Sometimes I get questions from readers in which the reader is essentially asking me if he or she is some kind of weird outlier. For example:
- Do some gay men find trans men attractive?
- Do some femmes date other femmes?
- Are some people mostly attracted to older lesbians?
- Are some FTMs into bi cis guys?
Due to the sheer, huge, incredible range of human interests and preference, whenever you're asking if some people X, or whether some people of type Y find people of type Z attractive, the answer is always the same: yes
.In fact, we could make a mad lib of it:Do some [type of person, plural] find [adjective] [gender or sexual orientation] attractive?Yes, yes, yes. Some butches are only into other butches (BW raises hand). Some non-binary trans people only want to date femmes who wear leather. Some guys who identify as gay are attracted to masculine cis women. Whatever your preference, identity, interest, or sexual proclivity, I feel safe saying: you are not alone. Just because you haven't met anyone in your town who's like you doesn't mean that there aren't tons of them in the wider world. Heck, it doesn't even mean there isn't anyone in your town like you. Many people are scared to be out and proud about their preferences because they're afraid other people will laugh at them, or tell them they're weird.Well, I'm here to tell you that there's nothing "weird" about knowing what you like. There's nothing odd about having preferences that seem different from other people's (assuming those preferences are legal and don't hurt anyone, of course). And there's nothing wrong or strange about having your attractions change over time. After all, you didn't come out as queer to be like everyone else, did you? Why the heck would you want to start now?
I thought I'd lay out some crucial, basic tie-wearing tips I've been asked about. Even if you know nothing
else about ties, you need to know this stuff:Q: Where should my tie end? A:
At the middle of your belt. Most people know not to let it land too far above
the belt, but letting it land a couple inches below
is just as bad. Q: But then I have to re-tie my tie about 20 times to get it right.A: Yeah, at first--eventually you'll get good at it, though. This is the price we pay for looking dapper. Just be glad no one's making you wear high heels.Q: How wide should my tie be?A: If the tie is between 2.5 inches and 3 inches at the widest point, you're good. This is a "narrow" tie. A skinny tie is about 2 inches wide at the widest point.
I'm not against skinny ties per se, though I think some caution is prudent
.Q: What's the most common butch faux pas you see re: neckties?
A: Okay, admittedly no one actually asked me this, but I feel compelled to share.
At fancy events, I often see butches in too-wide ties that land a couple inches below their belts. This makes a butch look like she's raided her father's closet. Please stop.Q: I never know what knot to wear.
A: A four-in-hand is the easiest to learn, and safe for all except the most formal occasions
. If you're going to learn only one knot, this is the one. Have a friend teach you, or watch this British guy
, whom I find amusing. And: practice, practice, practice!Q: What's the deal with the "dimple?" Do I need one?
A: Yup, you do. A "dimple" just means that if your knot doesn't do it naturally, you push in the fabric right below the knot. Here's a picture. Q: Do I need fancy shoes?
A: Absolutely not. As long as your look is pulled together, there are all kinds of different ways to dress down a tie.Q: You've suggested wearing a loosened tie. How loose is too loose?
A: I undo the top button of the shirt, then pull gently at either side of the collar. You're going for this or this, not for this.Q: Is it okay to wear a tie bar? Where do I put it?
A: Sure. Just make sure it's not wider than your tie, and wear it between the third and fourth buttons of your shirt, clipping the whole tie to the shirt.
If you have any more questions about tie-wearing, just let me know. Meanwhile, I'd love it if you'd send me
pictures of yourself in a tie. I'll post a bunch of my favorites as fashion examples for BW readers!
I've been troubled lately by some writings by butch authors. Things like:
I'm paraphrasing, but not by much. These kind of sentiments strike me as sexist/misogynistic. I mean... we all have the right to preferences--I don't dispute that. But imagine that a heterosexual cis man wrote the things above. ("Women are so emotional. I'm not. It's a guy thing." Or insisting that only he gets to BBQ or fix things.) Sure, he has the right to prefer those things, and they would probably lead me to suspect that he was a sexist, and someone I wouldn't like very much.Why should these kinds of sentiments be different when a butch expresses them about a relationship she wants with a femme? Is it inherently different simply because they're both female? I'd argue that it's not.
