Rules Don’t Apply: Being Butch

butch-name-tag

I am Butch.  A Butch who loves femme women in particular and a member of the Butch-femme community; a community that struggles in today’s politically correct sort of world.  We are more often than not, ostracized for “copy catting or aping” heteronormativity.  My partner is asked why she feels the “need” to be so feminine, and I am grilled about my “wanting to be a man” by those that just don’t understand the Butch-femme dynamics or lifestyle.

Within my own community I find people telling me I should just “transition and get over it” when that is the furthest thing from my mind.  They seem to think that I must “want” to be a guy, because I look and act in more masculine ways.  The truth is that I love being Butch.  I am not afraid of my female parts.  Since I have had chest surgery I am much more comfortable in this female based body.  Sure, I hated my boobs when I had them, but that didn’t mean I had to transition.  Many lesbians, like me, are uncomfortable with their breasts – even some that don’t identify as Butch!  I was just lucky enough to be able to do something about my upper body dysphoria and have the surgery I had wanted for all my life.  I am fine with my body now; I’m flat chested and happy.  I am fine with my masculine appearance and my butch ways.

See, the rules don’t apply to me.  I have chosen to live outside the definitive lines of the gender binary.  I don’t prescribe to much of anything that would label me a girl/woman/female person.  As well as I don’t identify as a male person.  I fall somewhere in the middle of that scale, a gray area where I embody the best of both worlds.  It’s a comfortable place for me, mentally and physically.  I lean hard toward the masculine end of the spectrum, by pure nature.  I was born this way; born Butch.   It’s the only place I fee comfortable, safe and seen.

I am pretty stereotypically Butch.  I dress like a guy, talk like a guy (thanks to the US Army and smoking I have a pretty deep and rough voice) and I embody most things masculine in nature.  I’ve even been told that I think like a dude.  I am not very emotional and I rarely cry….all things that people believe are stereo typical of most Butch women. That tough exterior and rough attitude everyone believes we have. I like to think that Butch is my actual gender, that I am neither man nor woman, but somewhere in between and we call that “Butch” in my world.  In my world Butch is a noun.

I am often mistaken for a guy.  I get called “sir” and “dude” all the time, and it doesn’t bother me.  It often makes me smile, like I have some sort of secret.  I wear my Butch like a scarlet letter, prominent and proud.  I walk the walk and talk the talk so to speak. And it embarrasses me when people who I am with will try to correct those who mis-gender me; somehow it’s easier for me to just shrug it off and laugh to myself. I get a kick out of it.

I feel bad for my friends who are femme lesbians.  They are so invisible. Usually being seen as “straight” all the time.  Only we see each other; we seem to recognize each other somehow.  I know that it must be hard for her when she’s told that she can’t be a lesbian because she’s too pretty, or she hears the dreaded “why do you date girls that look like guys, why not just date a guy instead?”  As Butches and femmes we hear these types of comments, or get these questions, quite often.   I’ve heard some brilliant answers to them over the years.  But it never ceases to amaze me when someone feels so emboldened as to ask such personal stuff.  And it’s always so disappointing to hear it from anyone who identifies with the LGBT community, that just feels like a true back-stab. You would think that they, if anyone, would understand that we are all unique and we all like different things; differing lifestyles and have various tastes.

So when I lace up my Chippewa work boots and tug on that worn old ball cap over my closely cropped crew cut hair, I definitely look the part that I gleefully embody:  Butch to the core.  And loving it. I blur the lines of the gender binary and I am comfortable in my own skin, being authentically who I am, and I never want to change that.

Peace.   ~MB

Great Books

I went to the local Barnes & Noble bookstore tonight to order Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan E. Coyote and had the luck that the bookstore had been overrun by a local kids band that was playing Christmas carols on the platform of the magazine section. They had the place completely mobbed.  I did, however, manage to get the book ordered and should be getting a call from the store in a few days when it’s in for me to pick it up.  I’m looking forward to reading this new book by Ivan.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the other books written by Ivan and can’t say enough about them.

Most recently I read Stilettos & Steel by Jeri Estes, which was one of my all time favorite books!  It’s a Butch/femme romance and action book.  Set in the 60’s in San Franscisco complete with mob influence and seedy nightlife.  I found it to be a very easy and quick read.  Although it could have had a bit more sex, still it was really good and kept me quite interested from beginning to end.  The book is based on a true story and Jeri Estes really brings it!

