Tag Archives: music

It’s your boi R-Bango

download.jpgA few weeks ago, W and I spent the weekend in the Big Apple with friends.

On Saturday afternoon, we enjoyed slices of New York pizza, visited a used bookstore and saw Network on Broadway starring Bryan Cranston and the lovely Tatiana Maslany.

In the evening, we caught a burlesque show at a place called The Slipper Room in the lower east side. It was hot and crowded and almost impossible to get a drink, but as W said many, many, many times, “Naked girls are always good.”

On Sunday, we had a late breakfast and then walked through Times Square on our way back to our hotel.

And that’s when things got a little bit dicey, and I became involved in an urban street grift.

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It’s tricky to walk around New York City It’s tricky, it’s tricky

A couple of young people in Adidas tracksuits–think Run DMC but younger and without the gold chains–were handing out something to folks passing by.

Initially, I waved them off and said, “No thanks.” But they were persistent.

“It’s free,” they said. “Free, free, free.”

Everyone knows this butch loves a bargain, but even I know better than to accept items from strangers on the street.

“It’s music promoting racial equality and gun control,” they explained. “And it’s free.”

At this point, I had become separated from W and our friends and was just looking to make a quick exit.

I didn’t want them to think I wasn’t for racial equality and gun control and world peace and voter rights, so I accepted a CD and square of laminated paper that contained a qr code for a music download and started to walk away.

“Don’t you want me to sign it?” one of the young men asked.

I really didn’t, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

“Sure,” I said, handing him back the CD.

“What’s your name?”

“Rae,” I said.

“You mind if I call you R-Bango?”

“Sure, that works for me,” I said, trying to be all cool and stuff.

“I’m gonna make it out to R-Bango with the pretty eyes.”

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Me ready to move to NYC in stereotypical lesbian fashion.

This guy was as smooth as freshly pressed flannel, and he had me in the palm of his hand. I now had a cool big city nickname and was getting noticed for my best feature, my green eyes. If this is what city life is all about, R-Bango was ready to relocate.

And then he asked for a donation.

R-Bango reached into the front pocket of her jeans and pulled out some folded-up one dollar bills.

“Oh, we try to stay away from the ones, R-Bango. By the way, you should give your barber a big tip.”

This guy knew that the way to a butch’s heart is by complimenting her fresh high and tight. R-Bango reached into her back pocket and extracted her wallet. She handed over a $20. She was on vacation after all.

And then the next person in the group held out his hand. “Aw, hey, what about me? I’m the producer.” R-Bango handed over another big bill.

“What about me?” a third person asked.

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Proof that R-Bango is worldly and street smart. 

R-Bango was starting to figure things out. She had seen Paper Moon when she was a young tomboy and knew a grift when she saw one $40 later. She put her wallet back in her pocket and forcibly made her exit, walking past the outstretched hands before her.

As she caught up with W and her old friends, she wondered if her new friends had really liked her haircut. And if they actually thought she had pretty eyes.

Her wallet was lighter but she didn’t really care.

She had something money couldn’t buy.

A good story.

And a cool new name.

Word. From your boi R-Bango.

* * *

Leave a comment and I will give you your own cool big city nickname. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Want to Be with You Everywhere

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Yes, I was wearing a flannel shirt.

W and I were in Atlantic City for the weekend.

We spent about five minutes in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino before we were overwhelmed by the grandness of it all. The lights, the bling, the music, the noise. We stood there in the lobby like a pair of lesbian Country Mice lost in the big city. 

After checking in, we retired to our fancy room, splurged on room service and then headed out to a Fleetwood Mac concert. That’s why we were in town. Fleetwood Mac was the last band on my concert bucket list.

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The OG (Original Gypsy).

At 70, Stevie Nicks still has it. She was decked out in a raven black dress and black fringed shaw, clutched a tambourine in one hand and even executed her trademark triple twirl at the end of “Gypsy.”

The band was in fine form and played all its hits.

Mike Campbell from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Neil Finn from Crowded House stood in for Lindsey Buckingham, who is not touring with the rest of the band. Fleetwood Mac celebrated Tom Petty in one of its encore songs by playing “Freefall” while a montage of Petty photographs, many of which showed him playing alongside Nicks, played on the big screen.

After the concert, W and I went out for a nice pasta dinner. We ended the night by grabbing some gelato and heading back up to our hotel room. A.C. was just starting to heat up, but what can I say? It was past our bedtime.

The next morning, W found a nice spot for breakfast, and we ate eggs by the bay before heading home.

It was a short getaway, but I feel rested and rejuvenated and in love with my wife.

 

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Thanks

Your favorite butch blogger is thankful for many things.

Xena, Melissa, sneakers …

You know the list.

Heat, however, is not one of those things.

At the end of October, we discovered that our oil furnace was broken. We got a new furnace installed the day before Thanksgiving but are still waiting for the utility company to run a gas line to our house.

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Our cats lined up for precious heat.

So, we’re living on space heaters. And flannel. I have never been more grateful for flannel.

