I've talked often on Butch Wonders about the difficulty of defining "butch," my distaste for policing "butchness," and the value I find in labeling myself "butch." I've been communicating with some of my dear readers about these and related questions, and I'd like to put a call out there for YOUR answer to one of the following:
Over the next month or two, I will post several of the most interesting, thought-provoking answers I receive. Please email me your entries, along with the following information:
I reserve the right to edit these as I see fit for grammar, length, clarity, etc., but I'll do so as sparingly as possible. No minimum or maximum length, but anywhere between 150 and 750 words is great. You don't need to identify as butch, or as gay, or as anything else, to submit an entry.
I can't wait to read these! (And yes, if you'd like to answer more than one, feel free--just make sure to send each answer in a separate email.)
Bracelets have been trendy on men for a couple of years now. But many butches have been slow to embrace the trend--partly because it's not always obvious how to do it right without looking like: (1) you plucked something at random from your little sister's jewelry box, or (2) you are under the mistaken impression that you're a famous rock star.
Plus, for a long time, go-to butch wristwear has been limited to huge leather cuffs. Sure, these can be cool, but the look has kinda been done to death--at this point it doesn't add a lot of spice to your outfit. So how do you rock a bracelet? Here are three simple tips to get you started.
1. Don't be afraid of color. There was a time when only girly-girls wore bracelets that weren't brown or black. Thankfully, that time has passed. Mosaic, multi-colored creations are not only acceptable--they're hot.
2. You'll have to spend more than $3. Bracelets are no longer accessories that you buy from a basket near the cash register. They're more like watches or rings. A light, durable metal (like titanium) can set you back $50 or more--but the quality will be solid.
3. Bracelets aren't just for casual wear. After years of association with surfers and hippies, you might still think bracelets can only be worn with tees and jeans. Nope! A high-quality versatile bracelet like the one pictured, left, can be worn just about anywhere.
Bracelets can be every bit as much of a fashion statement as a watch or a necktie. It might take a bit of looking to settle on some that fit with your personal style. I've put 12 great, butch-worthy bracelet selections in the Butch Store to get you started.
On a whim last week, I posted a question on my Facebook page: "What do butches do that bugs you?" I invited anyone--butches, non-butches, whoever--to answer, and got over 200 responses from BW readers.
Responses varied, but some distinct themes emerged. (To be clear, I'm not saying that butches have these traits--or that I'm not guilty of any!)
Whether there's truth in any of these is highly debatable. But these are some stereotypes people hold, and I think it's worth knowing about them, engaging with them, and taking them seriously.
For example, one straight reader (I LOVE that straight people read BW--you rock, straight readers!) wrote that in contrast to, say, gay men, she finds butches a little intimidating. I was surprised at first--me? But I appreciated her honesty. And although, sure, I wish people didn't assume things about butches based on our appearance, it also reminded me that I might need to go out of my way sometimes to make myself approachable (I'm not suggesting that everyone needs to do this--it just matters to me personally).
Do any of these ring true? Can it be productive to talk about them?
How many times have you wished you could find a men's shirt that accommodated your sports-bra-clad breasts? Or that you could find a men's-style suit jacket that didn't make you look like a Pop Warner football player? Or that men's pants offered a little more room in the hip region and a little less in the nether region?
Oooh, butches. 2013 is going to be OUR year. Clothing companies are opening that cater to butch women, trans men, and other masculine-of-center folks. I'm going to profile three of the biggies (in the US):
Photo courtesy of Zel Anders; copyright Trish Tunney
To my knowledge, Tomboy Tailors is the only butch/MOC clothing company with a permanent store you can visit. Scheduled to open Feb. 2 (at 50 Post St. in San Francisco, CA), Tomboy Tailors was founded by Zel Anders, a longtime Bay Area butch who was tired of negative experiences at men's clothing stores--even in one of the most progressive areas of the country. "I knew that if I was having these unpleasant shopping experiences, then other butch lesbians and trans-masculine individuals must be having the same experience," Anders says. "It is high time to move the world forward on this issue." Inspired partly by her dapper butch role model, the late legal aid attorney Tanya Neiman, that's exactly what Anders did.