I am always on the lookout for new books to read, especially about the LGBT culture and stories of living in our community.  I feel like they are becoming harder and harder to find as the internet takes over our visual fields and minds.  When was the last time you read a good book?  I mean really sat down and read it from front to back?  I know that before Stilettos & Steel it had been quite a while for me.  I pick up my daily reading now from my laptop, like most other people today.  I tend to look to people like Cleis Publishing – who publish a wide variety of  books from LGBT authors – for most of my reading list.

What is on your reading list?  Have you read any good books that you can recommend?

 

 

 

Butch Christmas Stuff


ITs common around this time of year to hear partners of Butches – usually in my experience our femme counterparts – ask what to get their badass Butch for Christmas. Of course if they are asking for something specific  or special then your job should be pretty easy.  You just have to figure out if it’s a one gift exchange or if you have in mind maybe an assortment of smaller gifts which will take her to open on Christmas morning and will be much more exciting and pleasing for about any Butch I know.  Maybe you just do stockings filled with little gifts and maybe some of their favorite candy.  Whatever you choose as your tradition is cool…but make dampened sure that your Butch partner is on that same page!  One thing that we tend to hate are surprises.  Don’t say you only want one gift and then present your Butch with several from you.  Because we do listen at this time of year.  We secretly want to please our girls and make the move us more.  So make sure that your Butch knows what you want too!  
Ok now I like the multiple present kind of Christmas if possible.  And I love just thoughtful small gifts.  I’d rather get things that I need and will use or wear rather than get something I won’t use and don’t really need or want.  

Here’s a suggestion list of small gifts you are sure to please just about any Butch with a at Christmas.  Of course this is just a list of things that I am ways happy to receive, but I am a typical Butch with typical masculine tastes. I like to get lots of little things that I use everyday. so here’s my list I think you’ll find it might be helpful in making your Butch happy this Christmas.

  • Pocket knives — every Butch lives a good pocket knife or 3.  
  • Ties and belts.– just be sure you know your Butch’s tastes in these kind of articles, like I like black belts with my black shoes and brown belts with my brown shoes. And I like my ties to be fairly thin. if you know your partner well then  you’ll know what she likes.
  • Good pens — we can never have too many good pens especially as writers. if you want to make it extra-special have her name engraved on it or a nickname.   Like I’d love to have a pen that said “mainelybutch”
  • Watch or bracelet — just remember don’t make it too girly we like thicker things, heavier things.  Rings are cool too.  Just make sure you know what type of metal to shop for. I E. Does she like gold or silver?
  • Her favorite cologne or aftershave.  Just make sure she hasn’t got a full bottle in back up.  We don’t wear much of this stuff and usually only on special occasions.
  • Good hair gel.  I recommend “Sebastian Liquid Steel”  It is awesome stuff and spikes up a crew cut like nobody’s business!
  • Small electronics like a wireless speaker or a nice set of wireless headphones.
  • Hobby gear.  If you are significant other likes to fish why not buy her a fishing license for this next season. you can generally get them at any sporting good store in your local area. If she likes video gaming then maybe the latest video game she’s been raving about would be the ticket.If she likes to ski for half the lift ticket for the two of you for a nice weekend would be a good present.  You get the idea you can pander to her interests. 
  • Then there is ways clothing that we need yearly to react the stained or worn out old stuff like new plain white t-shirts, boxer briefs, and good socks.  Personally I always like that stuff.
  • Good hard bottom slippers.  Just in case we have to run outside and chase the dog.early in the morning before we get our boots on.!
  • Gift certificates — to the barber shop, movies, bookstore, Sears (they have nice tools), sandwich shop, coffee shop, etc.  

So that’s my simple list of little things that will please just about any Butch on Christmas morning.  It’s really not that hard or expensive to make us smile.  

I hope this helps some of you as you go about your Christmas shopping.  And if you are Butch let me know what I missed here!  I’m sure this is,a list that can be expanded in many ways.   PEACE. ~MB

Thanksgiving and Politics

I am becoming more alarmed as the days tick by…soon enough Trump will be sworn in as POTUS and I fear that day.  He’s surrounding himself with white nationalists, known racists and Nazi sympathizers.  As I heard today ” they’ve gone from wearing white hoods to business suits.”.  Which is exactly what I am seeing.  Emboldened by their new “leader” these outspoken haters are poised to basically take over in January.  I am very concerned and worried about what this means for all Americans; for civil rights, women’s rights, the LGBTQ fight for equality as well as just for living in the US at all.  I’m seriously afraid that our country will be commandeered by the alt right and a truly hate filled agenda.  How can I not be afraid of this when every days events happening around Trump are so bluntly indicating that this is the direction that he is determined to take us?

