You know you want to pre-order my book

Pre-order this bad boy.

Pre-order this bad boy.  Pretty please?

Greetings my Flannel faithful.  Great news!

My publisher is offering pre-orders for my book.  Just click on over to Weasel Press and follow the links to their Storenvy site.  It’s easy peasy … you know the rest.

If you’d like a signed copy, you can pre-order directly from your favorite butch blogger.  I’ll sign it however you want — “To my All-Time Favorite Flannel Files Follower” or “To the World’s Best Butch.”

Here’s how it works:

1. Go to PayPal and send $20.00 (pay for goods or services) to rae.r.theodore@gmail.com.  That’s me.

The book costs $15.95, plus $4.05 for shipping and handling.

2. For every pre-order, I’ll send you out some cool swag while you’re waiting for the book to mail.  Bookmarks with little red capes.  Flashdrives loaded with some material not in the book.  Maybe I’ll get crazy and send out some bowties and neckties, beer bottle openers, screwdrivers and other butch freebies.  Ya never know.  I’m in a good mood these days, folks.

Plus, for every pre-order, I’ll donate $1 to my local library so they can purchase some LGBT books that I’m going to help pick out.  Because they don’t have any.  No Rubyfruit Jungle, no Fun Home, no Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.  I get teary eyed just thinking about it.

3. If you want your book signed a certain way, let me know in the comments section of the PayPal transaction.

4. I’ll mail your book out on June 26th, the day of the release.

Consider buying one for yourself, one for a friend, one for your local high school’s gay-straight alliance.

They make great Father’s Day gifts.  Actually not.

If you can, help spread the word.  We need to tell our stories.  I’m up for interviews, guest blogs, you name it.

P.S. If you are in my writers’ group, do not pre-order here.

Superbutch

Thanks, guys.  I needed that.

I pulled on my star-spangled underoos and tied on my super-butch cape.

Cracks me up every time.

Cracks me up every time.

I wore my unicorn T-shirt and reminded myself of the power of positive thinking.

I chewed a lot of Vitamin C tablets.  I prayed.  I came up with a new mantra: love, love, love.

I read and re-read your comments.

W and I reenacted that scene from Moonstruck.  Snap out of it!  Snap out of it!  Snap out of it!

I am feeling better and butchier than ever.

I figure I needed to have my mini meltdown now and get it out if the way.  It’s all clear sailing from here on out.  Clear skin.  Clear mind.  Clear blue skies with fluffy white clouds.

As Alicia Keys would sing, this butch is on fire.

But I couldn’t have done it without you guys.  Seriously, it’s like having my own cheering section.

Moving forward, I promise to do my best to represent the lesbians and the butches.  Those of us who live somewhere in the middle of boy and girl, or maybe outside of the binary altogether.  The late bloomers.  The underdogs.  Everyone who has just wanted to fit in.  I will tell our stories with pride and dignity.

Superhero powThe one lesson I’ve learned this holiday weekend is that sometimes you have to be your own hero.

And that’s a whole lot easier to do when you have a team of superheroes flying by your side.

P.S. You guys look great in spandex.

Book stress

My book comes out in about a month.

xx

Me.

I am so stressed that I have a huge cold sore on my face.  Yep.  The motherfucker skipped my lip (apparently, lip cold sores are for sissies) and erupted right there on my face.  I am like that craggy face guy from The Fantastic Four or the Elephant Man.  I can’t be sure as I have been avoiding mirrors and shiny surfaces.

“Don’t look at me, I’m hideous,” I tell W.

I have forbidden her from making direct eye contact with me.

Actually, I think it’s best that everyone refrain from looking at me or even in my direction, at least for a few months, I suggest.

xx

On second thought …

It seemed like a good idea to write a memoir.  Until right before it’s available for purchase.  Then not so great.  Like New Coke.

I am re-thinking my decision not to use my Middle-age Butch alias.  Or my other pen names: I. B. Butch, I.P. Daily (that was me) and Sexy Handsome Beast.

When I am telling W all of this — 1) don’t look at me and 2) pseudonyms rule — she notes that I am smiling a lot for a person on the verge of a memoir-induced psychotic breakdown.

xx

This is me 24/7 these days.

