Tag Archives: anniversary

Happy trails

W and I are going away for the weekend.

It’s our anniversary month. We celebrate the entire month of October because we have an October 1st commitment ceremony to celebrate and an October 11th wedding ceremony to celebrate. We figure we are owed that much for not being able to legally wed when we wanted to.

Early tomorrow morning, we are headed to Philadelphia, which is less than an hour away. It’s not a big trip or a far trip or a long trip, but still being away from home overnight is usually enough to make me feel anxious and out of sorts.

Plus, we are taking a train into the city and then busing and Ubering from there to wherever we need to go.

bustedtees-af0f4eb2-6db8-4738-91c3-b7e5c88f1

Just added to my T-shirt collection.

I like to pack a big duffle bag for a weekend away. I like options. I like my Wonder Woman chucks and my Dr. Martens. I like a T-shirt worn over a thermal shirt for walking around on a fall day. I’ll need a sweatshirt for the morning. I hate being cold. Plus, I’ll need a change of clothes for dinner. A crisp, button-down dress shirt to wear over a clean tee. At night, I can’t sleep without my fleece pajama bottoms and a fresh T-shirt. On Sunday, we’ll be attending a pride event. Do I want to go with traditional rainbow or something more cheeky? My new Hooters T-shirt or the I Love My Awesome Wife tee that makes W smile? Gosh, I need so many T-shirts. We haven’t even gotten to books–I always bring at least two–or writing paraphernalia. And ball caps. Penn State for Saturday, Steelers for Sunday and Phillies for just in case.

 

But that’s too much stuff to take as we traipse across the city. Saturday morning, I will wear the versatile combo of jeans and Dr. Martens (also known as standard butch uniform). I will bring a small messenger bag. I will pack lightly: underwear, socks and a T-shirt for Sunday; a toothbrush, one book, one small Moleskine notebook, one pen that fits in my pocket. I will sleep in my boxers.

I will be glad for the small load, the light burden as we go places and see things and remember what it felt like to fall in love all those years ago.

* * *

What about you? Are you a light packer or not? And yes, I am aware of how that sounds. What can you not live without, even for one night?  

 

First date anniversary

imagesA471BH9G.jpgLast night, W tells me it’s the ten-year anniversary of our first date.

I tell her how surreal it all seems.

When I look ahead to the next ten years, I picture my life with W by my side.

But when I go back in time to when we were first dating, it’s weird to think we ended up together.

When we talk about that first date, we always say we didn’t have any expectations, that we weren’t looking for anything serious.

That’s a lie. Everyone is always hoping for the best. For a love connection. For something as serious as a heart attack, but maybe not so life threatening. Serious like a foreign film or that season of the L Word when Dana gets cancer and dies.

Plus, we’re lesbians, which means, technically, we were only two dates removed from renting a U-Haul and moving in together. Talk about serious.

When I look back on that first date, I remember:

W insisting we split the bill at the pizza place where we ordered a couple of cheesesteaks, even though I would have been a chivalrous butch and picked up the tab.

W wearing jeans and a white ribbed tank underneath a black sweater. Her curves like a right hook.

After dinner, we walked to a pub and had beers.

Then we walked back toward the pizzeria and found a bench off the main street.

We talked for a while.

When it started to get late, W told me she didn’t want the night to end.

She hugged me long and hard as if she was trying to hold on to the night like that.

After a decade, parts of that September evening are fading from my memory.

I don’t remember what I wore or the words printed on W’s ribbed tank.

But I still remember the way her patchouli perfume smelled sweet and spicy.

The scratch of her sweater on the side of my cheek that reminded me I was alive.

The way her hair shined under the street lights.

How she felt solid in my arms.

I didn’t want the night to end either.

I didn’t tell her that.

I was too busy trying to remember all of the little things about her because I wasn’t sure how long it would be until our next date.

* * *

What do you remember about your first date?

Here’s what put the “Fest” in OutFest

Philly PrideI think I’ve finally recovered from OutFest.  If you don’t know, OutFest is the national Coming Out Day block party in Philadelphia.  Tens of thousands of people attend every year.

This year, I paid for a table to promote Leaving Normal: Adventures in Gender.  I sold books, handed out business cards, talked with anyone who stopped by and raffled off some sweet bowties to people who signed up to follow The Flannel Files.  A big shout out to all of my new followers!

I pretty much broke even after adding up all of my expenses.  But still, it was a beautiful gay day.  And me and W’s anniversary day to boot.

So, here are my top 10 highlights from OutFest:

10. Everyone who stopped by and talked Fun Home the Musical and “Ring of Keys” with me.  You really know how to make a butch’s day.

9. Those people who gave me fist bumps and high fives and said “I respect that” after I gave them the elevator pitch to my book.

8. The woman who wanted her picture taken with me because I had written a book.

7. The mother who wanted to buy her fresh-out-of-the-closet teen daughter the book, but the daughter wanted nothing to do with the book or me. “Buy it for yourself,” I told the mom.  And she did.  God bless you, mom and good luck.

6. All of the butches in all of their ball cap and cargo shorts and spiky hair glory. You are my tribe.  (Silent head nod.)

