Me. In a Dress. Seriously.
I have a small confession to make, and I hope you readers won't hate me for it: Yesterday, it occurred to me that it had been literally years since I put on anything traditionally associated with femininity. So I went to Nordstrom Rack, where I needed to drop by anyway, since I've been looking for a decently-priced pair of black dress shoes (ideally Eccos, my longtime favorite--more on dress shoes in a future post). As I was passing through the "ladies" section, it occurred to me that I could do a post on butch "cross-dressing" that might be kind of amusing. Glancing to my left and right to make sure that there weren't any other butches in the vicinity, I held my nose and jumped, Docs-first, into the ladies section. I picked out not one, but two femmy outfits: one dress, one skirt and poofy blouse. The dress was (ugh) pink, and had (ugh) lace on it (and don't even get me started about how ridiculous the sizing is in women's clothes), but bravely, I took it into the ladies' dressing room, ignoring the bewildered look on the face of the dressing room attendant.
I stripped off my collared shirt, Docs, white undershirt, and carpenter-style cords. I took a deep breath, trying to shake off my uncertainty. This was supposed to be an adventure, right? Once I figured out how to get the stupid zipper all the way down (it had to be the world's smallest zipper--are tiny fingers a prerequisite for being femme?!) I arranged the dress on the floor and stepped into it. I think I was supposed to put it over my head, but all that fabric seemed too intimidating and I was afraid I'd get lost. Wincing, I pulled it up over my butchy bod, closed my eyes, and reached around my back, somehow managing to pull the zipper all the way back up (thank you, yoga!).
The mirror was behind me at that point, so I turned around to see myself in what I assumed would be head-to-toe horror. Instead… to my great surprise… it looked awesome on me. No, it wasn't butch, but the dress fit super well, and the lace wasn't itchy at all (maybe because of how it was sewn or something--who knows). For the first time in a long time, I looked hot. Not queer-hot, but conventionally hot. "Hot" in a sense that would be recognized by the wider world. And you know what? That felt really damn good. I've been doing this whole "gender queer nonconformist" thing for so long that I forgot that it feels awesome to just be pretty. Wearing a dress means that people see me on the outside and think I look as good as I feel on the inside. And when it comes down to it, isn't this kind of interactive reality with other people more important than the reality we create in our own brains?
Now I have a larger confession: I bought the dress. Not only that, but I bought the other skirt-like outfit thing I had picked out (didn't even try on the latter--too intimidated by just being a butch in the dressing room). I'm stoked to wear these two things out and/or to work, because seriously--I look really pretty in them. And it feels indescribably good to look pretty, and to just fit in, for once. I don't know why I always made such a big deal of not wearing dresses before. Sure, they're not the most comfortable articles of clothing ever invented. But what's so great about a tie? When you think about it, it's like a noose around your neck. And since I see some level of discomfort as basically inevitable when I'm dressing up, why not choose the kind of discomfort that other people think actually looks nice?
What do you think about that, dear readers? Have you ever put on a dress? Don't you ever want to just stop looking "butch" and start looking pretty?
For a pic of me in the dress, neck-down, click here.
4/1/2012 03:19:12 am
Oh I fell for it!! All day long, I have seen this things a mile away and wasnt fooled, and YOU GOT ME!!!
4/9/2012 09:51:36 am
arrrrgggg! you totally got me....i was scrolling furiously for the pic of you in that pink dress...hoping to borrow it too! :)
4/1/2012 03:26:00 am
Good one bro! LOL.
4/1/2012 03:27:03 am
Ditto, Desiree! You had me all the way up to "What's so great about a tie?" First one to get me all day. :)
4/1/2012 03:33:31 am
Oh man . You got me too. Good one.
4/1/2012 03:53:34 am
omg i fell for it....
4/1/2012 04:49:53 am
The best April Fool's post EVER!
4/1/2012 04:55:07 am
This officially is the closest anyone has gotten to fooling me today. You had me up until you said you were planning on wearing the dress to work. Good one!
4/1/2012 05:18:01 am
I really was curious how that would look....cuz most butches in a dress don't look like you described. I LOVE BUTCHES!
4/1/2012 05:45:49 am
As a butch who does a lot of femme-drag (as well as forced femme, in kink settings), this kinda bothers me, actually. What, pray tell, is so laughably ridiculous about a butch wanting to femme up or buy some femme garments? Or about a butch wanting to feel pretty? (I feel my prettiest in a three-piece suit, but YMMV.)