I tell her that’s normal.  Extra smiling = crazy.  Everyone’s seen The Shining, right?

I don’t admit that I’m excited about the book.  I only admit that I’m nervous.

I’m feeling vulnerable and exposed.  I’m worried about what people will say.  I’m worried about being perceived as a freak — a boy-girl mutant, a girl/boy oddity — to those who don’t understand.

W tells me it’s too late to take it all back now.  The wheels have been set in motion.

I try to remind myself why I wrote my story in the first place.  Through the writing process, I learned who I am, as a person and a writer.

But I wasn’t writing for that me.  The today me.  I was writing for the me who existed three or four decades ago.  The young girl who didn’t know she had options.  Who didn’t know gender isn’t carved in stone.  Who didn’t know she could marry a girl.  Or shop exclusively on the left side of The Gap.  And that the world wouldn’t end if she did those things.  In fact, her world would just start beginning.

I try to remember that my story is important.  That all of our big butch stories are important.  (Silent nod.)  That all stories about those who live in the margins and on the fringe are important.  We are underrepresented in literature and largely misunderstood.

I try to remember that I wrote the book for that one person who will recognize herself in the pages and feel not so alone, at least for a few minutes.

That is the power of books and stories and writers.  We read to know that we’re not alone.

I try to remember all of that as I sit here scared and unsure of my words.

Becoming me, un-becoming other stuff

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything.  Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”

— Unknown

I scribbled this quote on a post-it note a few months ago.  It struck a chord and then got buried in the pile of paper that lives on my desk.

Blank slateI used to think we are all blank slates at birth and that life writes on those slates with chalk and Sharpie markers and spray paint and whatever other art supplies the universe has at the ready.

Now, I’m pretty sure we start out as fully formed works of art buried in blocks of marble.  Life is all about chipping away at that block until we are revealed, perfect, beautiful, glorious.  The way we had been all along.

Yesterday for Mother’s Day, I bought my mom a white mug that simply stated, “You Are a Good Mom.”

I wanted her to know that.  I wanted to tell her sorry for being such a difficult kid.  A moody child.  A girl who was perhaps more boy and who came without instructions.  (P.S. There was no mug that said all that.  Stupid Hallmark.)

I know my mother did the best she could trying to mold me into a respectable young lady.  Some 30 years later, I am still trying to undo all of her well-intentioned doing.

I know I am a challenge.

Climbing fencesIn my wedding vows, I quoted the Melissa Etheridge line: “You found out to love me, you have to climb some fences.”

W commented the other night that she wasn’t doing so well climbing those fences.  (Yes, Glitter-Gate reared its sparkly head once again.  You can read about that here and here.)

“You know it’s me, not you, right?” I asked.

She nodded her head.  She wasn’t didn’t seem convinced.

I try not to apologize for being me.

But I am still difficult and moody.

And there is no rulebook for loving a girl who is perhaps more boy.

‘Don’t,’ said the butch

Don'tSo, what have we learned from these last two posts?

No. 1: Middle-age butch has trouble with letting go.

No. 2: Never glitter a butch.

No. 3: Or you will never hear the end of it.

No. 4: For realz.

And now for all you math geeks: According to our poll, 38 percent of you said it’s best to never ever glitter a butch.  I’m guessing the femmes out there agreed that butches are magical creatures.  That captured 31 percent of the vote.  Three of you, or 23 percent, suggested, butch or no butch, never let glitter get the best of you because it’s just glitter.  And one of you indicated that butches are big whiny crybabies.

So, yeah, never glitter a butch.

And here are some more things you shouldn’t do:

* Tell her that her tie is pretty.

* Buy her a drink that comes with a side of fruit and an umbrella like a Malibu Bay Breeze.

* Ask her if she is growing out her hair.

* Ask her to hold your purse.

* Try to hold a conversation with her while she’s watching the game.

* Ask her if her name is short for something else.

* Tell her she would look better with a little foundation and blush.

* Ask to borrow her curling iron.

* * *

Your turn.  What’s your best butch don’t?

The butch and the faerie festival

One Saturday, a butch went to a May Day celebration held on a small farm in rural Pennsylvania.  The event was actually called the “Faerie Festival,” and many attendees came in costume.

