How do you define “Butch”? Response…

ImageHow do you define “Butch”? Does Butch always mean “female”?

Butch is fierce, strong and rough, yet gentle.  Butch is no-nonsense, yet silly sometimes.  Butch is a generally tough exterior, yet a sort of teddy bear on the inside.  Butch is that feeling that you need to fix everything…even when you know you can’t.  Butch is not crying in public…at least trying not to!  Butch is steeling emotions on the surface, and dealing with them when you are alone.  Butch is getting up and doing what needs to be done even when you are sore, hurting and really don’t want to do it, but you do it anyway – because you are Butch. Butch is never letting them see you sweat.  Butch is shopping in the men’s department and anguishing over which dressing room you’ll be banned from.  Butch is avoiding public bathrooms as much as physically possible and using them at great risk of possible violence.  Butch is brushing off (and secretly smiling) all of the “sirs” and “young man” comments that those in the unknowing world dish out to us. Butch is standing up for what is right, even if it means getting our asses kicked.  Butch is good.  Butch is true.  Butch is flexible and giving.  Butch is whatever defines you, or how you define it for yourself. 

I am Butch. And I am proud.

Advertisements

Fire and want

The smoldering fire, white hot, rages

In my gut, my heart, my loins

I crave to take you there

Completely, unashamedly

To places only you dream

Of

On days that end in Y

Your why is never questioned

You obey, you submit, you come

To me, willingly, softly, fiercely

Rage

In my mind, in my fingertips

Playing across your moist skin

Weaving through your thick hair

Finding places to seek and hide

Lust

For things unspoken yet necessary

To bring us to that precipice

That edge of abandonment

Sweat and heat of deepest desire

Sex

Passionate, biting and searing

Courses though my expanded veins

Rhythm beating in my heart, in my heat

Ravaging; ripping through your love

Silence

As my hand finds its way

To cover your scream, hold you down

Not yet my needy lover, for only

When I say you can will you

Come.

To me in the midnights hours

With visions of torment, satisfaction, release

Sighs of relief and exhaustion

Red-hot fire is streaming through my body

Spent.

The Scorn of Labels, Identifiers and Belonging

(I have about had it with being scorned for identifying as Butch….dammit. ~ MainelyButch)

“It isn’t an elapsed time since birth, sometimes, but the elapsed-time-since-rebirth since one’s heart and, not incidentally, loins make themselves known” (S. Bear Bergman, “Butch is a Noun” Arsenal Pulp Press, 2010)

I hear the words all the time “we are all just lesbians, with tits and vaginas and we like other lesbians, we don’t need and shouldn’t use labels”.  It is an oft repeated and misused cry of not belonging; of not knowing where one belongs or how one identifies.  Maybe it is shield used as a defense, as a place to hide and think that they are not judged or seen as anything but just lesbian or gay.  They claim to walk a line of indifference, not aligning with any one group.  But when you ask who they are they will tell you perhaps “Irish, English and Hispanic” or any other ethnic or cultural background.  Why they are afraid to also find an identifying place under the vast LGBT umbrella, I do not know or understand.  I don’t understand them not identifying with something as much as they claim not to understand my identifying as Butch.  I am sure the topic will continue to be debated and chewed apart at every opportunity, so here is my take on the topic .

There are some in the LGBT community that speak harshly about the labels and identifiers that others of us use in our choice of vocabulary. They rebuke the use of any labels, claiming it sets us back and divides us somehow, and I deny no one their own opinions at all.  Noteably,  I have noticed this especially true of the Butch, Stud, and Femme identifiers.  Somehow others feel, or seem to feel, threatened by the words themselves.  Do they stir up images unkind to the mind of those who do not understand them? Is it that not understanding our worlds as they are known to us and us alone that frightens them somehow; that makes them want to take away our words for ourselves?  Do they see it as some attempt to make them identify too?

I hear the often verbalized words,  “labels, I don’t identify with any label” and “labels are for soup cans” – which is true because the label helps you choose your favorite kind of soup, as our identifiers help us find those and find those which we favor in flavor.  Without those soup can labels you may be wind up eating cream of mushroom, when you really wanted tomato and basil.   Those soup can labels have a vital purpose, to delineate our choices; as do our chosen labels and identifications.  It’s good to know when another identifies such as I do, to know we have a comraderie and that we possibly have similar thought patterns and likes or dislikes.  It gives me and others a place of belonging, where we can openly be the style of whatever label best fits us, and gives us guidance to be the best we can be.

