So, I did this a few weeks ago. The annual warm weather purge of old hair.
The quiet, steady buzz of the razor, a no. 2, removing most of what was. Chopping down the old strands of brown as if they were trees impeding new construction.
My head now sleek and aerodynamic like a red rocketship.
I’m ready to launch myself to a new place where no one knows my name.
* * *
For the first, two weeks I wear a baseball cap and marvel at how well a cap fits on a freshly buzzed head.
Now, it’s at that weird in-between phase I call “the Sluggo.”
Sometimes I wonder why I got my hair cut so short in the first place.
But most times, I focus on the way my hair feels like velvet on the back of my head and how it dries after a shower with a quick shake of my head.
And how the cosmic wind will feel cool and powerful on my bare head as I soar between the interstellar dust clouds and try to swallow the stars.
* * *
Have you gotten your summer ‘do yet?
The other day, someone left a comment on this blog’s “About This Butch” page. She informed me that it was impossible for me to be a butch because I had been married to a man and had had a child with him.
Stop “appropriating” the word “butch,” she ordered me. As if she had the authority to do so. As if she owned the word “butch” and got a royalty every time someone used the term. Or was in charge of deciding who can be a butch and who can’t, perhaps based on some scale that takes into consideration how many pairs of cargo pants a person owns, if they’ve ever played softball and whether they drink Earl Gray tea.
Not too long ago, I wanted to be a gold star lesbian pretty much more than anything in the world. (Well, not as much as being Olivia Newton-John’s dance partner in the Shake Shack at the musical number at the end of Grease.)
I’m a work in progress, but I’m learning to accept my journey. That’s what makes me who I am. Or at least that’s what they say.
This might be what most makes me a butch:
I didn’t bloom like a flower.
I cracked myself open like a geode.
And took a risk that everything I had hidden deep inside would shine.
Drum roll please …
So excited to share this with everyone:
That’s right, it’s the cover for my second book!
(Oh, the irony of that call for a drum roll.)
Can’t wait for you all to read these new stories about butchness and being a gender rebel. You’ll have to wait for August, if everything goes as planned, but I promise it will be worth it.
For now, you can check out my Author’s Page at Regal Crest.
Look for more book-related news to come, but I’ve been bursting to share this super bad ass cover.
Someday, I hope to be as cool as my book covers.
Posted in Being Butch, Books, Gay & Lesbian, Gender, Uncategorized, Writing
Tagged book covers, book news, books, butch, gay, gender, lesbian, LGBT, LGBTQ, queer, writing
Hey there Flannel Filers!
I’ve been so busy working on my new manuscript that I fear I’ve neglected you.
How are you? Don’t be like that. You know I love you.
Anyway, more about me.
My new book is called “My Mother Says Drums Are for Boys.” It’s a collection of stories and other musings about gender, coming out and, of course, living as a butch.
Thumbs up to you, too, Amy!
I write about Joan Jett, Janet Jackson and which is the better Indigo Girl to name drop on a first date. Amy Ray. The answer is Amy Ray.
In my book, I’d like to include a list of things people have been told are only for boys (or girls). The color pink, unicorns, G.I. Joe action figures …
Like the title of my book says, my mother told me drums are for boys, and I still feel the sting of that 40 years later.
Have a great weekend, everyone! And thanks for your help!
* * *
What were you told was only for boys or girls?
Posted in Being Butch, Books, Coming Out, Gay & Lesbian, Gender, Uncategorized, Writing
Tagged books, butch, drums, gay, gender, gender roles, gender stereotyoes, Indigo Girls, lesbian, LGBT, writing
Upon her approach, I recognize the uniform of my tribe: jeans, T-shirt, flannel shirt, bandanna.
She has curly brown hair that sits on top of her head like a sculpture. The glint from her silver lip piercing makes her look like she is grinning, always grinning.
She holds out a copy of my book, eyes aimed at the ground.
“I’ve been wanting to ask you to sign this,” she says.
“Sure,” I reply.
I look at the conference badge around her neck to find her name.
“I read the dedication of your book to my girlfriend last night. She thought it was so cool!”
Her face lights up.
I smile real big.
“Oh, yeah?” I say. “I hope you enjoy the book.”
And then she’s gone.
But in her wake, I’m reminded of the importance of words.
Even the ones we choose for our book dedications.
Here are the ones I used in my book, Leaving Normal:
To my wife, who thinks me a Sexy Beast.
I’d marry you a third time.
I wonder which words caught her eye.
Or maybe all of them.
Telling a short but sweet story of butch love and possibility.
Posted in Being Butch, Books, Gay & Lesbian, Relationships, Uncategorized
Tagged books, butch, gay, lesbian, LGBT, love, memoir, queer, writing
I hope you have someone in your life who:
Likes to run her hands over your slick-as-velvet head after you get your hair cut real short.
Calls you “baby.”
Tells you she gets turned on when you wear that ball cap backward. You know the one.
Likes when your necktie matches her dress.
Rubs your back when you’ve pulled a muscle.
Thinks every flannel shirt you own makes your eyes shine.
Is okay with you wearing your “dressy” T-shirt to that event you’re going to.
Tells you you’re cute and you believe it, even though you’ve never felt cute a day in your life.
Is the yin to your yang.
Asks you what you’d like her to wear when you’re going out on a date.
