Tag Archives: gender roles

Manuscript update and special request

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.

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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!

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What were you told was only for boys or girls?

 

 

 

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Fun with gender roles and stereotypes

So, you might have noticed that I haven’t been posting much these days.

I’ve been busy with work and kids and wife (she’s a handful). And writing my new book.

That’s right, folks. Sometime in 2018, you’ll be cracking the spine of my new book and breathing in that new book smell. Can’t wait, can ya?

You can read all about it over on my publisher’s website. As per usual, I’ll be writing about gender, butchness and how I never knew I was a lesbian. I swear, it’s true.

Which brings up this photo of Middle Age Butch back in the day.

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I’m three years old. It’s Christmas Day. Apparently, I’ve gotten a gold wristwatch as a present. See how it sparkles. That baby with the big bowling ball head is my brother. He got a sleek silver train and a Fisher-Price pop-up toy for Christmas.

That other baby is not real and is sitting inside a baby stroller that I’m posing behind. I’m wearing a shiny dress and shiny black Mary Janes. Do you see my shiny smile?

The only thing missing is a husband. A boy in a three-piece suit, his tiny hand clutching a leather briefcase. And off we’d go into the sunset. Me, Husband and Baby.

I wonder if there was ever a chance for my story to turn out differently than it did. This photo makes me think that the answer to that question is no.

But still, I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if I had been dressed in bright red pajamas that Christmas morning and had a silver train to scoot along the floor.

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Who is this little girl? Where is she going? Why does she need a watch?

Feel free to offer a caption.

 

 

How do you call your lover boi?

“Sylvia!”
“Yes, Mickey.”
“How do you call your Lover Boy?”
“Come here, Lover Boy!”
“And if he doesn’t answer?”
“Oh, Lover Boy!”
“And if he still doesn’t answer?”
“I simply say…”
“Baby. Oh baby. My sweet baby. You’re the one.”

— Love Is Strange by Mickey & Sylvia

My last post got me thinking about what we call ourselves when it comes to our love relationships. I’m not talking about nicknames, so not “Twinkle Toes” or “Sugar Lips” or “Sweet Potato Fries with a Side of Honey.” I mean the terms we use to describe our relationship and relation to a significant other to a third party: “Partner,” “wife,” “spouse,” “lover,” “girlfriend,” “sweet potato fries with a side of honey.” Who am I to judge?

W and I generally defer to “partner.” This is my partner, Middle-age butch.

It works, but it always seems so business-y, like we both work at the same law firm or just opened up a cupcake factory together.  It would be an awesome cupcake factory, but that’s not the point.

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We don’t usually use the term “wife” because it feels weird, at least to me. I guess I get hung up on the “little woman” connotations. You know, early sitcom depictions of the stay-at-home wife and mother ironing her husband’s boxers and making chateaubriand for dinner. If I am a wife, can I iron my own boxer shorts? This is what keeps me up late at night.

I instruct W to refer to me as her “lover” or, better yet, “lesbian lover.” Why, this is my lesbian lover, Middle-age butch.

While I talk a good game, I would be horribly embarrassed to be introduced in such a fashion. As if the lover aspect of our relationship was the most important.

In a comment to the previous post, urbanmythcafe suggested spouse as it is gender-neutral and implies marriage. I like that.

Either that, or we come up with our own names. I’m partial to Sexy Handsome Beast, but it is a mouthful.

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How about you? What do you call your partner — both out in public and when you’re home alone and no one else can hear?

Boy things and girl things and butch things

This week I did something pretty stupid.  And definitely very un-butch.

W pointed it out.

“You’re not a very good butch,” she said.

I had had the same exact thought myself and told her so.

I knew that she was only referring to this specific incident, so I wasn’t really insulted.  I’m usually just the right amount of butch for her.  No complaints in that department, if you know what I mean.

“I’m done beating myself up about it,” I said, even though I wasn’t.

It had to do with my car.  I am a butch, but I am not mechanically inclined.

A month or so ago, I had a new fuel pump installed in my 10-year-old Nissan Altima.  Ever since, the car has been ruining weird.  It’s been loud and hard to start.  I had assumed that everything stemmed from this new fuel pump.  Maybe it was a faulty pump.  Maybe the fuel tank needed de-gunked.  This is what happens when you know nothing about cars and google “loud fuel pump.”

