Tag Archives: Xena

The Wonder Woman movie belongs to us

This is my Wonder Woman memory.

I’m 7 or 8 years old.

My mom is buying my brother and I stretchy, plastic figures shaped like superheroes.

I don’t remember which Justice League of America superhero my brother selects. The colors blue and red are stuck in my head, so I’m guessing it’s Superman.

aquaman

I pick this guy.

I pick Aquaman.

I don’t remember leafing through the figures as they hang in their packs from a metal peg on the rack.

But here’s what I know: There isn’t a Wonder Woman in the bunch. Wonder Woman is never an option.

Sure, I like Superman and Batman and the rest of the Justice League of America superheroes as much as the next little girl, but I love Wonder Woman with her golden lasso of truth, invisible jet and bulletproof bracelets. Spink! Spink!

I never identify with Superman or Batman, even though I’m a tomboy and admire their super strength and athleticism. Back then, I find them too masculine with their dark features and chiseled chests.

I am always a Wonder Woman girl.

xena

Look for Middle-Age Butch in the background.

Xena: Warrior Princess comes on the scene in 1995. I watch the reruns in the early 2000’s when I’m coming out. And here’s where it gets tricky—that fine line between wanting to be Xena and wanting Xena.

After much contemplation, here’s what I decide:

In a time of ancient gods, warlords and kings …

A land in turmoil cried out for a hero.

She was Xena, a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle.

And she was Middle-Age Butch, a mighty princess butch, durable and sturdy like the fabric flannel.

The power … the passion … the danger.

Their courage will change the world.

But back to Wonder Woman. My experience was always one of lack and longing. A Wonder Woman-shaped hole.

Even at a young age, Aquaman was my way of compromising, of finding some middle ground.

dolphin

I heart Aquaman.

He certainly wasn’t Superman or Batman. He couldn’t fly or really fight. He had nice blond hair. His superpower? He could talk to fish. I suppose I found Aquaman sensitive because he was able to communicate with dolphins.

So that’s one of the reasons why the Wonder Woman movie is a big deal to me. I’ve been waiting most of my life for Wonder Woman. Just Wonder Woman. Having a choice of Wonder Woman.

I’m struck by the movie’s tag line:

“The future of justice begins with her.”

This movie belongs to the little girl who played with a bendy Aquaman figure because there was no Wonder Woman option.

It belongs to all the little girls, back then and now.

wonder

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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?

Me and Xena: Warrior Princess

Xena: Warrior PrincessToday is Xena’s 20th anniversary.

A big ayiyiyiyiyi Xena battle cry to all of my Flannel Files followers on this very special occasion.

I’ve been reading the Xena posts and tweets on social media, and I must say it’s taken me back in time.  Not to ancient mythological Greece when Xena roamed the countryside thwarting evildoers with the help of Gabrielle, her trusty sidekick.  But the late 1990s when I was struggling with my sexuality.

The first time I watched Xena: Warrior Princess, I was hooked.  There was something about the show, something I couldn’t explain that left me wanting more Xena all the time.

Let’s be honest.  The Warrior Princess came with an extra helping of cheese.  The bright orange kind that comes in a can and is spread with a knife.

But I was transfixed.

Lucy LawlessWhen I finally admitted that I was attracted to women, I told myself that was it.  I mean, Lucy Lawless is gorgeous.  Why not watch a television show that features a beautiful woman, even if it’s campier than a weenie roast and ghost stories told around a fire?

Here’s the thing that took me a long time to realize.  I never wanted to be with Lucy Lawless.  I wanted to be Lucy Lawless.  Or, more accurately, Xena.

It was her special blend of girl power that I craved.

That I’ve always craved.

Wonder WomanIn the 1970’s, it was Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman and Jaime Sommers, TV’s Bionic Woman.

But those women had nothing on Xena.  With her sword and her chakram, her leather, her armor and a hot blonde by her side.  Xena was badass.

I think about the name of the show — Xena: Warrior Princess.

And I think that was always the attraction for me.

Warrior.  Princess.

Not that I’ve ever been a princess or wanted to be one.  (Makes gagging gesture with fingers and open mouth.)