My best friend is sick of hearing about it.  She says she’s tired of watching it on the news.  She’s a straight white woman in working class America who’s upbringing was southern based.  She obviously sees this a bit different from me. It upsets me that she feels so overwhelmed by it all that she wants to play ostrich and keep her head in the sand.  But she is entitled to think for herself and to do what’s best for her.  Personally I need to KNOW what is going on so that I am semi-prepared for what is to come.  I watch the news and various commentary to stay well informed.   Because I think it’s important to be well informed.

I am going to meet later today with a couple of people from the LGBTQ community who are trying to organize groups around the country of people to sort of gather, support each other, to speak out and to fight for what we believe in .  The idea is in its infancy but i believe it’s a great idea and want to be involved.  I hope we can build a community that transcends the brewing hatred and bigotry and becomes a force with a voice.

The holiday is on Thursday this week and I am — like many others out there — trying to plan my personal strategy for dealing with my family if politics comes up, which I am most certain it will.  There are Trump supporters in the mix and they know I am a liberal and hate the man.  If things go as they have in the past someone will start making little snide wise cracks about the “tree hugging liberals” and I will begin to silently fume.  I have tried to educate in the past to no avail.  I am preparing myself for what could be a very aggravating day.  My only hope would be if my Mom declares it a politics free zone…even then they will gloat.  I know other people will have it even more rough.  One woman on Facebook was saying her parents told her she could not park her car at their house with the HTC sticker on it on Thanks giving because they believe that sodomy is an abomination and they won’t have it at their house.  She’s an ally, and the parents are evangelical in nature.  Yup, it will be a hard day for many I am sure.

I hope that YOU have a wonderful holiday.  I’m going to try to make most of mine enjoyable by focusing on love and tolerance.  Are you going to be dining with people of opposite views this Thanksgiving?  How do you handle it if a controversial subject comes up?  Does your family try to understand your views?

Much thanks to you, my dear readers.  May the force be with you .  Peace.  –MB

Just a Bit…

I was just reminded tonight that I have not blogged in quite a while, so I should put something together here and let you all know that I am doing stupendously well!  things have really been turning around for me, I’m getting myself together and it feels great.

The weather helps a lot, it’s been like summer here for a couple of weeks now, in the 80’s and sunny almost every day.  Honestly, we could use some rain as everything is very dry and parched.  I have to water my plants almost every night. And my outside water spigot is not working, so I am having to bucket water from the house out to the gardens and water each plant by hand.  Pain in my ass.  But my gardens, both flower and veggetable, are looking pretty damned great if I do say so myself.  I’ve put in all of the flowers that I am going to do for this season, maybe in the fall I will add some bulbs for tulips and daffodils next spring.  But for this year all the perennials are in and doing quite well.  They’ll all come back next season and it will look even better as the whole garden comes together and matures.  I will try to add some recent photos of the flowers I am growing at the end of this blog.

Health wise I am doing awesome as well.  I’m over the scare and stuff from the beginning of the month.  Doctors all say that I am doing well, altough I have some more neurological blood testing to be done, some enzymes are off for some reason.  I don’t understand most of the medical mumbo-jumbo, but I can follow directions.  I am doing well with the relapse too, haven’t touched a thing since I ended up in the hospital.  I can look back now and see all those things that triggered it in the first place too.  I was on the phone with someone tonight and she reminded me of the stresses that I was under, which probably helped lead to my relapse.  Anyway, that’s behind me now, and it’s staying there for good!

The dogs are doing great.  My Dad bought them both matching rainbow collars at the local Strawberry Festival that we attended together with my Mother this last weekend.  I thought it was quite sweet of him to give them those collars, and it was his mild way of showing support for me as well.  Being a staunch Republican he and I don’t talk much about politics or anything about the LGBT issues.  I’d rather not get into that with him.

So at work things are going well.  But I am about tired of being called “sir” all the time.  Summer doesn’t help, I wear a t-shirt (company issued) and black jeans and boots to work every day. It’s obvious that I have a flat chest (as I like it) and I keep my hair in a crew cut….so perhaps some would say I am asking for it. Yes, I am very masculine and present as very androgynous.  But when you thank someone do you have to add “sir” or “m’am” to the end of it?  Can’t we keep things more neutral and just say “thanks”?  Today I counted….11 “sirs” – a couple of them I swear were in a sarcastic kind of way, which irks me to no end.

