Monthly Archives: March 2012

Butch Fails

I want to talk about an important issue for you butches out there. A little issue I have affectionately dubbed, “Butch Fails.” Straight men, pay attention. I am sure that you’ve had plenty of Butch Fails as well. If you don’t think so, read this then ask your wife or girlfriend.  She will confirm, I guarantee. Alright, now that I have your attention, let me explain the Butch Fail.

A Butch Fail occurs when you, the butch, mess up something for your femme. I don’t mean something big, like a birthday or Valentine’s Day. I mean small, every day stuff, such as not holding the door open for your femme. Butch Fail. You fail to be gallant, to care for her, to show her in those little ways that you are a gentleman (for lack of a better word, I choose that one). I always want to be a gentleman. My mother will tell you that I have been a gentleman my whole life. Even as a child, I took pride in caring for her – opening the door as soon as I could, being protective, and the like. That was probably a sign that I would grow up to be a butch.

So, let me take you through some sample Butch Fails. All of these are fails I have personally committed. Sacre bleu! I try hard, but it’s a wonder that I am not single. Thank you, honey!

1.  The Tiny Sweater. You pull your weight in the laundry area (you’d better!), but do not remember, even when reminded, to remove the sweater from the wash and lay it out to dry instead of putting it in the dryer. The resulting tiny sweater that your girl now calls a belly shirt is a painful reminder to her that you are sometimes an idiot. How could you dry a sweater? Bras not placed into lingerie bags and thrown in with the rest of the clothes also fall into this same category. Butch Fail.

2.  Something’s Different? This occurs when your femme sports a new color or technique of makeup, and you do not notice. Just who do you think she is doing all that work and makeup for anyway? Same thing would apply to a haircut, but that is not one that I have stumbled on. Butch Fail.

3.  Closed Doors. This one is obvious. Hold the door open for her. You can’t have her trailing behind you wondering why the hell you had to go in first. Allow her to pass through first. Every time, no exceptions. Duh. So basic. And yet, I have messed this one up on occasion. Butch Fail.

4.  Shiver Me Femme. This is how it goes in our house. I gently suggest to my fiancé that she needs a jacket as we are readying to leave the house. I bring a jacket because I’m a prepared butch. She does not – she doesn’t have one that goes with her outfit, I am told. So there we are at whatever event and she is shivering. Over time, I have become irritated with this, I admit. Once, I did not give her my jacket. She wouldn’t ask for it, because she knows that she should have brought one, and so she was freezing. I felt awful, but was trying to hold my ground. This is wrong. I am the butch, so I get to be cold. Butch Fail.

5.  Beer Blurt. At a gastropub (translation, hella cool beer list), the waiter comes to take our food order and I am so excited that, as my fiancé is placing her order, I blurt out my beer order.  Not only did I not show any concern for my fiancé – say, asking her what she wanted, or even better, preparing to order for her – I interrupted her. That’s right. I actually cut her off mid-iced tea ordering and gave the waiter my beer choice. Even the waiter rolled his eyes. Like, dude, relax, you’ll get your beer, but you won’t be getting anything else tonight! The Beer Blurt is an epic Butch Fail.

6.  Nordstrom No-No. We went to Nordies to pick up her pants that had been hemmed. We didn’t have time to shop, so she was just going to run in. Trying to be a gentleman, I dropped her off right at the door and said I would circle and come back to pick her up. So far, so good, right butches? Then, after she gets out of the car, and is right near the front of the car about to pass in front, I start to drive off, almost running her foot over! What a dumb ass thing to do. She knocks on the car hood rapidly and looks at me in disbelief. Butch Fail.

7.  I Don’t Care. This one can occur in many scenarios. Here is mine. My fiancé is very up-to-date on the hot topics (gossip) in the entertainment world. I am not, even though I am in that business. She reads People and keeps up with Perez; I do not. It happened once or twice in the early stages of our courtship that she shared a fact with me or a tidbit that she found interesting.  Think, a pic of Angelina and Brad’s little Shiloh (such a cute little butch!), J Lo’s dress from the Oscars, Jonah Hill’s weight loss efforts, or how much Meryl Streep’s daughter looks like her.  These things are less than interesting. I do not care about little Shiloh (although it bears repeating, such a cute little butch!), dresses from the Oscars, weight loss tips from the stars, or celebrity offspring. And I told her as much. Let’s recap. She shares something that she thinks is interesting. I say “I don’t care about that.” She feels disrespected and disregarded. Butch Fail.

