Tag Archives: names

What’s in a name?

Name tag

So, you’ve all seen it.  I know you have.

My name.

It’s right there on the cover of my book.

I’ve gone from anonymous blogger to author who shall be named.

Note: Middle-age Butch is not my real name.

I’ve enjoyed blogging anonymously for the past two years.  It allowed me to open up and write about whatever I wanted.  And be more flannel-y and cool than I really am.

But now the jig is up.  And I’m not even Irish.

When I was a kid, I used to hate my name.  It was seven letters long and contained every vowel except “u.”  It rhymed with “Crayola,” kinda.  It was French.  These things do not make for a cool name.

In second grade, my teacher, Mrs. Ruth Dixon, shortened my name to Rae.

I'm like this but butchier

I’m like this but butchier

At about the same time, my grandmother started calling me Rae.  Her favorite movie was The Sound of Music.  I was Rae, or “re,” her drop of golden sun.  So yeah, I’m like a butch Julie Andrews.

And it stuck. Rae.

Not a bad name for someone who gets called “sir.”

It’s one letter away from Ray.

I think I’m just feeling exposed these days, what with my memoir less than three months away from its premiere.

I’ve never had to worry about my family reading my blog.  It was something I did privately.  Under a pseudonym.

I worry about what they will think about the book.

More specifically, I worry that they will be embarrassed by the book.  Not so much by how they are portrayed (this isn’t the lesbian version of Running with Scissors … which would be Running While Scissoring, I believe).  But just by the fact that they have a daughter who sometimes gets mistaken for a man.  Or young boy.  Or Boy Scout.

ElephantWe don’t talk about anything in our family.  I have this great line that didn’t make it into the book: The elephant in the room was our family pet.

So having a book published is like airing our dirty laundry in public.  Even though it’s my dirty laundry.  And yes, those are my boxer briefs thank you very much.

I had thought about publishing the book under a pen name.  Maybe Girl-Who-Hasn’t-Worn-Skirt-Since-Grade-School.  Or Little Flower Stamen-Pistil.  Did I mention that I’m part Cherokee?  But couldn’t come up with a suitable moniker.

I guess I need to adjust to being a little more open and honest.  To putting myself out there.  Not so much with the rest of the world.  But with those who claim to know me best.

How do you call your lover boi?

“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.


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.

* * *

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?