I have really been trying to be more social lately, going to the fairs and festivals, attending parties that I usually didn’t go to, and being more friendly and nice to people in general.  I feel the change in myself as well, I’m loosening up and it feels good.  I’ve even been making plans for the rest of the summer, little things here and there to make sure that I stay out and involved in life.

So, that’s what’s going on with me.  Just an update of sorts.  I hope that you are all doing well and are in the best of health and spirits —AND enjoying this lovely Spring/Summer!!!!    Peace!!!  ~MB

Those Darned Definitions…

cropped-cropped-cropped-001.jpgMan!  Has language changed some radically since I’ve been walking this green earth.  Daily I am surprised by the “new” use of “old” words; the newer definitions and meanings of some.  Start with the word we all know and use in a zillion different ways:  Queer.  Now we know the dictionary meaning to be “odd or unusual” to be short.  But then we all know the meaning when it’s used to describe someone’s sexual preference for the same sex…i.e. “He/she is queer as a three dollar bill.”  meaning that he/she is gay…another word…Gay….now that is supposed to mean “happy and joyful” by the dictionary, but when used to describe me it means I like pussy, and I’m a bit queer.

Today’s LGBT world (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, for those who may not really know what the letters represent, seriously.)  Yes, where was I …in today’s world we are constantly changing up language.  It’s a far cry from what it was like in the 70’s when I was growing up.  Or the 80’s when I was just coming out and defying the world with my gayness.

There are so many words now to describe or to define who one is in the world.  I could not possibly do justice to all of them here, but I will take a stab at a few of the more common ones just for fun.

There’s the all famous Butch.  The definition of Butch varies so widely now that I am not sure if I am even still Butch!  Hell, it seemed easy when I finally did define myself as such, it felt wholesome and right.  I was a masculine presenting woman.  Butch.  It is my identity, my definition of me.  But what it means to me and what it means to other people can really be confusingly different.  I define Butch for myself as a masculine woman.  A woman who is more comfortable walking the masculine side of the binary, but who is not a man and does not necessarily want to be a man.  (Some people are convinced that all Butch women secretly just want to be men – both straight people and other LGBT people have been known to say this more than once).  I want to wear my jeans and workboots; flannel shirts are a must to my Butch wardrobe.  I don’t walk like a girl, or talk like one.  My voice is very deep, raspy and quite often mistaken for a male voice on the phone.  Plain and simple for me, it’s just how I was constructed by life.   I am a masculine woman, a Butch to the core.  Of course, this is just my definition and will certainly vary from yours or someone elses.

Femme is another widely varying word.  It’s gained some serious notoriety and popularity in the last 10 years I believe.  We have had the word Butch for so long and it’s been more popular for the last 100 years than I think Femme has been.  In my experience I didn’t really have a word for the type of women that I found super attractive until I discovered the word “Femme”.  To me Femme means a very feminine presenting woman.  A woman who revels in the glories of being very feminine appearing, acting and who is often attracted to her polar opposite – the Butch.  (I know this is not always the case, I am aware that Butch/Femme is only one dynamic, and that there are others, please don’t shoot me).

Now there are all these fun descriptive words that you can throw together with Butch and Femme.  There’s about 100 ways to be Butch or to dilute it, which ever you think is happening. Personally, I think the dilution factor is more of what is taking place.  Historically we know that the Butch-femme dynamic kind of started as a cover so that women could see one another  and appear to be a hetero couple…they were hiding from the law and society basically. There’s a LOT more to the history than this, I am seriously over simplifying here for brevity.

Today we have baby Butches, Tomboi Butches, Soft Butches, Hard Butches, Stone Butches, Daddi Butches, etc. etc.  I am sure I have missed a dozen or so other types here…but you should get the gist of where I am going with this. It’s a hard thing to just say Butch is Butch nowadays, because there are so many layers and depths to each “type”.  If you look in Wikipedia or do a Google search for any one of the types you are bound to come up with more reading than you probably need to get to the point.  You can be whatever you choose, and you can define it in any way you want along the squiggly line of the binary.

Same with the femmes, you have the high femmes, diva femmes, lipstick lesbians, queer femmes, and that list goes on and on as well.  I am not as familiar with it as I am with the Butch side of things, obviously and for obvious reasons.  All I know is that I really love femme women.  And the way they embody their femininity is up to each one of them, they can put on a baseball cap and pull the pony tail through the back and still be a diva femme.  It’s all in the attitude I have come to realize with femmes.  They have this great attitude about femininity and they revel in it.

Today’s younger crowd has a ton of other new words too that I just don’t understand.  I’ve come to the realization that I am too old for some of this new wording. But I want to learn!