Butch – Femme has given a rich, rich contribution to LGBT history.  There is no actual handbook on Butch-Femme contributions, no handbook of how or why we choose this lifestyle.  (*although there are many good reads which I will list after this piece)  Many say we are mimicking the heterosexual norms.  But I say that we all live by examples absorbed from childhood experiences and life knowledge.  My role models were a very solid heterosexual set of parents, my mother embodying the strength and fortitude of a strong Femme – something I now seek in my own partners. And my father the epitomy of masculinity, strong and true gritted, someone I emulated and strove to be like all my life.  I knew from a young age that I was lesbian, and that I was decidedly Butch.  There was never ever a question in my mind.  Yes, I knew I was/am female, with a female body and all the appropriate birth parts, but my mind was something different than other female minds.  My mind was influenced by higher testosterone levels as a natural occurrence, as well as being surrounded by high levels of testosterone based people such as my father.  I am sure the combination has much to do with who I am as a Butch today.  I know it has much to do with how I treat a woman – in the absolute best and most respectful ways possible, coveting her femininity and softness as something I want desperately in my life – but beside me, not inside me.

You can scorn my use of the Butch identifier all day long.  I shrug it off because I know you do not really understand – either me or the word itself.  It’s simply due to that understanding that you feel you need to rebuff my attempts to belong to my own group.  You may not know where you belong, you may fell trapped in limbo and wish you could figure yourself out as I have done with myself.  Perhaps it’s that you envy my guts for having the fortitude and foresight to really know who I am and where I fall in the binary scale of feminine and masculine.  My clarity is palpable, and this scares many.  For without fear they would not scorn.  Scorn itself is quite simply born of fear and not knowing.  It is natural to fear the unknown, the unthinkable and the different.

 Perhaps one day they will allow themselves to find their own people, to identify as someone who is part of a group, whether that is simply the human group, or a specified group, race, creed, heritage, kind of group, they belong somewhere, and others no right to deny anyone else of belonging, of identifying and of living as they choose to live.

As a stone butch I cannot identify with the straight up lesbian label.  It does not fit me.  My ideas of relationships with other women, sex and being are not the same as someone who is middle of the road, sort of what I call the granola lesbian.  She may feel neither feminine nor masculine.  She just likes women; is into same sex relationships and is happy to just be herself, however that manifests for her.  Personally, I tried to identify with that variance for many years, actually to the point of doing much unnecessary and deep emotional harm to myself in the process.  Because it was not and is not how I am wired.  I am wired hard Butch.  The masculine wire in my brain is much thicker, more of a pipe than a wire, than the thin thread of femininity.

Yes, I am woman.  I shall never deny that fact.  I was born a girl.  I have girl parts.  I do not see them in the same way as others much of the time.  The feminine feels uncomfortable and wrong for me personally.  Yes, I toy with gender, I allow my own natural masculinity to shine through, I do not stifle it  or tone it down one iota.  As I will not be or try to be anyone that I am not.  I am who I feel inside that I am, and I am proud to be Butch.  Proud to recognize my Butch-ness and let it control me and continue to make me exactly as intended.  No, I did not learn Butch from anyone.  I did not learn masculinity, but I did emulate and strive to be the good parts of masculine. The one difference between men and Butches is just that, we can inhabit the masculine in ways that are comfortable, not forced. Men may be made, a virtual fact of nature, but Butches are born, absorbing that which is right for each of them personally and leaving the crap right on the floor – the macho attitude, the underlying tilt toward more internal anger, violence and anything remotely negative about being wired as a biological man. 

So, in wrapping this up, I stand firmly in my Butch boots.  I cannot explain to someone who just doesn’t get it that this IS just me, this IS who I am and no one has any right – or reason – to question that or to challenge it in any form.  All I can hope is that with time and experience that every person finds who they really are inside and allows themselves to freely recognize that, to revel in it as I do and to be the happiest they can be by being just who they are in life.

I harbor no ill feelings towards those who rebuff my gender, my sexuality or my identification.  I do not always agree with their styles or choice either, but I keep mum generally and  I only ask for them to learn tolerance, respect and to live and let live, as I do with them in mutual respect.  I will not force my labels upon them, and they hopefully will not force their opinions of labels on me.  It doesn’t matter anyways, I am just Butch. And this Butch is strong, resilient and knows who she is at her core.

