National Coming Out Day is coming up on Thursday, and to honor this excellent day of the year, I want coming out stories from you... But not just any coming out stories. I want your coming out story (or the coming out story of someone you know) in one of three formats:
As a kid, I couldn't take my eyes off Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music." My mom knew what was up. I came out at 13 and she didn't blink.
The dog was nonplussed
I came out to him--practice.
Parents were less calm.
You see, I'm a gay boy from China
Who then moved to North Carolina
When I went to college
I soon gained the knowledge
That I was repelled by vagina
Get the idea? Knock yourselves out. I'll feature the best ones on Butch Wonders Thursday. Anonymous entries are fine. Send as many as you want to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I just went shopping to help a male friend of mine buy casual clothes for work. I learned that I am not alone in having difficulty finding menswear that fits me well...
My friend is a small guy, but not tiny. He is probably 5 ft 6 or so, and very slim. Men's shirts with a 14.5 collar simply didn't fit him. For the most part, the sleeves were way too long — even the 32–33's — and so were the shoulders. The Banana Republic smalls were even too big, which I didn't know was humanly possible. He was a good sport about it, and he and his girlfriend and I were eventually able to find a few — but just a few — shirts that fit.
Of course, I couldn't resist trying on a some shirts myself, whereupon I was once again confronted with the all-too-familiar problem of having boobs and hips. My neck is a 15.5, but if you have ever tried to button a 15.5 — or even a 16.5 — men's shirt over a pair of size Ds, you know how impossible it is. The 17.5 fits fine around the chest and hips, but is just way, way too big everywhere else. Of course, some brands work better than others (CK is my current go-to for shirts), but overall it was just one of those days where nothing fits quite right.
On days like this, sometimes I wish that I didn't have boobs or hips, or at least had less, um, ample ones. But my boobs and my hips are a part of me, and I feel comfortable with them; I just wish that the clothing I like worked for the body I have. Sigh.
I was also "sir'd" twice. (Usually, clerks aren't sure what to call me, so they don't use a pronoun at all.) One of those times was particularly awkward today. A salesclerk said, "Can I help you sir?" I turned around and he said, "oh, ma'am, I'm sorry." I said, "it's okay." He apologized again, and to try to make him feel less awkward, I said "I have a men's shirt on, so I understand." He looked at me a minute and then said, "Well, your haircut confuses us."
What?! Who is this "us?" And what is so incredibly confusing about a woman with short hair? The "confusion" point annoyed me in a way that being called sir never does. Grrr!
I feel like it would be virtually anti-American not to say anything about the presidential debate, but for me it hovered between depressing and irritating.
The substance centered around giant economic plans whose conception--let alone implementation--is opaque to practically all of us. Would most people know the difference if Obama had said Romney favored cutting $8 trillion in taxes instead of $5 trillion? Or if Romney had said Obama planned to cut $416 billion from Medicare instead of $716 billion?
Numbers that huge are difficult for most of us to assess unless we've got special expertise and/or gobs of free time. Instead, we assume that the candidate we favor is mostly telling the truth, while the other guy is spinning it somehow. Candidates vaguely reference "studies," but never go beyond that. Are there really "six studies" debunking Obama's critique of Romney's tax plan? At most, you might Google it (whereupon the sketchiness of Romney's citation becomes apparent). But even when you learn that the studies were conducted with biased motives, how do you know they're not accurate? Are you going to go read them and assess their validity? Am I?
The debate format--with its time constraint, vague questions, unwieldy numbers, and dearth of precise follow-ups--makes it very difficult to see who's telling the truth. If you're like me, you end up relying on trusted sources, or on your own assumptions about the candidates, or on the candidates' values as best you can discern them. And this is where Obama could have scored big, I think--turning the topics into questions of values rather than questions of numbers. Gay rights, women's rights, Romney's "47 percent" gaffe--these issues underscore crucial value differences between Obama and Romney. And voters understand values; we have them, too. And since values underpin specific economic proposals, if we only have 90 minutes I'd rather hear about values.