Personally, I used to identify as a Stone Butch.  I am not so sure about seriously identifying with the “stone” part any longer.  I’m just not sure exactly what stone means to me now.  I know that I am not a “touch me not” Butch, as the word “stone” is supposed to imply in some circles.  I don’t care for some things; for some forms of touch, but I do like to be loved on quite a lot!  I enjoy sex, and sometimes I think the the inference to “stone” is that he/she is not someone who likes to be touched or who enjoys any kind of sexual touch.  I have to say I enjoy both.  While I have my limitations, and my boundaries that doesn’t negate the fact that I am human and need human interaction and touch.  Hell, I love sex.

Stone is a word that gets thrown around a lot more as I’ve noticed lately. I even see it in reference to “stone femmes” now, which I never encountered before say the last year or so.  I’m not sure of how that definition would read or what it would be.  Perhaps one of you readers have more information on this one, or some anecdotes to share on it.  I see it on Fetlife quite often and wonder about it.

So, these are my more random thoughts for today’s blog.  I was just pondering word-smithing and how radically language in the gay community has changed over the decades. Words seem to come into fashion and fade just as quickly sometimes.  It’s interesting as fuck.  You may see me write a bit more about this, perhaps from a more serious angle next time, tonight I am in a fun mood and wanted to keep it fairly light.

Rock on.

~MB

 

 

 

Authenticity

Authenticity comes in many forms.  Lesboi wrote recently about Authenticity and asked what it is for us.  I found their post to be extremely timely, for I am one who tries to be my authentic self always, and Lesboi brings up some very specific points about it:

This morning I found myself watching this video by uppercaseCHASE1 about how being your authentic self isn’t just about being trans and it got me thinking pretty hard about what living an “authentic life” really means for me.  I talk about living authentically a lot.  It’s a huge motivator for my transition.  It’s what pushes me through the hard stuff about all of this.  But, as Chase points out, authenticity is bigger than just being trans.  There’s so much more to each of us than our gender and our sexuality.  There are political beliefs, personal preferences in clothing, books, movies, music, chores, where we live, who we live with, how we spend money, how we do our hair, how we speak, what cell phone we carry, etc. etc. etc.  The list is too huge to list it all.  All of these things, plus our history and our future goals and dreams help to make us who we are. -Lesboi, Another Authenticity Post

This says so much about how I feel.  Being authentic is important to me, it’s part of being honest about myself, and to myself. There were times in my life where being my “authetic” self was more dangerous to me, as being Butch was a dangerous way of life during those times. So one had to “tone it down” a bit, not being one’s authentic self, in order to not stir the pot too hard and cause an upset. Or better said to not get your ass beat to hell for being too bold as to be your authentic self.

I don’t think that being one’s authentic self has only to do with our sexuality, gender identity or personal preferences because – as Lesboi points out and as uppercaseCHASE1 points out in his video linked by Lesboi here – there is a LOT more that goes into our personal make up than just those superficial things.   It’s not about how Butch, femme, trans or gay one is.  It’s not about being enough of one thing or another, it’s about being enough for yourself.  It’s about being authentic to yourself and living life for yourself and no one else.  When you are doing that then I believe you are being truly authentic.

We’ve talked alot about being “enough” in our vlogs and blogs. People want to set these rules and guidelines for being a certain way, i.e. trans, butch, femme, genderqueer, etc.  They want to define the words and set all these boundaries behind them that makes people think they need to be a certain way to be “enough” to claim their own identities. When you are being your authentic self you don’t need to live up to anyone else’s expectations or determining factors.  You make your own rules; set your own boundaries and live the best life you can for yourself.  That’s being authentic to yourself.

Being one’s authentic self doesn’t have to revolve around any one specific group, like for Chase it seems his experience has it’s roots for him in his Transgender identity.  For me when I speak of my authentic self I see the strong Butch that I am.  For the fantastic femmes out there I am sure it’s got some to do with their – well – fantastic femme-ness!!!  Whatever being your authentic self has it’s “center seed” in for you, is just for you to decide!  That is part of being one’s authentic self!

My own version of my authentic self, when I think about it, is somewhat about me being able to be out and proud, and Butch.  But that’s only a small part of my true self.  True self to me has to do with many other things as well; it’s in how i treat other people and how I expect to be treated in return.  It’s in my honesty and my loyalty.  It’s in my fearlessness about being who I am and my expectation of just being respected for that.

So that’s my take on it for now.  What does being one’s “authentic self” mean to you?  Where does that authenticity show up most in your life?