1. "What's a good way to respond to my parents when they use the age old expressions, 'It's just a phase' or 'You haven't given men a chance?'"
Cameron: Good news is that time is on your side. I dont know how old you are, but it turns out phases rarely last a lifetime. So, at some point, they're going to have to come around. I'm so sorry you're getting that now. Let's say your mom asked you that question, a great response is:
2. "I want to be a stand-up comic, but people say that I shouldn't talk about being gay in my stand-up because it's a cliché. Is it bad that I talk about being gay in my stand-up? Does that make me a stereotype or any less of a comedian?"
Rhea: Who are these people? Get away from them, they don't know what they are talking about.
Cameron: Are we so successful that now it's like, "God all the successful comics won't stop talking about being gay." It's like Ellen, Tig, Cameron, Rhea! First of all, if you can just name the comics — I'm getting so frustrated I need to be calmed down.
Rhea: It's OK.
Cameron: Straight comics talk about their sexuality on stage, it's just that their sexuality is the majority and also the mainstream invisible sexuality. So, anytime a comic that is straight is talking about dating — they are talking about being straight! So you being on stage and talking about your life as a queer person is just the equivalent of that. What would these people rather have you talk about? I don't know anything about wieners, for instance.
Rhea: And me being a vegetarian I don't know anything about the other kind of wieners.
Cameron: Two times over she doesn't know.
Rhea: We just don't talk about it.
3. "Hi! I’m a masculine (butch) lesbian, who never feels great wearing a swimsuit. What do you do? One piece or two? Boy shorts and tank top? Modest speedo? It’s a never-ending struggle for me — much like the ladies room."
Rhea: It took me a long time to find — I mean, I didn't wear swimsuits for a long time. It took me a long time to find one. Now I go with a bikini top and board shorts with the thingy underneath. Underwear? Is that what it's called?
Cameron: Do you mean the built-in...
Cameron: Oh, you're talking about bikini bottoms!
Rhea: Take some time with yourself, get comfy. I know it's hard but you'll find that outfit. I say go with the tank top and board shorts, that seems like a good start.
Cameron: I would also recommend a rash guard, what surfers wear that looks like a t-shirt but is actually meant for the water. I wear a bikini because that feels comfortable to me, I like wearing that. I think what's rad is that between board shorts and a rash guard you really can wear a masculine look in the water — if that makes you feel more comfortable. So, yay! Get out there and swim away.
Rhea: Surf, dude.
4. "How do I approach women? The dating pool is already small and the only way to date seems to be by referral or online."
Cameron: One thing we are often told is that because we are a minority it is going to be difficult for us to date. I actually think if you just go to cultural events, go see live music, go to a bar — you don't even have to drink there, you can just go to a bar! Anything like that where you are around a lot of people. We give each other vibes — I always know where the gay women are, I look for the haircuts! Just going out and being in public. Online dating has never been our thing, I know women still do it and I'm really into that, but Grindr and those kind of things exist for gay men. What is the equivalent to that? I think it is figuring out when old episodes of The L Word are screening at a second-run movie theater and going there!
Rhea: I think it would be an app called "Cuddler," but they haven't made that yet.
Cameron: Or you can go see Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher perform stand-up comedy because we get a very mixed audience. We really do get a lot of comedy nerds, a lot of dudes, but if you want to find some lesbians — they're at our shows!
5. How do you deal with jealousy in your relationships? How do I learn to be OK with the fact that my girlfriend once slept with one of her best friends?
Cameron: Oh, you gotta get rid of that. How do you become OK with it? You just become OK with it. One thing that is awesome about Rhea is that I think we talk really honestly about people we have dated in the past.
Cameron: Don't you feel like I was really encouraging of that?
Cameron: I just always wanted to hear about your past relationships because they were people that you cared about and it matters to me that you had other people you cared about.
Rhea: It's part of my life, which is now part of your life, and it's just our lives together!
6. "I always end up acting so stereotypically U-Haul. How do I chill out and not come off too strong?"
Cameron: First of all, I've gotta address the stereotypically U-Haul thing: Who cares? I feel like we are so stressed out. Why are lesbians so stressed out about being a stereotype? Sometimes I'm so mad and I'm like, "Ugh i can't be mad or else I'll be an angry lesbian!" Don't worry about it.
Second of all, women are taught in our culture to find partners. It's something we are told since we are teeny weeny babies. Plus, we have wombs in our bodies — a lot of women have wombs in their bodies.
Rhea: It's like our built-in U-Haul.
Cameron: It's this biologically ingrained thing. I think you need to not worry about it so much. But, maybe if what you're saying is that you're putting off partners because you're too into it, too fast. Maybe what you need to do is keep all those feelings in inside, tell a friend...
Cameron: Journal is great! And then, like, maybe don't tell that person all the feelings that you're having all at once.
Rhea: Save some for yourself.
7. "As people who have grown up and have come out, any tips? I’d like to come out before college in two years because of all the lgbtq+ scholarships I could apply for, but I need some tips as to how to. Thanks guys!"
Cameron: I feel like I could have saved some money on college.
Rhea: A lot.
Cameron: How do you come out? First of all, it feels like a little bit of a high pressure situation in order to secure a college scholarship. I'm not saying don't apply to those scholarships. What I'm saying is, what you need to figure out is: When do you feel confident in yourself that you will be able to deal with some inevitable backlash?
This is the thing, I am so happy for all the movement we have made. It's so different from when I went to school fourteen years ago. Still, it's not going to happen with every family member or every friend, but there probably is going to be just one person who is going to say, "Hey, are you sure you're a queer person?" And so I just think you have to be comfortable enough to field that question.
So how do you do it? You tell somebody and when they say, "Are you sure you're a queer person?" You say, "Yes, I'm totally sure I'm a queer person."
Rhea: Just believe in the fact that the people that love you are still going to love you.