Tag Archives: butch lesbian

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.

“What?’

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

Middle-age butch is changing the world

Superhero powLast week, a friend threw a fancy luncheon to celebrate my book.

On my way to her house, I stopped by a local shop to purchase a small hostess gift.

I told the shop owner I was going to a luncheon and asked for gift suggestions.

When I went to pay for the gift, she asked about the lunch.

Normally, I don’t divulge a lot of information about myself when I am out in public.  What you see is what you get.  Middle-age woman.  Or boy.  Heck, you know the drill.  But I was in a generous and giving mood because friends! free lunch! afternoon cocktails!

“A friend is having a special lunch in my honor because I wrote a book,” I said.

The shop owner congratulated me and we started talking about writing.

When she asked questions about the book, I handed her a promotional business card.

“I was just talking to my daughter about this the other night,” she said.

Apparently, they had gone on a mother-daughter shopping excursion for a bathing suit.  The  teenage daughter wanted board shorts like her dad wears.

“I didn’t even know what board shorts were,” she said.

“I wear board shorts,” I told her.

So, we talked about board shorts and the fluidity of gender and girls who want to wear what their dads do.

I couldn’t wait for W to get home so I could tell her about my day.  About the special lunch of grilled chicken and shrimp, organic beer and a duo of desserts.

And about my conversation with the shop owner.

“Most writers say that if they are able to touch one person’s life, they are a success,” W reminded me.

“I know,” I said.  “My book isn’t even out, and I’m already changing the world.”

So, yeah, a little dramatic.  But the day’s events left me feeling large and in charge and, well, yes, very, very butch.

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.

Footsteps

I was leaving a store today around 9:30 a.m.  It is located in a suburban shopping center.  Today is a bright spring day.

I opened the door to the store and stepped out onto the sidewalk.  I tucked my brown leather wallet into my back pocket as I walked.  During this tucking process, I became aware of a person walking behind me.

My entire body tensed as I continued down the sidewalk, bracing for something.  A comment.  A sharp blow.

I have never been assaulted because I am gay (or for any other reason).

I have had people call me names from the safety of their moving cars.

Dyke.

Faggot.

I have had someone scratch my car through my rainbow sticker.

I think the fact that I was tucking my wallet into my back pocket when I noticed someone behind me heightened my anxiety.  I had been caught in an act of gender nonconformity.  Imagine, a girl who carries a wallet in her back pocket!

This is the price of looking gay.  Or at least it is one of them.

I walked to my car without incident.

I never turned my head to take a look at the person walking behind me.

* * *

Does this ever happen to you? Are you ever afraid of being out and about?

When you meet a butch lesbian

You’ve probably seen this document floating around the Internet.  It comes from writer Jody Rosen, who tweeted a picture of a cheat sheet created in 1988 for a Women’s Studies class.  The document gives some helpful hints on how a heterosexual woman should act when she encounters, gasp, a lesbian.

See for yourself:

xx

Now, I’m not the only blogger who has decided to have a little fun with this.  But, truth be told, I couldn’t resist.

Without further ado, here’s Middle-age Butch’s own list:

When You Meet a Butch Lesbian: Tips for the Heterosexual Woman

1. Do not assume she is attracted to you, unless you look like Sofia Vergara or Laura Prepon.

Yes, I am attracted to you.

Yes, I am attracted to you.

2. Do not tell her she looks just like Justin Bieber.

3. If she is attired in flannel, do not assume she is wearing pajamas.

4. Do not ask her if she is a fan of Xena: Warrior Princess.  This is insulting.  All butch lesbians love Xena.

Xena, we love you.

Xena, we love you.

5. Do not offer her a fruity drink like a Malibu Bay Breeze or a Sex on the Beach.  Butch lesbians only drink beer.  Out of the bottle.  And Jagermeister.  Out of the bottle.

6. Do not tell her that your husband does it better.  He doesn’t.

7. Butches appreciate compliments.  Tell her you like her wallet chain or crew cut.

8. Do not refer to the female cast of Orange Is the New Black as her “people.”  She will cut you.  With a screwdriver.

Not my peeps.

Not my peeps.

9. It is ok to talk about your dog and other house pets.  Do not talk about your pussy, as this could be misconstrued.

10. As a sign of peace and goodwill, present her with a covered pot luck dish, preferably something vegan and organic with quinoa or hemp seeds.

11. Do not tell her that you understand what it’s like to be a lesbian because you watch Ellen almost every day.

This does not make you a lesbian.

This does not make you a lesbian.

12. Do not ask her to hold your purse while you use the restroom.

13. Do not stare at her tattoos.  This is rude.

14. Do not tell her she looks pretty in that shirt.

15. If she tells you her name is Sam or Max, do not ask if that is short for Samantha or Maxine or Peaches.

16. Do not not ask her if you can paint her toenails.

17. Do not ask her if she knows k.d. lang.  All butches don’t know each other.

* * *

Ok, your turn.  Give your best tip.

Love and teeter-totters and cat pee

Love is like this.

Love is like this.

Here’s the thing about me and W.  When one of us is down, the other is usually up.  We are the lesbian equivalent of a teeter-totter.

It’s a good thing, because the person at the top usually says, “hey, lean on me.  I’ve got this.  I’ve got you.”

We are yin and yang.  Quiet and not-so quiet.  Captain (me) and Tennille (her).  I’m a hard, crunchy, salty tortilla chip, and she is smooth, hot cheese. Damn.

Love is like this, too.

Love is like this, too.

But lately we’ve both been up.  We’ve been focusing on ourselves and our personal goals.  So that teeter-totter is more like a hot air balloon with a basket for two.  The sky is the limit.

I must admit, it has me a little bit worried.  This new dynamic.  Because it’s different.

But right now, I’m loving it.  I like having a partner who is doing and growing and giving me space to do the same.  It’s incredibly sexy, if you ask this butch lesbian.

Not that we don’t ease each other’s burdens in this new phase of mutual personal growth.  Just the other night, W sorted through a whole bin of paper recycling in search of an important piece of paper that I had lost.

“It’s my job to help you,” she said.

I wasn’t going to argue.  Besides, this butch is working on accepting help.

And then she noticed that the some of the papers were damp with cat pee.  Because our cats are evil.

“Stop,” I said.  “I’ll do it later.”

But she kept right on going.

“You’ve got a good woman there,” I thought to myself.

If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

(In a middle-age blunder, Middle Age Butch later discovered that she had not thrown out the important paper after all.)

* * *

What about your love relationship?  Are you two a teeter-totter or hot air balloon?  Would your partner root through a bin of pee-tainted paper for you?