When I started this blog, I swore that I was never going to apologize for not posting frequently enough. I'll just post whenever I want
, I thought. It's not like I'm going to feel guilty if I don't
I'm going to go back on my word: sorry it's been so long since I posted! A few things have happened in the last month-ish of time that have taken me away from blogging. Want to know what they are?
So there it is, dear readers; you're totally caught up on my life. Now stay tuned for our regularly scheduled programming...
- Someone I respect immensely recommended a job to me that I wouldn't have considered on my own. Now I've applied and have that kind of excitement that buzzes around in your head and throat and prevents you from doing anything useful. I'm not sure if I'm more scared that I won't get the job, or that I will. Either way, it's shaken things up in a way that is not at all unpleasant.
- I am taking two classes, just for fun. Haven't done this in a while. Readings! Homework! Papers! It's madness, I tell you!
- My DGF and I turned some kind of indefinable "corner" and I feel closer to her than ever.
- I broke my foot and it has to be in an "air cast" for two more weeks. Then I get another x-ray. And only then am I allowed to even think about getting back to hiking. Gah!
- My DXH and his DGF are engaged! Whoa! I am immensely happy for both of them and excited because they are totally happy and make a phenomenal couple. (Actually, they got engaged more than a month ago, but they sent me their wedding website the other day, and that was when I realized: OMG. They're getting married!)
- I met Butch on Tap when she took a work-related trip to my neck of the woods. It was fun! We agreed that we are officially friends, and I'm hoping we'll collaborate on some stuff in the future. Stay tuned...
- I thought lot about the gay marriage arguments, listened to the oral argument in Windsor, and started to write a couple of different pieces about it, none of which came to fruition because they all devolved into rambling about how much I admire people like Edie Windsor, and how grateful I am to the LGBTQ folks who paved the way for us.
Several weeks ago, I featured three new butch-centered clothing companies
, Saint Harridan
, and Tomboy Tailors
. Since then, I've heard about many related companies--some focused on masculine women, some not--but all
geared toward queer women, and all worth knowing about.
- Androgynous: Their lookbook boasts cool, modern styles. Not totally masculine... but not that girly, either. Keep an eye on these guys.
- Focx: A super cool butch/boi underwear company I've seen. I have a few boxcers from them and love 'em.
- Marimacho: Based in Brooklyn, it offers "classic clothing for the unconventionally masculine," including swimwear and steampunk gear.
- Original Tomboy: A rare lesbian from the world of (Project) runway fashion, Alicia Hardesty wants to redefine the phrase "dress like a girl."
- The Butch Clothing Company: This British company offers lots of different suit styles, all for fairly formal occasions.
- Studville: A source for casual lesbian-themed clothing, particularly hats, tees, and accessories.
- Kreuzbach10: This newly-funded Australian company will make men's shirts to fit women's bodies. I look forward to seeing more from them.
- Let's Be Brief: Ah, but what do you wear under your vests and bow ties? LBB has you covered: underwear designed for LGBTQ folks.
- Seven Even Clothing: Currently limited to tees, hats, sweatpants, and hoodies, but definitely some cool designs for casual wear.
And of course, there's my own pet project, the Butch Store
, which isn't my own line of stuff, just a bunch of links to things I think butches will love.
(At left is a sample of the Marimacho look from their website. Cool, no?)
Do you know of any other companies I should add to this list? What do you think of these guys? Are there any big gaps you'd still like to see filled?
I get a lot of questions about how to know if you're butch. For many of us, this can be something *really* important to figure out. The following five-question quiz is a great guideline to help you figure out where you fall on the butchness spectrum. Keep track of how many A's, B's, and C's you get.
1. If you had to pick one of the following, would you say you have:
a. Too many watches or ties
b. Too many sweatshirts or baseball caps
c. Just the right amount of all four items
2. Hold your right pinky finger against your left thumb. Which is longer (measure from the base of each finger)?
c. they're exactly the same
3. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one type of entertainment, which would you choose?
a. A set of weights, a basketball, and a basketball hoop
b. An iPod loaded with your favorite music
c. Several dozen of your favorite books, plus a pen and paper
4. Have you ever broken a bone?
a. Yes, and I went to the doctor.
b. Probably, but I don't like doctors so I don't go.