5. The guy who told me that he liked the cover to my book.  “We should all wear capes,” he said.  Amen, brother.

4. All the bois who read the back of my book, nodding their heads and saying “yep” to growing up tomboy, being called “sir,” etc.

3. Drag queens.

2. Me and W wearing matching “I Love My Wife” buttons and having everyone congratulate us when they learned it was our anniversary. I felt that people were truly happy for us and understood how big a deal it is that we were able to marry.  Marriage is something our community doesn’t take for granted.

1. Dinner out at a Cuban restaurant with family and friends after.  Our friend who married us last Oct. 11 — the “Right Reverend” — toasted us.  And everything came full circle.  And all was right in the world.

T-shirt drama

W and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary tomorrow.  You can read about our wedding here.

I will have a table at OutFest in Philly promoting my book.

I was going to surprise her and wear this T-shirt tomorrow.

I Love My Wife T-shirt

Best laid plans of mice and butches.  The T-shirt place never shipped it.  They are sending out a replacement tee, but I won’t have it for tomorrow.

What’s a butch to do when she doesn’t have a special T-shirt for a special occasion?  So, I made this T-shirt today.

Old School Butch T-shirt

I am crafty like that.  Not crazy about the red-gray combination, but I will keep the stencils and make a new shirt sometime.  I’m thinking white on black would look good.  Because every old school butch should have an Old School Butch tee.

 

Queen of my heart

Four years ago today, W and I had a commitment ceremony.

Because that’s what gays and lesbians did in 2011 before marriage equality.

I just read the vows that I wrote the morning of our ceremony. Leave it to a writer to sneak in right before deadline.

Queen of heartsI ended my vows with a story that my grandfather used to tell. He said that when he married my grandmother, she told him that she would treat him like a king if he treated her like a queen. After she died, he confessed that he never did live up to his promise.

Those are perhaps impossible standards to place on any relationship.

There’s a saying and a matching bumper sticker: Chivalry isn’t dead … She’s a butch.

That’s always been my ideal. Not just because I think all women should be treated like queens. But because I derive pleasure from being the knight in shining armor, the butch in a pair of blue jeans and tie, opening doors, pumping gas, sending flowers, tucking love notes in her lunch.

These are the vows that I made to W four years ago:

  • I promise to be your friend, to stand by your side in good times and in bad. To always listen and be your soft place to fall. And, to giggle with you at night, when no one else can hear.
  • I promise to love you just the way you are right at this very minute. To love all the things that make you special — the good, the not-so-good and everything in between.
  • I promise to encourage you to reach for your dreams.
  • I promise to always be caring, understanding and forgiving. To never judge you but to just love you with my whole heart.
  • And, last but not least, I promise to be your partner as we navigate life’s challenges together. Kids, work, bi-focals, the Phillies play-off tension …

I don’t know if I’ve made good on all of these over the past four years.

But I do know that we are best friends. That we both look forward to the end of the work day when we can share our days with each other. That we giggle a lot. Ok, ok, it’s mostly me. (If a butch giggles and no one hears her except her wife, does she really giggle?) That we love each other not despite our foibles and faults but because of them. I love that W is bold and impatient and that the window glass shakes a little bit when she sneezes.

Like when the Grinch's small heart grew three times that day.

Like when the Grinch’s small heart grew three times that day.

Sometimes I love her so much that I feel like my heart will burst. This usually happens when she doesn’t know that I am looking at her like when she is falling asleep on my shoulder or preoccupied with some task.  But then I remember that I pass out when I see blood and reign it all in.

Other times, I get so caught up in my own stuff that I forget she might need care and understanding at this very moment, too. But that is that nature of relationships. When we are loved, we learn how to love.  When we are forgiven, we learn how to forgive.

Giving and receiving

W and I wrapped up anniversary number one today.

We had a low-key afternoon yesterday.  We started out with a parent-teacher conference for one of the kids and then enjoyed a nice, quiet lunch.

After lunch, we stopped by a furniture store and ended up buying a new couch and love seat.  This is how you spend anniversaries when you are in your forties and have kids.

We did allot for some “grownup” time while the kids were still at school.  It was nice to be able to make love with the door open and without Animal Planet on in the background drowning out any sex noises.  Although sometimes it does add to the mood.

I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, which is one of W’s favorites.  We exchanged cards and had a slice of cake.  She made a list of some of the things that she loves about me, which was really cute.  Especially because she included some of the things that I always assume drive her crazy.  Like the haphazard way that I make a bed.  Note: Never make a bed with a nurse.  They have received special training and schooling in bed making.

I had a dozen pink roses sent to W’s office today.  Sweet, I know.

The truth is that I wish I had the means to spoil her more.

It’s not that she’s a material girl.  Far from it.

She always tells me not to get her anything, but I always do.  And then she feels guilty.

So, what I’m really giving is a big ol’ box o guilt.  Which really isn’t all that generous or romantic after all.

I think the gift giving fills some void in me, though.

I’ve always been more of a giver than a receiver.  In more ways than one.

I’m definitely more comfortable in that role.

