A Smooth Stone... Excellent insight on the Stone Butch persona. I enjoy this blogger’s writing very much!
I recently had a question asked by two different viewers on my Youtube channel, and it gave me pause for thought, and fodder for a blog and vlog on the topic. The question is “Can Butches and Femmes be just friends?” Meaning here, can they successfully navigate the terrain of friendship – without becoming emotionally involved and without sex becoming a factor or issue in the equation?
Facebook is the prime example of epic failure in the realm of Butch-Femme friendship. More drama and crap goes across the status bar of that application than I can even fathom. Personally I don’t let it bother me when someone un-friends me because I tell the truth, hey I know the truth hurts! And if you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch. If you can’t take the truth, GTFO . Because I tell it like I see it, and for some that seems to be just a tad bit too insightful for them, they are afraid I may call their bullshit like I see it. Hell, it has happened and I have been un-friended by both Butches and Femmes in the past, for doing just that – calling bullshit when I see it. I don’t care to be a spectator in anyone’s drama filled exchanges…and why would I? Nope just not into the drama myself, so take your “friendship” – and I use the term lightly – and GTFO. Good riddance. I don’t need the bullshit believe me – neither do you.
So can Butches and Femmes ever really be “friends”? I am not sure. I know that I approach every relationship in my life from an angle of friendship. I offer myself as a friend. Sex, when used as a weapon in any relationship from friendship to the romantic realm, is just wrong. And sexual exchanges of innuendo or as “come on” talk within a friendship is not acceptable behavior from anyone who wishes to just be friends.
What I do know for myself is that Butch – Butch bromances are needed and necessary. I am sure it’s the same for Femmes, although I cannot speak to their thoughts directly. You often need the advice of someone who possibly thinks a bit more like you do; who has walked the path that you are on and knows the ropes across that wiggly bridge. Advice and having an ally are valuable tools in navigating this minefield of this LGBT life. When I have Butch things that I think only another Butch would be able to relate to then I take my questions to my other Butch friends. If I am having Femme issues I might consult a Femme friend for insight, but it’s my Butch buddies that give me the most support; needed, necessary and like-minded support.
I do think that Butches and Femmes can be friends without sex or relationship stuff becoming an issue but it takes mature people to make the friendship. And there is also that category of acquaintance versus actual friend. Acquaintances are those who you know, but aren’t very close to, perhaps it’s your buddy’s girl, or the girl at work, she’s someone that you wouldn’t persue a real friendship with anyway.
Generally when a Femme puts you into the “friend” category, you stay there regardless. Any sort of romance that may pop up are usually just fleeting things and you stay in the friendship category, because most Femmes are strong willed, solidly minded and once you are in that category there is no such thing as a “get out of friendship free” pass, it’s lost somewhere between the “go to jail” and the “get 100 condoms free” passes in life. She wants to be your friend not your lover. She wants to tell you how to dress better, not undress you. She wants to talk to you like she would talk to another Femme, not like she would converse with you if she were sleeping with your ass. Exhibit one…she will tell you about the fabulous Butch she fucked last weekend…a lover or potential girlfriend would definitely not be telling you those things. Because if she saw you as a potential lover or sex partner she would want you to think that you are the only one, so if she’s telling you about her latest conquests then you are definitely in the friend category. Stay there.
When Butches and Femmes cross that threshold between friendship and a relationship one of two things happens. Either they get together and stay that way, or the friendship goes straight into the shitter. The second may happen slower, but it will eventually happen as you drift apart, one of you becoming more distant, you talk less, and then poof, no more friendship.
As you grow older in life and you gain experience in dealing with various personality types along the way, you gain insight and intuition about things. You learn to know the difference between friendly gestures and those with romantic overtones. You can feel when someone is not telling the whole truth, but is giving you marginal information to keep you in some sort of spot where they can later manipulate you into whatever they wish. You learn to avoid those people, they are toxic. Butch or Femme. Toxic.
Basics of Butch – Femme Friendships
No pet names…once a pet name is given some sort of weird connection happens, it breaks boundaries.
No pouring out of the heart. Save this for your time with like-minded buddies and other friends.
No sexting, multiple texting, or massive email exchanges. Each one gives the lead to more, and that leads to a falling off of the friendship cliff.
Respect boundaries, have impeccable manners and general good behavior that will keep things friendly.
No holding of hands, touching or other intimate behavior between friends.
No names. When discussing recent sexual conquests do not use names or identifying things.
No sexual inuendos, small talk or references to be exchanged or referred to in conversation, both in person or online. Using any type of sexual or “come on” type language is just a recipe for trouble, with a capital T. Afterall , it ‘s supposedly “friendship” you are after, not a relationship or sexual escapade, right?
If sexual tension evolves, deal with it head on, do not sweep it under the proverbial rug. Get it out in the open, discuss it and solve it. Maybe you are not meant to be friends…but are you meant to be more? If you can’t put the tension aside then it’s time to either end it or ask her out properly…you decide and let those chips fall where they may. But remember, if she never trusts you when you say “she’s just my friend” after you get together, it’s exactly how you two met…historically speaking. History says a lot. She won’t want you having other “friends” of the opposite label, i.e. Butches having Femme friends and visa versa.
