How to Be a Lesbian: Our Burning Questions Answered


I've been learning how to be a lesbian lately, because my boyfriend and I opened our relationship last year.

"Open relationship," for us, means we're still committed to each other but also date other people. So I get to be a lesbian sometimes, and he gets to be, um, the same. But with more sex.

Ten productive months into being a sometimes-lesbian, I still have a lot of questions. So I reached out to Natashia Mower, this lesbian I know personally,* to set me, well, gay, I guess.

Dana: Where can I find the best vests? Is there a special store online?

Natashia: You don't actually find the best vests; the best vests find you. Be patient; it'll happen. My favorite vest didn't find me until I had been out of the closet for almost six years. (Things would've been so much easier if the vest had been in the closet I came out of.)

Dana: How short does my hair have to be before they'll know I'm gay? What styles read "bicurious"?

Natashia: This is heavily debated in the gay community, so I can only give you my personal opinion. Sideburns are tricky and will most likely indicate "straight" or "bicurious." Trust me; I've been side-burned too many times thinking a girl was gay just because she had short hair with sideburns. In my experience, the best method to ensure your hair clearly defines your sexuality is to find a photograph of your father from the late '70s and go with whatever haircut he had at the time.

Dana: Can my dog be any kind of mutt, or does it have to be a purebred German shepherd?

Natashia: You won't be kicked out of the lesbians if you have a mutt; we find any breed or mix of breeds acceptable. German shepherds are only so common amongst gay women because they're like the lesbians of dogs: loyal, capable and they look great in vests. Again, German shepherds aren't a requirement. It is preferred that you at least have a pet of some kind: dog, cat, gerbil, ant farm, algae, etc. For the record, ferrets are very in right now.

Dana: Is there a class I can take on "EDM for Introverts," or is that something you just learn from the other lesbians?

Natashia: Well, I hope there's a class, because I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about right now. I guess I'm just too busy being home alone, avoiding everyone and everything. By the way, can you recommend any good music?

Dana: What is the easiest way to locate my nearest Whole Foods?

Natashia: Get yourself a GPS (gay-positioning system) off of Amazon, $35. It will point you towards the nearest Whole Foods, Lady Foot Locker and the renovated garage where my ex-girlfriend Trinity grooms homeless dogs.

Dana: Is there a cheaper version of Birkenstocks? (How is a barista supposed to afford those?)

Natashia: Stirkenbocks, found at Payless, Shoe Carnival and some farmer's markets. They are very uncomfortable. Stirkenbocks!

Dana: How long into a first date should I wait to give her a key to my apartment?

Natashia: Immediately, if not before the date. If that's too fast for you, judge based on how the date is going. For example, if the date is going well, give her the key right before you order your food. You may have a love-at-first-sight scenario, in which case you will want to have come prepared with what's referred to as a "bouquet of keys" (a key ring with a copy of every key you have), a romantic tradition started by lesbian janitors.

Dana: Tofu, tempei, seitan: Which really tastes like chicken?

Natashia: This is a common misconception wherein people confuse gay women with people who have money. I don't have money. Is the answer chicken? Chicken tastes like chicken.

Dana: So that I'm not lost in a conversation, what are some of the must-know fanfic sites?

Natashia: FictionElle, FictionEllen and FictionL-Word are the three most popular and are currently part of various lawsuits against each other, for obvious reasons.

Dana: How many bumper stickers is too many -- or too few?

Natashia: Quality over quantity, I say. If you pull up to a coffee shop or lesbian bar in a Subaru that is plastered in a variety of bumper stickers, the only thing it will say about you is that you couldn't afford a new paint job. Think very carefully about your personal values, opinions and which secondhand bookstore you most want to advertise for.

Dana: Are there great trails for hiking anywhere in the U.S., or do I need to move west to be a lesbian?

Natashia: When you're a lesbian, you can hike anywhere. As long as you're a homosexual lady walking outside, it counts. It's called dykeing.

Dana: Now that I'm a lesbian, will I still get into Heaven -- sorry, Sheaven?

Natashia: As long as you never renounce your lesbianism and never murder anyone, you will most likely get into Sheaven. Heaven, on the other hand, isn't a real place.

*No we're not sleeping together. But you're right; that would be hot.

Natashia Mower is a stand-up comedian from Salt Lake City. She was recently nominated for a Salt Lake City Weekly Arty Award for best local stand-up and moved into her parents' garage around the same time. Follow her on Twitter @tashiamo.

Dana Sitar is still not sure how to dance to EDM. You can find more stories and resources from her at