Recently I was talking to someone I respect a great deal, and she said something I've often thought as well: many people are more uncomfortable with gender nonconformity than with homosexuality. Of course, the two often go hand in hand. But let's assume, for a moment, that we can disaggregate them.
In my work circles, which mostly comprise upper-middle-class NPR listeners, few people care if your partner is male or female. Same-sex partnership is still noteworthy, interesting, and a titillating gossip source to some
people, but for the most part, it's not a big issue. Homos abound at high levels in my profession, and most are pretty open. But I have trouble coming up with examples of high-powered women in my profession who wear mostly men's clothing. If you're a woman giving a conference talk, it's not that big a deal to mention your same-sex partner. It is
a big deal to wear a necktie. No one else does it, and you're likely to be seen as "making a statement."For me, this begs two questions: (1) Why?; (2) What implications does this have for my own self-presentation? Today, I'll write about the former.Here's my guess: looking gender-conforming still adheres to people's ideas and assumptions about gender--the idea that men "are" and "look"
a certain way, and that women "are" and "look" a different way. If we define homosexuality narrowly (as I think most people do, particularly non-queers), it only challenges one aspect of gender typicality: whom you sleep with.
It's as if are only two kinds of ice cream, and ice cream always comes in double scoops: one vanilla, one chocolate. This is what most people always order, then later they learn that some
people order two scoops of vanilla or two scoops of chocolate. "Fine," they think. "Some people like two scoops of the same thing. But there are still just two kinds of ice cream."
In contrast, if someone orders vanilla with chocolate swirls and says, "It's still vanilla--it just has chocolate swirls in it," (or if, God forbid, they order strawberry) this challenges people's fundamental ideas about the kinds of ice cream that exist
. In this way, gender nonconformists
mess with people's categories. A woman in a tie, when only men are wearing ties,
is like chocolate chip ice cream. "What IS that?" people think. "No flavor I've
ever seen." This is probably why, as Kristen Schilt writes in One of the Guys, when people go from identifying as butch women to identifying as trans men, they become more accepted in the workplace. As butch women, people viewed them as gender atypical. When they become trans men, people can say, "Oh, I kind of understand--you were really chocolate all along!"
As more states adopt legal protections based on sexual orientation, I think gender conformity will be one of the next frontiers. This is closely tied--though not identical--to the fight for trans rights, providing another reason to help fight for the rights of all
other queers, not just your personal subset.
For now, I'll leave the conversation there. What do you think, dear readers? In your everyday work lives, what's people's reaction to sexual orientation versus gender nonconformity?
I'm lucky enough to have a fabulous relationship with my mom. We don't always perfectly understand each other, but we know each other better than almost anyone else knows us. And I really wish I could be celebrating Mothers' Day with her today (albeit one of those arbitrary holidays that we celebrate largely because Hallmark tells us to--but that doesn't change the fact that it's a day we all think about moms).
Anyway, in honor of Mothers' Day, I thought I'd combine Butch Wonders themes with mothering and pose the following questions to readers:
- When you were a kid, did you think you'd be a mom?
- Where were you when you came out to your mom (if you're out)?
- What are two major traits you and your mom share?
- What's something your mom taught you?
- Name a mom you wish you could be with today (besides your own).
I'll go first.
- No way! I wanted--maybe, at the most--to be a dad. To me, this meant going to work all day and not being involved in childcare.
- At a PF Chang's. We were out to lunch and I said, "Mom, I have something to tell you." And then I burst into tears right in the middle of P.F. Chang's. My mom asked, "Are you okay? Are you going to die? Do you have cancer?" I shook my head. "Is someone you love or I love about to die?" I shook my head again. She said, "Well, then whatever it is, it'll be okay." Then we ate lemon chicken. I think it took her some time to accept my sexual orientation, and maybe a little longer than that to accept my butchiness. I guess "process" is a better word than "accept," because I've never felt "unaccepted" by my mom. And I've never regretted not being open as my "whole" self to her. After all, she's the one who taught me that it was not only okay but great(!) to be quirky and different from all the other kids.
- Tenacity and creativity.
- The importance of being a surVIVor, as she says--meaning persevering in the face of adversity. When life throws her lemons, my mom does not get discouraged, nor does she "make lemonade." Instead, she catches the lemons and stacks them into a pile, then uses the pile to get somewhere she'd rather be. Or she, like, makes a car out of lemons and drives away. She is pretty darned awesome.