- I want my femme to look good all the time. I expect her to dress up, put on makeup, etc., whenever we go out.
- Don't open the door for me. I'm the one who opens the doors, BBQs, and fixes things, thank you very much.
- Femmes are so emotional. I'm not. It's a butch thing. Don't expect me to know what you're thinking, and quit crying all the time.
When mentioned this to my DGF (dear girlfriend), she laughed. "Don't you know that's how most people think of butches?" she asked. "When people think butch
, they think of people who want to play a traditionally 'male' role in a relationship." She went on to explain that this is part of the reason she doesn't identify as butch herself, even though (trust me) she totally is.This all gave me pause. Sure, my DGF is more than a decade
older than me, so maybe her sense of people's perceptions of "butch" are different for that reason. Or maybe there's just something I'm failing to comprehend about butch-femme relationships, since I don't prefer to be in them myself.What do you all think? Do the kinds of comments I bulleted above strike you as sexist or misogynistic
? Are they the kinds of things you assume a person thinks when she tells you she identifies as butch?
Hey all! So I've been in bed with mono for two weeks. I'm definitely starting to feel better, but DANG mono can last a long time. Being sick has gotten downright mono
-tonous. Har, har. I've eaten boatloads of saltines, grown tired of red Gatorade (the original kind--this G2/G3 business is cray cray), and played dozens (hundreds?) of rounds of Gems with Friends.Meanwhile, the out-of-doors has become downright fall-ish in my neck of the woods. Though I've yet to consume my two favorite autumn foods, candy corn and pumpkin pie, I'm in a November mood. Some people are posting one thing for which they're grateful every day this month (thanks for the tipoff, Bee Listy).
But I thought I'd shoot my proverbial gratefulness wad all at once (yes, I really did just write that sentence) and list 30 things here and now. Boom.
What's on your gratefulness list, dear readers? Comment below and list at least three things, large or small.
- The election results! A president who isn't scared to mention The Gays in his acceptance speech! Elizabeth Warren! Maine and Maryland! There is much to celebrate.
- Fiction! The pleasure of reading stories, of turning pages, of becoming subsumed in the printed word. Right now I'm reading Murakami's Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman and Bolano's The Savage Detectives, and am enjoying both very much.
- My DGF (dear girlfriend)! Her mischievous smile, her dancing, her sense of humor, her curiosity about the world--all of these things make me happy, and I love her more every day.
- A sense of relative security! Sure, I have student loans up the wazoo and earn a rather wee salary, but on a day-to-day basis, I don't wonder if I can afford groceries or heat, and that is an incredibly comforting feeling that many people do not get to have.
- Succulents! Recently my DGF and I have gotten addicted to succulents, and have been having a lot of fun growing them. You can propagate them from leaves! How cool is that? (Answer: very.)
- BW readers! I love that I get to write something a lot of people enjoy reading. I am very grateful that you read this blog.
- Friends! BB, CB, KC, MK, JG, DD, SJB, E&E, MT, LR, TH, and many others. Friends give me perspective and make me feel loved.
- Warm showers!
- Being a butch lesbian! I'm grateful that I can present the way I really am, be out, and be me--fleece vests and all.
- My dog, Scout! Scout is my buddy. Loyal, smart, playful, and absurdly well-behaved. When I go running, she goes with me. When I'm sick, she never leaves my side. Especially if I'm eating something.
- Dr. W! My therapist is amazing. She helps me understand who I am, gain courage, work on my strengths, and be a better person. She also has a fabulous BS-detector (important when working with me).
- Projects! I love having projects going. Research projects, art projects, writing projects. Projects, projects.
- Fruit! Particularly pomegranates and Fuyu persimmons (the flat kind).
- Trail running! I want to work up to doing a lot more of it, because I find it exhilarating and challenging.
- Rainy days!
- Sunny days!