We still had Thanksgiving at our house and hosted a party of 16. On that day, we were thankful for many things, including all of that body heat.

W’s birthday was on Saturday and we celebrated in true W fashion, wringing every possible ounce of joy out of the day. We started with an early breakfast and then walked around the Philadelphia zoo. We did a bit of shopping before catching Bohemian Rhapsody, which was better than I had anticipated. We capped off the day with dinner at an Italian restaurant, cake and presents.

I got W a bunch of things, including this sign that I had made.

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W always thanks me for finding her. We met through Match.com, and I was the one who first reached out.

“I found you,” I always say. “I was driving along and there you were on the side of the road.” Or something silly like that.

What I never tell her is thank you for waiting for me.

* * *

Hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving! What are you feeling thankful for these days?

 

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.)

* * *

Who do you need to thank for your coming out?

American girls

imagesI loved Tom Petty.

Loved his nasally voice, his scruffy look, his gorgeous lyrics about American girls. His songs about breaking up and making up and everything in between.

I loved that there was no one else like him on the planet.

I have most of his albums. Saw him in concert a couple of times.

I don’t know that I have a favorite Petty song.

Maybe “American Girl.” I’ll turn that up when it comes on the radio.

Maybe “Free Fallin’.” I mean, who doesn’t love to sing that song, car windows rolled down, highway stretched out, at the top of her lungs?

I wonder, when I listened to Petty back in the day, did I want to be that girl? You know the one.

That girl raised on promises.

That good girl, who loved Jesus and America, too.

Or, did I want that girl? Want her to be mine and only mine.

Looking back, it’s muddled. Sometimes, the only thing I can remember is how my heart ached a lot of the time.

But I like to think that, even back then, I knew there was a little more to life somewhere else.

After all it was a great big world.

RIP #TomPetty

* * *

Do you have a favorite Tom Petty song or memory?

 

 

March madness

March was a crazy month.

I turned 50. Which means I’m vintage.

I got my AARP card, which I thought would make me super-sexy in W’s eyes. “She’ll have the Grand Slam,” I imagined me ordering for her at Denny’s and scoring points, as well as a sweet 15 percent discount. She just looked at me weird when I flashed the shiny red card at her.

I had a fun party that W put together with all of my friends and a top-of-the-line party bus that only played 80s music (including that Georgia Satellites song I love) and made stops at a local concert AND Victory Brewing.

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No real flannel shirts were harmed in the making of this cake.

W had a custom cake made for me in the shape of a flannel shirt.

I got tons of loot. Notebooks and pens and wine and beer and gift cards for books. All of my favorite things.

I wore my new sneakers. Puma classics, black suede. So sweeeeet.

There’s more. On the night of my birthday, W gave me a bunch of little presents. We aren’t big gift givers, and I knew she was throwing me a birthday bash, so I wasn’t expecting much. Maybe a new necktie, a book, something emblazoned with the Wonder Woman logo.

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I misspelled Seattle during the recreation.

She had created a handmade Scrabble board. Each box contained a set of Scrabble tiles. The tiles spelled out: TICKETS, SEATTLE, ALASKA, OLIVIA.

I don’t have a big bucket list. Just a few things I want to do, a few places I want to see. I’ve always wanted to spend a few days in Seattle. Take a cruise to Alaska. And go on an Olivia Cruise.

W had started planning all of this last summer without me suspecting a thing.

At the end of June, we are flying to Seattle for a few days. We’ll be there for Seattle Pride, and we already have reservations for brunch in the Space Needle. In Seattle, we’ll be boarding an Olivia cruise ship and setting sail for Alaska.

“It’s too much,” I said for much of March with a giant grin on my face.

There’s a part of me that still thinks it’s too much. Too expensive. Too extravagant. And that I’m not worthy.

I’ve been trying to silence those voices and be grateful. Grateful for being able to cross things off my bucket list. Grateful for an adventure, something to look forward to. Grateful for a cruise on a luxury liner filled with lesbians.

But mostly grateful for a wife who so carefully planned a special birthday and a trip of a lifetime for me.

It’s hard to be on this side of love. The receiving side.

But I’m trying.

So far, 50 is like a new pair of sneakers. Pretty sweet.

What to bring to a march

A pocket-sized notebook and pen to chronicle the day’s events.

Dr. Martens

These boots are made for marching.

My brown Dr. Martens eight-eyelet lace-up boots. Sneakers would be a bit more comfortable, but years from now I want to be able to point to my feet and say “these are the boots I wore to the march.”

Soft, warm socks.

My outside voice.

My wife. “Remember when,” we’ll say all those years from now when we are slower but wiser and counting our shared adventures on our crooked fingers and toes.

One clenched fist to raise in the air.

Men's underwear

Protest (under)pants

Clean underwear. Aren’t we always supposed to be wearing clean underwear when risk is involved? Just in case. Because what if and what would your mother say? But I wear men’s boxer briefs, which will only embarrass her. I’ll wear clean underwear anyway! Because hygiene. And as a symbol of my individuality! Statement underwear! Protest underwear! No one can make me wear women’s panties! Underwear knows no gender! Power to the boxer brief, people.