- My mom's mom. She died many years ago. I still think about her a lot. She was an amazing, philosophical, totally self-made woman.
How about you
, dear readers? What are your answers to some of these questions?
The other day, I had to go get some blood drawn. Because of the bizarre way my medical provider structures itself, the immunology clinic is in the children's wing. As a result, the latest chapter in my "why-do-I-get-mono-so-often" detective mystery takes place amidst Disney characters, cartoon trains, and primary colors. It's far cheerier than adult hospital, plus you get to choose a sticker before you leave.
Anyway, after the phlebotimist works his or her magic, they usually press a little square of gauze against the place where the needle went in and tell you to hold it there for a minute. Then they wrap it with that self-adhesive rubbery wrap stuff. But since the office is so child-friendly, instead of having plain old boring beige gauze, they have waaay cooler ones. Check out the types below:
Specifically, my office had the hearts, the dinosaurs, and the race cars (pink, green, and blue).
So my own, personal, bearded, honey-haired, thirty-something whippersnapper of a phlebotomist has finished the draw, and I'm dutifully holding the gauze, and next thing I know, he's lassoing my elbow with the pink one. "Why did you--" I sputtered. Then I smiled and chuckled. "Oh, I see," I say. "Girls get the hearts and boys get the racecars?"
...To which he replied, without irony, "Yep." Not being able to let it go, I said, "Wait, really? Blue for boys and pink for girls and green if you run out of either?" "Yeah," he said again, at this point seeming a little puzzled at my inability to grasp the concept of gendered self-adhesive medical wrap.
"Well, if you would have asked, I'd have preferred the race cars, or even better, the dinosaurs," I said. I grinned, hoping to convey that I didn't actually give a hoot what was on my arm at the moment, but that he might want to ask kids their preferences. "It's just like when I was a kid," I continued. "They gave me the pink, but I wanted the green or the blue."
At this point, he gave me a look that--albeit not the least bit mean--made it clear he had more useful places to be, told me to have a great day, and headed out of the room. I didn't stop him, but I hope that next time he phlebotomizes a wee one, he thinks twice before slapping on a gender-normative wrap. Is one wrap a big deal in the context of things? Of course not. But these little signals add up. They are the stuff of society, and they are the stuff of gender normativity. They are the way, brick by brick, we come to build the beliefs we hold about the way men and women "are."
Yeah, I'm butch enough to sport pink hearts around my left elbow. But just the same, I made sure to conspicuously choose a big ol' Spiderman sticker on the way out.
A friend of mine went to a presentation by the fabulous Janet Mock
recently, and took this photo. Part of the presentation talked about how non-trans* people be allies to trans* folks. She fleshed these points out a lot more at the presentation, but I want to share her list and add my own thoughts as well [my additions are in brackets]. I hope that trans* readers will comment!
10 Things You Can Do Now [to be an effective ally to trans* people]:
What do you think of this list? What would you add?
- Allyship is not a badge. [Nor is it a "door" you walk through. Just because you have trans* friends doesn't mean that you're allowed to break #'s 2-10, or make fun of trans* people, or anything like that.]
- Educate yourself.
- Work with local groups. [I know that sometimes female-ID'd butches don't want to start getting involved with FTM groups because then people will think that she (the butch in question) is trans herself. To that, I say: so what? You're not butch enough to take it?]
- Include "gender identity/expression" in nondiscrimination policies.
- Welcome trans people into spaces & groups. [I'm not a fan of "women-born-women" policies. I do think it's okay, in limited circumstances, to require that everyone in a given group ID as a woman. Yes, this excludes trans men and non-binary trans people from certain womyn's music festivals. And I am personally uncomfortable with this, but I think it's (again, rarely) necessary for groups to be circumscribed sometimes--e.g., for trans men to have their own groups that exclude female ID'd butches, for lesbians to have their own groups, etc. But why the *!@# would we exclude trans women?]
- Educate others. [But don't presume to speak for trans* people.]
- Use preferred names & pronouns. Don't assume. [Also, realize that there are non-binary trans* people who ID as neither a man nor as a woman, and eschew gendered pronouns altogether.]
- Never "out" someone.
- Never inquire about surgery or genitals. [If you want to learn, there are ample books and websites.]
- Recognize that trans people are people too.
