Tag Archives: fashion

My name is Middle-age butch, and I am addicted to sneakers

My first pair of Nikes looked like this.

My first pair of Nikes looked like this.

I got my first pair of Nikes when I was about 11 years old.  Ladies Roadrunners, light blue with darker blue swooshes.  My mom bought them for me from a sporting goods store in the Berkshire Mall.  I slipped them on, laced them up and raced around the perimeter of the store.  I insisted I could run faster, jump higher in these expensive running shoes.  Each time I looked down at my feet, I broke out in a big, silly grin that these days I reserve for Sofia Vergara and clips of Beyoncé in concert.

The Nikes came in a bright orange box with a map of the world on the front.  The map showed the shoes were made in Beaverton, Ore., and sold all over the world.

Beaverton, Oregon.  How special and exotic, my 11-year-old self said.

My 47-year-old lesbian self says he he he he he he.

I was hooked.  It was with that pair of Nikes that I became obsessed with athletic shoes.  Tennis shoes.  Sneakers.  Kicks.  Whatever you call them, I love them.

I came back for more Nikes.  My next pair were Nike Roadrunners, dark blue with complimentary light blue swooshes.  They were the Bizarro version of my first pair — the same thing just reversed.

I can’t remember all of my sneakers (that’s what we call them in the Philadelphia suburbs).  There have been so many:


Always a classic.

The high-top gray Chucks that I bought with money I made working at McDonald’s.

The three-quarter cut Reebok basketball shoes with the black and neon pink accents.  Note: These were the most expensive pair of sneakers I ever purchased.  I shelled out $125 for them in the 1990s using the money I made working register and stocking shelves at Drug Emporium.


These were my party shoes in 1985.  These were my dress-up shoes in 1985.

I wore a pair of white Asics wrestling shoes with black stripes my freshman year of college.

I told my mom everyone was wearing them.

No one was wearing them.

Except for me.

And the wrestling team.

There were others:

A pair of white Asics high-tops with red stripes.  They were a half-size too small, which meant my toes pushed into the end of these exquisite high-tops every time I wore them.  My toes are curling as I type this.  But, god, they were cool.


Everybody had a pair of these.

Reebok classic high-tops with velcro straps.

Bright white Nike tennis shoes (shoes meant to play tennis in) with light blue swooshes.

Black Nike sneakers with white swooshes like a referee would wear.

I don’t associate these shoes with specific memories.  Instead, they remind me of periods of my life.

Today, I can pretty much afford to buy whatever sneakers I want.  I usually buy them from the men’s clearance rack though.  I stockpile them and break out a new pair as needed.  I’m not so fussy anymore.  Sometimes I’ll splurge, but what really turns me on is a good bargain.

I look through the sports store catalogs in the Sunday paper as if they are porn magazines.


Enough said.

“Look at these,” I say to W.

“Sweet,” she responds.

She knows not to call them “cute.”

We’ve been over that.

My tastes have changed over the years.

I’m more fond of Adidas these days.  I wore a pair of gray suede Adidas Neo shoes for most of the summer.

I’ve learned that New Balance might not be the best looking shoes on the shelf, but they are sturdy and incredibly comfortable.  If I were a sneaker, I’d probably be a New Balance.

My feet have changed, too.  I can’t wear most Nikes these days unless I find a pair in a wide.

Sneakers bring out the kid in me.  That little boy/girl somewhere inside.  Every once in a while, I’ll catch myself grinning as I work my foot into a brand new pair of checkered Vans or striped Adidas or Nikes that look like those ones I wanted back in the day.  These are the shoes, I tell myself.  The ones that will make me run faster and jump higher.

* * *

What about you?  What was your all-time favorite pair of sneakers?  What do you rock these days?

Tying the knot

Keep CalmW and I are counting down the days. We are getting married one month from today.

We got our marriage license last week. Yay, P-A!

There’s a lot more to do. W has taken the lead on most of the preparation because it is a wedding and she is a girl.  Besides, she is the one with the vision.  Not some creepy-scary vision of werewolves or bloody fingerprints but a vision of vintage tablecloths and fresh-cut flowers in antique mason jars.

As for attire, she has to worry about a dress and undergarments, jewelry, nail polish, a shawl or around-the-shoulder wrap of some kind.

I am in charge of a few things. Purchasing a Polaroid camera and film for a mock photo booth.  Outfitting myself.

We are keeping it casual. I am planning on wearing a pair of jeans and a white button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

I am usually a necktie guy. I love ties.

I am thinking about changing things up and wearing a bowtie for the wedding. See, I can be crazy and spontaneous (as long as the spontaneity is planned).