5. Of the following three options, would you prefer to vacation in:
a. The Galapagos Islands, to check out wildlife
b. Tokyo, to immerse yourself in a fast-paced city
c. The next county over, because there are cool things close to home
Finished? Okay, now tally up your answers. Give yourself:1 point for every "A"2 points for every "C"3 points for every "B"Add up all the points (you should get between 5 and 15 points). Then make the following adjustments:
Got your number? Click here to see what your score means.
- Add one point to it if you have 5 or more neckties, and two points if you have 10 or more neckties.
- Take away one point if you've ever had sex with someone you consider more butch than yourself.
- Add one point if you have a dog (no extra points for additional dogs).
Hi, dear readers! I've been MIA for a while--many reasons for that--but I'll be back in the blogging saddle soon. Meanwhile, I'm thrilled to share this guest post from a writer I hope will become a regular guest blogger. She's a hot (single!) femme who goes by the pseudonym "Dr. Joyce Sisters" (and she has a PhD in real life, too). Please show her some love in the comments! Muchos affection, BW
The Perils of the "Nice Ex"
By Dr. Joyce Sisters
Finding out that my fiancé was having an affair with one of my best friends was my own personal hell. Or so I thought… Until my partner of three and a half years dumped me and I was quickly replaced… with an ex. Okay, okay—so she’s not really an “ex.” But we definitely did the mattress dance on more than one occasion.
It doesn’t matter how much relationship experience you have or how many break-ups you’ve been through; they hurt just the same. And on a scale of 1 to 10, that level of hurt is at least a 20. The thing about lesbian break-ups is that our community is small. Inevitably, your ex will be f&*#ing a friend, a former lover, or the ex of a former lover. This exacerbates the level of hurt to somewhere between 21 and 80, depending on how close you are to your ex’s new paramour.
The other factor to consider when calculating your level of hurt is your ex’s behavior. At first glance, the relationship might appear linear: the more unkind her behavior, the more hurt you’ll feel. But this is not the case. Rather, the relationship looks more like an italicized “J” with more intense pain associated with “nicer” exes.
Inspired by BW’s fancy graph from a few weeks ago, I made the following to demonstrate this statistical relationship:
Notice that the lowest level of pain you can experience is still quite substantial (20). As we move to the left – representing the predicted pain for less and less nice (or meaner) exes, pain increases. Why? Because we question how this person we loved and cared about could behave in such a cruel manner. In these instances, we grieve less over the person and more over the belief that we are decent judges of character. We can no longer fool ourselves into thinking that we will be safe from heartache because of our exceptional ability to pick kind and loving girlfriends.
Now, consider the “nice” ex. The nice ex breaks up with you. She might even break up with you, say, the day before the biggest interview of your life or when you are 3000 miles away from family and friends that could offer support (just hypothetically, of course). But she texts your best friend every day to see how you are doing and how the interview went. She’ll tell you that you are the most beautiful, smart, kind woman she’s ever been with. She’ll insist that you’ll be connected forever and occupy a special place in her heart. She’ll want to be “friends.”
You may choose to spend time apart to transition from lovers to friends, but once you’re on speaking terms again, she’ll call or text to engage in friendly gossip about mutual friends. She’ll occasionally call you honey, baby, or sweetheart. She’ll send you a small gift just because she saw it and thought of you. She’ll call you on her way home from work and pull over on the side of the road to talk to you because her new girlfriend (NG) is at her house and she doesn’t want to hurt NG’s or your feelings.
Objectively, this behavior is nice. I mean, my best friend and I do use terms of endearment with one another, send each other gifts, and are careful not to hurt one another’s feelings. But, your ex is not your best friend. This same behavior coming from a recent former lover can lead to excruciating levels of pain. Why? Three reasons. First, it reminds you of what you lost. Second, it denies you the opportunity to make up stories about how awful she is. Third, it keeps you hooked. If you take the bait, you’re only going to feel foolish when she rejects you again. A “nice” ex can reject you over and over and over with infuriating kindness.
By the way, don’t blame yourself for still having feelings or for wanting (or asking for) her back. And, don’t let your her make you feel crazy (e.g., “What? I’m so surprised! I thought we were just friends! We’ve been over this a hundred times.”) Of course you have feelings for her. She has been sending you mixed messages. You are not crazy. She is crazy if she is genuinely surprised that you still have feelings in light of your recent interactions.
