Category Archives: Uncategorized

With thanks on National Coming Out Day

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Just this giant tub of popcorn. Oh, and these three lesbian films.

Thank you to the clerks at my local Blockbuster store who rented me all of those lesbian movies when I was trying to figure out if I was a lesbian. You were always kind and professional and never gave me a sideways glance, even when I rented When Night Is Falling two times in a row for, ahem, “research.”

Thanks to Melissa Etheridge for her 2001 memoir The Truth Is … that I read and re-read when I was coming out. And for the album Yes I am, which turned 25 this year. If Melissa could announce to the world on the cover of an album that she was, I knew I could tell the people in my life that I was, too.

Thanks to the Indigo Girls. Along with Melissa, you provided the soundtrack to my coming out. Rites of Passage was so aptly named.

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I still love you, Jess. Always and forever.

Thank you to Jessica Stein. I was coming out in real life when you were coming out in the movie Kissing Jessica Stein, even though you weren’t really gay and ended up with the guy at the end. Helen was super sexy. What were you thinking? Anyway, when I was sitting in the movie theater with my Raisinets and newfound knowledge, it was like we were both coming out together.

Thank you to my therapist who organized coming out groups for women married to men. I thought I was the only one in the world. And to all of those women who participated in those groups. It was an honor to come out alongside you.

Thanks to Sisters, the lesbian bar in Philadelphia, that provided a safe meeting place for people like me. And the cute bartender who always called me “hon.” (Yes, I know she called everyone “hon.”)

Thanks to Ellen and Billie Jean and Martina and k.d. and Rosie.

Thank you to my brother who told me he just wanted me to be happy. Seemingly small words that I still remember to this day.

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I’m gay! What are you going to do about it?

Thanks to Xena: Warrior Princess, who I caught in reruns that summer. I drew my warrior strength from you. Aieeeeee!

Thank you to my friends who just nodded their heads. “Of course,” they all said.

And to my wife, who has to come out again and again because she’s not a butch like me. You do it with such grace and aplomb.

Thank you to all who came out before me and paved the way. The life I live today is possible because of you.

To everyone in my life who accepts me for who I am, you allow me to be myself every single day. You might not think you’re making a difference, but you are.

Happy National Coming Out Day!

(This post is an edited version of something I posted back in 2016.)

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Who do you need to thank for your coming out?

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Girls with guns

W and I are watching Wynonna Earp.

In one episode at the end of season one, there’s a pair of sinister twins.

“Sinister twins are my secret fantasy?” I tell W.

“I bet they are,” she says.

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It’s true. I’m an #Earper.

And then before we know it, the Earp homestead is under attack, and Wynonna and her sister Willa are busting out of the barn with guns ablazing to save the day.

They pick off the bad guys one by one. Blam! Blam! Blam!

W and I cheer and then we both make a heh, heh, heh noise, which translates to good lord that was hot.

And then I start thinking about the overall hotness of girls and guns. What is it about that combo?

I’m pro girl but anti gun.

Put the two together and it’s a totally different ballgame.

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Xena, I miss you.

I should clarify. It doesn’t need to a be a gun. Some other bad ass weapon will work like a sword, for example (see Xena: Warrior Princess).

What is it about bad ass women?

I’m talking Charlize in Atomic Blonde, Uma in Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2, Carrie in Star Wars, Linda in The Terminator.

Do we want them? Or do we want be them?

Are we living vicariously through them? Pretending that we, too, have the power to eliminate our enemies or correct an injustice with one shot from Peacemaker?

I can’t help but notice that most of the bad guys are, well, guys.

Is every TV bad guy a stand-in for men who put us in boxes and tell us to smile? Men who are boys and will always be boys. Men who got but never gave.

Does every bad guy represent sexism or the patriarchy or the system? The boys club or the locker room? Those things that hold us down and push us back and tell us we’re not good enough, never were and never will be.

Is that why we get a charge out of seeing them taken down by a woman after all and in such dramatic fashion?

Or are girls with guns simply hot?

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Love and salad

imagesW and I celebrate our wedding anniversary today.

We agreed not to get each other anything.

I plan to pick up a small cake and Olive Garden takeout as a surprise. W loves Olive Garden.

We’ll probably watch something on TV. Maybe the next episode of Wynonna Earp.

Nothing fancy. Just comfortable.

We’ll eat our dinner and watch a show.

W will let me raid her salad for all of the toppings she doesn’t like–onions, black olives and pepperoncini–and place them on my own. Hey, I’m Italian.

I’ll think about how lucky I am. All of those extra salad goodies every single time.

And how I’ve found my perfect match.

* * *

Why are you and your partner a perfect match?

 

 

Is there such a thing as too gay?

MyMotherSaysDrumsAreForBoysI ponder that question on a guest blog on the awesome Women and Words.

Read all about it here.

If you leave a comment, you’ll have a chance to win a copy of my new book.

Or just go ahead and buy a copy. You know you want to.

 

 

Macho Camacho

“You’re certainly a Macho Camacho,” one of the gentlemen in my writers’ group said to me with a big grin on his face after reading my new book.

“Or, butch, as you call it,” he added.

At first, I was puzzled. Macho Camacho? The phrase had a ring of familiarity.

“I’ll take it,” I said, picturing myself in a T-shirt with the words MACHO CAMACHO printed in big, block letters.

download“You know, the boxer,” he said.

And it all came flooding back.

Macho Camacho?

I’ll take it.

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What’s your butch nickname? 

