Sue and Lee have been on Instagram for less than two weeks but their account is already blowing up. This may have a little to with the name, @420oldfatlesbians (everyone loves lesbians), but probably has more to do with the content.
In the roughly 20 videos they've posted so far, you see two sunglasses-wearing older women, smoking weed and cracking themselves up. They frequently use their own homemade smoking devices, including this hers-and-hers bong they made out of two water bottles duct taped together. The whole thing is thoroughly charming, and viewers are responding: Yesterday, they had 200 followers. As of this writing, they have over 4,000.
I caught up with Sue and Lee (not their real names) on the phone Tuesday morning from their home in Maine.
KH: Are you smoking right now?
Too bad. What's the status of weed in Maine? I assume it's not legal?
Sue: It's medically legal and just became recreationally legal last year.
So why do you want to be anonymous?
Lee: We just like our privacy. I know it sounds contradictory considering we're on Instagram but we don't really want our names out there. We didn't know this was going happen.
How long have you been smoking weed?
Sue: I did it in high school and due to work, I couldn't have the smell on me so I would eat edibles here and there. I knew once we retired I would get more into it because I have pain from the work I did for decades.
What kind of work did you do?
Sue: It was private care-giving focused on end-of-life.
So are you both retired?
Sue: Yup, kind of.
Lee: I'm an accountant, semi-retired. I still have a few clients.
And how long have you been together?
Sue: Twelve years together, four years legally married.
And what do you like about weed?
Lee: I never smoked marijuana as a kid but I had a lot of pain after I had neck surgery and it's just a great pain reliever. I didn't want to go to the opiods so in the last four or five years, I've done a lot of edibles and vaping. I couldn't walk around without it. It's great.
What's it like in Maine? Is there still a big stigma against weed in Maine or is it pretty chill there?
Sue: It's really chill. In the area we live in, it's a pretty big culture, pretty open. There are several people that grow. I don't think there's a big stigma attached to it at all.
Do you get it from a medical dispensary?
Sue: Actually, we grew some last summer and we've had a nice supply but there are dispensaries for medical marijuana in our area and we have cards so if we ever want to try different strains, it's not an issue.
Are you out about it to your friends?
Sue: Oh, yeah. I've never kept it a secret. Doing care-giving, I even tried to introduce it to some patients and my friends if they had issues. It seems to be well-received with everyone I talked to.
How old are you?
Lee: Let's just say we are in our third-trimester of life.
Does this surprise you? When you were back in the first or second trimester of life, would you have ever thought that end up being stoner?
Lee: When I was a kid, there is no way I would have looked forward to seeing myself as stoner lesbian on Instagram. It's pretty cool though.
How's the response been to your account? Seems like you're getting a lot of traction.
Sue: We had like 200 followers yesterday and have 3,000 today. It's pretty funny.
Oh my god. How did that happen?
Sue: We had a KY video that kind of got shared a lot. It has like 5,000 views now. People put us in their Stories and it kind of went from there. We've only had the account for eight or nine days.
Why'd you decide to start this account.
Lee: Um, we're retired. Oh, shit.
Retirement sounds amazing. I'm jealous.
Lee: It's something to have fun with and, you know, we thought we could make a few people laugh and share some experiences and what not. It makes the world a better place.
Seems like you've been experimenting with some DIY mechanisms for smoking. Some of this paraphernalia I've never even see before.
Sue: We kind of just make them. It's pretty simple. Nothing fancy, just homemade stuff.
Is making the stuff part of the fun for you? When I was a teenager I would make bongs out of plastic bottles and stuff but when I was able to buy them I stopped. So is the crafting part of the fun for you or is this a necessity?
Sue: It's just for fun. We can certainly buy bongs or pipes or whatever we want.
Have you considered making your own products? It seems like there may be a market for it?
Sue: Like edibles or pieces?
Pieces, like that face mask that you made out of what looked like a Sprite bottle. What do you call it? The Green Monster?
Lee: I think I saw that somewhere on YouTube several months back and thought, well, what the heck.
It seemed pretty effective.
Lee: I think the one I saw on YouTube was a blunt and there was so much smoke so we tried it with the vape pen and it worked.
Is there anything you want people to know about yourselves or weed or what it's like to be an older lesbian?
Lee: Nobody dies from smoking weed and they need to get off the opioids. We should make a PSA about that.
Sue: It's no longer a stigma. Being a lesbian is no longer a stigma, being old isn't a stigma. It's not about what you look like. It's not about what you do. It's about how you are on the inside. We never judge people on their appearance and we never wanted each other to change or to look different. Life is too short. When you do end-of-life care-giving, you learn what's important.
Lee: That's our big message. Life's too short.
Sue: Just be yourself and it just doesn't matter what people think.