Jeans.

A T-shirt emblazoned with an appropriate message.

Cash.

An endless supply of head nods for the other butches in attendance.

iPhone to take pictures.

A copy of my big butch memoir in case I run into Leia Delaria, the world’s most famous butch.

Wonder Woman

Thanks to Wonder Women everywhere!

Thoughts of those whose deeds and words and music have gotten me to where I stand tall and proud today … Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Wonder Woman, Anne Lamott, Melissa Etheridge, the Indigo Girls, Ivan Coyote …

Anger, frustration.

Hope.

Possibility.

Pride.

* * *

Did I forget anything? What are you bringing?

Gratitude (#NationalComingOutDay)

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Just these three lesbian movies please and a pack of microwave popcorn.

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 never batted an eye, even when I rented When Night Is Falling two times in a row for “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. If you could announce to the world on the cover of an album that you were, 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. Somebody bring me some water. Please.

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I still love you, Jessica Stein.

Thank you to Jessica Stein. I was coming out in real life when you were coming out in your 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.

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Xena, you are a badass babe.

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.

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

Thanks to everyone in my life who accepts me for who I am and gives me the courage to be myself every single day.

Happy National Coming Out Day!

* * *

Who do you need to thank for your coming out?

Prince

“I’m not a woman

I’m not a man

I am something that you’ll never understand”

— Prince, “I Would Die for You”

His music was the soundtrack to my life. I discovered Prince when most of my peers did — after the movie Purple Rain was released in 1984 and the songs on the soundtrack became a permanent part of our everyday life.

images7FZ0N531As a senior in high school at age 18, I played “1999” every morning before school on the turntable in my bedroom. One morning I would play Side 1, which was comprised of “Little Red Corvette,” “1999” and “Delirious.” The next day, I would flip the album over and play the two songs on Side 2, “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” and “D.M.S.R.”

I never tired of those five songs, so I never made it to Side 3 or Side 4 of that double album.

imagesMS624EGMI’m not sure what it was that drew me to Prince and his music. It didn’t sound like anything else I had ever heard. But there was something else. He was dirty and poetic. A cross between Shakespeare and a porn star. Something about that combination appealed to me as I started my journey into adulthood. He seemed to understand all those things I didn’t — sex, love, God, life — so I listened to his music in an effort to crack the code.

When I went off to college, I found a used record store and bought all of his old albums — “Prince,” “Dirty Mind,” “Controversy.” I studied them more than my text books.

My parents never taught me about the birds and bees, but Prince did.

He was my sex ed teacher.

The only reason I know the words to the Lord’s Prayer is because it’s in the middle of his song “Controversy.”

Prince was my Sunday school teacher, too.

He was my church.

He was my religion.

He was my Elvis.

He was my Beatles.

He showed me how to adore and appreciate women.

And he taught me how to be funky.

I know what you’re thinking. You, Middle-Age Butch, got funky? Tell us another tale. What I’ll tell you is there’s a fine line between funk and swagger. And any butch worth her boots has a little swagger in her. You just got to love yourself. That’s what Prince would have said.

imagesZHT5V4H7I don’t think I realized why I was always so fascinated with the purple one until he dropped his name and became the symbol. The symbol was a perfect mix between male and female.

That’s the thing about Prince.

He transcended gender.

I always thought I was in love with the pretty purple boy with the high heel boots and the puffy blouses and tight little body. Back in the day, this in-the-closet lesbian always had a thing for pretty boys with high cheekbones and beautiful hair.

I wasn’t really in love with Prince. We would have made a strange couple.

But he did show me how to love myself.

* * *

My all-time favorite Prince song is “Little Red Corvette.” What’s yours?

 

 

 

In concert with the Indigo Girls

“Are you going to blog that I cried at the Indigo Girls concert?” W asked.

“Of course not,” I replied.

“I don’t mind,” she said.

“Right, you’re not a butch,” I said.

So there was that. W cried. But not until the “Closer to Fine” encore.

We were five rows from the stage for this special acoustic show.

“Feel free to ask questions,” Emily said right after the opening number, “Power of Two.”

The audience did, and the duo told stories about their kids, getting older and who they’d like to see in concert. (Taylor Swift. Seriously.) When someone asked why the new album doesn’t have a track number 11, they admitted it was a proofreading error.

“We’re never going to be professionals,” Amy said.

And I think that’s the charm of the Indigo Girls. They have this down-to-earth appeal.

They played “Galileo” right before “Closer to Fine.” That made me happy. God, I love that song.

It was a perfect day. Me, W and the Indigo Girls. And then we rode off into the sunset.

 

This is what we saw on the ride home.

 

“Now the parking lot is empty

Everyone’s gone someplace

I pick you up and in the trunk I’ve packed

A cooler and a 2-day suitcase

Cause there’s a place we like to drive

Way out in the country

Five miles out of the city limit we’re singing

And your hand’s upon my knee”

— Indigo Girls, “Power of Two”

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What about you? What’s the last concert you saw?