Apropos of nothing. It's Monday; surely you can't expect too much of your dear BW on a Monday, can you?
Rage Against the Washing Machine
A Perfect Circular Saw
Nine Inch Nailgun
Non-Skid Row of Flooring Tiles
Mud Honeydo List
Slayer of Drywall
Stone Temple Pilot Light
Home Theater System of a Down
Sublime Scale Buildup
Black Sabbathtub Liner
Rancid Odor in the Garbage Disposal
Holy matrimony, Batman! Lately I've gotten lots of questions from brides in heterosexual weddings asking what to do with a butch lesbian bridesmaid, since many of us would rather pierce our own eyeballs with blunt toothpicks than wear a fetching dress of sea foam green chiffon. Here are some FAQs for traditional or semi-traditional brides-to-be:
Q: Should I make my butch lesbian friend wear a dress if she's my bridesmaid?
A: No, no, no. Give her that option if you want, but don't expect her to take it. You asked a butch dyke to be your bridesmaid, and you should respect who she is. If you had a male best friend and wanted him to be a bridesmaid, would you make him wear a dress? Of course not. Years later, I remain grateful to my friends E&R for inviting me to wear a suit and tie as a bridesmaid at their wedding.
Q: Should I wait till she asks me what she should wear, or until she asks if she has to wear a dress?
A: No. I can guarantee you that if you've already asked her to stand by your side, but haven't told her what to wear, the poor dyke is sweating bullets in fear that she will be forced to choose between: (1) wearing a dress and feeling horribly uncomfortable; (2) pissing you off. Let her off the hook ASAP (and ideally as soon as you ask her to be a bridesmaid) by telling her that you won't make her wear anything that will make her uncomfortable.
Q: But my Aunt Mildred is a devout Christian and will freak out about a woman in guys' clothes!
A: Having your butch friend wear a tie doesn't mean you're disrespecting A.M.'s religion. Explain to your aunt that you allowed your friends to wear what they're most comfortable in, and that this will help everyone enjoy your wedding. If necessary, remind her that Jesus loves everyone, no matter what they wear. Or: don't tell her in advance at all. People are usually on their best behavior at weddings, even if they're surprised by something.
Q: But if my friend doesn't wear a dress, the wedding parties won't be perfectly symmetrical!
A: Oh no! They won't be symmetrical? Holy crap--why not call the whole wedding off? Come on: When you look back at your wedding photos in 10 or 20 years, you'll think fondly of how much fun everyone had, not admire how well everyone matched. When I married my DXH, I had one of my best friends be the "usher" instead of a bridesmaid simply because he's a guy and I thought I was supposed to have the "sides" look the same. What a stupid choice! What matters is that your closest friends are by your side on your big day. Oh: and that the wedding cake doesn't suck. And that the photographer isn't wasted. And that the music is good. (See how many more interesting things there are to worry about?)
Q: Okay, so what should I have my butch bridesmaid wear?
A: [Rubbing hands together] Here's the fun part! You've got a ton of options. I'll throw out a few, but be aware that the possibilities are practically endless:
Q: How do I treat my butch bridesmaid's girlfriend? Does she sit with the wedding party?
A: Do whatever you're doing with your other bridesmaids' significant others. Which I hope is seating them with the wedding party, but if there's not room, people will understand--you just need to treat everyone the same.
Q: If I'm giving all my bridesmaids the traditional gift you give people in your wedding party... what do I give the butch one?
A: If it's a "girly" gift that she'll hate, get her something else. (What is your hubby-to-be getting his groomsmen? That's one option.) Other ideas: a pocket knife (I'd suggest either a cool folding knife like this one or a multitool type like this one) , a Bespoke box of awesome, or a set of cuff links (I love these, these, these, these, and these).
Q: What about the bachelorette party and stuff? Will she feel totally comfortable there?