Instead of talking about my other reactions to the debate, which will depress you and me both, here are my reactions to the debate I wish I'd seen:
Did you watch the debates last night, dear readers? What did YOU think? I'm looking forward to your comments.
Holy crap, it's October! If anyone knows how that happened, email me.
If you follow me on FB, you know I love T-shirts and have recently designed some that you can purchase for your very own! $5 of each sale supports this site. The rest goes to Skreened. I chose them because they seem socially responsible (but they're not cheap!). More designs coming soon.
With the plethora of independent T-shirt sellers out there, there's no excuse for parading your queer self around town in dull shirts that say things like "Quiksilver" (full disclosure: I love Quiksilver). So I went to Etsy, found the coolest T-shirts, ordered 10-15 of them (some were donated), and wore them around for a couple months. Here are my top picks (not in order, though the first two are probably my favorites!).
Dana Gibson's Etsy shop contains simple artistic homages to--in her words--"all creatures, big and small, except for horses." The green four-shark design (left) comes printed on an American Apparel shirt. It instantly became my favorite T-shirt and has held that position for months. The high-quality printing survives lots of washings. $20.
...And this is my close second favorite! Chris, the owner of the Ideaka shop, specializes in designs that tend to incorporate maps, bicycles, and/or birds. I get a ton of compliments every time I wear this shirt, and the quality of the printing is impressive. Printed on an American Apparel shirt. The price is steep, but I'd rather get this shirt than two Hurley tees at Target or something. $28.
Lara, owner of 237inc, has some cool designs--some of which are explicitly queer (one of my favorites just says "gayish"). I don't love the Fruit-of-the-Loom shirt it was printed on, but I do love my "I heart coffee" design, especially the cool print job, which makes each shirt a little different from the next. Reasonably priced. $20.
This is the softest T-shirt I've ever owned. I'm not in love with this particular design (though I do like the "Grow More" one a lot). The collar is a little larger and thinner than on other shirts. I end up wearing it to sleep because it's so incredibly soft. I guess it's made out of bamboo(?!). $28.
Yeah, this is a little dorky, but we all know that dorky is in. Jodi Stiefvater's store, TheSimpleLaugh, caters to geocachers, map-lovers, and coffee drinkers. Unfortunately, not all sizes and styles are available now; let's hope she makes more. $9.
If you're looking for something a little different from the norm, but still cool, check out RetroPopNamu's store, which riffs on Japanese vintage style to create a variety of interesting designs. I love my bullet train design (pictured right), although after 8-10 washes, the graphic is already fading a bit. These shirts run a little larger than most, and the collar seems kind of thin and stretches out easily. Still, it's a cool enough shirt that I'd buy from this store again. $28.
As Etsy shops go, ZenThreads is pretty large. They have a terrific assortment of shirts from which to choose--tons of animals, but also miscellaneous designs featuring astronauts, ampersands (I disapprove of ampersands, just FYI), and hops. I got the one pictured left, and while it's cool, the contrast doesn't show up nearly as well on the actual shirt. They use American Apparel tees. Good price, too. $18.
Dark Cycle Clothing
Dark Cycle Clothing specializes in shirts of a few categories, the largest of which is "animals on bicycles." While the print is way too big (and maybe a little too blatantly hipstery) for this shirt to be a favorite of mine, I like their art. I suggest getting a higher-contrast shirt/print pairing than the squirrel one (pictured), which is what I have. Printed on an organic American Apparel shirt. $25.
This adamantly political, left-leaning, anarchist, feminist, environmentally-conscious shop prints on used tees from thrift stores. A good idea, but I don't like not knowing the brand ahead of time--even though I ordered my usual size, the shirt I received ended up being way too big for me. Plus, I didn't like that it was already a little pilled. Still, an awesome idea. $18.
There you have it--awesome tees to spice up your fall. Yay for supporting Etsy and independent businesses! And if you have a great idea for a BW shirt, let me know--we'll make it happen.