 

Related reading/reference:

“Butch is a Noun” 2006, 2010 by S. Bear Bergman, Arsenal Pulp Press

“Missed Her” 2010, stories by Ivan E. Coyote, Arsenal Pulp Press

“Dagger”  1994 by Cleis Press Inc.  Edited by Lily Burana, Roxxie, Linnea Duc

“Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme” edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman, Arsenal Pulp Press, 2011

“Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity” 2006 edited by Matt Bernstein Sycamore, aka Mattilda, Seal Press

“Butch/Femme: New Considerations of the Way We Want to Go” 2002 Edited by Michelle Gibson, Deborah T Meem….co published simultaneously as “Journal of Lesbian Studies” Vol. 6 Number 2. Harrington Park Press

“Butch/Femme: Inside Lesbian Gender” 1998 edited by Sally R. Munt, Cassell, London/Washington

 

Dear Readers…

Dear Readers,

Thanks for stopping by and reading my crazy rants and raves.  You are going to see quite a few new posts, some of old writings that I have in my collection, as well as some new stuff that I am doing as I am working through a project to collect most of my presentable pieces all in one place.

I write about many things, most of all my personal perspectives and opinions of love, life, various incidents, troubles and the human condition.  While most of it is true, some are variations of skewed truth; yet all are my original writings. Some of which I can bear witness to and some I can only theoretically speculate about.  Bottom line is that I love to write, and have much passion for the written word as it has represented man’s journeys through time and history.  My stories are of my own time; my own history.

Please enjoy reading!  I invite you each to leave comment, criticism, and opposing arguments as needed!

~MainelyButch

Relationship Checklist

During the month of July, 2010, I did a video blog – or a vlog – called “Lesbian Dating Application” which was very funny, but serious too as it laid out all of the things that would and would not work in a relationship for me. Here I would like to revise that previous performance, and update it, because originally it was filmed over 2 years ago, and we all know how life and situations change; how we can change too.  So I believe updating in both written and video is necessary at this time.

Script goes something like this. 

Dating is hard these days.  You never know what kind of weird stuff that beautiful Femme in front of you has going on in that pretty little head or what she will pull out of her Guici handbag of tricks.   Wouldn’t it be cool if we had paperwork? Like a “lesbian dating application” listing out what will and will not work for use and ask them to indicate their take on each question.  While some can and would be simple yes or no, others would probably require some thought and effort in putting together a serious answer.

The Interview Itself:

  • So if you throw  the application back in my lap and stand up to leave…it might now work out.
  • If you show up to the interview looking like a 14th street hooker….it might not work out.
  • If you have more tattoos than I do…it probably won’t work.  While the occasionaly tat is nice on a woman, I find large tats and full sleeve tats to be a bit over the top for my taste in who I can see myself with long term.
  • Same goes for piercings, if there is metal protruding from your face or your ears are gaged and flopping like a basset hound’s then I am just not interested, thus it just won’t work.
  • If you sit there smacking gum, talking with a thick hood-style accent and vocabulary…nope, definitely won’t work.
  • If your cell phone is not set to silent during my time, my interview time that is, and she stops me mid-question to take a call from your recent ex-lover…get the fuck out.  Not going to work.
  • If you must bring a girlfriend or friend to the interview for “moral support” you might as well turn around and exit stage left cuz that shit just isn’t cool and it will not work.  I had asked to spend this time alone with you, and do not need a chaperone.
  • If you show up on your lunch hour and expect to be munching on your lunch while I am trying to interview you, it will just not work.  I need your focus and undivided attention during a serious conversation.  Had I wanted to do a lunch interview I would have reserved a table somewhere.
  • Now if you show up with lunch for both of us…we might be able to work something out because you obviously took the time to think of me as well, and that is impressive.
  • If you start any answer with the word “Ya know Girl” or “Oh Girl let me tell you….”  It’s just not going to work, because you obviously have me confused with some Femme you must have applied to for the same reason. Same goes for the pronouns, miss, ma’m, lady, and sometimes woman, in the way you are addressing me as a persona senses of the words.  If you know I am Butch you would know that I do not care a lot for the prissy female ways of being addressed.
  • If you come to the interview and are polite, courteous, smiling, have a great attitude and you obviously took the time to dress nicely and do your hair and nails, then I definitely am interested in seeing if we can work this out.  Especially if you brought lunch…awww, how did you know that liverswurst is my favorite??