- Music! Music can elevate my mood, stir up memories or make me dance. I am also grateful for the ability to make up my own songs (something which is almost certainly not on my DGF's gratitude list).
- My new shoes! They're making my plantar fasciitis feel a little better. Plus, they are orange, and I love orange.
- My parents! I am absurdly similar to them in some ways and absurdly different in others. My relationship with them has evolved a great deal and their support for me has been unwavering. I love them immensely.
- My friendship with my mom! This deserves its own list item.
- Home! I live in a place I really like--both the house and the region.
- Writing! Of all kinds. Words to paper. Words to screen. Words to napkins in ballpoint pen. Words words words.
- My brother, sister-in-law, and niece (+1 on the way)! They're an awesome family, and I can't wait to hang out with them next month.
- The smells on my drive home! There are all kinds of trees on my way home, and I love how they smell: piney and earthy and dewy.
- Humor! God, I'm grateful for humor. I find many things amusing or silly or ironic, and I love seeing the world this way.
- My DXH! I've written a whole lot about him in the past, but suffice it to say that I have an incredibly loving, supportive ex-husband, and I'm grateful that he's such an important part of my life.
- Second chances! Whether it's a relationship or a writing rejection or a dozen push-ups, second chances are the best.
- Things to look forward to! I love having things to look forward to. Vacations, down time with my DGF, books to read, plans with friends, cool work projects... There was a time in my life when I lost the ability to look forward to things, and I think that makes me especially grateful for it now.
As many as you want.
In response to my last post, a reader named Tessa asked:
[W]hat are good ways to dress down a tie? I really enjoy wearing ties, especially at gay bars, where a woman in a tie isn't necessarily out of place. But I don't want to look like I'm trying to be formal when I'm just out dancing with my friends.
Great question! I can certainly sympathize: I'm rarely in formal settings, yet leap at any semi-plausible opportunity to don neckwear. Two key things to remember: (1) inject some whimsy and/or color and/or self-awareness; (2) keep the pants casual. Let's check out a few approaches.
1. Throw on a colorful or super-casual jacket or sweater. Check out the picture at left. A white shirt and black tie alone would be way too formal. The sweater with a T-shirt, too casual. Combine 'em both, and the look is bold, fun, and colorful. The two looks below illustrate the same idea. A denim jacket (left), varsity-jacket (right; must be worn ironically), or even a black leather jacket are great ways to say, "Yeah, I'm wearing a tie. And I'm having a freakin' blast doing it."
2. Pull a hat trick.
A casual hat, like the driver's cap this model is wearing (right), is dapper and
does a nice job dressing down the tie. The pants aren't super casual, but see how they're dressed down with a pair of Vans and a casual watch? That ensures that you know she's going for a look, not just randomly throwing on the first hat she found in her closet. (That watch is good for dressing down. I got one on Amazon last year and it's held up great. A steal for $14.96
. This calculator watch for $14.99
would do the trick, too.)
3. Add a vest. I've made no secret of my love for vests. Suit vests are fun, versatile, and can be worn buttoned (left) or not (right). Especially nice with a slightly-loosened tie. A guitar never hurts.
| |4. Bust out the Levis.
Well-worn classic blue jeans can look awesome with a tie. Check out the model at left. Talk about smokin'... Below her, see the man in the sunglasses, green shirt, and brown suit vest? That look illustrates not only how good jeans can look with a tie, but another dress-down principle as well:5. Plaid shirts are automatically casual.
If you can pair a tie with a plaid shirt, congratulations: you've successfully dressed down your tie. Plaids are in (thank goodness), colorful, and go well with a solid tie or even a printed tie (provided the print is smaller than the plaid in the shirt). The DapperQ website
always gives me good fashion ideas, and I love the look of the model below.
By the way, it helps to know thyself. Be aware of your own look. If you have a mohawk, or wear ear gauges/tunnels/plugs, or sport a bunch of visible tattoos, your look will likely be easier to dress down, since you already look less formal. On the other hand, if you're like me and have none of the above, you're going to have to add one or two additional accouterments to dress down a tie to the same degree.