Still flirts with you regardless of the fact that you’ve been together for more than a decade.
Traces your scars (the ones you can see and the ones you can’t) with her fingertips when you’re lying in bed at night.
Makes you feel like a rockstar, even though you don’t play any instruments.
Tells you your tattoos are sexy.
Appreciates the hell out of you. Not despite those things that make you you but because of them.
Posted in Being Butch, Gay & Lesbian, Relationships, Uncategorized
Tagged #butchappreciationday, butch, date night, gay, lesbian, LGBT, love, queer, relationships, romance
Me and Dorothy.
“Hi, Pretty,” Dorothy Allison says to me in a southern lilt that could melt three-feet of snow in Philadelphia in February.
I have my book opened to the title page of her memoir and hand it to her to sign.
“You’re another tall one,” she says. Her eyes sparkle.
Allison has just headlined the “Literary Adventures at Sea” program on our Olivia cruise to Alaska where she talked about feminism and lesbian literature and liking the tall butches because they’re fun to climb.
“It’s an honor to meet you,” I say. “I’m a writer, too.” I try to play it cool–Dorothy Allison … no biggie–as butches often do.
When I catch up with W back in our room, she asks how the signing went.
“It’s a good day when Dorothy Allison flirts with you,” I say.
Later, I can’t stop thinking about the word “pretty.” Allison hadn’t used it as an adjective but as a noun.
“Hi, Pretty,” she had said.
I’ve never liked being described as pretty. It always carries with it a feminine connotation.
pretty: “pleasing by delicacy or grace,” the Merriam-Webster definition reads.
I like the concept of pretty as a person or object, especially when the word glides from the lips of Dorothy Allison.
A tree-covered mountaintop.
An eagle soaring in the ice blue Alaskan sky.
A butch still trying to come to terms with her appearance in this pink/blue world of ours.
Posted in Being Butch, Books, Uncategorized, Writing
Tagged appearance, books, butch, flirting, gay, lesbian, LGBT, literature, memoir, pretty, queer, writers
Describe an object that describes you:
A vintage Timex wristwatch, circa 1970 with a stretchy metal band.
Stylish in its own way with a flash of silver like a crooked smile.
Always moving forward. Sometimes second by second, other times making bigger leaps until time is lost and I wonder how I ended up here.
At times, a know it all.
It’s 10:30 a.m.
It’s May 16.
The cold metal on my wrist reminding me I’m alive.
* * *
What about you? What object are you?
Posted in Being Butch, Life, Uncategorized, Writing
Tagged butch, gay, lesbian, LGBT, memoir, watch, writer, writing, writing prompt
This could be my closet
At dinner last week, one of the kids asks me if I have more flannel shirts like the one I had given him to wear in his school’s production of Annie Get Your Gun last year.
“I don’t know. Why?” I ask.
“It’s for a friend,” he says, “whose parents think flannel shirts are too masculine.”
“Is she a lesbian?” I ask.
“Trans,” he says.
“I don’t know,” I say. “If his parents don’t want him wearing flannel shirts …”
I pause again.
“Look, I don’t agree with it, but he’s not my kid,” I say. “I can’t be some underground supplier of flannel for your friends.”
He nods his head.
Underground supplier of flannel, I say to myself. I sit a little taller in my chair.
“I’ll take a look at my flannel shirts in the next week or so,” I say. “I probably have some I don’t want. I’ll give them to you. They’ll be your flannel shirts. Whatever you do with them, that’s your business. I certainly can’t be responsible for what you do with your clothing.”
“Got it?” I ask.
“Got it,” he says.
I feel a little bit like a hero. Passing on my used flannel shirts to kids who need them the most.
A second skin.
The intersecting horizontal and vertical stripes forming hundreds of tiny crosses as they cover a new body.
Posted in Being Butch, Gay & Lesbian, Gender, Kids, Uncategorized
Tagged butch, clothing, fashion, flannel, gay, gender, kids, lesbian, LGBT, masculinity, queer, trans, transgender
Guys, yesterday might have been my best day ever. It was like seeing a rainbow, getting the perfect haircut and winning free flannel for a year all in one day.
It started off with a delivery of boxer briefs that I had ordered from Groupon a few weeks ago and then promptly forgot.
I mean, who doesn’t like new underwear, especially when it’s delivered right to your house.
Then we went to a bowling fundraiser for my nephew, who has cystic fibrosis. There was bowling and all the pizza a butch could eat.
And just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, I won a bucket of booze in a raffle.
The big price was a bottle of Jagermeister Spice. I’ve never tried the spice version, but this butch runs on Jager.
We headed for home, and then I ran out to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day at my local bookstore, which was hosting a release of a fiction anthology created by local authors. I bought a copy of the anthology that all of the authors so kindly signed and got to pick out a free book courtesy of the store.
When I got home, high from an evening of talking about books and smelling fresh ink on the page, I found another delivery waiting for me.
Two pair of new sneakers.
I’ve never owned a pair of Brooks before, but they seem super comfortable and good for walking.
And a butch can never have too many pairs of Chucks.
So, to recap.
One. New underwear.
* * *
What four things would be included in your perfect day?
Posted in Being Butch, Books, Gender, Life, Uncategorized
Tagged alcohol, books, bookstore, booze, butch, free, gay, gender, humor, Jagermeister, lesbian, life, pizza, prize, raffle, sneakers