One of my favorite newish bloggers, A Lesbian in Pensacola, contacted me and said she'd like to post on BW about suitable butch beach gear. I agreed; it's hard to get more beach-experty than Pensacola, after all! Here she is:
Memorial Day Weekend is almost here, and tens of thousands of queers will head down to Pensacola Beach for a massive party. Whether Pensacola is your destination or you choose another beautiful beach this summer, a few essentials will keep you happy and healthy while enjoying your vacation.
[BW note: Pics like this make me rethink my resolution never to live in Florida...]
The first rule of beachy butchness: nobody likes the boiled lobster look. Wear sunscreen (regardless of your natural skin color)! The beach is a lot more fun if you can go back the next day instead of lying in bed with ice packs and Ibuprofen.
[BW note: Not all tankinis suck. See?]
If you're a softer butch, your style options have expanded in the past few years. Tankinis
that used to consist of generic-looking shorts and squared off tank tops now run the gamut of triathlon-ready to super femme. Athleta
offers tons of sizes, and while a lot of them might be too femme
for some, I love the running-ready variety
. The tops fit like sports bras, and solid colors abound. [BW note: what do you wear under that for a bra? 'Cuz my girls aren't gonna be tamed by that tankini alone.] What we call the "
classic Pensacola dyke" look is easily achieved with a women's bra-style top and men's boardshorts.
[BW note: I have this one.]
Rashguards will keep your skin burn-free and scrape-free. If you’ll be surfing, snorkeling, or on a boat, a good rashguard will be your friend. Rashguards are also a stylish way to cover your upper half, if you’re not excited about any of the bathing suit tops.
[BW note: Non-pastel colors!]
For butches who hate wearing women's swimsuit bottoms, the ever-present boardshorts are still ragingly popular. Women's boardshorts
are often short, fitted, and involve pink
. But there's been a lot of color and style progress recently, though most men's boardshorts
will do just fine, as long as they're not so
long as to inhibit your knees when you're playing in the water. It's maddening to try to stand on a surfboard and get stuck in a squat because your knees are locked in your shorts.
Other beach necessities include:
- Any of the Dykes to Watch Out For books make great beach reading. The comic compilation books are fairly small and easily tucked into a beach bag. Dykes to Watch Out For is like an illustrated soap opera, and strikes a good balance of humor and activism—just the right mix for a long day in the warm sand.
- Sunglasses are a must. Oakley Frogskins have made the rounds back to popularity, and there are myriad color combinations. I remember begging my parents for a pair in middle school, and now I can buy my own if I want to represent my 7th grade self (I'm tempted, minus the braces and long hair). These days, I prefer Oakley Bottle Rocket. They're lightweight and reasonably durable, plus, they wrap around the sides of the eyes, providing extra protection from glare off the sand.
- Flip-flops! Butch styles abound. I've had the best luck with Teva and Reef. Plain black flops complement every type of swimsuit, but plenty of cool designs are out there to give you a little extra color.
- A good beach towel goes a long way. Since your towel is likely what you’ll be intimately familiar with at the beach, don’t skimp. I have yet to find a rainbow towel of any decent quality, but I know they’re out there somewhere.
- Frisbees are perfect for the beach. They don't weigh much or take up a lot of room in a bag, and water and sand won’t ruin them. There’s not much hotter than a beach butch doing something sporty.
- A waterproof case for your phone is a great asset. As long as your phone has a decent camera, you'll probably want to leave your heavy photographic equipment at home. I'm too nervous to dunk my phone regardless of the case, but waterproof protection will definitely come in handy if you get splashed while documenting favorite beach memories.
- Most beach towns don't allow glass near the sand. But one bonus of a developed beachfront is bars. A local drink in a to-go cup—in Pensacola, we chug Bushwhackers—will be fresh, cold, and readily available. For the sober butch, coconut water makes a nice alternative to plain water, and it's available in plastic, cardboard, or aluminum containers.
- If you'll be hitting the sand for more than a couple of hours, you'll want a cooler. All are bulky, so a small, manageable one is your best bet. In addition to drinks, snacks will help you play longer. Even though everything will be on ice, pick something that has a low likelihood of spoiling or melting. Mixed nuts, oranges, and granola bars should hold you until it's time to explore the local restaurants.
Safe travels, and see you on the beach!
[BW note: Thanks for those awesome recs, Pensacola Lesbian! You've not only inspired me to consider putting a "beach" section in the Butch Store, but you've made me want to visit Pensacola!]