6. Cultivate the "self-aware nerd" look. This is a close enough cousin of the un-self-aware nerd look that it can be a little risky, but it's definitely worth a shot. Note the throwback glasses and rolled up sleeves? The two butches below are totally stealing my fashion moves.
No idea where I found this pic. Sorry.
7. Mix prints. Click on the pic at right if you can't see it well on your screen. (This guy is apparently a famous actor, but I'm not always clued in on the culture loop--e.g., my recent introduction to the concept of "jeggings.") He has on a red gingham print under a vest with a much larger pattern in beiges and browns. His skin tone and musculature no doubt help, but the match works because he's mixed a small print with a large one (so the two don't compete), plus there's no color clash happening. He's mixed prints, but only one color is poised to "pop." If his vest was a green plaid, I'm not sure anyone could pull it off (well, except maybe Rachel Maddow).
Have a blast dressing down your ties, #teambutch! And send in your pics--I want to see you rocking these looks.
I love autumn for many reasons, but the top three are:
1. Pretty leaves.2. Pumpkin pie
.3. It's tie season again!As a few of you have mentioned to me, I've been pretty lousy about keeping the Butch Store up to date, but I hereby resolve to do better. Not only do I make a whopping $9-$15 every month (because 5-6% of the proceeds go to support this site when you shop there), but making sure butches look good is a service to our great community.
With that in mind, I'm reviving the Butch Store
, and promise to have more terrific, up-to-date recommendations for clothing and more, starting with ties
.(BTW, I've devoted previous posts to ties: why I love wearing ties but sometimes hesitate to, dos and don'ts of tie-buying, and an ode to wool ties, for starters.
You can see all
my tie-related posts here
If men's fashion week, GQ, Esquire, and common sense are right, ties will be as popular as ever this late fall and winter. Less emphasis on looking like Don Draper, more emphasis on tailoring, wool, plaids, blues, and dark greys. So check out the Butch Store
to get started, and tell me what else I should add.Have you rocked a tie yet this fall, dear readers? What questions/concerns do you have about wearing ties? Sometime this month I'm going to post a list of tie-wearing tips, so I'd love to hear your questions!
Hi BW readers! It's been almost a week since you heard from me. I've been uncharacteristically tired and had a weird constellation of other symptoms, so I went to the doctor, and... I have mono! Mononucleosis! For the third time. I am writing this with a pillow wedged beneath my upper left side to ease the constant pain of my swollen spleen. Awesome!
Anyway, I miss you. Not all
my readers--I love them all, but I miss YOU specifically. So I wanted to say hi. And what better way to say hi than sharing a list of the weirdest search terms that brought people to Butch Wonders in October? Here you go:
- "bride requiring bridesmaids nipple piercing" (Not okay, people.)
- "are chukka boots gay" (These days they prefer to be called "queer," but yes--they live an alternative lifestyle.)
- "whats the best way to flirt with dike" (A "dike" is a rock embankment that prevents floods. I'd try splashing it playfully with river water.)
- "should lesbian sister be made to wear dress" (Read this. Apply liberal douses to all related situations. P.S. You scare me.)
- "how to make a faux hawk without looking butch" (You'll have better luck making Johnny Weir look straight. We have a monopoly!)
- "quizzes on things that can be worn" (Okay, here's the quiz: 1. shoes 2. shirts 3. wild ponies 4. hats 5. volcanoes 6. gloves. Answers: 1, 2, 4, and 6 = yes. 3 and 5 = no.)
- "lesbians pet names" (We've talked about precision before, but this is getting out of control. Are we talking about pet names others have for lesbians, or lesbians' cutsey little names for other people, or the names of cats, dogs, ferrets, etc., owned by lesbians? Is the elimination of ambiguous modifiers too much to ask? Gah!)
- "butch girl signs" (Found one!)
- "lesbian do whatever you want" (Uh... thanks. I will.)
- "do gays wear football jerseys" (In 21 states we're not allowed to, but the Supreme Court may touch on this in the DOMA ruling.)