4/1/2012 01:51:19 pm
Sorry my April Fools joke made you feel marginalized. The crux of the joke (to me) wasn't the idea of a butch in a dress--it was the idea of ME in a dress. As regular readers know, I feel very uncomfortable in a dress and traditional "ladies" clothing. I've blogged about this quite a bit before. So for me to suddenly embrace this style of dress seemed absurd and amusing. I also thought it was funny to state that I wanted to be conventionally "pretty," when I've made it clear before that I desire no such thing.
4/1/2012 06:14:44 pm
Thanks for saying this. I was thinking something similar. I don't tend to femme it up myself, but lately I've been spending time with some female-assigned at birth trans* people who are more genderfluid than "butch," and I recently went on a date with someone who's into people all over the gender map, and it's felt so incredibly freeing. The butch environment seems to generate a lot of (internal?) pressure for me to look and be a certain way.
4/3/2012 02:20:02 am
Thanks, M--I really appreciate your thoughtful (and well written--interested in doing a guest post sometime?) feedback. I think there's certainly an element of truth to the idea that BW, whether implicitly or explicitly, claims to be about the larger butch experience. "Butch," though, is such a broad, diverse group that it would be difficult to write about anything that would apply to *every*one. Still, I get your point, and I'm going to have to think about it some more. Maybe this will be the subject of my next post...
I was excited when I saw this post, and then a little stunned when it turned out to be a joke. I've been known to wear the odd dress. Maybe that loses me butch cred, but if so it's butch cred I didn't want. I didn't start bending gender on the daily just to give myself more taboos! In fact, I _never_ wore skirts or dresses willingly until after I had started to accept that I was butch.
4/1/2012 06:22:44 am
Funny enough...the yoga comment got me. I figured for sure you would have mentioned you were into yoga, somewhere in your blog, before now? LOL.
4/1/2012 07:09:21 am
Too bad you were kidding! I thought it was HOT!
4/1/2012 08:38:10 am
Dude! That was awesome! I have a friend that is the manager of the local women's bar in town and she cross dresses into "bunny" outfits. She looks pretty good.
4/1/2012 08:41:01 am
Ha! Good one, BW, but I just couldn't buy it. :-p :-]
4/1/2012 09:23:38 am
OH BW! I fell for it, dammit.
4/1/2012 02:51:04 pm
4/1/2012 08:15:11 pm
!!! I read the subscription auto email at work, couldn't access the picture or any comments and had approximately 15 minutes of stomach churning confusion before I noticed what day it was. I've only just reconciled with my own butch identity, don't start telling me I need to look pretty!! My psyche is held together exclusively with heavy duty hairgel as it is, implying that my mother might be right and dresses really do look nice on me might just cause me to degenerate into some sort of DM wearing She Hulk homicidal maniac.
4/1/2012 09:43:40 pm
wore a dress for my sisters weeding 20 years ago !!!! still looked like Arnold swartsnager in a dress !!!! drag just doesn't suit me !!!!
4/2/2012 02:34:21 am
Haha you got me as well. I was extremely surprised and trying to get over my shock so I could be supportive and encourage you to do the things that make you happy. Didn't mean it didn't scare the shit out of me a little haha.
Well, this is the first post I read on this blog and I was so gutted to see it was an April Fool! I honestly didn't realise until I saw some of the comments. I even clicked on the pic and assumed you meant it was an April Fool that you'd post a picture of yourself, but the post was real!
Hey hey now, *I'm* the only pretty butch around here! (j/k) seriously tho - I appreciate the joke, and also the comments from those who are like - "awesome! butch in a dress!" We all need to work up some lovin' for those who choose to be whoever and whatever they really are, yes?
4/3/2012 02:24:53 am
You'll always be my favorite pretty butch, Max! ;) And YES, totally agree on the need to work up some lovin'.
4/2/2012 08:47:11 am
I just want to say that this was hilarious. It took clicking on the link for me to realize the date! I was so mad! Then laughed out loud in class :) I'm all for a little levity. Also, autostraddle.com had a pretty rad April Fool's article about bisexuals.
4/3/2012 08:56:01 am
I wasn't fooled for a moment but I was intrigued.
4/3/2012 09:21:38 am
You got me, but in my defense, I read this on April 2. I just wondered what direction your blog would take henceforth, and, especially, what kind of shoes she gonna wear with that?
4/13/2012 08:42:07 am
ok THAT was some funny sh*t right there!
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