It’s that blend of masculine and feminine that I find so appealing, that magical combination that I live.

There’s always been a lot of Xena: Warrior Princess inside me.

I just never realized it until I started watching the show.

If you’re really into Xena, you can read my Xena sword story here.

* * *

What about you?  Xena fan?  Yea or nay?

Good things come in twos

It was good to be this butch today.

First, I got a belated birthday gift.  When I wasn’t even expecting one.  And it is awesome.

Shows my love for baseball and beer.

Shows my love for baseball and beer.

It’s called the Clink-n-Drink.  It’s a bottle opener with a bunch of high powered magnets on the back.  So, you can stick it on any magnetic surface like a refrigerator or even a car for tailgating.  I told you it was awesome.  Butchtastic.

We also went out for burgers tonight for an event we dubbed “Celeburgerbration.”  Lots to celebrate, including my book deal and birthday.  Oh, and we have a local restaurant — a fancy Creole place — that has $6 burgers and fries on Thursday night.  I went for the Breakfast Burger, which is topped with a fried egg, bacon, Velveeta and onion straws.

Breakfast?  Lunch?  Who care.  Dig in.

Breakfast? Lunch? Who cares. Dig in!

They also have a donut burger (with bacon, of course) if you really like to get crazy with your sweet and savory.  You can check out the menu here if you’re into that sort of thing.

Donuts.

Mmmmm.  Donuts.

I tried a Starr Hill Pale Ale on draft, which was a winner.

Lots of great pairings tonight.  Burgers and beer.  Birthdays and beer.  Burgers and bacon.  Bacon and eggs.  Beer with everything!  I’ll have another BEER.

Here are a few more of my all-time favorite “couples”:

  • Xena and Gabrielle.
  • Birthday cake and ice cream.
  • Butches and femmes.
  • Dress shirt and tie.
  • A good book and a cup of tea (Earl Gray).
  • Liver and onions.

* * *

How about you?  What “twosomes” turn you on?

All caught up in The L Word

The L WordW and I are just emerging from a fugue-like state brought on by binge watching six seasons of The L Word.  That’s 78 episodes if you’re counting along at home.

W had been scanning through the offerings on Netflix and stumbled upon the series.  And there we were watching Jenny Schecter being accosted by Marina Ferrer in a bathroom somewhere in California.

Skinny white girl.

One word.  Shane.

There was no stopping us once we got started.  We couldn’t get enough Bette, Tina, Alice and of course, Shane.  Swoon.

Now, I have to get back to my real life and stop pretending I’m a famous writer who hangs out in Los Angeles’ coolest coffee shop by day and attends only the hippest and hottest Girl/Grrrl parties by night.  (Please tell me all nine seasons of The Facts of Life are NOT on Netflix.  Just the thought is so tempting.)

We had watched The L Word when it first ran on Showtime.  Flash forward ten years, and here’s what stuck out this time around:

* Wow, what a groundbreaking show.  The L Word certainly was ahead of its time.  It paved the way for Girls and Orange Is the New Black.

* Are there no butch women in L.A.?  I used to think Shane was kinda butch.  She’s not.  Like Papi says upon meeting the legendary Shane: “You’re just a skinny white girl.”  So true.

* I always wanted to be Shane.  Or maybe Shane’s wingwoman.  You know, me and Shane hanging out, picking up the ladies.  This time around, I realized Shane is kinda a jerk.

* And what’s up with Shane’s hairstyling skills?  It’s tousling of hair.  That’s what it is.  Tousling.  Of hair.

Ivan, you rock.

Ivan, you rock.

* Ivan Aycock.  I want to be Ivan Aycock.

* Can you spell infidelity?  So much cheating.  Keep it in your pants, ladies.

* Jenny Schecter is actually interesting and likable in the first few seasons.  Whether you like her or hate her, there is no The L Word without her.

Max, you deserved better.

Max, you deserved better.

* Really, couldn’t you have been a little more sensitive toward the transitioning Max?  Max, I’ll be your friend.  We’ll go to a sports bar, drink some beer and eat some wings.  Forget those high femmes.  Call me.  And really Part 2: Did you have to make Max pregnant?  Really?