- "is it gay to hug a gay guy" (Yes. It will make you gay, although if you weren't gay before the hug, you'll still be allowed to wear football jerseys. Freakin' loopholes.)
- "create your own demon name" (Bob. Tom. Alicia. I did it!!!)
- "why do butch lesbians have kids" (Because hamsters die too fast.)
- "why do boys love boy toys" (Maybe there are inherent, biological differences between boys and girls that make boys love trucks and girls love tutus. Or maybe it's the pervasive gender-based socialization in our society. I vote #2.)
- "why are all lesbians in michigan butch" (I don't know, but after all these years, you've finally given me a reason to seek a pleasant peninsula.)
- "who rules the universe" (Bob, Tom, Alicia, et. al. See above.)
- "swimming pool post/2012" (No one knows what post-2012 swimming pools will look like, but we can't wait to find out.)
- "single mom dating kids under age 3 too soon" (Who cares whether it's "too soon?!" Dating kids under age three is illegal and wrong! Seek professional help.)
- "signs that a butch lesbian wants you but is sometimes an ass" (Butch lesbian is interested in you; has a pulse.)
- "samurai haircut lesbian" (The first thing that popped into my mind was a beauty salon version of this [now unfunny] old SNL skit.)
- "make your own demon fox" (Check.)
- "lesbain tattoo" (I hope this person's tattoo artist has spell-check.)
- "if someone asks you for homosexual sex" (You are required to give it to them, unless you live in New Jersey or Columbus, Ohio.)
- "if a lesbian opens the door for you" (It means she is requesting homosexual sex. If you do not find her attractive, I hope you live in New Jersey or Columbus, Ohio.)
- "i want to transition to a girl because i love girls" (In that case, I want to transition to a Butterfinger candy bar.)
- "how to talk to yur children when parents embarc on dating" (Furst talk to yur kidz about importents of spellign.)
- "dark very butch hair nine tits very young" (I like tits as much as the next dyke, but nine of 'em seems like an awful lot.)
- "comma splicing fun teaching for hairdressers" (Comma splice fun teaching for everyone!)
- "can you melt butch" (Yes, if you get the pan hot enough.)
- "how do i tell if clothing is male" (It used to be that you could tell just by looking. But now you have to ask it how it "identifies.")
- "happy monday dogs" (Happy Wednesday, capybaras! Happy Friday, piglets! Happy Tuesday, arthropods! This is like some bizare version of Goodnight Moon.)
- "gay xmas picture" (How about this, this, or this?)
- "gay friend surprise in bed" (Doesn't this sound like an Oprah episode waiting to happen?)
- "what does it mean when a lady ask you if you know a plumber" (It means she wants you to rub Jell-O in her armpit.)
- "what does it mean if a butch lesbian stares a lot" (It means she's a plumber.)
- "butch dog names" (Jojo, Rasputin, Twinkletoes.)
- "butch cat names" (Merlin, Lucinda, Archibald.)
- "how to make a four year age gap work" (Eliminate welfare.)
- "how much do you age in a year?" (Approximately 365 days.)
- "how do you get a girl to like you if your a girl and she is not lesbian" (If she is not a lesbian, you're going to have to make her one. Start by asking her if she knows a plumber. If she comes at you with Jell-O in hand, you're golden.)
Your swollen-spleened Butterfinger-loving demon fox,
It's officially fall, which means that it's time for all us fashionable butches to break out our sweater vests and rock 'em! To the left is today's BW getup: light grey Banana Republic shirt, black CK vest (well worn--probably time to replace it), and one of my favorite ties (Alfani: black, silver, and some different shades of pink and purple).
Ah, I love sweater vests. I've loved them since I was a high schooler and one of my favorite teachers wore them daily. Even at 16 (holy cow--that was more than half my lifetime ago!), the combination of nerdiness, irony, and practicality appealed to me--although I didn't start wearing them myself until I came out as a lesbian and decided I could wear whatever I wanted.
Breaking *some* social rules somehow frees me to break others. When I'm not dressing how a woman is "supposed" to dress anyway, what do I care if people think a sweater vest is dorky, or calculator watches have come and gone (again), or that blondes shouldn't wear mauve lipstick?