A: This is a hard one, because she might not, especially if she doesn't know all the other bridesmaids. But you should still invite her. If you want to do girly things, emphasize that you'd love to have her there and give her options that might make her comfortable. For example, if you're all going for manicures, tell her she's welcome to get a men's pedicure or a foot massage instead. Or, say she can come be the official photographer whenever she doesn't feel like participating (butches love having duties). If she expresses discomfort about parts of it, tell her to come to whatever parts she wants to. And no, you aren't obligated to invite her girlfriend to the bachelorette party.
See? With a few small tweaks, you too can have an awesome butch bridesmaid who's stoked about her duties.
How about you butches out there who have been bridesmaids at het weddings? Any tips? Happy anecdotes? Horror stories?
Much as I dislike certain creations of the men's fashion world, there is often a time and a place for, um, enthralling items like manpris (pictured right) and bolo ties (whimper). But what are these times? What are these places? I've designed a quiz to assist readers in determining the appropriate occasions for butches to frolic around in these sundry items. Match numbers with letters to complete the sentences. The answers are at the end.
This guest post is from J.N. Gallagher, a Butch Wonders reader who talks about his experiences and internal struggles writing butch erotica. I hope you find this as interesting and thought-provoking as I did. --BW
When the call went out for guest posts to Butch Wonders, I was pleased to see that submissions from all genders and orientations would be considered. Whether my work is welcome is something I’ve struggled with… While I write fiction in a lot of different genres on a lot of different subjects, when I write erotica, I typically write about A) lesbians who are B) butch and C) have sex. I am also a heterosexual cis man.
Every editor I’ve corresponded with about my gender has insisted that the only thing that matters is the quality of the work. If they inquired further about my life situation, they’d find out that I was born male, identify as straight, and am married to a fabulous feminine woman. The other detail I don’t explain is that butch women get me all hot and bothered, always have and always will, and that’s why I enjoy writing about them so much.
(I guess the cat’s out of the bag on those details now.)
All of this, sadly, is part of a web of inner conflict that has challenged me since puberty. I’m heterosexual in that I am only attracted to women, but female masculinity makes my knees weak. It doesn't feel like being attracted to masculine and feminine women would make me bisexual, though "queer" doesn't seem like quite the right word, either—it encompasses too much, while "straight" doesn't cover enough.
I've longed to be around lesbians, but I don’t want to force myself into a community that isn’t looking to have me. I want to write about this delicious type of woman that excites me, but I don’t know if I have the right to do so.
I don’t believe an author needs to be a working rancher to write a great western novel, or a Jedi Knight to write stories set in the Star Wars universe. Familiarity and direct knowledge are always beneficial, but these qualities don’t sit down and write a book by themselves.
Still, the bottom line is that I’m writing about experiences outside of my own, and I feel a connection to the material that is difficult for many people to understand. After decades of reflection, I still don’t understand it myself. And, no matter how universal the themes of my fiction might be, I’m dipping my toes into unfamiliar (and potentially unwelcome) waters. Some people might yell, "Come in! The water’s great!" Others might say, "Get lost, creep," and I couldn’t really blame them. Our identities are incredibly personal to who we are.
My question to the readers of Butch Wonders is: Do you care about who an author is when reading fiction about butches? Does quality trump all, or would you like a piece less if you found out it was written by a heterosexual-identified, non-trans male?
If you’re wondering what my work is like, I had a story, "Officer Birch," published in Lesbian Cops: Erotic Investigations. This anthology was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, a fact I’m very proud of. The story is not about two butches, but it’s not really a butch/femme story, either. I guess it’s just a story about a couple of characters who discover things about love, sex, and each other. These are the themes I enjoy writing about the most. Erotic fiction about butches might be the smallest part of my writing output in terms of quantity, but it's definitely the most personal to me.
Here are some tips to help you look awesome, dressed-up, and season appropriate all at the same time. (I also put a bunch in the Butch Store).
Check out the Butch Store for a bunch more great ties. There's linen, cotton, orange madras, and plenty more. Have another summer fashion questions? Just drop me a line.