* What a total waste of Xena: Warrior Princess.  Um, you couldn’t find a better role for Lucy Lawless than some hack detective?  Other ideas: L.L. has an affair with Bette.  Or Xena herself chops off Jenny’s head with her sword, places it on a stake in front of The Planet and runs off with Alice.  No one saw that coming.  Discuss.

* * *

Ok, y’all remember The L Word. Why don’t we play Marry, Kill, Screw.  I’ll go first ’cause it’s my blog.

Marry — Tina because she seems the most normal.  Ands she’s cute.  Except when she’s with Henry.  She’s hideous then. (W votes for Tasha because she’s into all that officer/gentleman stuff.)

Kill — Everyone is going to say Jenny.  And, in a twist of irony, Jenny dies in the series finale. So, I’ll go with someone else.  I’ll go with Dylan because she is uber-annoying.  And she doesn’t deserve Helena, the British bombshell.  (W goes with Jenny.  She is wearing her “Kill Jenny Schecter” T-shirt as I type.)

Screw — Helena.  (W says Latino hottie Carmen.  She loves Carmen.  You have no idea.)

 

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:

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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.

Flannel porn and other oddities

This is an obligatory posting of curious and humorous search terms that have led people to The Flannel Files.  It’s not that I’m lazy and can’t come up with any original ideas for blog posts.  It’s just really hot and humid here today, and I’m very busy doing important things like catching up with Catfish the TV show and playing Word Solitaire on my iPad.

Anyway, here’s a look at some of the most interesting search terms from the past month or so:

lesbian hoarder — Sure, but please see post on how I recently cleaned out my T-shirt closet.  “Hoarder” is such a strong term.

lesbian T-shirts — See above.

being butch — You’ve come to the right place.

xx

Ah, Xena, all that I have left of you are memories and this sword replica

Xena sword life size — Every self-respecting butch lesbian stuck in the 90s should have one.  Is that a life-size Xena sword in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

the flannel of silence — When W and I fight, I totally shut her out.  I don’t speak to her for days and look right through her using my super-butch powers of iciness and oh-I-didn’t-notice-you-over- there-because-you-are-now-invisible-to-me.  From now on, I will refer to this as “the flannel of silence.”

list of the best lesbian movies — Check.

lesbian gives me gift for my mom — Was this a random lesbian?  What was the gift?  You’ve really piqued my curiosity.  I bet your mom is hot.

butch lesbian bedroom blogs — Yeah, not really that kind of blog.  Sorry to disappoint.

And the lady will have

And the lady will have …

best beaver bait — Try a big smile and a compliment.  “You have very pretty eyes.”  “I really like your dress.”  If that doesn’t work, order her several drinks with dinner.

lesbians pretending to be a cat — Really?

girl in flannel porn — I never knew there was something called “flannel porn.”  Do go on.

lesbian butch fashion — This is an oxymoron.  How about a tie that matches her dress or a stylish vest from the boy’s department.

my wife went to a Christmas party and was taken home by a butch lesbian — I feel your pain, dude.  Sorry that I am smirking.

Why I love my Xena sword more than my wife and kids

About ten years ago, I came out as a lesbian, divorced my husband of nine years and moved into a condo with my 3 1/2 year-old son.  My best friend and her male companion helped with the move.

After the bulk of the work was complete and things were as settled as they were going to be for day one on my own, my friend handed me a long, narrow cardboard box.

“Sorry about the crappy wrap job,” she said.  “But we saw this yesterday and felt like you needed to have it.”

Intrigued, I sliced open the cardboard box.  Inside in all its gleaming wonder was a full-size replica prop sword from the television show Xena: Warrior Princess.  “Whoa,” said this awestruck Xena fanatic.  The sword has a shiny, razor-sharp silver blade and a black leather handle that forms an intricate cross when combined with the gold metalwork and inlaid mother of pearl studs.