Lemon with peppermint stickThe butch went because it was supposed to be a nice spring day, and she wanted to spend time with her girlfriend.  Her girlfriend was a babe.  Plus, they always had really good black bean quesadillas and lemons with peppermint stick straws, which made the butch smile.

While they were waiting in line to enter the festival, the butch spotted elves with pointy rubber ears and faeries with wings made from wire and panty hose.  There were knights in chainmail and ladies in waiting in long velvet gowns.  The green men covered themselves with leaves and mud and sticks.  The garden gnomes carried small plastic watering cans and wore tall pointy hats fashioned from sheets of red felt.

The butch wore jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers.

Soon after she entered the festival, the butch was jumped by a pair of elves, a rogue troll with bright green horns and three faeries.  The butch was strong but there were too many of them.

GlitterThe faeries threw something in her direction that caught the light as it floated down on her like snow.

“We thought you could use some faerie dust,” one of the elves said.

“Yeah,” the other elf said.  “You’re so plain.  No wings, no horns, no sparkle, no nothing.”

The fairies laughed in their high-pitched faerie voices.

“What are you supposed to be?” the troll asked.  “A person?  Ha!”

The butch stood up and tried to brush the sparkles from clothes and hair.  But, as glitter does, it clung to her shirt and her face and her hair.

Barbie in a silver gownThe glitter took the butch back to the 70s and reminded her of the pink and yellow T-shirts in the girls’ department emblazoned with decals of unicorns and rainbows and that damn “Thank God It’s Friday” cat.  She thought about glittery nail polish that sparkled as bright as the night sky and Bonnie Bell lip gloss that smelled like extra ripe strawberries and left an iridescent glow.  She thought about My Little Pony, Barbie in a silver sequined ball gown, a girl’s bicycle with shiny streamers erupting from the handlebars like fireworks frozen in plastic.

Even as a child, the butch preferred sports jerseys with their boxy cut and primary colors.  And eyeblack that she wore like war paint on game days.

The butch pushed the troll because he was standing in her way.

“Hey, you don’t have to get so angry,” he said.  “It’s just dime-store glitter.”

But the butch knew better.

Question for Discussion

Do things have a gender?

W and I get into a bit of a disagreement yesterday.

GlitterWe were at a May Day festival known as a the “Faerie Festival” when she sprinkled a pinch of faerie dust on my forehead.

She was just joking around.  It was one of those when in Rome things.

And this butch blew things out of proportion with having some glitter tossed in her direction.

I told W that I think of glitter and sparkly things as feminine.

She was like chill, dude, it’s just faerie dust.  It doesn’t have a gender.

Which got me thinking about objects and gender.  For sure, things don’t have genders.

But in my mind, certain things do:

  • Glitter (female)
  • The color pink (female — except on something very masculine like a necktie)
  • Purses (female — c’mon, they’re like vaginas with a strap)
  • Man purses (still female)
  • Crying (female)
  • The word “pretty” (female)
  • Dolls

I don’t know if it’s because I was told growing up that there are boy things and girl things.  My brother was a boy so he mowed the grass.  I cooked dinner.  Drum lessons were for boys so I ended up playing the flute.  There is nothing sadder than a butch lesbian playing the flute when she yearns to play the drums.

In my list, I had intended on including female and male things.  I see I only listed those items that I associate with femininity and find unappealing.

I wonder if it is overcompensation for not being able to be me for so many years.  A rebellion of some sort that came 30-some years too late.

* * *

What about you?  Do you think of things in boy/girl terms?

What I know for sure (the butch version)

With apologies to Oprah …

What I know for sure

1. The butchest woman in the room will always have the prettiest name like Daisy or Pitter, which is the sound a fairy wing makes when it flutters in the open air.

2. There will never be a bathing suit that is perfect for a butch.

3. You can’t have too much flannel.

4. Can I Help You, Sir? is a great name for an all-butch rock band.

5. Chivalry will never die as long as there’s one butch left on the planet.

6. Butches are magical creatures who bend the rules of time.  That’s why a butch can be mistaken for a teenage boy and a middle-aged man all in the same day.

