So last night I blogged about the things I enjoy about being so very visibly Butch. Thus, tonight I shall graze over what sucks about it sometimes; what ways that full visibility can cause issues and problems in life for myself and I am sure others out there much like me. Butch and Visible.
1. Bathrooms…suck. You know the routine. If you are Butch you have developed the innate awareness that you do not fit into either restroom – no matter the little blue sign on the door. I prefer genderless restrooms myself, but they are few and far between still. I do see them becoming more common in the future, as I see acceptance of all types of people becoming more the norm as our worlds and cultures continue to grow and awaken.
2. Dressing rooms…suck worse. I have been hustled out of more than one women’s dressing room – tightly holding the men’s pants and shirt I am trying to try on in one hand and the dressing room nazi at bay with the other. forced into the men’s dressing room – and into a room full of men staring awkwardly at me as I choose to change inside of a more secure feeling stall. I give them the “I know” look, drop my eyes and seek the comfort of the closed-door stall. Often I shop and do not try on the clothing. I know my sizes and I know my styles. I know what looks good; and if I get home and it sucks there’s always the return desk to visit next time.
3. Children asking “what is she..he..she..?” “mommy, is that a girl or a man?” “Are you a daddy?” My current answer to this awkward public question, of a child, is a tribute to Ivan E. Coyote, Canadian author and speaker who is also proudly Butch. In accordance with Ivan’s way, I merely tell the child, loudly enough so the whole room can hear me, but low enough not to scare him/her “I’m a women who enjoys being masculine like a man”…kids eyes grow wide, mother grabs kid, everyone scatters. Works every damned time.
4. Men cracking antagonistic women’s jokes in my presence and thinking it’s somehow “okay” with me, I think like a dude right? Then I must think like they do…like an idiot. I am not into women bashing and detest men who engage in it so disrespectfully and blatantly.
5. Road rage is dangerous when you are visibly Butch. Somehow you become a rolling target, and because your gender is in question somehow the violence can escalate. I once had a guy force me off the road then attack me with a baseball bat, telling me if I wanted to be a man then I should “take it like a man”. I shot his ass and he cried like a girl.
6. Driver’s license photos. When the name is gendered female yet the face and hair look predominantly male, often people viewing the document get this weirdly quizzical look on their faces, before handing it back – holding it gingerly between the finger tips, so as not to “touch” the owner of the license. Had this happen recently, and it was truly awkward. I could visibly see the discomfort on the officer’s face as he quickly gave me a verbal warning to slow down and hustled back to his cruiser.
7. Jail cells. This is where I disclose some history that I am less than proud of. Sitting in a jail cell with a bunch of women, and being visibly Butch is not only uncomfortable, but a bit petrifying. My best advice is play up the “Bad Boi” image very much, and they will keep their distance, assuring much of your safety. Show your female side and you are toast. After a particularly drunken night, I once told the women on Block C that I had killed my girlfriend and hung the dog…no one messed with me for the next 28 days.
8. Pap Smears and Mammograms. Health care in general is not only awkward, but often times physically painful for me as a Stone Butch. My age, lifestyle and health issues warrant frequent testing and physicians visits. But the worst of all are the pap smears…need I say more? I will say, that if the doctor ever starts slowing down and discussing baseball with his assistant again, I will show him MY baseball bat! Mammograms themselves are just humiliating to a Butch; reminding us of things we’d rather conceal from the world.
9. Public venues where the majority are our heterosexual brothers and sisters can be challenging as well. Many nights I’ve heard the comments and been the receptor of quesitons such as “so, you’re the guy in the relationship, right?” Or “I heard Butch women don’t like to be fucked, is that true?” and my favorite (barf) “oh, my wife says I am part lesbian too!” (coming from a bio-male person of course).
10. Attempting to have intimate relations with a woman, who one assumes is Femme, but quickly discovers that she’s not and she’s one who doesn’t understand “Stone Butch” and who thinks every lesbian is exactly the same, likes the same thing, and doesn’t care for “dick” whether it’s real or prosthetic. How very very wrong that situation is, and how horribly awkward a place that it can quickly degenerate to in under ten seconds flat. Get out. Put on your boots and shut the door tight. Don’t look back. And for God’s sake don’t call or text her, the next day,with any apology, you are not wrong! And you didn’t need to tap that anyways!
11. Telephone etiquette is always challenging when the person on the other end of the phone is consistently calling you “sir” although has clearly identified you by your female given name. You want them to choose – one or the other buddy, although “sir” doesn’t bother me per-se, what bothers me is the stupidness of these awkward phone exchanges. I have – more than once – had the caller ask “is this really ____(given female name inserted here)???” “Sorry, you sound like a guy, ma’m”….ooooo…DON’T call me Ma’m – EVER.
So these are just a few of the more challenging, awkward or just plain pain it the ass things that happen to Visible Butches and Stone Butches as we walk through this predominantly hetero world. Gender is such a screwed up dichotomy sometimes, especially when you don’t clearly fall into one side or the other, and it’s very noticeable and even at times seen as a true threat to so many – whether they verbalize it or just stare.
In conclusion, I enjoy being visibly Butch, despite the awkward interactions that are sure to make me laugh in hindsight at the end of each wonder-filled day of my blessed life. Rock on.