Ms. Behavior®: Dyke Roles, Crossing Boundaries and Deciphering Symbols


Dear Ms. Behavior:

I am an open-minded and enlightened straight person, but I can’t help noticing that the stereotype about lesbians having defined roles is true. I work for a social services agency where most of the employees are lesbians. We’ve been socializing on weekends, and it’s become clear to me that my new friends have the same roles as my husband and I do. I guess someone has to be the hunter/gatherer/lifter of heavy objects! But if that’s true, why not just accept it? Also, one member of each couple is always the weenie, just like my husband is. The weenie is the person who stands outside 7-11 at midnight, on the pay phone in the rain saying something like “They don’t have the pecan danish ring, so what do you want instead?”  because a) it’s ALWAYS the man’s job to make these late-night trips and b) we say, “Oh.  You got THAT?” if they make a decision on their own.

Will you be brave and admit that it’s true, Ms. Behavior?

-Straight Susan


Dear Straight Susan:

Yes, it’s true, dykes often have roles. The only lesbians who would deny it are the ones who dress in matching natural-fiber clothes or athletic wear, in attempt to appear neither too masculine nor too feminine and entirely equal.

Ms. Behavior recently attended a wedding where most of the guests were lesbians. Every couple was comprised of one woman in a man-tailored suit and black boots and another in makeup and feminine attire (with the exception of one unfortunate pair of dykes who wore the exact same floral spinsterish dresses and shoes, like a couple of old aunties).

Your letter has inspired an old and dormant craving for pecan danish ring. Perhaps Ms. Behavior will wait until dark, then ring her little bell and send her weenie out to fetch one.


Dear Ms. Behavior:

What should I do when an acquaintance greets me exuberantly with a big wet kiss on the mouth, and then tells me that they have a terrible cold?

That happened to me recently, and I’m still annoyed. I don’t know if I’m just suggestible, but I came down with a wretched two-week virus.



Dear Pissed:

Ms. Behavior believes that a certain group of activities (including mouth kissing, nipple sucking, and penetration) should be reserved for people toward whom one intends to express sexual interest.

This is not to that you should necessarily sleep with just one person. Take on the whole football team if you want, but it is silly to increase your risk of cold and flu beyond the number of tongues you’d welcome into your mouth for reasons of pleasure.

It’s your responsibility to protect your own health. So, when a non-lover (or non-prospect) approaches your mouth with succulent lips, he or she should not be offended if you turn the other cheek.

There are indeed individuals who are difficult to discourage. They follow your lips as if with sonar, even if you bob your head frantically to avoid them. To such people one can only be direct. Start with something gentle like, “Don’t kiss me on the mouth. If you give me a cold I’ll rip your head off.”


Dear Ms. Behavior:

I am about to turn 20 and most of my friends are much older. One of my friends has a lot of antique gay memorabilia, and  I would like to know what some of it means, but I don’t want to admit that I have no idea. So…what’s the deal with all the triangles? Does it mean anything that some point up and some point down? And why do so many photos from long long ago feature rainbows?

– Ned


Dear Ned:

Pink triangles were used by Nazis to identify and persecute queers, in much the same way yellow stars were used for Jews. Eventually, someone reclaimed the pink triangle as a symbol of queer pride.

As for the dreaded rainbows, some silly nellie had a Judy Garland hallucination while in a “K-Hole” in the early 90s and created vibrantly colored necklaces and clothing. A variety of opportunistic marketing geniuses were struck with a collective unconscious vision and pumped out trillions of rainbow necklaces, flags, candles, and sarongs before you could say “poofter.” Soon celebratory homosexuals everywhere mass-produced these schlocky items.

So far as analyzing which way the triangle points, you have too much free time. Get a hobby; and ignore the little voices that seem to be coming from your silver fillings. Be forewarned that unwitting heterosexuals have often purchased rainbow decals thinking that they’re pretty and applied them to the windows of their Volvo Wagons. Do not assume this means they want to sleep with you.


© 2012 Meryl Cohn. Address questions and correspondence to [email protected].

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