I attended an amazing event this weekend, where I got the privilege of spending two days with some of the most accomplished, dynamic LGBTQ folks I've ever met. More on that in a future post, but while I was there, someone asked me what topics I've wanted to address on BW but haven't gotten around to, or that I've found it too hard to write about. I had two answers: (1) Butches and race; (2) Butches and body image. The former is hard to write about because, as a white woman, it's impossible for me to speak from personal experience about how being a racial minority interacts with butchness.
Sure, I can talk about whiteness + butchness, and maybe I will--but I'm still looking for a guest blogger of color to write a post about this (hit me up
if you're interested). Number (2) is hard to write about because it's such a touchy topic for so many people. But I'm going to take my new friend up on his challenge anyway
, and delve into the topic of butches and body image.
First, my experience. I'm not exactly "fat," and I'm usually pretty active (well, when I'm not dealing with mono, whooping cough, or a broken foot). But I'm carrying around about 30 pounds more than I'd like, and the BMI scale puts me solidly in the "overweight" category. I've lost 12 lbs this year without giving up ice cream (because, like, let's be realistic, people), and hope to lose a bit more. So I know firsthand what it's like to be hefty, though admittedly I don't know what it's like to be obese. (And I really
don't know what it's like to be thin.)
I've had multiple butches confide body image issues to me, though always one on one, and sometimes anonymously. There's a sense out there that it's just not "butch" to talk about being insecure about your physical appearance. Most butches don't talk about this with one another; to whom are
we supposed to talk about it? A girlfriend in front of whom we're trying to appear confident? A male friend? A straight female friend? Frankly, none of those options sound appealing.Furthermore, diet and exercise present special problems for butches, which mirror some of the problems faced by straight men. Butches trying to lose weight may think they'll lose butch points if they admit to dieting. The diet industry paints monitoring food intake as something "feminine." I know I wouldn't feel comfortable telling a butch buddy that I'm on a diet. And when it comes to exercise, many of us want to look competent, because physical fitness is "butch," right? But what if we're wheezing after a half mile? What if we can't bench press as much as our femme friends can? Overall, it can be a lot easier to hide behind your butchness than to risk making yourself vulnerable. It's easier to "puff up" as you walk by the gym, but to avoid going in. And don't even get me started on swimsuits.
On the other end of the spectrum, some butches suffer from anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders. And these folks can feel invisible. It can feel decidedly un-butch to seek help for this. And available support groups may not contain a heck of a lot of people who look like you.I hope to post more on this issue soon, but for now, I just wanted to get the topic out there.
We think about our bodies, too, and a lot of us are self-conscious--and we don't always talk about it.
What do you think, butches? Is butchness and body image an issue you've ever thought about? Experienced? Heard about from others? What kinds of issues related to body image would you like to see addressed on BW?
Too many queer women steer clear of wrist adornments because they think bracelets are inconsistent with a masculine fashion aesthetic. I say: no way. It's totally butch to add pops of color and glitz to your outfit (see some basic guidelines
). If you're rocking a fauxhawk, guys' shoes and jeans, and a plaid shirt with a white undershirt (I know I just described at least one in three readers), no one will take you for femme just because there's a string of beads around your wrist.
In fact, your willingness to embrace a little flare can actually underscore
your butchness (note to my buddy C: I dare ya). Ah, but where to start? Well, I've put a bunch of bracelets in the Butch Store, so check those out (I just added a bunch of new ones yesterday). But even better, I wanted to share some of my favorite Etsy sellers. I love all of the bracelets I'm describing here and I wear them all myself (yeah, that's my albino wrist in most of the pics). [Disclaimer: these sellers gifted me a bracelet to review. But per usual, I've refused to review anything I don't like, and none of these are paid endorsements.]
| |Existential Ella
Not only is Ella one of the very sweetest, kindest sellers I've ever met online, but she's also a big supporter of the gay community. Her quality, color combos, and variety of styles are way fun, and I wear the bracelet pictured here a lot (and it hasn't started to fray even a little). Great for layering with other bracelets, too! Prices vary depending on number of colors, design, etc. Totally customizable!
| |Beaded Graffiti
When I got this in the mail, I may have stopped breathing for a second. Seriously, this thing is gorgeous. It's also my DGF's favorite of all of these. The individual beads are delicate, but in a thick row like this, it's definitely butch. The craftsmanship is stellar. While this exact one isn't currently being sold, this one
and this one
are just as awesome. They run in the $40 neighborhood for single-wrap.