Everything she says is important and worthy of your attention. Listen to me…it does not matter what it is, you had better care, or at least don’t actually say that you don’t. If you don’t care, pretend. And you better be a damn good pretender. Trust me, everything she says is important. “But, Butch,” you ask, “even when it’s not?” Yes! Even when it’s not.

8.  Butch Gaze. Caught staring at another woman. No explanation needed. Butch Fail.

9.  Auto Pilot. One time, and only one time, I made the mistake of zoning out at a gas station in the passenger seat, while my girl pumped the gas. I wasn’t sick. I wasn’t hung over or exhausted. My legs weren’t broken. I was just a lazy, zoned out idiot. I am not saying that a butch has to pump the gas every single time. If your girl offers or insists, fine. What are we, cavemen? No, of course not. But the default is that butches pump the gas. Sitting in the passenger seat without any excuse and letting your girl get the gas while you zone out or look at Facebook? Butch Fail.

These are all things that I have been guilty of. Thank goodness my fiancé allows for me to mess up. We usually have a good laugh about it. One of the good things about us butches is that we are trainable. We do what we are told. If I do something wrong, tell me, and I will try to do it right the next time.

What are some of your Butch Fails?

It’s butch to fail, as long as you fix it. Be butch.

Size Matters

It’s time to discuss something big…me. I’m big. Not giant, but big. I’m going to round up and down slightly (so that people who know me won’t have my exact measurements), but you will get the point.  Let’s say, hypothetically, that I am 5’11 feet tall and 210 pounds.  That will give you a good idea of my size.  [Of course, I am really taller and lighter than that.]

At 5’11, I am way taller than the average woman (5’4″), and a little taller than the average man (5’9 1/2″).  Tall.  I’m not much heavier than the average male with an average weight of 194, but I’ve got 40 pounds on the average woman.  I am not meant to be small.  I wear a size 10-11 men’s shoe for goodness sake.  My finance and I joke that when I hold a regular beer (12 oz.), I look like a giant – as opposed to the 22 oz. craft beers that I am so fond of.

Yes, yes, Butch, but so what?

Well, I have been on a quest for about 4 years now to get smaller, healthier, and more fit.  I have been successful because I have given up on my old way of doing things.  You know, eating whatever I want and only doing activities that I enjoy (sitting on the couch watching football while eating Wings N’ Things).  Perhaps you’ve been there?  Now lots of gym time and no more Wings & Things for me, which makes my fiancé very happy because even the sight of the glowing orange wings gives her a stomach ache.  <Sigh>

So, I am about 60 pounds down from my all-time high (woot woot!).  Then, I was huge.  Now I am big.  Then I was a XXL or XXXL.  Now I am an L in most things.  Then, it was all about special clothing stores. Now, not so much. Point to it and I can shop there. Unless it’s AF.  Nothing fits me there, but then, I’m not sure anything fits anyone there who does not resemble a frantic, desperate (skinny) 14-year old.  But, I digress.

The thing is I like being big.  I like being bigger than my fiancé.  A lot.  I like feeling like the big butch, the protective type.  You know, the one who can scare away anyone who would harm her.  The bigger, tougher one.  Grrrrrr.

So, I have to wonder – am I keeping myself big to be more butch?  I can logically think how dumb that is.  I can logically work out that it’s better for me and my fiancé if I were a touch smaller than I am.  Just a couple of sizes lighter.

Less weight on me = more healthy in every way.  I want to be healthy.  Wouldn’t I still be butch 30 pounds from now, leaner and more muscled?  I mean, Rachel Maddow is butch-ish and she is lean!  I think that I am finally getting this through my skull.  Even if I lose all the rest of the weight that I intellectually know I need (and from the health charts am supposed) to lose, I will still be much bigger than my fiancé.  She is tiny.  So, I can be healthy and still be the big, strong, protective one.

It’s butch to be big and strong…and healthy and fit.  Be butch.

What are you lookin’ at?

Miriam-Webster:  Stare (\ ster \)

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English starian; akin to Old High German starēn to stare, Greek stereos solid, Lithuanian starinti to stiffen.  Date: before 12th century

1 : to look fixedly often with wide-open eyes

— star·er noun

My aunt came to visit for my mom’s 65th birthday and I had the pleasure of picking her up from the airport and then showing her around my office. On the way to my office, my Aunt says, slightly exasperated, “Why is everyone staring at us?!?”

I answer – without hesitation – “it’s because I have a Mohawk.”  My Aunt, probably because she loves and accepts me, cannot even fathom this for a moment.  So I explain.

“This is a very conservative part of town. Everyone is rich (more or less) and there are lots of churches. It’s only this year that my daughter even has a kid in her class whose parents are divorced.  It’s like Stepford.”