It is natural--though perhaps unhealthy--to want to have her in your life. Also, if she really is nice, she probably has a lot of friends, so not being friends with her may cause you to lose friends. (I know, it’s so unfair.)
My best advice is this. When you’re least emotional, choose a “way” of being around your ex. That is, decide how you want to behave when you are in her presence (e.g., if you run into her and NG at the bar or have a weekly phone call with her). Perhaps you want to be graceful, courageous or classy. Calm, cool, and collected. (I chose “apathetic.”) It doesn’t really matter what you choose, but I recommend picking something that confirms that you will never be with your ex again. In other words, do not chose a way of being because you think it will appeal to her and make her want you back.
Once you have adopted a way of being, act in accordance with that way of being at all times. Inevitably, you won’t want to act gracefully when you run into her at the local co-op. But you are not your feelings. You are a human being with the ability to take actions that are inconsistent with your feelings.
Of course, this requires self-control. Recent research tells us that self-control is like a muscle. We all have it to varying degrees, we have a limited supply, and we can expand our potential to exercise self-control the more we practice. If we exercise it at one point, it is harder in the moments that follow to continue to exercise self-control. During this vulnerable time, limit the number of situations that require extraordinary amounts of self-control; you will need as much of it as possible when interacting with your ex.
Simultaneously, increase the number of situations that require small amounts of self-control. For example, take a short walk even though you want to stay in bed, practice not interrupting, go to McDonald’s but don’t supersize it. This will increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to act in ways that are consistent with the way of being you chose instead of screaming, crying, or spitting in NG’s face.
What else can you do to get over an ex? Readers, have you ever successfully transitioned from lovers to friends? I am especially interested in hearing from those who have been dumped. What did you do to ease the transition?
Mad 4 Equality is on! I'm partnering with Bess Sadler
and the Feral Librarian
(pictured left as a sports-loving dyke-in-training) to run a women's and a men's tourney to benefit the Trevor Project
and the Campaign for Southern Equality
Fill out your women's bracket before the first game on Saturday
, and the men's before Thursday's game tips off. Winner gets 1/3 of the pot!
Things You Need to Do for Entry:
- On the PayPal links below, buy an entry ($10 minimum, but you can donate more; it's for LGBTQ equality and youth suicide prevention, after all!). Be sure to name your bracket!
- Sign up for a free ESPN account and fill out your bracket using the same name you typed into PayPal.
- Join the Mad4Equality and/or Mad4Equality Men's group.
We'll also be giving prizes for creativity, so don’t be shy about entering your best theme-based bracket (e.g., cutest mascot or gayest coach).
Yay! Let's go @mad4equality!
Remember the questions I posed to you
a few months ago? Here are three interesting answers to one of the toughest ones:"Describe how some other identity you have (race, religion, social class, whatever) interacts with your sexual orientation."Response #1 (From Kyle at Butchtastic):
The intersections of my ethnicity, class, educational background, age with my gender identity and butchness is an area of great fascination for me. I’ve really been looking at these intersections in earnest in the past couple of years. I know that I receive privilege in some circumstances because of my age, because I’m white, and sometimes because of my masculinity, even if people don’t perceive me to be male. So how have those elements of my identity interacted with my sexual orientation?
First off, it’s queer--my orientation, that is. I use "queer" because listing all the aspects of orientation for my male and female sides takes several words: bisexual, lesbian, faggot, even straight... well ok, never "straight." Even if my female side hooked up with a cis man... it would still be queer sex. I haven’t examined these intersectionalities really at all.
My socioeconomic class has definitely had an impact on where I live, the people I meet through work, shopping, activities, and walking around the neighborhood. I more easily relate to people who have backgrounds similar to mine in terms of class, education, religion, race. But none of that is really about my sexual orientation.
I guess I’ll have to think about that more. It's a good question. I gave up religion when I was 13, before coming out as a lesbian, so that didn’t end up having much impact. Growing up in an aspiring middle class family meant I was given a lot of freedom of expression and association, even though my parents were not happy when I came out to them at 17. They didn’t limit me to only befriending particular classes or categories, nor did they try to hook me up with boys.Response #2 (From "BT"):
Being a Christian is by far the identity that interacts most with my sexual orientation and until very recently my Christian identity was a big, mean, nasty bully to my butch lesbian identity. I have known in some form or another that I am a lesbian since I was four-years-old and I also have been a Christian since around that time. The two identities were at war within me from the time I was 4 until I was 27.