Xena sword and chakram

I raised the sword as the sun streamed in through the bay window of my new condo.  It was solid and heavy and the handle fit my hand like a glove.  Using both hands (this bad boy was h-e-a-v-y), I slashed through the air in perfect Amazon form.  I swear I heard the gods singing down from Mount Olympus.  The tune was either Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” or something off of Alanis Morrisette’s “Jagged Little Pill.”

In case you don’t know, Xena: Warrior Princess was a television show that ran from 1995 until 2001.  The show starred Lucy Lawless as Xena and Renee O’Conner as her sidekick Gabrielle.  Xena traveled across ancient Greece seeking redemption for her past sins by fighting for the “greater good” using her trademark sword and deadly throwing disc called a “chakram.”  The show reached cult status in the lesbian community.  There has been much debate as to whether Xena and Gabrielle were lovers.  (The writers threw in a  couple of kisses and leading dialogue — or “lesbian subtext” — to keep fans guessing.)  Personally, I think most lesbians just liked watching Lawless kick ass in a short leather skirt and corset.

Lucy Lawless as Xena

“I’m not sure what you’re going to do with it,” my friend said, pointing to my new status symbol.”

I will hang it over my bed,” I replied, slashing and posing and just being a bad-ass lesbian with a bad-ass sword.

In my just-out-of-the-closet mind, a sword mounted over my bed would communicate my virility and sexual prowess to the bevy of sexual conquests soon to come.  It would say: “Warrior in life and in bed.”  Or: “Allow your desires to yield to mine.”  Or: “If I need to, I will cut you with this very sharp sword.”  You never can be too careful with strange girls that you bring home from the bar.

Flip forward ten years and the sword sits in its original box in a bedroom closet.  It was never mounted above my bed or anywhere else for that matter.

It has moved from condo to house to apartment to apartment to apartment to house.  The past decade has been filled with transition, but the sword remains a constant.

I think of my friend and her then-boyfriend/now-husband who gave me the sword.  It must have set them back $200 or $300 at the time.  It’s a real replica, mind you, not a fake replica.  Of course, there’s the generosity of such a gift.  They could have spent less money on a more traditional housewarming gift like a toaster or a weed whacker.

Mostly, though, I think about how they purchased the sword because they knew I would love it.  It’s expensive and impractical and dangerous, but hell she’ll get a kick out of it, they must have thought.

I took it as a vote of confidence in me and my decision to live my life as a lesbian.  Score: Lesbian 1.  Haters: 0.

I still take out the sword from time to time.  The kids always ask to hold it.  I give them each about 60 seconds to swing it around.

“It’s heavy,” they invariably say.

“I bet you can kill someone with this,” they also say.

That’s why the sword-holding sessions are supervised and brief and the sword is stowed away in the back of a closet.

Sometimes, I pull out the sword when I’m feeling down.  I hold its weight in my hand and remember what it once symbolized — the promise of a new life.  A swashbuckling life filled with adventure and risk and loose women who are really good in bed.

More than that, the sword stood for power and strength and being unafraid to be who you were born to be.

The sharpness of the sword makes me think of this quote from Katha-Upanishad.

“The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard.”

I think about how hard the past decade has been.  But I’ve managed to soldier on, sword at the ready, fighting life’s battles in true warrior princess fashion.  Not merely posing as an Amazon  warrior with replica sword in hand, but being a warrior in thought and deed.  Always battling for the “greater good” or at least the greater good as I see it.

My gifted Xena sword helps me remember a younger woman with dreams and hopes and desires who had the strength to embrace change and live her life as she saw fit, even if it meant going against the grain.

I have to stop more often and remember that this younger woman still lives inside of me.

(By the way, I don’t really love my Xena sword more than my wife and kids.  Although she (the sword) never talks back and doesn’t get PMS.  And the wife has yet to watch a single epsiode of Xena, even though I own the complete series.  I just remembered that there is a lot of bellydancing in these shows, which just might be enough to pique her interest.)

Bitch Slapped by Netflix

Trixie, Camaro and Hel

W and I watched a Netflix movie last night.

We both love movies, but we only watch on average one DVD per month.  Kids, cats, work and exhaustion from kids, cats and work usually get in the way of at-home movie nights.