“Sure,” she says, “but I’m from the Bible belt… Oh, yes I guess people would stare at you there, too.”  Yes, yes they would.

This exchange got me thinking about how my appearance affects those around me whom I love. You see, it’s not just me – being a butch. It’s also those I love, being with and around a butch. It isn’t who they are; it’s who I am. It’s probably pretty hard for them a lot of the time.  They don’t have the reassurance of knowing they are being true to themselves when people stare.  I do.  They don’t have the certainty of knowing that I look much, much better in my butch skin – rather than the stereotypical trappings of femininity.  I do.

[Note: this is not a bash against stereotypical feminine trappings. I am all for those on the right person … My fiancé, for example.]

My family is amazing.  All of them.  I don’t know the exact red or blueness of each of them, but it doesn’t matter.  They all accept me and my fiancé.  [If they don’t, they’ve done a great job of hiding it.]  I am very thankful for them.  Even my grandmother who started with, “isn’t it just a phase, until she meets the right gentleman?” grew to fully accept me. She’s been gone for some time, but I knew that she accepted me more than a decade ago (and she was old!).

My family – other than my parents who live in the same town as we do – live all across the country, but we stay connected with Facebook in between visits every couple of years.  It’s so wonderful to spend time with family.  I forget how neat it is to hear stories about when my mom was young, and equally how neat it is to get to know other relatives that I do not know very well, or even more distant relatives that I have never even met before.  I have family in Long Beach, San Francisco, and St. Louis and I didn’t even know it!

I guess this is a love note to my family.  Thank you for accepting me.  Thank you for either: a) not noticing the Mohawk, my obvious butchness, and general lack of blending in, or b) for accepting me anyway.  Thank you for welcoming and loving my fiancé, too.  I do know that it’s hard sometimes (not her, she’s easy to love).  And, I appreciate all of you.

And, to those who stare unrelentingly… Fuck off. What the hell are you looking at?  Especially you ugly people.  Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to stare?  Really.  Seriously.  If I looked like you I would never leave the house – let alone stare at anyone.

Just because I am Zen with it – undoubtedly because I am a more evolved being (ha!) – does not mean it is ok.  What makes you think it is ok?  I guess I should say “them.” I am sure that none of you, dear readers, would stare at me. What makes them think it is ok to stare?

This has been really hard for my fiancé to get used to.  She feels, correctly, that it is incredibly rude for people to stare.  She has adopted several different strategies to cope:

1. Yelling or commenting to the starer (depending on the extent of their rudeness).  This is very effective at calling the starer out, but it never makes either her or me feel much better.  Some of her favorites are – “Stare much?” and “What are you looking at?”

2.  Staring back.  This one is immensely satisfying and frequently results in the starer’s quiet embarrassment at being caught staring and being stared at him or herself.  A definite bonus.  I use this one a fair amount.  It falls into the “teaching them a lesson” category.  So there!

3.  Ignoring it.  This is the least satisfying option, but it also takes the least amount of energy.  It happens (a lot) and so we just move on.  No need to let it disrupt our day.

I used to tell myself that people stared at me because the starer thought I was hot – clearly a delusional self-defense mechanism.  But, that doesn’t work anymore.  Besides being ridiculously conceited and unjustifiably arrogant, it’s most certainly not true.  So, a new defense mechanism is needed.

How about blogging?  Starers of the world beware, lest you end up the topic of my blog, without the cover of anonymity.  Just think how everyone would stare at you then…

It’s butch to blog.  Be butch.

Tipping the Velvet

Butches are different. We know this. Obviously. Here is a great example of just how different.  A few days ago, I wrote about the pockets in my new velvet suit coat. I bought that well-pocketed suit coat to wear to a black tie event, a lawyers’ ball.

[Side note (or maybe sidebar): there are many jokes here about lawyers, how can anything involving lawyers be a ball, hitting lawyers with balls, etc., but as a lawyer myself, I will not indulge in such jokes. You, dear readers, however, should feel free to do so.]

Yes, a ball. Like Cinderella. I would be happy to be Prince Charming and sweep my own lovely Cinderella off her feet. I’m not that charming, but one can always dream… Anyway, I digress.

So, my gorgeous fiancé and I prepared for the ball. She put together her lovely outfit. I pieced together mine. Tux shirt – tick, snazzy new bow tie – tick. I thought I would rent a tux, but changed my mind when I learned how expensive anything other than the basic tux rental is (upwards of $200). I ended up renting tux pants, shoes, and suspenders, and committed to finding and buying a jacket – that did not need to be altered and that was cheaper than the rental option. No small task.