Photo courtesy of Tomboy Tailors
Anders was kind enough to meet with me when I visited SF recently. She has a broad smile and a bold, infectious optimism. She told me, "I want Tomboy Tailors to be well-known and respected... for making beautiful made-to-measure suits for butch lesbians, trans-masculine individuals... I hope that Tomboy Tailors will be helping to break barriers on what is perceived to be appropriate for women to wear."
Tomboy Tailors offers suits, shirts, ties, pants, and shoes (they recently contracted with multiple companies, including Allen Edmonds, to make their shoes--you can check them out on TT's Pinterest page). If their models' clothing is any indication, Tomboy Tailors is going to be totally game-changing, particularly for professional butches who can spring for tailor-made clothes. Like them on Facebook or join their mailing list to stay up to date (P.S. Full disclosure: I'm honored to say that TT is a Butch Wonders sponsor!)
You might have heard of Saint Harridan from their Kickstarter campaign, which attracted over 1000 backers to reach their goal!
Armed with funds, the company will soon begin work on its first suit line, expected to re-open for pre-orders soon. Meanwhile, you can apply to be a model and see whether your city is on Saint Harridan's pop-up tour (meaning that they'll hang out a shingle for 4-5 days in a particular city and measure people for suits).
In choosing a company name, founder Mary Going eschewed words like "butch," "stud," or "boi," fearing that they might sound exclusionary. Instead, according to the SH website, she settled on "Saint" (meaning the patron of a movement) and "Harridan" (a "reclaimed" word that has sometimes been used as a slur to refer to a "mannish" woman). I'm stoked to see what kinds of clothing SH will roll out. Check out their website and Facebook page.
Bernadette Coveney Smith was working in the wedding industry (helping queer couples navigate a straight wedding world) when she noticed that something was missing. "Where do these lesbians and transmen buy beautifully tailored suits and tuxes if they don't want to wear a wedding dress?" Coveney Smith asked herself. "In terms of butch wedding attire... too often, she'll be drowning in a man's suit with too-wide shoulders or too-long sleeves. Men's suits aren't made for breasts... you end [up] with suits that are too big in some places but too small across the chest, so the jacket or vest is pulling. A butch should look every bit as handsome as her bride is beautiful but it's unfortunately not always the case." So, she founded Fourteen.
If Fourteen has its way, handsome butches will soon become the norm--and not just at weddings. Fourteen currently offers tuxes and formal suits, but plans to expand into a variety of areas, including swimwear and binder undershirts (for which they already have designs). Coveney Smith says that after that, Fourteen plans to "evolve to casual clothing followed by queer maternity clothes." Additionally, Fourteen's clothes are all made in the United States.
You can read more about Fourteen on their website or peruse Fourteen's Facebook page for updates. (P.S. Full disclosure: I'm proud to say that Fourteen is a Butch Wonders sponsor, too!)
Happy 2013! I've been sicker than a proverbial canine the past few days, and I think it's the flu. For me, one of the worst things about having the flu is the caffeine withdrawal headache. With a regular cold, I can power down a cup or two of coffee even when I don't feel like it. But with the flu, NO way is anything going into my mouth besides saltines and watered-down Gatorade. Which means a massive caffeine-withdrawal headache on top of the chills and nausea. It's the only time I've thought seriously about popping caffeine pills. But I resisted, because when you don't have caffeine for a few days and then you have it again, it's like, KA-POW! (In a good way.)
Anyway, I thought I'd start the year by posting December's best search terms! There were quite a few goodies last month that somehow landed people on Butch Wonders...
That's it for today, folks. Back to my watered-down Gatorade! Much love to you for the new year!