Last March, I wrote a three-part Field Guide to Butches, which you can check out here if you missed it: Part I, Part II, Part III. I decided it was time to make some additions:
The Butch Class Clown
Example: Jane Lynch
Pros: Hilarious, great with your friends, quick to reconcile after arguments.
Cons: Sleeps in late; may be slightly self-centered; financial stability varies.
Looks Especially Good: Smiling, which is nearly all the time. (Seriously, check out the pic--is there anything in the world cuter than Jane Lynch with a puppy?)
Care Instructions: If you don't understand her sense of humor, the relationship is doomed. May need occasional assistance juggling projects and managing household tasks, but a quick learner. Ego more fragile than first appears.
The Oblivious Butch (not pictured)
Pros: Unconcerned with her identity (and possibly yours), has no interest in discussing related topics, even though everyone else considers her butch.
Cons: See "pros."
Looks Especially Good: If you can wrangle her into slacks and a tie.
Care Instructions: Unusually low-maintenance. Fashion sense may vary, so be vigilant. May grow bored in conversations about LGBTQI-related topics. Probably does not know what the "I" stands for and doesn't particularly care.
Example: Michelle Ragussis
Pros: Excellent hair, great tattoos, creative, spunky.
Cons: Works long hours, may not want to cook at home (check on this factor before committing).
Looks Especially Good: Sampling your sauces.
Care Instructions: Whether she's a line cook or the head of her own restaurant, Chef Butch is committed to her trade and will expect your support. Works crazy hours. Ensure that she doesn’t just cook veggies; she also eats them occasionally. Low-maintenance with little need of wardrobe assistance.
Barista Butch (not pictured)
Pros: Can make a mean latte, has great fashion sense; creative.
Cons: Moodiness; varied reliability; easily bored.
Looks Especially Good: Steaming up your foam.
Care Instructions: Hard to engage in casual conversation, the barista butch is every bit as creative and mysterious as she first appears. Many in the species hold a PhD in the humanities or social sciences and may be starved for intellectual discussion; provide literary or other conversation as needed.
Example: Jack Halberstam
Pros: Smart, well-read, patient and attentive (if occasionally forgetful), finds most things interesting.
Cons: Her hotness makes it hard to pay attention in lecture; everyone in the class has a crush on her (straight women, too); may use words like "hegemonic" in casual conversation.
Looks Especially Good: On her couch during office hours.
Care Instructions: Requires steady diet of books and caffeine (switch diet to baked goods following paper rejections). If weather is temperate, set outside at least 20 minutes daily to infuse with Vitamin D.
The Sports Fan Butch (not pictured)
Pros and Cons: This type doesn't occur in isolation, but co-occurs with any other kind of butch, and may emerge only on weekends. Identify one or more other species and refer to those pros and cons as applicable.
Looks Especially Good: Wearing a jersey... Just a jersey.
Care Instructions: Follow her instructions while her favorite team is playing. She may believe that she can somehow affect a team's performance through elaborate rituals such as wearing "lucky" clothing Play along. Do not block the television. Though she may appear inflexible, the Sports Fan Butch is an excellent bargaining target and will agree to anything in order to watch her game uninterrupted. (Q: "Honey, when the game's over, will you take out the trash, then take me to a movie?" A: "Uh-huh, whatever.")
Example: Edie Falco as Nurse Jackie (Yeah, she's straight, but she’s totally butch. Plus, we all know she'd go lesbo for Dr. O'Hara).
Pros: Straightforward, decisive, quick-witted, employable.
Cons: Unapologetic, reluctant to express emotion, works long hours.
Looks Especially Good: In scrubs, barking out orders.
Care Instructions: Will be exhausted after 20-hour shifts; don’t expect her to engage in conversation. Instead, give her a shoulder massage and send her to bed. Plan fun for days off. Be firm; she may try to boss you around.
A number of you have asked what you can do for your butches to let them know how special they are. Here are some sweet everyday gestures that say "I love you." Though the list was written with butches in mind, most of these apply to pretty much any object of your affections. (And thanks to the excellent BW Facebook fans who contributed some of the ideas on this list!)
#1: Love Notes
I don't usually pack my DGF's lunch, but when I do, I like writing a little note or silly poem for her. My mom used to do that in my school lunches when I was a kid, and the idea stuck with me. It just makes a girl feel special.
You can also leave a note around the house for her (e.g., fridge; bathroom mirror), or send her an email in the middle of the day mentioning something you love about her. If you go to sleep after her, leave a note for her to find in the morning. If you get up earlier, leave one she'll find later that day.
Many butches say they love when their DGF cooks them a meal. Whether it's beef bourguignon or peanut butter and jelly, there's something special about being cooked for. (I swear, even coffee tastes better when my DGF makes it for me.) One butch wrote, "I get a special little tingle when I come home to the smell of fresh baking." +1.
Not a kitchen wonder? Check out some food blogs, starting with A Butch in the Kitchen (pictured above, right is her latest creation, low-calorie blueberry scones--yum!). You can also have a picnic in the middle of the living room, complete with blanket, bread, cheese, and music.
For many of us, being pampered is awesome. This might take the form of a foot rub (with eucalyptus lotion, mmm), a back massage, a bubble bath (for one or for two...), or a scalp massage.
Of course, while I love all of these things (as did most butches I asked), not every butch is cool with feeling passive, so know your boi or grrl before plunging in.
Pampering can also take other forms: making a batch of hot buttered rum and sipping it together by the fireplace, insisting she play one more round of Angry Birds while you bathe the dog, or doing a chore she usually does but dislikes (hm, I bet my DGF would love if I dealt with the recycling for once).
This post is about gestures you can perform, not stuff you can buy. Still, a small, thoughtful gift can be a gesture in itself--especially if it's something you make for her.
Some cool stuff to give your sweetie:
#5: Adventures, etc.
More than anything, we want to do (1) stuff we love doing with (2) the woman we love. Sometimes those two things don't mix--so mixing them is a surefire hit.
Offer to go somewhere with her that you'd usually turn down (and don't complain while you're there). Does she love action movies, but you hate 'em? Take her to "Skyfall." Does she like arcades, but you think they're dull? Take her to an afternoon of video games and air hockey. Dates like this are a big deal; they tell her you're willing to do things you don't normally like just because she enjoys them.
Other ideas for adventures include high-adrenaline stuff (like skydiving or off-road quad biking), activities that will make her feel like a kid (think laser tag, paintball, sledding, or batting cages), or something sexy (e.g., go on a blind date: tell her where to be, both show up separately, then hit on her!). (Some smash-hit sexy ideas if you guys have the butch/femme thing going: new lingerie for her to see you in; a lace bra/garter belt set; a sexy lap dance; picking her up from the airport in a trench coat and stiletto boots. Are you a butch-butch couple? Awesome: two pairs of silk boxers!)
The bottom line? No one knows your DGF better than you do. Especially if you're not naturally observant, pay attention! Make mental notes about what she likes, stockpile your ideas, and brainstorm ways to make her feel special. Even if your idea isn't a home run, she'll love the effort. One reader put it perfectly: "Simply having the woman you are with think that you are amazing just as you are and precisely as you are is the best gift of all."
What have you done to make your butch feel special? What has she done that's made you feel special?
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.
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. As many as you want.
Butches, what are your favorite ways to be flirted with?