How weird is it , by the way, that men and butches can rent clothes for a formal evening? I don’t like going to second-hand clothing stores, because the clothes were worn by someone else. But, a tux? It’s probably been worn by hundreds of men and the occasional butch. Seems gross when you really think about it. Think of all the things these rented clothes touch and do. At least you

don’t return the socks. Even bowling shoes give me a moment’s pause. Does that spray really clean them? Yuck. So why is formal wear rental acceptable?

For me, I get through it. It’s practicality. I don’t have five, six, seven or eight hundred dollars to buy a tux. So, I deal with it. I’m practical. But not stupid, so off I went to hunt and gather me a suit jacket worthy of a ball and a wannabe Prince Charming.

I found what I was looking for at Macy’s. A black, two-button velvet jacket with a faint pinstripe in it (very subtle). It was on a ridiculous sale and exactly what I was hunting and hoping to gather. I snatched it up.  At the ball, I stood out like a sunbather on a ski slope. All the men, and I do mean all, had on black tuxedos. Some much more stylish than others, but still. There was one gentleman rocking an ivory dinner jacket. That was a look I considered until GQ informed me that I couldn’t wear ivory until the summer – unless I was on an island. Plus, he was 80 if he was a day. I was the only one in velvet … And the Mohawk was also unique.That is, until we ran into good friends of ours. A super cool couple, very pretty and very butch. A stylish, lovely pair. Well, I’ll be damned if my butch friend wasn’t wearing a black velvet jacket. She looked awesome. We complimented each other on the velvet and had a nice exchange about it.

Ok, so here is the kicker – the thing that is different about a butch. I was GLAD to see my cool and stylish friend wearing the same or similar jacket as mine. I felt my style choice had been confirmed, validated. Yup. Velvet is in. Perhaps she felt the same.  If this has happened to my fiancé, I think she would have been very upset. “How could we have on the same thing?”“How embarrassing!”

“Who looked better in it?”

I can only imagine the questions. A lady or a femme would feel her outfit was directly diminished by the fact that someone else wore it too. As a butch, I felt happy to see my stylish friend in the same thing.

I know it’s butch to stand out, but it’s also butch to fit in. Be butch.

Out of Pocket

Why do women’s clothes fail to have pockets?  I haven’t worn them in a while, mind you, but I remember when I did that I was always very frustrated with the lack of pockets.  Last night, I wore a suit jacket (velvet) that had no less than six – count ‘em, six – pockets.  Fully functional pockets.  One of the pockets even had a little mini pocket inside it.  There are inside pockets, some with special button closures, outside pockets, with and without flaps, and standard breast pockets.  If I were to buy most women’s suit jackets – also known as a “blazer” – there would be at best two pockets (on the outside front, where no one really wants to keep anything anyway).  And sometimes those two measly outside pockets would be fake – just “for show!”  What the hell?!?

If there are no pockets, where are women supposed to carry all of their stuff?  Fanny pack?  Surely not.  Backpack or briefcase?  Maybe.  More likely, though, a woman has to carry a purse if there are no pockets.  Is that really a good option?  Better than pockets?  I don’t think so – at least, not for me.

I have never wanted to carry a purse, but, yes, there was a time when I did.  I know you might be thinking, “Butch, you carried a purse!?!”  Yes, it is true, dear readers, that I did once clothe myself entirely in women’s clothes and yes, I did occasionally carry a purse.  [*Gasp!*]  There were no pockets.  What was I to do?  Suffice it to say that this was a very, very long time ago.  Long before I became comfortable with who I am.  Before I embraced my butchness.  Back when I dressed well, but always looked awkward.  Back when I wore full on skirt suits, makeup, heels, and pearls (shudder).  To appear in court, mind you.  And, do you know what?  People still called me “Sir” routinely.  So, it is not about the clothes.  The clothes really do not make the man.  Thank you, Mr. George Michael, for saying that so well.

Back in those days, I carried a purse when I could not get away with carrying a briefcase.  I was fine with it back then, because I did not really realize that there was an alternative.  I did not think I was in drag. Rather, I just thought that I needed to be uncomfortable in order to fit it.  I could relax and be myself on the weekends.  Times and Butch, have changed.  Now I know that I can be appropriate almost entirely in men’s clothing.  And, now, I have all the pockets in the world.  An embarrassment of riches when it comes to pockets.  And that has me thinking…

What is it with women’s clothes and pockets?  Do women not need pockets?  You all carry a whole crapload of stuff around.  Couldn’t some of those things fit into pockets?  Would you like to have pockets in your clothes?  Not those silly, slit pockets that are just for show.  Actual pockets that you can, as my gorgeous fiancé would say, put a tube of lipstick in?  Why don’t designers put pockets on your clothes?

