Butch books

Fun HomeI am obsessed with Fun Home.

Like I’m changing my major to Fun Home.

I’m talking about the graphic memoir by the brilliant Allison Bechdel and the hit Broadway musical based on the book.

I tell W I’m a Fun Homie.

She grimaces.

But buys us tickets for our anniversary next month.

And sometimes sings Ring of Keys in the shower.

I bought Fun Home in 2007 from Giovanni’s Room, a gay bookstore in Philadelphia.

I just finished re-reading it in anticipation of the play.  I was sad like I always am when I finish a good book.

I started thinking about what to read next.  But when you’re a butch lesbian, how do you top Fun Home?

Stone Butch BluesAnd that’s when I read that Leslie Steinberg’s groundbreaking Stone Butch Blues is being made available for download to celebrate Leslie’s Sept. 1 birthday.  Click here to download your free copy.

So, I will be reading Stone Butch Blues tonight.  And thinking about Leslie Feinberg and Allison Bechdel and all the other butch writers who have made it a little easier for the rest of us to be ourselves.

* * *

What are you reading?

Butch breakfast gaffe

BreakfastWe went out for breakfast on Saturday morning.  Me, W and the kids.

W ordered first.  I was seated next to her.

And then the waitress, who appeared to be 20 or so, asked …

wait for it …

“And, for you, sir?”

That’s when the 15-year-old started to give his order.

“I think she means me,” I said.

AwkwardIt was one of those awkward and uncomfortable butch moments.

The waitress apologized.

I didn’t know what to do.

A year ago, I would have left it at that.

Now, I’m a different person. A different butch.

I feel like I have an obligation to say something.  But what?

I’m not a sir.  I’m a woman.  In the future, you might want to refrain from making assumptions about a person’s gender. It makes us both feel awkward.

I don’t know the right answer.  I just know that I felt annoyed yesterday when I was misgendered. Not embarrassed or apologetic like I have in the past, but offended.

* * *

Thoughts?  Should I have said something or just let that “sir” go?  What would you have done?  What would you have said?

* * *

Show a butch some love

I appreciate youI read somewhere that International Butch Appreciation Day was earlier this week.

“I’m mad at you,” I jokingly told W.  “No card. No nothing.”

“In this house, everyday is Butch Appreciation Day,” she said.

“Touché,” I said.

Because it’s true.

It’s good to be the butch.

The stories we tell

When I had my bridal shower back in the day when marrying a man seemed like a good idea, I was supposed to stand up at the end and say a few words.

I’m not very good at speaking in front of groups of people.  Even in front of people I know.

As I sat on a chair in the center of the room in my floral dress from The Limited and started stammering, I was rescued by my best friend.

Beaver Stadium“Kick-off is in 30 minutes.  We have to go she said.”

It was a perk that came with being alumni of a university with a dominating football program.

It’s been our running gag every time I am nervous about speaking in front of a group of people or trying to get out of an uncomfortable situation.

“Can’t you come and tell them kick-off is in 30 minutes?” I ask.

Even when it’s not football season.

Last week, I called my friend and told her that because of my book I have an opportunity to speak at a large, multinational company that has an office near my house.  The company has an LGBT group and often has speakers come in.

She tells me to go for it.

“But you know me and public speaking,” I say.

“Maybe it’s time to stop telling yourself the story that you’re not good at public speaking,” she says.

She’s a terrible friend.  The worst, really.

After I get off the phone with her, I think about the power of story.  The stories we tell ourselves.  The stories we tell others.

Then I stumble across this quote about storytelling:

“Being a storyteller is about helping other people tell their stories.”

I know my presentation will address the power of story.  That’s my passion.

In my head, I am mapping out how it will go.

NecktieI am working on a new story about going to the company that first time for a meeting. I am unsure about what to wear.  I am afraid about being judged for being a woman wearing men’s clothes in a corporate work environment.  About looking like a little girl who just raided her dad’s closet.

I sit on the edge of my bed and remind myself to be me.

It will be ok, I tell myself.  Stand tall.  Be strong.  Be butch.  Be yourself.

It’s a pep talk.

Another story.

* * *

What are the stories (good and bad) you tell yourself?

When gender does not compute

Smoking laptopAt W’s family reunion, we sit inside an old firehouse at long tables covered with vinyl tablecloths. At the end of one of the tables, a woman with a laptop is trying to piece together the family tree.

This year, W and I are legally married. This year, my name can go on the tree.

W leaves me to sit with the lady with the laptop and give her my information.

She is gone a long time.

“Her software won’t let you be a girl,” she tells me when she returns.