7. The butch nod is invisible to the nonbutch, much like unicorns are invisible to nonbelievers.

8. Butches don’t walk, they strut.

9. Butches don’t cry.  Their eyes leak water.

10. Butches have a marshmallow center.

11. Butches are loyal and dependable and tender hearted, even though they will tell you that they are not.

Also, I am experimenting with some butch merchandise.  Check out this cool coffee mug.  If that doesn’t say butch, I don’t know what does.  Note: Mug says “butch.”  Right on it.

* * *

What about you?  What do you know for sure?

At the movies

Rae Spoon“Gender is stupid.”

That’s  the best line from My Prairie Home, a documentary about transgender folk singer Rae Spoon.

My Prairie Home is part movie, part music video.  Haunting.  Beautiful.  Brilliant.

Spoon tells about growing up different in a conservative household ruled by a parent with mental illness.

I especially enjoyed the way Spoon tackles complex issues using simple lyrics.

Here are the lyrics to one song that I really liked:

Sunday Dress

When I was a little girl. I thought I had to hold up the world. Singing “Hallelujah” in the choir to keep my feet out of the fire.

My prairie home. My prairie home. My prairie home. Fits like a Sunday dress.

When I was fourteen the devil came for me. Showed me hell could be pretty. I had a poster at the end of my bed. Kurt Cobain in a wedding dress.

My prairie home. My prairie home. My prairie home. Fits like a Sunday dress.

Shaved my head and did my best. Tried to stand tall with whiskey on my breath. I sure wish I was a man. I would never go to church again.

My prairie home. My prairie home. My prairie home. Fits like a Sunday dress.

So, yeah, I would highly recommend My Prairie Home.  We watched it through iTunes for $4.99.

Rock on, Rae Spoon.

* * *

What’s the last movie you saw?  Would you recommend it?

Finding love

W texted me from work yesterday afternoon.

“Can we have the same thing for dinner that we had last night?”

“Um, I think so,” I text back.

It is not a difficult meal to prepare.  Breaded chicken tenders, noodles with butter and parmesan, and corn.

Imagine a butcher version

Me, only butchier.

W is struggling with some things these days, so I do what I can to make things easy for her.  I try to have dinner ready when she comes home.  I try to have the house picked up and food in the fridge.  I buy her cards and write her notes and sneak a piece of chocolate in her lunch.  Cooking chicken tenders two days in a row really isn’t a big deal.

When W comes home, I am in the kitchen finishing up dinner.

“Thank you for finding me,” she says.

Online datingShe says it all the time.  It’s a reference to how we met on match.com.  I was the one who sent her a note.  I was the one who found her.

“Someone has to take care of you,” I say.

“I know,” she replies.

W tells me how lucky she is to have me in her life.   The women she works with always tell her they need a Middle-age Butch to do all of the things I do.  Someone to pack their lunches, cook their dinners, pick up their prescriptions, do their grocery shopping.

I am not available.  I am a one-woman woman.

I remind W that she does lots of things for me.

She disagrees.

“It just looks different,” I tell her.

W is the breadwinner.  Because she works so hard, I am able to work from home and take care of things like lunches and dinners and errands.

Foam fingerShe is my biggest fan.  She loves everything I write.  This writer with low self-esteem needs to have her ego stroked.  Often.  Like a giant, needy cat.  Without W’s encouragement, there would be no finished book.

She loves telling people about my book.  I tell her not to make such a big fuss, but inside I light up like a firework.

She tells me I’m cute.  All the time.  Sometimes I even believe her.  She tells me I’m the world’s best lesbian.  But then we all knew that already.

W is the adventurer.  She drags me along on her excursions.  I plant the heels of my Dr. Marten’s in the mud and make things difficult.  But I am always glad to have ventured out and seen the world through her eyes.

She makes me giggle.  If you tell anyone, I’ll only deny it.  And then poke you with a sharp pokey object.

Moths in candlelightShe is the love and light in our house.  The rest of us are just moths.

The things I do can be calculated in monetary terms.  How much would you pay someone to cook your dinner or do your grocery shopping?

But W’s contributions are priceless.  To help a person believe she is a rock star like Joan Jett or Melissa Etheridge and can achieve her dreams is an invaluable skill and service.

It happens.  Sometimes.  When the stars align.  And you find the right person and fall in love.