When I was 17, I let my lesbian self have the upper hand for a little while but all that did was spiral me into a deeper depression and greater self-loathing for the next ten years. The guilt and shame almost took me to my grave. I was at the point where it finally clicked that if I didn’t accept every bit of who I am I would be miserable for the rest of my life.
But how could I be a Christian and
a lesbian? I basically had tried everything I possibly could to change my sexual orientation, even my own version of the dreaded conversion therapy. Nothing worked. It was clear to me that I must have been born this way. If it had just been childhood trauma or whatever else I was telling myself then the therapy would have changed my homosexual tendencies. So now I have finally accepted the grace that Jesus has extended to me. I have given grace to myself. I am accepted and loved no matter what. I can’t say that the two identities are in perfect balance now, I still have a ways to go but the battle has finally ended. After 23 years, my Christian and lesbian identities have embraced and I am no longer a person torn in two.Response #3 (From "KH"):
I am a seminarian working on my Masters of Divinity hoping to become an Episcopal priest when I graduate from seminary. The identity of being an Episcopal seminarian plays a major role in my life. While the Episcopal church is very accepting of LGBT folks, ordaining gays, performing same-sex blessings and marriages, etc., I am still faced everyday with the question of how out can I be/do I want to be to my classmates and Bishop. I am from a Midwestern state, so my bishop and my diocese isn't necessarily as liberal as in other parts of the country.
It seems like when you are out in seminary you become that "token lesbian" who can or is expected to answer theological questions for the entire community. Also, attending seminary in southern Tennessee, I was the first out lesbian that several of my classmates had met. Everyone had met a gay man before, but not a lesbian. One of my classmates said to me the first couple of weeks we were here, "To southerners, gay men aren't scary. But lesbians, they scare us. We don't know or understand how they work, dress, have sex, etc."
It has been interesting to see how people interact with me because I break a lot of the labels that are given to lesbians in the south and break what they have heard about us and believe. But I love that my classmates are so open minded and give me a chance to be who I am without putting a label on me.
I also feel like a lot of the time the lesbian community isn't sure how to react to me/handle me either. It isn't every day that you meet a lesbian who is a soft butch that wants to become a priest. The LGBT community also doesn't always feel the love from the religious community. Many churches treat our community horribly. But it should teach us that we don't always like the labels that come with being a lesbian, so we shouldn't label a church without knowing something about them first either.
I am proud of who I am and the identity I have as a lesbian and as a seminarian.
I've gotten eight zillion emails from readers who identify as "of size" or "fat" or "bigger" or "hefty" or "rotund," and want to know how they can dress stylishly and comfortably as larger butches.
If you're non-gender-conforming OR on the huskier side, you've probably felt self-conscious about your appearance. Combining BOTH can leave you feeling like a fashion pariah simply because you don't look like other people (and you challenge two
mainstream ideals of attractiveness).
The attractiveness bias has been well-documented, so I'm not going to go on and on about how all bodies are beautiful (they are), how health is more important than size (it is), or how we should accept ourselves for who we are now while striving to be who we'd like to be (we should). Instead, I'm just going to give you some advice about how to look your best.
Some General Fashion Principles for Husky Butches:
And now, some specifics!Don't Wear:
- Some people perceive overweight people as per se slobby. If you care what these nitwits think of you (and if you don't, good for you!), then you can overcome this assumption by extra attention to detail: shiny shoes, spiffy glasses, sharp haircut. The same hair people might call "tousled" on a skinny boi may play as "slept-on" for you.
- Confidence (not cockiness) is sexy! Walk with your shoulders back, not hunched over to hide your weight.
- Don't assume that people won't find you sexy. They will! You can still look great and get dates with hot people. I promise.
- Buy clothes that fit you now. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's bought a pair of pants whose fit is--erm--aspirational at best. Don't worry about sizes or draw lines in the sand ("I'll never buy an XL, no matter what"). Just worry about finding clothes that fit. And don't put off buying clothes "until [you] lose weight." It's hard to feel good about yourself in ill-fitting clothes. When it comes to fashion, live in the now.