“Story of my life,” I reply.

The butchest things I did on vacation

Holy Hera!  Admired vintage Wonder Woman Pez at the Pez factory and museum in Orange, Conn.

Wonder Woman Pez

As you can see, this butch loves her some Wonder Woman.

Went deep sea fishing out of Plymouth, Mass.


This cod was about 14 inches but too small to keep, even if it had been cod season.

Spent time with my girl in Plymouth, Mass.


Behind us is Plymouth Rock, which is underwhelming and not very butch at all.

Ate a spicy bowl of huevos rancheros for breakfast at the Ugly Mug Diner in Salem, Mass.  No, I was not flirting with the cute waitress.  Ok, maybe.


You can’t see the smoke coming from my ears.

Had lobster for dinner at the Clam Shack in Salem, Mass.


There is something butch about using hand tools to eat your dinner.

But perhaps the butchest thing I did was survive a seven-day road trip with three teenagers.

* * *

What’s the butchest thing you did on your vacation?

The butch and the bathing suit

Beach in ConnecticutI have been packing for vacation.

Cargo shorts, T-shirts, dress T-shirts. Athletic socks, boxer briefs.

And then I went to grab my swimsuit from the tippy top shelf of my closet.  Gray swim trunks and a women’s razor back swim top.  Standard butch issue.

It only comes out once a year when we go on vacation or to the shore for a day or two.

“You know what I feel like when I wear this?” I asked W.


“A centaur.  Only half of me feels right.”

Boston bound

We leave for vacation this weekend. Me, W and the kids.

If you are a regular follower of The Flannel Files, you know I’m not a fan of leaving the house.  Except for my writers’ group and a really great sale on flannel.

W is a Sagittarius, an adventurer by nature.

Me, I think a good book and a bottle of a craft beer is an adventure.

W has the trip all planned out.  We will be trekking from Philly to Mystic, Conn., Providence, R.I., Plymouth, Mass., Boston and Salem, Mass.  I think that’s the plan.

These are a few of my favorite things.

These are a few of my favorite things.

I will pack those things that bring me comfort. My books, my tiny Moleskine notebooks and silver astronaut pen.  My fleece pajama pants, even though it is summer.  My bright-red Phillies cap, even though we will be in Red Sox territory.

I would pack my spirit of adventure, but I’m not sure I ever got one.  I will bring my sense of humor, because that always comes in handy.

I am hoping to score a Wonder Woman Pez dispenser at the Pez factory in Connecticut, a hot cup of chowder, a slice of pizza at Mystic Pizza.  And maybe time to write a story or two.

* * *

Do you like vacations?  Suggestions for our trip?

Femme Friday

Rainbow heartSo said the butch. And so it was.

Thank you for:

* Curves like a stainless steel rollercoaster track.

* Calling me “Baby.”

* Telling me I’m beautiful. And handsome.

* Singing “Ring of Keys” in the shower.

* Complimenting me on my necktie when we are out on a date.

* Allowing me to open the door for you, even though it’s the 21st century and you are a modern, self-sufficient woman.

* Letting me carry your bags, even though you could easily do so yourself.

* Escorting me to the ladies’ room when I feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

* Asking me what I’d like you to wear, even though you look divine in everything.

* Wearing all that silver jewelry that makes you sparkle like stardust.

* Buying another skirt with a long slit down the side.

* * *

Your turn.  When it comes to your girl (or boi), what are you thankful for?

Guest post on Women and Words


Guys, check out my guest post on the fabulously awesome Women and Words. Oh, and if you leave a comment, you’ll be in the running for a free copy of my book, Leaving Normal: Adventures in Gender. Because who doesn’t like free stuff?

Originally posted on Women and Words:

Leaving Normal CoverHappy Sunday! We have a fabulous guest blogger for y’all today! Rae Theodore recently released her debut novel Leaving Normal: Adventures in Gender.

She’s here to tell us all about her inspiration for the book. And, because she’s super fabulous, she’s giving away a couple of paperback copies. Drop a comment in the space below and I’ll draw the winners next Friday, 7/17.

Good Luck!

Leaving Normal: Adventures in Gender
by Rae Theodore

As I sit here wondering what to write for my guest post, I’m hyper-focused on the word “Women” from the Women and Words logo that sprawls in dark red script across the top of the website as if standing guard.

For a moment, I feel like an interloper, but I remind myself that I’m a different kind of woman.

Rae Theodore - photo

I’m a butch. A masculine-presenting woman. A cherry red Tootsie Pop with a center comprised of flannel shirts…

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