You know how people say there are no dumb questions? I am here to tell you that is a lie fabricated by Goddess only knows who — the human potential movement types that infiltrated the education systems in the 1970s and 1980s that then sneaked into customer service fields and then into workplace meetings where we are now all assured ad nauseum that there is no such thing as a dumb question. Ever.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
There most certainly ARE dumb questions, many of them the result of not paying attention, being too lazy to become informed, or being afflicted with that statistically rare but frequently exhibited narcissistic disorder that prevents someone from having any thought or consideration that is not about self as the centre of the universe.
The dumb question? “What do lesbians say to each other?”
Now it is true that not everyone on the planet knows a lesbian. Or the only lesbians that they know of happen to be fictional ones: TV and film and web lesbians and so perhaps there’s a question about whether those depictions of lesbians are accurate in the portrayal of what they say to each other. The answer to that? Yes, no and maybe so.
What lesbians say to each other is quite dependent on a number of factors including age, culture, intelligence, experience, health, time of day, a need to say something, tribal affiliation, family background, vocabulary, time of the month, compassion, empathy, humanity and communication skill. Which is remarkably like everyone who is not a lesbian.
Yet there persists a belief that there is a lesbian speaking code. That is absolutely true and untrue. After the thousands of years that I have lived on this planet, and after all the women I have known as colleagues, friends, family, acquaintances, lovers and partners, this is what I know to be true: women have a speaking code.
Many women — even lesbian ones — expect their intimate friends and partner(s) to understand what’s on their mind, to telepathically understand and intuit what’s going and what needs to be said and done by virtue of being the same sex. They expect their intimate friends and partner(s) to know what it is that they are saying, or what they mean to say even if they don’t say it.
Lesbians have taken that to a whole other level. Let me give you an example. I overheard two women have a lesbian conversation. I was at my favourite independent bookstore and these two were checking each other out none too subtly. Finally, one of them broke the ice:
Lesbian #1: “Hey…”
Lesbian #2: “Hey…”
What was really said to all the lesbians who could hear it.
Lesbian #1: “Hi, my name’s Kate. I was thinking of taking in the lecture on “Cubism and the Fine Art of Emotional Compartmentalization” later this afternoon. Care to join me?”
Lesbian #2: “I’d love to! I’ve been waiting my whole life to meet a woman in a bookstore: a beautiful, smart and sexy woman who’d ask me to an art+psychology lecture. By the way, my name is Cate. Espresso and marriage proposal at my place afterward? “
Lesbian #1: <Smiling> Sure.
Lesbian #2: Great!
The truth is that a lot of what many lesbians say to each other is actually NOT said. It’s assumed, intuited, imagined to be said and it is those imagined said things that tend to inform beliefs and behaviours and actions — for good or not-so-good outcomes.
Of course, not all lesbians are like that. Not all want that telepathic connection in the great lake of the golden daisy chain link. In the lesbian world, there are those who think very much like straight men and not all of them are bois or butches: some are femmes. They like quiet time. They don’t always want to have long conversations about anything and everything and are at times a bit bewildered at how they land in the dog house when they didn’t do anything. Here’s the secret: the dog house is punishment for not reading her mind, for not demonstrating your deep knowledge of her, not proving your psychic connection to her. Which is fine if you are into punishment and entirely silly if you are not.
It’s difficult to figure out what the asker of the dumb question wants to know. What lesbians say to each other … in general? Upon meeting? Upon being interested in each other? On a date? At breakfast? In bed? Having a serious discussion? Let’s be very clear: not all lesbians speak with the same tongue. Goddess forbid!
So what do lesbians say to each other? Whatever we want to say.