is “she has a dog/cat.”

    Cause no one wants to break up with the pet.

    • That is true. “My cat likes her” is a reason I’ve legit heard people use for not breaking up with someone.

  32. 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.

  33. My girlfriend and I have the same shoe size and glasses prescription, it is a definite point of attraction.

  34. 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).

    • yes we know bisexual women exist and also have the capacity to like tall men but we’re not talking about bisexuals please do not do this

    • I’m assuming “Not okay” isn’t calling out anyone for the genuine attraction to tall men! It’s tongue in cheek about how society values tall men.
      Also, like 50 people mentioned jaw-lines in the comments.

  35. I’m not saying tallness is the best quality.

    I’m just saying that, as a 5’4″ woman, when I dated a 6’1″ woman, the hugs were pretty great.

  36. “she’s a domme” will literally destroy my panties but i get that isn’t for everyone so am voting for the lesser panty-destroying one: “she’s a top”.

  37. I know I’m late to the party but I’m here to submit 100 votes for “Good Hair”

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