Last week, my car wouldn’t start.  Long story short, I ignored the obvious — a dead battery — and jumped to the conclusion that it was the fuel pump or something much worse.  Prior to the new fuel pump, another garage had insisted that my car needed $1,400 worth of work.

Homer SimpsonSo, I paid $65 to have the car towed to the mechanic’s.  Because I had a dead battery.

I felt like an idiot.  Worse, I felt like I should hand in my butch card.  You know, the one with the flannel border.

My dad taught my brother how to change the oil in his car and put in new spark plugs.  He taught me how to jump a battery — a skill that everyone young woman should know for safety reasons, of course — but held back on other car repair skills.

Housewife in apronI learned things from my mother — how to cook and bake and scrub a toilet and fold laundry.

We were a family that followed strict gender roles.  My father went to work and my mother stayed home and maintained the house.  My dad cut the grass and drove the family car.  Always.  My mother cooked dinner and did the laundry.  Always.

When my brother and I were teens, he started cutting the grass.  I had to cook dinner.

Boy GeorgeIt’s just the way it was.  The way things were supposed to be in the 80s.  If we didn’t see anything wrong with spiky hair and acid-washed jeans and Boy George, we certainly didn’t bat an eye when it came to boy chores and girl chores.

I always had an interest in male-centric activities though.  My dad taught me to fish and play poker and throw a baseball.  He taught me how to keep score at a baseball game and shoot pool and even how to tie a perfect Windsor knot.  Hey, it was the 80s and ties were big.

Today, I consider myself a butch even though I don’t change the oil in my car.  and apparently can’t even tell when my car battery is dead.

Things in our household our all topsy-turvy.

W is the bread winner.  I work from home and cook dinner and do the laundry.

I do some home repairs.  But I have to look everything up on the Internet, and it takes me a really long time to do pretty much everything.

W does most of the driving.  I am terrible with directions.  I get lost all of the time.  W never gets lost.  Even when she tries.

W is good with computers.  I bake a hell of a banana cake.

I drive the kids to appointments and practices.

I clip coupons.

And file them in my coupon organizer.

Rosie the RiveterSometimes I wonder if these things — these traditional female tasks like baking and shopping and homemaking — make me any less a butch.

But most days I’m glad that I don’t have to live inside a blue box or a pink box or do only boy things or girl things.  A skill is a skill, whether it’s baking a cake or jumping a car battery or sewing a button on a shirt.

And when I bake my famous banana cake for W and her co-workers, she is always very appreciative, if you know what I mean.

At those times, I feel like the biggest butch in the world.

What about you? Where do you fall when it comes to “boy stuff” and “girl stuff”?

 

 

Middle-age butch screams like a little girl

There was a lot of commotion in our house early this morning.  Our crackerjack mouser, Magic the Cat, had captured a mouse and carried it upstairs to the bathtub for further torture play.

W woke me up so that I could fetch a large plastic cup to trap the mouse and then set him free.  We’ve got this mouse rescue thing down to a science.

I handed the cup off to W, and she pulled back the shower curtain.

“Oh my God, he’s so big!” I said.

According to W, this gave the mouse the courage to scale the walls of the tub and make a break for freedom.

imagesCA3Q04LXWhen the mouse raced up and out of the tub, I screamed.  Loudly.  Shrilly.  Like a 13-year-old girl watching The Blair Witch Project at a sleepover.

Magic stared up at me from the steps.  “You dumb ass.  I had that mouse all caught,” she said.  “Were you waiting for me to gift wrap it for you?”

She can be a total asshole sometimes.

With the mouse on the loose, W and I decided to go back to bed and pretend that nothing had happened.

In bed, W couldn’t resist pointing out the girlish — and very unbutch — nature of my shriek.

“You just handed me a plastic cup and started screaming like a girl,” she said.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know that you wanted to play by rigid gender roles,” I replied.  “Next time, I’ll try to scream in a more manly fashion, ” I added.

And that’s how we started our Saturday.  It wasn’t even 7:00 a.m., and we were having a heady discussion about gender and roles and expectations and whether it is beyond the realm of butchdom to scream in a girlish fashion when a rodent — imagine a ginormous, fanged rodent the size of a micro-wolf — unexpectantly lunges from a tub inches from one’s body.

So, dear readers, please chime in.

If a butch screams at 6:00 a.m. in a bathroom while dodging a giant mouse and no one hears but her femme, is she any less a butch?

What’s the most unbutch thing you’ve done recently?