U-Haul lesbian

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The U-Haul lesbian or U-Haul syndrome is a stereotype of lesbian relationships[1] referring to the joke that lesbians tend to move-in together quickly after meeting for the first time (e.g., by the second date). It suggests an extreme inclination toward committed relationships. It can be considered either complimentary or pejorative, depending on context.[2][3]


A joke which references U-Haul (a brand of rental "move-it-yourself" trucks and trailers) became well known in lesbian culture.[4]

Question: What does a lesbian bring on a second date?

Answer: A U-Haul.

Often attributed to comic Lea DeLaria,[5][6] the joke suggests that lesbians move in together after only a short period of time. It is also possibly derived from Canadian lesbian advocate Krista Lush, who once noted of her relationships "one kiss, and they move in." Reference to a "U-Haul" later became a stereotype of sexual identity in the gay community. The joke is considered a staple of lesbian humor,[7] but is also popular outside the LGBT community.[8] It is sometimes followed or preceded by a standard joke about gay men:

Question: What does a gay man bring on a second date?
Answer: What second date?[8]


Psychologists note that the U-Haul joke epitomizes the perceived phenomenon of lesbians to form intense emotional connections, referred to in gay slang as an "urge to merge".[9] Critics of this alleged tendency suggest that it is used by lesbians to avoid the risks involved with dating.[10] In their view, an aversion to the risks of dating is linked to a stunted development of intimate relationships during the teenage years when most gays and lesbians are in the closet. With the freedom of adulthood, lesbians become drawn to the "U-Haul" relationships, appreciating their intensity and intimacy.[11]

Despite the U-Haul concept's positive suggestion that lesbians do not have difficulties committing to relationships, some psychologists also believe that this behavior can be unhealthy.[12] They argue that the short dating span bypasses serious discussion on many relationship issues prior to moving in (such as sexual compatibility or future expectations) and this can manifest itself in various problems later on.[13]


One common criticism of the "U-Haul" joke is the negative implication it gives that most lesbians cohabit on literally the second date; whereas for the majority of relationships, that step, if it occurs, normally happens following a long period of dating.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eliason, Michele J. (26 October 2010). "A New Classification System for Lesbians: The Dyke Diagnostic Manual". Journal of Lesbian Studies. 14 (4): 401–414. doi:10.1080/10894161003677133. PMID 20661801. S2CID 205754307.
  2. ^ Gordon, Liahna E. (April 2006). "Bringing the U-Haul: Embracing and Resisting Sexual Stereotypes in a Lesbian Community". Sexualities. 9 (2): 171–192. doi:10.1177/1363460706063118. S2CID 145353805.
  3. ^ Alexander, Christopher J., ed. (1996). Gay and Lesbian Mental Health: A Sourcebook for Practitioners (1st ed.). New York: Haworth Park Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-1560238799. LCCN 95043392. OCLC 33948761.
  4. ^ Queen, Robin (2005). ""How Many Lesbians Does It Take...": Jokes, Teasing, and the Negotiation of Stereotypes about Lesbians". Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. 15 (2): 239–257. doi:10.1525/jlin.2005.15.2.239. ISSN 1055-1360. JSTOR 43104051.
  5. ^ Kelleher, Kathleen (January 31, 2000). "Couple's Emotional Bonding Can Take the Steam Out of Intimacy". LA Times.
  6. ^ Brown-Scott, Jo Ann (July 2007). Epiphany and Her Friends: Intuitive Realizations That Have Changed Women's Lives. BookSurge. p. 339.
  7. ^ Bing, Janet; Heller, Dana (2003). "How many lesbians does it take to screw in a light bulb?". International Journal of Humor Research. 16 (2): 157–182. doi:10.1515/humr.2003.009. ISSN 1613-3722.
  8. ^ a b Denizet-Lewis, Benoit (2008-04-27). "Young Gay Rites". The New York Times Magazine. Archived from the original on 2019-12-24. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
  9. ^ Alexander, Christopher J., ed. (1996). Gay and Lesbian Mental Health: A Sourcebook for Practitioners (1st ed.). New York: Haworth Park Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-1560238799. LCCN 95043392. OCLC 33948761.
  10. ^ Munro, Kali (1999). "Lesbian Dating: Life Before the U-Haul". Siren Magazine (April/May).
  11. ^ Hardin, K.; Hall, M.; Berzon, B. (2001). Queer Blues: The Lesbian and Gay Guide to Overcoming Depression. New Harbinger Publications. p. 31. ISBN 1-57224-244-2.
  12. ^ Shapiro, Nina (June 23, 2004). "Till Death Do They Part?". Seattle Weekly. Archived from the original on 2007-05-25.
  13. ^ Stevens, Tracey; Wunder, Katherine (2003). How to be a Happy Lesbian: A Coming Out Guide. Amazing Dreams Publishing. p. 49. ISBN 0-9719628-0-4.
  14. ^ E. Marcus Together Forever: Gay and Lesbian Marriage pg 119 Anchor Publishing 1999 ISBN 0-385-48876-9