| || |GS Jewelry
If you want to spoil yourself or a butch loved one with a high-quality wraparound, GS Jewelry is a fabulous place to look. I've included a pic of my personal favorite
, which I love wearing with anything brown or (admittedly rarely) pink. $30. I want this one
| |Fauve Bleu HazelwoodSupposedly, hazelwood is good for a large number of maladies: arthritis, osteoporosis, migranes, and more. Though I can't attest to this, I can attest to the
excellent versatility of the bracelets made by Fauve Bleu Hazelwood. The wood's hue will lighten over time, but it still looks good. The one pictured here
is $12.95, and there are scores of colors available, too--plus anklets and bracelet/anklet sets.
| || |Ida EstelleAt first glance, the stop might look a little glitzy for butches, but it's worth looking closer. Ida Estelle has some real gems, including this number (pictured left
), which has just the right amount of bling. $36.
| |Wink & BaubleI've misplaced my Wink & Bauble bracelet (gr!), so you don't get the joy of seeing my pasty white wrist in this photo. Their shop is chock full of any bright color you want
--orange, bright blue, etc. Single, double, and triple wraps are available. The nifty one I've pictured
will set you back $42.50, but it'll certainly last.
| || |Son of a Sailor
Though their stuff doesn't really fit my style, I wanted to include these guys in my review because their bracelets are cool, well-made, and I can think of lots of people on whom they'd look rockin'. Don't you love the androgynous pink + blue
? I want to gift mine to one of my favorite trans* bloggers. $28. Keep yours from getting wet (it'll stain).
BTW, if you're not sure how to layer your scores of excellent bracelets, here's an example of how to rock the layered look. Basically, everything goes with everything as long as there's no egregious clashing happening. (If you can't decide whether it's okay, you should probably assume it's fine. The standard rules of matching don't apply to casual jewelry.) You should probably skip loading up on bracelets for a job interview, but pretty much everywhere else, you're set. Especially great for the summer, if you're like me and tend to rock plain T-shirts and shorts whenever possible. A pop o' color is totally--even hella--butch.
Occasionally I get email from other aspiring queer bloggers asking for advice, and I received another one recently, so I thought I'd share some general, hard-won blogging advice. Take it all with a boulder of salt.BW's Tips for Bloggers
I'm sure other bloggers feel differently about lots of this stuff, and I hope they'll weigh in with other thoughts they have. What about you, dear readers? What are your favorite qualities in a blog?
- Assuming you want an audience, your blog should revolve around a theme, not just be a diary. For a following, you need an angle. (Once you have a following, it's okay to deviate sometimes--regular readers are forgiving... As, I hope, you all are right now...)
- Let your personality shine through. Whether it's nerdy, quirky, punny, whatever--it's genuine you, and this is the fun of it.
- Keep a running list of possible topics. Then on the weeks you're running dry, check the list and see what inspires you.
- You don't need to know anything about coding or building websites. Personally I use Weebly, because I like their templates and options and easy-to-view stats. But there's also WordPress and a bunch of others.
- Reach out to more experienced bloggers. After you've got 10-12 good posts, ask if they'll put you on their blog rolls.
- Don't feel obligated to post every day. It's nice if you can, but you don't want the blog to feel like something you have to do.
- Give people an option to subscribe to your blog via email.
- Do it for love, not money. I'm positive I've spent more on BW than I've earned. Would I like to make a living writing BW? You bet. Am I willing to post ads all over my page and pimp products I don't care about? No freakin' way.
- Have patience! It can take a really long time for your audience to grow.
- Some people will hate you, disagree with you, and/or think you're stupid--and won't be afraid to say so. Pay attention to thoughtful critiques; ignore the morons.
- Don't be defensive. You will screw up. When you do, admit it.
- You're going to offend some people, even if you try not to. This is not a nice feeling, but it's a virtually inevitable one.
- Readers love pictures, especially if you take them yourself.
- Have fun! Be silly, be weird, be random. If you're laughing while you're writing, your readers will laugh while reading it.
- Keep a separate email account for blog-related email. This will keep your blog life from leaking into your work life, and vice versa.