As it is now, I carry most of my fiancé’s stuff.  I don’t wear cargo shorts like I used to – they are out, in case you did not get the memo – but I always have more pockets than she does in my jeans, jacket, etc.  If we are going out and she is carrying a purse, mind you, I am always happy to unload my pockets into her bag.  But, if it is just a normal trip out of the house, you can bet that I will be carrying the keys, sometimes her wallet, and whatever else I can.  I am happy to do it.  It is very butch to carry her stuff. I don’t care if her wallet makes my butt look big – I already have a big wallet and an iPhone stuffed into my own rear pockets.

Harkens me back to days when little boys and butches (if they were lucky enough to get that they were butches at that tender age) would carry the books of their girlfriends and femmes (of course they did not know they were femmes, either at this age).  I want to carry her books.  I wish I could have been around to do that for her, but I wasn’t.  So, the least I can do is carry her keys, wallet, and lipstick.

I bet your girl does not have enough pockets.  Am I right?  So, step in and fix the designers’ fail.  Carry that shit!

It’s butch to carry your girl’s stuff.  Be butch.

I cannot jump your car, but I can fix your rear window


The other day I was dropping my 5-year old off at preschool. On my way to the parking lot, what do I see? A flock of ladies dealing with jumping a minivan (of course). I was parked right next to the jumpee. There are at least three ladies from the church (it’s a Lutheran preschool, much to my atheistic chagrin) standing there working on the minivan, cables and all. I did not hesitate … To get into my car. What’s that you say? That is not very butch of me?

Well, you are absolutely right. I am as helpless as all car repair shops assume women to be – when it comes to combustible engines. That’s right. I said it. I am worthless. Helpless. Well, not helpless; I have AAA – and I’m not afraid to use it!

My gorgeous fiancé is not worthless when it comes to combustible engines, by the way.

It was a goal of hers to teach me how to change a tire when we started dating. I said, “Why do I need to know how to do that? I have AAA. Isn’t that butch enough?” Well, no, as I turns out. A butch needs to know how to change a tire – even if she would never ever need to do it. “What if you see someone who needs help?” she asked me, trying to prove her case. “Well, then I would offer to call AAA for them!” I’m like, what the hell do I pay them for?

Suffice it to say that I learned how to change a tire. And I still have my AAA membership. Heh.

Anyway, cars are really not my thing. I can fix ANYTHING in the house, mind you. I’ve taken out and installed toilets, sinks, garbage disposals, ceiling fans, door locks, moulding, flagstone, even added new wall sconces (and ran the wire to create new outlets for them). But the car? Not so much.

So I see these straight ladies in distress – even holding a baby – and I am absolutely unmoved to help. Afterall, I really have nothing to add. I don’t know shit about jumping a car. I have cables, of course, because it is butch to be prepared and I will happily loan them to any damsel or dude in distress. But they had cables and that’s really where my usefulness stops.

So I got in my car … Without offering to help the helpless looking straight ladies. Another woman in front of me actually offered to hold the jumpee’s infant. The helper had her own baby in a pouch and a dog on a leash. I suppose I could have offered my holding services, but all seemed covered.

So, I snuck into my car away from the religious (I assume) lady in distress. I did not don my knight in shining armor all butch like to rescue her.

I was ok with that.

Ironically, however, my rear window which is part of my tailgate broke that very morning. My gorgeous fiancé was helping me load the car – kids require so much crap – and my back window (part of the tailgate) broke. Shit!

I had to drive to LA that morning. And it was raining. This would not do. Would not do at all. It must be fixed. The duct tape came out and we got it safely taped. After I dropped the kids off at school – and did not help the straight damsel in distress – I headed for the automotive store…and then the dealer. Part in hand, I was confident that I could fix it myself.

A couple of tools, and several awkward positions, later, I fixed my window! This was very, very butch of me. No help. No dealer. No shop. Just me mano a mano with my machine. I won!

Such an interesting contrast with the morning and the flock of ladies in distress. Lol.

Note: I assume the women need help. It is quite possible that they did not. I reacted in the moment based on the assumption that they did, so that’s how I’ve recounted it. Forgive me if you are a woman who does know how to do these things. Much respect!

It is butch to fix your own car – unless it involves the engine or any parts requiring oil. Be butch.



Be Butch.


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