 

Another post on transformation

I’ve been out of sorts lately. Feeling overwhelmed, overtaxed, under appreciated.

I notice a heaviness in the middle of my chest.

Now, I can’t remember a time when the heaviness wasn’t there.

“There’s a lot of change going on,” W says.

Our last two have left the nest. One just got his driver’s license and started community college. The other is off to college in Georgia.

“How many caterpillars do you have?” W asks.

“I don’t know,” I say. “Ten?”

At first, I don’t know what my caterpillaring has to do with my heavy chest. But then it hits me.

“Ugh,” I say at the obviousness of it all.

Every year, I grow milkweed in our yard. Monarch butterfly caterpillars only eat one thing. Milkweed.

The butterflies lay their pinhead-sized eggs on the underside of the leaves. I take clippings with eggs or newly hatched caterpillars into the house and put them into an empty 20-gallon aquarium where they’re safe from predators.

Our cats take turns sitting on top of the cage like furry mother hens.

How many caterpillars do you see?

The caterpillars gorge on the milkweed leaves. If you put your ear close, you can actually hear them chomping away. Nom nom. True story.

IMG_2555When the caterpillars get big and fat, they climb to the top of the cage and hang down in a J. They shed their skin and wrap themselves in a chrysalis. Inside this light green sac, they consume their own bodies (gruesome) and then emerge 10 to 14 days later as black and orange winged beauties (beautiful). It’s a narrative I can relate to.

Usually, I find one or two eggs or caterpillars.

This year, I lost count at 10.

That’s a lot of change, transition, transformation.

There’s so much out of my control right now.

It makes me feel unsafe and vulnerable.

I need to have faith that everything will be okay.

That everyone will transition according to plan.

Me included.

That we will paint ourselves the colors we like best, grow wings and fly.

More transformation, ugh, ugh, ugh

I released a total of 12 (I think) monarch butterflies. The last one flew away today.

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Meet Alvin

I have a new friend, though. This toad that my son named Alvin.

He lives somewhere in our front yard and hops about when I come home at night.

Toad means crossroads, camouflage and watching and waiting before you make a move.

Toads are small but have loud voices. Toad’s message is don’t underestimate the power of your words.

Toad means transformation.

And I have to wonder if this is a stage or if this is just life.

Book review and other news

So, W and I are in Savannah, Georgia, getting one of our kids situated at college.

And lots of things are happening with my new book.

Here’s one of them. A stellar review and book giveaway by Girlish author Lara Lillibridge. Make sure to get in on the action if you haven’t picked up a copy yet. You can do that here. Check out Lara’s blog. She’s a fantastic writer and an even better person.

I’ll be home in a few days. Until then stay cool.

Oh, and if you’ve been to Savannah, let us know what we should do while we’re in town.

Broken

My brother and I used to fight all the time when we were kids.

It was usually over something stupid like what we were going to watch on our one TV. I was a big fan of The Brady Bunch and General Hospital (this was way back in the Luke and Laura days). Or who’s turn it was to play on whatever video gaming system we had at the time. Colecovision, anyone?

Things usually turned violent. Punches were thrown. Someone was tossed into a wall.

And then it would happen.

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They looked something like this.

The peace pipes mounted on a little wooden frame over the basement door would fall and break.

They weren’t real peace pipes. At the time, our house was decorated in a style known as colonial. The peace pipes were long and white and made out of some kind of fragile ceramic material. They were arranged in an X with the heads of the pipes at opposite ends of the wooden frame.

The crash always ended the fight.

My brother would run to get the Scotch tape and superglue. I’d start putting the broken pieces back together. We worked as a team as we raced to get the pipes glued back together and back up on the wall before my mother came home.

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This show spoke the truth.

Ironically, it was like that Brady Bunch episode where the boys break Carol’s vase with a basketball. Mom always said don’t play ball in the house.

By the time we were too old to be fighting like that, the peace pipes were in sharp white shards that were held together by tape, luck and sheer will.

Another crash or two, and they would be too broken to put back together.

Luckily, we had stopped fighting by then.

These days, I’m those peace pipes. I’ve fallen too many times to count. I’m in a hundred pieces.

And I worry that the day will come when I’ll be unable to piece myself back together.

 

 

Happy #ButchAppreciationDay

imagesI 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.

* * *

I posted this a year ago. It still holds true.

A big silent head nod to all of my fellow butches on our special day. I’m going to have a drink and toast to you all tonight. Cheers!

Pretty boy

I finally got my hair cut last week.

imagesIt was so long that I was starting to look like Barney Rubble. You know, with that canary yellow carport extending over his face.

My hairstylist cut my hair a little differently this time around. I asked for a high and tight, number one-and-a-half on the sides, scissor cut on top.

downloadAnd she gave me such a nice cut on top. It was as if she had lassoed the wings from an angel or went back in time and clipped some feathery waves from Farrah Fawcett herself.

“Your hair looks nice!” W said.

“I got you a pretty boy haircut,” I replied.

She ran her fingers through my hair for a while, and I was reminded of how good it is to be a butch.

Last Friday, we went to the Trans Wellness Conference in Philadelphia. W tabled for work. I walked around looking at the various vendors.

IMG_2525When I saw this pretty boy T-shirt, I had to have it.

“I got my wife this pretty boy haircut,” I told the women at the booth as I pointed to my fresh cut. “So now I need this pretty boy tee.”

They smiled big smiles.

“That’s so sweet,” one of the women said as she put her hand over her heart.

And I thought about how nice it was to be in a space where it wasn’t just safe to be a pretty boy but endearing.