Remember, your chance to leave a good first impression on someone will stick with them. And that first impression is made in the first 30 seconds of contact.  I can tell if you are someone I would date within a very short period of time.  I am all about first impressions, and about being with a woman who takes the time to make sure that she is always up to par and giving off good first impressions – even in her everyday life.  I do not want things to become “sweatshirt and braless” within 2 weeks of us starting a relationship.  Because that means you just did the interview appearance up to impress me upfront, but aren’t interested in how much I love my woman to look damned good every day; as well as for her to be making great first impressions on my family, friends and the general public And I like it when you are on my arm and we are out around town together, and we both look good…getting smiles from friendly strangers wherever we go…that is important to me and if you are like that too, then this will definitely work.

Key Points of the Relationship Expections: The Issues

  • Sundays are reserved for football, and I love my Sunday games, so scheduling a 1:00 dinner with your friends from work and expecting me to go with you….just not going to work.
  • If you are going to force me to go shopping for “girl things” like clothing, handbags or shoes…we will have issues.  I don’t care for that kind of shopping, and unless you are ok with me perusing the tool department while you clothes shop, then we’ll definitely have issues.
  • It’s 2012…if you have to question every cell phone call and text I receive then we will have issues.  Trust is a big thing, and jail breaking my cell phone while I sleep is punishable by breaking up!
  • Same goes for my computer.  It’s my private world, my solace and my place of refuge.  I have a lot of private writing on there, and when I want to share it I will, but catching you at 3am trying to figure out how to close out of my email account will piss me off and you will be leaving shortly there-after.
  • I suffer from B.E.D.D.  This is Butch Emotional Deficit Disorder which is the basic Butch trait of not always showing emotion or emotional reaction to things you think I should react to right away.  I sometimes appear clueless when you are crying, you have to tell me why..I can’t read your mind for hell’s sake!  And when I am not reacting in the way you think I should, remember BEDD.  It’s not contagious.
  • If we have to ever use the word “let” in a sentence accompanied by “you” then we will have issues.  I am my own individual, you will not have to “let me” do anything once you are standing outside with your suitcase packed.   Yes, “let” will definitely mean we have issues.
  • If you don’t love my dog, or are jealous of Nola, it will cause us to have issues.  I adore that dog, and she doesn’t talk back, nag or require weekly manicures, so she’s an easy keeper.  Are you?  If not then I can see issues in our future.
  • If you think you are going to drive when I am in the car we will have issues.
  • Same goes for pumping gas and getting maintenance done on the car.  I like to do that stuff, it’s a Butch thing…let me, or we will have some issues.
  • If you are highly jealous it could cause nasty issues.  I am a very social person, I have friends that I go fishing with, play pool with and hang out with (sometimes without you) and I get phone calls, texts and emails from them.  Because I have friends does not mean that I am any less committed to our relationship, it just means I am a social creature…and I encourage you to have friends too.  We can be happily individualized, and still be a great couple!  I get aggravated with jealousy.  Trust me, and I will trust you.
  • Baggage is something we all have.  Dragging up my past and using it in anyway against me will decidedly cause some issues.  I won’t throw your baggage around, so don’t toss mine across the room either.  If my baggage concerns you then we need to do some talking, so that we don’t have issues.
  • Addressing a Butch can sometimes be a mine field.  Our personalities and outward appearance often doesn’t match our mental state surrounding our identification.  Calling me cheesy pet names like “pumpkin, peaches, or tootsie” will drive me nuts.  Calling me Babe or Honey can work, but be very careful in that minefield please.  I’d hate to see you blown up by this issue.
  • If you have a drug and alcohol problem worse than mine then we will have issues.   Because I detest drunks, and will not put up with drunken behavior…now if you want to have some wine in the evening while we cuddle in front of the TV I am cool with that, but constant drinking will bring up serious issues.
  • The only time I am okay with lying is when it’s to hide a surprise party or something special.  Lying will cause issues.  I can smell a lie on your breath, so don’t’ even try it.  Plus, if you feel it’s necessary to lie to me then we determinately have issues.
  • I am playful and like to tease.  If you take everything I say seriously then you will have issues.

