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The U-Haul lesbian or U-Haul syndrome is a stereotype of lesbian relationships, referring to the joke that lesbians tend to live together on the second date. It suggests an extreme tendency to monogamy or a committed relationship. Depending on the context, it can be considered as complementary or pejorative.
A joke that refers to U-Haul (a brand of moving vans and trailers) became known in North American lesbian culture.
Question: What does a lesbian bring to a second date?
Answer: A U-haul.
Often attributed to the comedian Lea DeLaria, the joke suggests that lesbians start living together after a short period of time. It may also come from the Canadian lesbian defender Krista Lush, who once remarked from her relationships: “one kiss, and they pull in”. Reference to a “U-Haul” later became a stereotype of sexual identity in the gay community. The joke is considered a major component of lesbian humour but is also popular outside the LGBT community. This often follows or precedes a standard joke about gay men:
Question: What does a gay man bring to a second date?
Answer: Which second date?
Psychologists note that the U-Haul joke embodies the observed phenomenon of lesbians to form intense emotional connections, referred to in gay jargon as an “urge to merge.” Critics of this alleged tendency suggest that it is used by lesbians to prevent the risks of dating. According to them, an aversion to the risks of dating is linked to a lagging development of intimate relationships during the teenage years when most gays and lesbians are in the closet. With the freedom of maturity, lesbians are attracted to the “U-Haul” relationships and appreciate their intensity and intimacy.
Despite the positive suggestion of the U-Haul concept that lesbians have no problems entering into relationships, some psychologists also believe that this behaviour can be unhealthy. They claim that the short dating period ignores serious discussion about many relationship problems before they withdraw (such as sexual compatibility or future expectations) and this can manifest itself later in various problems.
A frequently heard criticism of the “U-Haul” joke is the negative implication that it gives that most lesbians live together on literally the second date; whereas for most relationships this step, if it occurs, normally takes place after a long period of dating.
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