Just kidding about the lipstick(!), but you get my point: being seen as per se "deviant" already means there's more room to break rules, add some random pieces to your wardrobe, and have fun with what you wear. Worry about what looks fashionable and hot and attractive on you.
What are some of the miscellaneous fun fashion items you've got in your closet this fall?
My buddy C
and I enjoy exchanging stories about the funny, traumatic, or improbable "sir"-ings bestowed on us. We began talking about manners surrounding the incidents; what do we want people to do after they mistakenly refer to us with male pronouns, then realize their mistake? Here's our advice:Things to do after you make a mistake about someone's gender:
- Just say, "Oops, sorry," and move on like it is no big deal. Because it really isn’t. It's happened to us before, and we won't hold a grudge. Promise.
We'd love to end this post here, but unfortunately, personal experience suggests that a second list is warranted.Things NOT to do after you make a mistake about someone's gender:
- Do not blame the other person. Do not say that our hair or clothes are "confusing" or point out that we are "dressed like a man." Doing so is embarrassing for you and annoying for us.
- Do not overapologize (hint: more than two apologies qualifies as "overapologizing"). We realize that our self-presentation is not gender typical, and don't think you're nuts or a jerk for making the mistake.
- Do not use it as an excuse to tell us how much you support gay rights or trans rights, or about all the friends you have who are trans and/or gay. This takes a relatively innocuous situation and douses it with awkwardness juice.
- Do not use it as an excuse to tell us you love our haircut and "wish" you could wear your hair that short (hint: you can!).
- Do not defend yourself (after following us into the women's restroom and yelling at us accusingly through the closed stall door, "This is the WOMEN'S room!") by saying, "It was an understandable mistake." We will never understand why someone is SO certain that they know what a "real" woman looks like that they honestly believe that a short man with hips and boobs just walked into a clearly labeled women's restroom, ignored the presence of women and the absence of urinals, and blithely sat down to pee. Isn't it more likely that you just might have a narrow idea of what a woman "looks like?"
- Do not switch pronouns, then switch back again. Being "sir--ma'am--sir'd" is worse than being sir'd.
- Do not say, "Oh! Them is little titties! I thought you was a man."
As you've probably noticed, I list a bunch of my favorite blogs in the right-hand column--you should definitely check them all out(!). I try to keep it fresh, so I delete blogs that seem inactive (i.e., haven't posted in 2012).
I'm grateful to my fellow bloggers, who always have something interesting to say, keep me on my toes, and comment thoughtfully on BW. I don't know if these folks know how religiously I read them, but I do(!). And I wanted to highlight some of my favorite posts from the past couple of months:
What else have you been reading online lately?
- Mainely Butch writes about the things she loves most about being visibly butch... and the things she finds the most awkward. My experiences are a little different from hers (though there's certainly some overlap), and I loved reading her lists.
- Butch on Tap gives lots of advice for staying sane through a breakup. I think all of it is terrific, except for the part about avoiding Ben & Jerry's, which seems to me a little rash.
- Butchtastic Kyle writes a terrifically interesting account of coming out to his parents (sort of accidentally) in high school.
- Neutrois Nonsense shares advice about things to do before, during, and after top surgery. (No, I have no interest in getting top surgery, but a friend of mine is planning on it.) She said it was super helpful, so I thought you all might like it, too. (It can also help you help a friend.)
- Bren of Diffuse 5 writes a great post on breast-binding for beginners. I prefer not to wear anything more binding than a nice sturdy sports bra, but if you want to experiment with something more, this is a must-read.
- Can I Help You Sir sometimes posts these great catch-all "links and whatnot" entries. They always contain interesting stuff, and this latest one is no exception.
- DapperQ, always a fun read, has this great post that illustrates some basic how-tos, like tying a bow tie, with amusing old-timey pictures.
- mx.punk has this interesting, thoughtful post on "Internet pansexuals," and takes issue with the statement, "Love shouldn't be based on something as trivial as gender."