So, in closing up here this is basically what I am saying; I’m easy to get along with and pretty laid back.  My biggest fear is being able to trust someone with my heart and life in general.  Any kind of hidden agenda will not go over well with me.  You have no need to be sneaky, conniving or to hide things from me.  Be up front, be honest and we will never have issues.  When I ask you a question I like to get straight forward answers to the whole question, not the bare minimum that you think will cover it.

To quote the song, I’m lookin for a lover who won’t love another, but she’s so hard to find.  So I’ve been taking it easy, and not doing any deep searching.  If  she walks in and wants that interview, I have my pad and the applications all ready to go.  Of course I will also need your Carfax. LOL

In all seriousness, dating is scary.  Relationships are sometimes frightening prospets of vulnerability to a Butch.  It means laying ones heart on the line and hoping like hell she doesn’t stomp on it with her 4” stiletto heels.  It means having a confidence that she’s going to protect that heart and bear witness to an oft tormented soul and that she’ll do it with the utmost respect and privacy.  The lifetime I’ve seen of wear and tear on my heart has perhaps hardened it slightly, but it’s still pumping life-vital blood and it still has room for more cracks and chips.  I am still a loving and caring Butch, and I still want that perfect-for-me Femme in my life on a daily basis. I’m ready to love again; ready to give it my all.  I just hope she shows up soon and that she’s ready for the challenge of MainelyButch.

Thanks to all of my readers here and my viewers on Youtube who cross over here to read my stuff as well.  I truly appreciate you all and I so enjoy sharing my writing and thoughts with the world and all of you.  Comments are encouraged and appreciated!

Loving Being Visibly Butch

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.

Shaking the Umbrella

It seems, unfortunately in 2012 that being comfortable in just being who you are, and allowing others to do that same thing, not policing them in return – even when they do it to you – has just become the sort of “norm” way of thinking inside of the LGBTQ  community   I am saddened by stories I hear about individuals (and groups) being put down by others inside of the LGBTQ umbrella for expressing themselves as individuals, and not being swayed by “stereotypes” or “rules” of how to act, be or present that appeases our seeming need to be seen as normal in the world at large.

Since I began questioning the ideas of gender policing, transphobia, and hate from within the LGBTQ community itself, I have recieved quite a bit of input from others.  Some telling me their horror stories of incidents they endured, or that a partner or lover went through.  Some lamenting the by-gone days when it was “ok to be gay” and we all carried the rainbow flag together – Butches, Femmes, Dykes, Queers, Bisexuals, Trans people and those still seeking their identity.

Be that.  The LGBTQ community has become so hostile towards it’s own “members” in recent years; no longer affording us a “safe space” to just be the unique individuals we are intended to be.  But trying to “police” us and set “guidelines and rules” for who can and cannot claim an identity, a lifestyle, or just their own unique style.  For some reason some have gravitated toward more rigidity in how others are “supposed” to present to the rest of the world, which lends heavily to the “one bad apple” thing that happens so easily when you are already part of a group that is already viewed thru the eyes of skepticism.

Remember the Toronto Gay Pride chair who wanted – paraphrasing here – us to tone it down – ie no “Butch” lesbians or “Flambouyant” gay men, but for the crowd to exhibit a more “family friendly or normal” presentation in the parade?— Yeah, like let’s all pretend we are “normal” like the rest of this fucked up world’s inhabitants! SMH

God forbid that we take “pride” in who we ARE, in our own families and in our community as a whole.  I remember that incident very vividly, because, as a Stone Butch myself, I felt completely negated – within the so called “safety net” of the community that I loved – and represented.  And by someone who was supposed to be leading a showing of PRIDE and fighting PREJUDICE.  It felt to me like a direct insult; a frontal attack and left a very very bad taste in my mouth that I have yet to be able to fully rinse from existence.  I only wish I had the opportunity to address the person who spewed those words into the air with such whimsical ease; to say, “HEY, wait a damned minute!…”

I have so much more to share related to this topic of hate and discrimination experienced under the umbrella.  I thank those who have taken the time to contact me with their painful recollections -L, G, B, T, and Q’s!  And please if you would like to share I am wide open for hearing your experiences and opinions!  More to come…