We remain optimistic about the possibility of seeing more movies though.  Our Netflix queue is 59 deep.  At this rate, it will take us five years to go through our current queue.  I will be 50 and too mature for 21 Jump Street and Cedar Rapids.  Well, it could happen.

W came up with this great idea of putting all of our lesbian movies at the top of our queue.  The theory was that scantily clad women and girl-on-girl action would help us put a sizeable dent in our list of unwatched movies.

The strategy hasn’t really worked.  Lesbian-themed movies are not flying out of here in their little red envelopes.  I think that just means we’re really old.  And, that we have too many kids and cats.  Most times we’re content to just crawl into bed and watch Pawn Stars or Cats from Hell or Snooki and JWoww or whatever other crap is on TV.

There was a time in my life that I could blow through But I’m a Cheerleader, The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love and Disc 3 of Season 2 of The L Word in a single night, but those days of unrequited lesbian lust are way behind me.

Anyway, last night was a designated movie night.  A designated lesbian movie night.

So, sometimes W and I get weird and pretend to be off-put by such movies.  It’s like pretending to be a Republican.

W: So, you didn’t put this movie in our queue?

Me: Of course not.  This is outrageous!  Netflix will be hearing from me about this mishap.

W:  You definitely need to contact Netflix and let them know about this.

Me: Don’t you worry your pretty little head.  Netflix will be hearing about the deviant material that they shipped unsolicited to our home.  (Shaking my fist.)

W: You know, since we have the movie, even though Netflix sent it by mistake, we should probably watch it.  Even though they totally screwed up.

Me: I know.  You’re right.  (Deep sigh.)  We should probably watch it.  Because they sent it and all.  I bet the Romneys don’t have to deal with this crap.

This is my new barometer of what is right and acceptable and good.  Mitt and Ann.

W: You’re sure you didn’t put this in our queue?

Me: Yep.

W: Ok, just making sure.  So what is this movie about anyway?

Me: I don’t know.  Let me read the Netflix write-up.  The movie is called Bitch Slap.

W: I don’t mean to interrupt you, but where would one — if one was interested in this type of alternative entertainment — hear about said movie?

Me: Ummm … gee, I don’t know.  Maybe in some kind of magazine.  That comes in the mail.  In a black plastic wrapper.

W: I see.

Me: Alright, back to the summary.  “Three naughty girls …”

W: Ok, let’s watch.

Me: You are way too easy.  (I continue reading.)  “Three naughty girls — leggy stripper Trixie, homicidal drug runner Camaro and high-powered businesswoman Hel — team up to rip off a crime kingpin, but surprise betrayals quickly spin events out of control.  Guns, hand-to-hand combat, scantily clad women and plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor populate this guilty-pleasure throwback to 1960s and ’70s exploitation films.”

We put the movie in and it’s all boobs and cleavage and heaving bosoms and guns and more boobs and cleavage and heaving bosoms.  All in a good way.  The plot was a little weird and hard to follow but that was offset by all of the breasts.

The movie mostly takes place in the desert and at one point our female leads find an endless supply of water to pour on each other.  It was like Flashdance in the Sahara or a Super Bowl sideline.  I kept waiting for Bill Parcells to show up and kill my breast buzz.

Sexy

Not so sexy

Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor have bit parts, which gave the movie extra lesbian cred.

Xena Warrior Princess and Gabrielle

At some point, the movie freezes and we have to skip ahead, missing relevant plot points, no doubt.

W gets bored about three-quarters of the way through and starts checking out Trixie, Camaro and Hel’s bios on IMDb.  “None of these actresses have ever been in anything before,” she says incredulously.

“How dare you!” I say.  “These are finely trained thespians.”

Good breasts buy a lot in my world.

After 109 minutes of kick-ass grrl action, W reminds me to contact Netflix about the problem.

Me: Oh, you mean that scratch on the disc?

W: Yeah.  And the fact that they sent us a movie that we didn’t order.

Me: Oh.  That.  Right.

What are the top 5 movie on your Netflix queue?

Here are ours:

  1. The Fountain
  2. Tipping the Velvet
  3. Pariah
  4. Barney’s Version
  5. Go Fish