No drunk calls, texts or emails…never, ever a good thing. If you are thinking of your Butch or Femme “friend” when you are drunk then it’s NOT a friendship in your head, it’s turning into something much more dangerous…the desire for a relationship.
Warning signs that it’s more than a friendship.
You start to dress more “her style”, listening to what she likes in her Butch or Femme, you start to look at your wardrobe and think of what “she” would like to see you wear, not what you like. Never change yourself for someone, especially a “friend”.
You stay up late at night waiting by your computer for her to get home so you can chat or email with her. This is a definite sign that it’s getting beyond friendship in your head.
Buying expensive gifts…you don’t do this for other friends, so if you find yourself looking at diamonds suddenly and thinking of buying one for her…it’s gone way beyond friends in your head.
Suddenly changing your other friends, because she doesn’t care for this one or thinks that one is too much of an influence on you. A friend will never ask or suggest that you lose another friend just so you can be “her” friend. A true friend will encourage you to have other friends, and may even want to hang out with you and them.
Isolating…if you find you are staying home more, waiting for her calls, emails or texts then you are not being friendly, you are being stupid.
Jealousy…if you or she starts telling the other who they can and cannot hang with, communicate with or who they should and should not sleep with, or what to do with their hair, nails, brows, etc…then it’s obvious it’s not friendship, it’s a connection going deeper.
Drop off friends.
Signs that a friend has decided that you are too much work, or that she’s feeling pressured and maybe things need to frost over a bit between you before it goes somewhere other than friendship….
She becomes a bit distant, has to work late, has prior obligations and cant’ hang with you.
Phone calls become rare to non-existant. Your calls go unanswered or to voice mail.
Texts and emails start to trail off, not so many anymore. And those that do come are short and to the point. Then she finally stops altogether.
Friends with Benefits.
Never a good idea in my humble opinion. Tried it and failed miserably. And I find that it’s always a friendship killer because once you go to the intimacy level, everything changes. You may think you are still friends, but you are now more than friends, but less than lovers. The whole dynamic is different, strained and usually not very much fun. One of you thinks it’s friends, the other has built a house and put up a picket fence in their mind. Watch out for this one; tread carefully.
So those are my thoughts and ideas on Butch-Femme friendship. I do have a few very sweet and good Femme friends. I adore every one of them, but I also keep them at a distance socially, out of respect for them, their Butches and for myself. I want to be a good friend, and sexual fantasy about a Femme friend would not make me a good Butch…it might make me typical to some, but not good!
I personally have no idea what it’s like to be any other way than Butch lesbian. I know some people “come out” later in life and “figure out” they are LGBT…or that they are Butch or Femme, a tweener, a granola, queer, or __________(fill in the blank with your favorite identity marker or label). For me it’s just something I have always known inside of my skin and brain.. How does this kind of deep, from the beginning kind of knowing make me different? Do we behave, in some way differently, as we come into our own in different ways as people; as lesbians – and lovers of women?
I have to wonder what it’s like to think you are straight, and then to decide you are gay/lesbian at some later point in life.…I can’t fathom that kind of thought pattern; of something that I feel that I was born with, that was ingrained into my DNA from birth. I’m not speaking about those who knew but hid the fact from themselves and others, but about those who have had honest “awakenings” to the idea or fact that they were attracted not to the opposite sex, but to the same sex. Some call themselves late bloomers, or out laters. I was just born this way, grew up a lesbian and knew no other way.
The Butch-Femme world is a whole other story. I would imagine that it could be a hard world to “break in to” for someone who does not “get” the dynamic right from the get-go. I’ve had women approach me and utter those strange words “I am not sure if I am Femme or not, but I like Butches”…and I have to wonder; wonder what thought bring those words to their mouths. Then come the “I want to learn” or “teach me” words that petrify just about any Butch I know. Certainly does me that’s for sure. Those words do not exude any kind of confidence or knowing of the Butch-Femme dance.
So loving women is loving women, but the Butch-Femme dynamic plays out so very differently than the standard granola style of loving women. It’s just a different world. It’s a different existence and way of being altogether; it’s a lifestyle and a love-style. I hear women say “I just love women”. Well I do as well, but romantically I am only attracted to Femme women. That’s just how it is for me.
Ok, you say, so what is a Femme woman? What constitutes the definition of a Femme?
Here is my personal perception, whic, I am sure varies slightly from Butch perspective to Butch perspective, but this is how I see it for the biggest part:
A Femme is the gentler of the two in the Butch-Femme; she is the more effeminate, exhibiting much more comfort with her own femininity and all things feminine in her world. Because of her surrounding her own self with that, she desires contrast in the romantic realm, someone to perhaps rough out the edges, so that they are not so femininely smooth as they are when she is alone. While a Butch can be gentle she also brings that certain bravado of roughness that is necessary for a Femme to feel…well, Femme!
