Two words used interchangeably to mean the same thing when, in the fine world of words and their precise meaning, they do not always mean exactly the same thing. Still, in everyday conversation need changes place with want so often that the two are having identity crises. They are now so used to swapping places all the time that they’re even showing up to explain one another in dictionary entries because in English, words happen.
Here’s the distinction:
- Need is “a condition requiring relief; as in, I’m dying of thirst and need water, or, they need naked dancers at the strip club, or I really, really, need to use the washroom!
- Want, however, is “a desire: to feel or have a desire for; want strongly; I want to go home NOW.”
I am not going to talk about need because in truth, needs are pretty basic: a warm bed, a kind word and unlimited power (to quote Ashleigh Brilliant). Oh, and air, water, food, safety, to name a few; you know, what every human being on the planet needs to survive and a bunch of others to thrive regardless of sex, gender, culture, or eye colour: all the stuff that Maslow talked about.
Nor will I talk about how people, even lesbian people, confuse needing with wanting or how in some people, yes even lesbian people, want and need have fused together to create a lifeform of insatiable demand.
So to be clear, I am not talking about need.
I am talking about want. Specifically lesbian want because there seems to be some confusion about that, mostly by people who are not lesbians.
To clear up this confusion, I donned my well-worn, never-before-used white lab coat and administered a double-blinded, randomized study of all the lesbians I know about what it is that they, as lesbians, want.
After anonymously and personally guiding the respondents, gathering the data, crunching and smoothing the numbers, refusing to go with averages, mean and medians, I believe the results are solid enough to be replicated and extrapolated to any member of exactly that same group of lesbians, and to be representative of the general lesbian population of which I am one, allowing for a margin of error of plus or minus point zero eleventeen per cent.
Not all lesbians will agree with what’s listed here. I grant you, it’s quite general. No one really ever fits neatly in a category, or is ever truly represented in what they read, see on TV, in movies, in music, or hear at any political rally. But I think we can agree that within some groups, there will be things in common that are bound to fall out, particularly if it’s a group that’s been marginalized, ignored, threatened, ostracised, pornified, physically and emotionally hurt, and worse.
The high-level findings of what a general lesbian wants are:
- For it to be safe everywhere so that she can be herself everywhere.
- To be asked and to tell.
- A love in her life, a woman who’s different from her, yet one that she’s crazy compatible with. (Author’s comment: You might think that paradoxical, but that’s about loving women. For the record, compatible is not about being the same.)
- Friends. Deep, stand-by-me forever friends.
- To speak up without being afraid when I hear people say things that are misogynist, homophobic, racist, hateful things.
- Chocolate and ice cream and french fries that do NOT go from the lips to the hips.
- For people to stop asking the dumbest question on earth: “what do two women do in bed anyway…?
- To be noticed and to blend in; acknowledged and accepted.
- No more PMS. (Author’s other comment: It seems there’s a correlation between lesbian drama and PMS that previous researchers have failed to identify. A recent study by the author tracked lesbian drama incidents and mapped them against participants’ periods for two years. The results showed a relationship higher than chance. Adjusting for the variable known as alcohol, the correlation doubled making it evidence of a strong link. Two women, same lighting, same period cycles, then add alcohol? Do the math. The author is working on an O’Mama-Drama-Calculator with the hope that it will save countless lesbians from unnecessary drama. )
- To banish once and for all the notion of lesbian bed death.
And then there were some cute wants:
- The woman in the elevator to smile at me.
- To sing.
- To tie my shoelaces as perfectly as my partner ties hers.
Of note? No general lesbian indicated that she wanted a man to “do it her right” and turn her straight which surprised the author because that seems to be a typical attitude within certain populations.
There were more descriptive wants, however, they can’t be shared without changing the PG rating of this post.
In terms of what a lesbian wants, my detailed analysis of the findings suggests that in many ways lesbians are remarkably similar to women, except for the ways that they are different. Women want everything, nothing, love and world peace with a cherry on top. Lesbians want all that, and more, with a woman, and some organic whipped cream.