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