A Femme is much more in touch with her emotional side, not afraid to show emotion or deal with it in any way. She will speak her mind, with no uncertainty and no hesitation. She knows what she wants and how to get it. Her self-confidence is a breath of fresh air, in the eyes of this Butch.
A Femme is sexy; exuding sexy all the time. yet, she easily hides in the crowd, appearing to blend in with the psuedo-normalcy of her world’s hetero sisters. Never is her heel wearing, purse toting, skirt swishing ass questioned when she enters a gendered space, such as the ladies room or a dressing room. She walks always and anywhere with an inner – but evident – confidence, poise and attitude that only a Femme can display.
A Femme knows fairly well where she can and cannot go with her Butch in the bedroom. Every Butch being unique, she somehow knows and understands the boundaries and maneuvers the minefields of her lover’s body carefully, as only a Femme can do with a Butch. She’s known these moves all of her life, as only a Femme does, and she brings a comfort and relaxation to her Butch that only she can bring. Butches who try to be with others (non-Femme identified lesbians) sometimes find themselves in those very uncomfortable situations of having to “explain” their bodies and desires, something no Butch likes to verbalize ever…and soon those situations go awry; never really satisfying either party as much as the Butch Femme dynamic can do for those involved.
A Femme knows what her primary place is in the home; that starting and operating the chainsaw is not her job. She knows what her Butch likes, what she hates and those things that do not matter either way. She’s not afraid to pump her own gas, but when her Butch is present she knows better than to even get out of the car to try. She knows that asking her Butch to do laundry comes with a disclaimer that things may be shrunken or discolored and that risk is real. Yes, we each know our strengths and our places amoungst the affray of life.
A Femme gets her way by allowing her Butch to always be seen as the strong Butch that she is, for by doing that her happiness is dynamically secured. The way a Femme recognizes the masculine and the non-masculine in a Butch is a skill she seems to be born with, and that comes as second nature to her from the very beginning of the understanding her own Femme existence.
Some say this is mimicking of a hetero relationship. I say it is not. It is the dynamic that we are comfortable with, the feminine and the masculine – in two women – combined to meet each individual party’s needs, expectations and compatibilities. It emphasizes the strengths of the Femme and the honor of the Butch in ways that only they can understand; that only a Butch-Femme couple can really fathom in their world.
I don’t ask for complete understanding of my lifestyle. Only that people allow me to live my way and not try to criticize me for being exactly who God intended me to be. And also to allow my Femme to do the very same thing – be her own woman. She’s comfortable in her own skin, I am not comfortable in mine. Without her I am naked and laid vulnerable to the cruelty of the world. With her by my side I am protected, as is she by me. I make her visible, she makes me secure in myself. Perhaps in that simple sentence is the answer to why anyone is in any relationship, we make each other happy and secure. Love does that. All love; any love
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.
Ok, I have encountered several bloggers lately who like to write about the greatness of “Femme Invisibility” – but who also complain about it at times as well – like when I don’t “notice” you in town, and walk right on by while staring at the obviously straight chick walking next to you.
So here are my reasons for loving my “Visibility” as a Butch.
1. I never have had to hide. My masculinity is palpable and I am happy and contented being seen as Butch.
2. I can check out women whenever I like, no one thinks it’s wrong for me to do…and if they do they don’t dare say anything for fear of me telling them to shut the fuck up – or slap them upside the head.
3. I can look menacing. I walk with authority and am proud of who I am. This scares some; entices others. And since everyone understands I am Butch, there’s not a lot of excess explaining that I am definitely Lesbian, and no mistaking I am a top.
4. I can flirt with the Best Buy clerk, who is obviously blushing, and be as Butch as I wanna be, winking as I walk off with her phone number neatly tucked in my pocket. And you thought she was straight! (so did she!)
5. I can swing a hammer, flip a drill, and manhandle a chainsaw with the best of the guys, I never have to ask for help. The feeling of dropping trees is akin to dropping you to your knees, to me
6. I can also DRIVE ANYTHING with an engine and a way to steer…braking optional. I can also ride it, if necessary.
7. Clutches do not scare me. They are needed for speed and rhythm.
8. I can shop for a reasonable price. Men’s clothing is not as over-priced, or itchy, lacy or uncomfortable for me as women’s clothing is, and I look damned good in a tie, or I can rock my jeans and boots in total comfort.
9. Sensible shoes…i.e. boots, are much more comfortable than 5″ stiletto heels. Plus you can RUN in them, stomp bugs, kick ass and take names.
10. Pockets. Need I say more?
11. The way I see Femmes check out my package when I am packing. It’s obvious ladies.
12. One of the best Butch things is the way it feels watching her watching me, when she thinks I am not even aware.
13. I love the way a woman feels in my hands, the way she smells, her morning smile, alluring eyes,and the way she dresses just for me…THAT makes me damned proud to be one very, very Visible Butch!
14. Hot wax…
My next blog will be the things that make me uncomfortable about being visible…while I try not to think of those very much, I am sure that there are a few that all of us, as Butches, can share in that department. Peace.