Jesse Tyler Ferguson has his “Tie the Knot” collection that he sells through the tie bar.  Each bowtie costs $25, and $20 from each purchase goes to organizations fighting for marriage equality.  Count me in.

Which bowtie should I buy?

My favorite color is red, so that’s my go-to color for accent pieces.

I’m thinking about going in a whole new direction.

Navy blue.

Crazy, I know.

The Delacorte caught my eye first. It’s a navy blue bowtie with floral accents in emerald green.

The Delacorte

The Delacorte

Or, I could go all Brokeback with the Jack & Ennis, a classic bandana pattern in navy.  I can yell out during the vows: I can’t quit you, W!  It would be real romantic and all.

The Jack & Ennis

The Jack & Ennis

I’m definitely thinking navy.  But, I also like this light blue one.


The Kushner

Take the poll, below, and tell me what you think.

That only leaves a few details.

1. Learning to tie a bowtie.

2. Buying a new pair of matching kicks.

Right now, I’m thinking:

Nike Blazer low

Nike Blazer low


Classic Checkered Vans

Classic Checkered Vans

Ah, butch fashion dilemmas.

Help me out!  Calling all butches and anyone else with an opinion.


It takes a real butch to wear pink socks and flowered underwear

Today when I was folding laundry, I turned on the TV and skimmed the channels for something to watch.  I ended up finding an episode of Sex in the City.

I shouldn’t even know what these are

As I listened to Carrie Bradshaw’s voice-over on men and dating, it dawned on me that watching Sex in the City is a very un-butch thing to do.  It’s more of a gay man’s show, considering the shoes and the clothes and the boyfriends.  Of course, there’s Cynthia Nixon, and I think Samantha flirts with being a lesbian in one episode, but that can’t counter all of the penises and Louboutins.  Really, I shouldn’t even know what Louboutins are.

Anyway, the show got me thinking about the un-butch things that this butch does.

Now, of course, we’re treading into the land of stereotypes here.  But I’ve been quite open about the fact that I’m a stereotypical butch lesbian.  See blog name.  Also, I’m wearing a thermal henley and a sweatshirt that W bought for me from the men’s department of Target as I type this post.  And, I have been looking for my Black & Decker drill all damn day, which I haven’t been able to locate for the life of me.

So, in no particular order, here are some random counter-butch things about me:

1. I have long fingernails.  If you ask W what’s the most nonbutch thing about me, she would tell you that it’s my long fingernails.  How do I know this?

She’s always telling me to post about my nails.  “Why don’t you tell everyone about your nails?” she says.

The nails are the last thing left from the feminine life and times of middle age butch.  Back in the day, I used to rock long, red nails, perfectly manicured and painted.  When I see my college friend’s husband, he still comments on those nails from days gone by.  They were that stunning.

Me and George, hand models

People used to tell me that I should be a hand model, which makes me the George Costanza of lesbians.

Jerry: George has become a hand model.

Kramer: A hand model?

Jerry: Yes.

Kramer: Really?  Let me look at them.

George: You can look at them, but do NOT touch them

Kramer: Let’s see … oh, those are nice.  You know, I’ve never noticed this before.  They’re smooth … creamy … delicate, yet masculine.

I’ve shed the nail polish, but I still keep my nails on the long side.  I like to think of them as a vestigial appendage.  Like a stumpy tail of sorts.

2. I giggle.  Only around W, though.  She loves to make me giggle.  Sometimes at night with the sheets pulled up tight, we giggle like a couple of schoolgirls at a slumber party.

3. I scream when I see small rodents.  Like when there’s a bat (or winged rodent) flying around the room.  Those bastards will get tangled in even the shortest, dykiest haircut.  Or, when there’s a mouse trapped in the bathtub.  See here.

4. I sport a pair of athletic socks with a pink Nike swoosh.  I rock these socks when I’m in a really good mood.  Sometimes I’ll accessorize a very masculine outfit with these bad boys.  Real butches wear pink.

They always make me think of that cat from Mutts.  So cute.






5.  I have flowered underwear.  I buy packs of Fruit of the Loom or Hanes high-cut briefs from Target.  They usually come in a packs of six or eight and at least one pair is flowered.  Always.  I wish they were decorated with little sock monkeys or mud flap girls but they aren’t.  I’ve looked.  Maybe I should start buying men’s drawers.

The flowered undies usually sit at the bottom of my underwear drawer.  Until I’m out of plain underwear or I’m in a really bad mood.  Here’s my train of thought: How can my day get any worse?  I’m already wearing flowered underpants.

What about you?  What’s the un-butchest thing you do?