- Think carefully about whether to be anonymous. It's a hard choice. I'm still closeted for professional reasons (and deeply ambivalent about it), but plan on coming out in the next couple years. Once you're "out," you can't go un-ring the bell. While being up-front about your real identity will increase your credibility (and get you a bigger following, I bet!), it may limit what you feel comfortable writing about.
- Social media is your friend! Lots of people have stumbled across BW randomly through Twitter and Facebook.
- Don't write about friends/family who read your blog, unless they've told you it's okay, or you specifically let them know ahead of time. Some will get pissed off; it's hard to predict who. Also: use pseudonyms.
- Interact with your readers! Most of them will be awesome, and eventually you'll probably get more emails than you can handle, but if you see blogging more as a conversation than a mouthpiece, readers will be engaged (and they'll share smart, interesting ideas that will teach you cool things and inspire you to write more!).
- You're allowed to vary: sometimes you may be funny, sometimes reflective, sometimes informative. Don't feel like you have to keep up some kind of consistent "persona."
- Don't get too obsessed with your numbers, and certainly don't write in response to them (e.g., "People like posts about fashion so I'd better write about nothing but fashion").
- Don't apologize if you go a while without blogging. (Yeah, I broke my own rule recently. Sue me.) Just roll with it.
- Focus on creating good, interesting content. Rachel Maddow said recently that there are too many great content-container creators and not enough great content creators. Be one of the great ones, and strive to get better. I'm talking about technical stuff (for grammar tips, there's no better source than Strunk and White) and non-technical stuff. Think of the bloggers you admire most. Why do you like their posts? Strive to embody the qualities you admire.
- Good writing takes way more time than you think it will.
- Understand that you have something to say. If you're thinking about blogging, it's because you want to tell something to the masses. Don't second-guess yourself. Everyone's an expert on his or her own corner of the world. A blog is an awesome way to share your point of view!
As you know, I enjoy wearing queer themed t-shirts
. And I'm not the only one! Two awesome BW fans in SF (who contributed to this entry, btw) have created this "JUDGE ME" T-shirt
to help keep the DOMA and Prop 8 Marriage Equality debates centered on the LGBTQ community and our allies. They're donating all proceeds to
a combo of important charities: the Human Rights Campaign, SF's LGBTQ Community Center, and Lyric
, a Queer youth empowerment program. (Check out the video
.) There are only TWO DAYS left in their campaign
and, with your help, I think we can push them over their goal. Whaddaya say?
I just received a note from a reader who's having trouble communicating with her butch DGF ("dear girlfriend"). She asked if I could "translate" some common butch idioms.
One mistake many butch-lovers make is assuming that butches are just like the stereotypes they have of heterosexual men. If you Google "what men really mean," you'll find hundreds of sites purporting to explain exactly this. Let's leave aside for a moment the offensive nature of most of those articles, and assume for the sake of argument that there's some truth to them. Even so, [non-male-identified] butches are not men, and "rules" of "understanding men" apply to us only sometimes.
It's impossible to write something like this without giant, whopping dollops of stereotype. I figure I'll get flak for this, but I went ahead and made a list anyway. I'll will be interested to learn whether any of it resonates with you.
IF A BUTCH SAYS:
"Nothing is wrong."
"I guess you could invite your friends."
"Are you tired?"
"I was not checking her out."
"Nah, she's not hot."
"I'm not looking for a relationship right now."
"I'm not looking to commit."
"I'm going to go take a walk."
"Sarah is so cool!"
"It's more romantic with the lights off."
"We should probably get going soon."
"I'll fix it later."
A BUTCH MEANS:
"I'm not ready to discuss it."
"But I wanted it to be just you and me!"
"Are we having sex tonight?"
"I'm embarrassed--can't you give me a pass this time?"
"Maybe she's hot, but you're the one I find attractive."
"I don't want to date you (but I might sleep with you)."
It could mean exactly that, or "I'm just not that into you."
"I am mad or sad, but I have to think about it alone for a while."
"Why are we still talking about this?"
"Maybe Sarah can be our friend." (Note: this is not the same as "I want to sleep with Sarah.")
"I'm self-conscious about my body too, you know!"
"I am faint with hunger and my stomach is digesting itself."
"I have no idea how to fix it, but I'll Google it in secret."
(Writing this, I realized that while I would like to think that I'm incredibly straightforward and literal practically to a fault, that's not always true...)
How about you? Did any of these examples sound familiar? What's some other "butchspeak" that needs to be translated?