For one thing, I never know what to do with a gift or how to react upon opening one.  How surprised or happy am I supposed to be?  I wish each gift came with its own emotion card to cue me in on the proper reaction.  “Overjoyed.”  “Smugly Content.”  “Curiousity Piqued.”

I always do this weird thing where I vigorously shake every package like it could contain a ticking bomb and then guess its contents.  It’s my way of buying time before the big reveal.

“A book,” I’ll say.

“Another book?”

“Hey, a book.”

I tend to get a lot of books.

When I started thinking about my gift-receiving phobia, I immediately lasered in on my birthday party when I was in fourth grade.

My friends and I had bowled and eaten hot dogs, small bags of chips and cake, and now it was time to open my birthday presents.

Tricia Screpsi handed over a brightly wrapped box and made sure to let me know that her mother had picked it out and that I would absolutely hate it.

Everyone else silently nodded their heads in agreement, as the contents of the mystery package had been readily discussed in my absence.

With my friends gathered around, I ripped off the wrapping paper and slowly opened the box, bracing myself for something horrible.  A dissectible calf eye perhaps.  Or, a tiny Smurf village filled with Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

What I saw was so much worse.

It was a macramé purse.  Tricia Screpsi’s mother had bought me a macramé purse for my birthday.

Oh, the horror!

I’m not sure who was more embarrassed.  Me or Tricia Screpsi.

Mind you now, these were the 70s and macramé was huge.

But at the tender age of 10 I knew that a purse was not an accessory that I would ever want to carry.  In fact, the thought that someone, anyone, even Tricia Screpsi’s mother, who obviously knew nothing about me, would think that a purse, macramé or not, was a suitable gift for this 10-year-old girl was just plain humiliating.

I think I turned 50 shades of red that day.  Apparently, the memory has stuck with me.  As it is 2012.

So, my gift-receiving hang-up?  Tricia Screpsi’s mom got me much more than a macramé purse on that fated March day in 1976.

Thanks.  A lot.  Mrs. Screpsi.

Of course, there could be some other causes.  Like not feeling worthy of receiving a gift.  But it’s much easier to take it out on Tricia Screpsi’s mother.

See, I’m mean and spiteful like that.  So, not really deserving of that nice set of fruit jellies in the collectible jars after all.

Now, before you feel too bad for me, I did get a Charlie’s Angels board game from another friend that same birthday.  And that gift that totally rocked.

This is what a prepubescent butch lesbian wants for a birthday gift

Why I wish I could write poems and tie a bow tie

W and I celebrate our anniversary on Monday.  Last year on October 1, we had a commitment ceremony in which we exchanged vows in front of friends and family.  We had all the bells and whistles of a real, honest-to-goodness wedding.  Unfortunately, same-sex marriage isn’t legal where we live.

Anyway, I need an anniversary gift for Monday.  I usually have something tucked away for special occasions.  A bracelet that W tried on in some artsy store, a book that she casually mentioned or some knick-knack that she pointed out in a catalog.

I’m sneaky like that.  Be careful of the consumer goods that you name drop in front of me.  They just might show up under the Christmas tree or in your Easter basket.  Ped Eggs, Kinoki foot pads or one of those brownie pans that make every brownie an edge piece.  I’m all over it.

For this occasion, I’ve got nothing.  I remembered that anniversary number one is paper, so I thought I’d go with that.  Being a writer and all.

Maybe a coupon book.  To go with the other coupon books that I’ve given W through the years.  Why that woman has not redeemed all of her certificates for FREE SEX and MAKE OUT SESSION is beyond me.  A virtual fortune in tacky sex-related coupons pissed away.

Or, personalized stationery.  To go with the Jenga-like pile of note cards stacked on the bookshelf by my desk.

Dental dams?  Is that considered paper?

I laser in on a poem.  Nothing says “love” like a really great poem.  Right?

The only problem is that this wordsmith totally sucks at writing poems.

I’ve penned about five or six poems for W during the course of our relationship.  A couple of them are pretty good, but most of them are pedestrian.

I go online and find a love poem generator.  This is what it spits out:

“Your skin glows like the peach, blossoms moist as the rose in the purest hope of spring.

My heart follows your flute voice and leaps like a monkey at the whisper of your name.”

Not that bad, actually.  But weird and sort of plagiaristic.  And wouldn’t a “flute voice” be shrill and annoying?  Who says “flute voice” anyway?  Ooh, I love it when you talk to me in that flute voice.

W will read this post and say, “Baby, you don’t need to get me anything.  I just want you.”

This butch would look ridiculous in a red satin bow, so there goes that idea.

Maybe me naked wearing a bow tie, but I don’t know how to tie one.  I have to learn how to do that someday.

Of course, a gift isn’t essential.  But what kind of butch shows up empty handed on an anniversary?  Especially anniversary #1?  A thoughtless one, if you ask me.  I pride myself on spoiling W when I can.

Maybe coupons aren’t such a bad idea after all.

Be my PILLOW QUEEN FOR ONE NIGHT.

LET ME TALK DIRTY TO YOU.  In my flute voice.