- Understand that while there are downsides to being overweight, there are also downsides to being teensy. For one, you aren't mistaken for a little boy, which the featherweight bois sometimes are. This means that you can go all-out on dapper looks they might not be able to pull off.
- Skinny ties or skinny jeans. You aren't skinny, and your clothes shouldn't be, either.
- Super baggy pants. They don't make you look thin; they just look ill-fitting.
- Double-breasted jackets. Unless you are comfortable looking like you weigh 20 lbs more than you really do, in which case, no problem.
- Clothes that bunch around the waist. This doesn't actually flatter anyone, but it especially doesn't flatter the fatter.
- Pleated pants. Ever. (Actually, the only place for men's pleated pants is on the golf course--and even then, you're veering toward smarmy).
Any other tips you'd like to share? Any other questions you have about how to dress as a bigger butch?
- Dark colors. They're especially yummy on you, big butches: navy blue, dark grey, dark olive, chocolate brown... Consider these colors if you haven't.
- Tailored clothes. Yeah, I know it's expensive, but tailoring can do magic for your clothes. If you can't get something that fits you everywhere, get something that fits the largest part of you. It's easier for tailors to make things smaller than larger. (This is especially important if you're short and stout, since it's harder to find the right clothes off the rack.) It's better to have two pairs of pants that fit than five that don't.
- Suspenders. I've never tried them, but I really should--they're supposed to be awesome because while a belt can squeeeeze your midsection, suspenders help you cut a svelter figure (or so I'm told).
- A blazer and jeans, This is a look you can totally rock. To prep it up, go for a dark blue blazer. Your shirt should roughly match the darkness/tone of your jeans.
- Corduroy pants with thin stripes (not thick ones). The most underrated pants ever!
- Pants that sit at your hips--below your belly button, not at it. (No need to look extra short-waisted, after all.)
- Fun things: watches, bracelets, cool sunglasses, bow ties, whatever. Don't be afraid to experiment with different looks--you can be the dapperest butch in the bunch, regardless of size.
Just a quick post to announce that The Trevor Project
won the poll, and 1/3 of the proceeds from Mad 4 Equality will be donated there. Thanks for voting--I expect to post entry info in a day or two, and am super stoked about the tournament. Stay tuned!On a slightly different BW note, I wanted to apologize for being such a lax little blogger lately. A couple different things have been going on, one of which involved me stepping off of a sidewalk onto uneven pavement and twisting my foot, causing a ligament to pull a chunk of bone off. So I'm hobbling around on crutches and demanding things from my DGF, who is being a ridiculously wonderful sport about it. I'll try to pick up the pace, though, for your reading pleasure. I miss you guys! Love, BW
All are awesome, but like March Madness itself, only one can come out on top. Check out the orgs, then vote. Here are links to your choices:
Now it's time to cast your vote! This poll will be open through the afternoon of Monday, March 11.
You've probably heard of the "half your age plus seven" rule of age differences in dating. The idea is that you divide your age by two, then add seven; that's the youngest person you're "allowed" to date. It's silly, but functions as a supposed "guide" to "acceptable" age differences.
Tons of people reach Butch Wonders by searching for things like "lesbian age differences," "age difference formula gay," and "what's the rule for gay age differences?" I can yammer on for days about how it's silly to have a "formula," how all relationships are unique, and yada yada yada. But at the end of the day, people want an easy answer.
So here's your easy answer. In the gay community, we get a bit more leeway. The acceptable age difference for us is wider than it is for straight people, and the difference grows as we age.
The age difference formula for same-sex relationships is graphed below. We are in blue; opposite-sex relationships are in red. (I know this doesn't take into account bi-gendered people and many other shades of queer, but that involved parabolas and was just too complicated.) The formula is one-third your age plus ten years.
This took extremely difficult, comprehensive, and painstaking research on my part--not to mention, many sleepless nights. Now let's practice.
If you're straight and 30, you can date a 22-year-old. If you're gay and 30, a 20-year-old. 48 and straight? A 31-year-old. But 48 and gay? a 26-year-old. Ka-bam! You've got it!
So, now you know. There's your formula. One-third your age plus 10. If you deviate from it simply to make yourself "happy," or because you've "fallen in love" or whatever, know that you're contravening science itself.