Monthly Archives: May 2012

Zip It!

illustration by Mark A. Hicks, illustrator

As a butch in a butch-femme relationship (not all butches are, of course), one must be aware of one’s role in the relationship. We are the strong ones. The helpful, gallant ones. We are obedient and faithful. As such, there are a variety of things that should not escape our lips when we are addressing our femme. Remember, not everything needs to be said out loud. The statements below are butch fails in a variety of categories: stupidity, weakness, laziness, your ex, and just plain “guying out,” when you act like a dude in all the wrong ways.


“Baby, wow – you really need to do your roots.” So dumb. You may as well tell her that she looks like crap. She is beautiful all the time. You cannot point this out, or if you do, you had better do it in a nice & easy kind of way. Femmes like us to think that they are magically gorgeous all the time. Calling out her roots is a reminder that things are done behind the scenes to pretty her up, and then you’ve got her worrying that her hair looks horrible.

“Your lipstick is gone. Shouldn’t you reapply? You just told her that she needs lipstick to look good. If her lipstick wears off, from kissing you(!) or otherwise, leave it. She looks just fine without any on. Plus, she probably knows that she needs to reapply and just hasn’t gotten to it yet. Keep your mouth closed, and chances are she will get to it on her own in time. And, you are likely to keep the kisses coming.

“You are just like your mother” or, the related “Your mother is right.” No one likes to hear that they are like their mother – especially since it’s usually used in a negative way. Her mother, and your mother too, are probably right, but you cannot use her mother against her. [Butch note: I would be lucky if I were like my mother, Hi Mom!]

“Your friend is pretty.” Now all she can think of is whether you are preoccupied with her friend. Her friend might be gorgeous, but this is an inside thought.

“Are you ready yet?” No, she isn’t and you need to wait. Have a beer, do some dishes, clean the fireplace, hit something with a hammer. Whatever. She isn’t ready yet because she is beautifying for your benefit. Better to wait it out patiently.


“Can you kill that spider for me?” You are the butch. You are the spider killer. No one likes to kill spiders, snakes, or any other creepy crawlies, but you are the butch, so this is your job. Plus, you get to look tough, an opportunity that should never be ignored.

“I don’t want to go downstairs and check out that sound you just heard. Just take the bat with you.” Butch up, now. You can be scared. You don’t have to like that you have to get out of bed and go downstairs in the middle of the night because your girl thinks she heard something. But, you know what? Do it anyway. If you are really scared, it’s ok to have her come with you – behind you, of course.


“Honey, please carry my suitcase, it is so heavy.” This is not ok. Ever. I have a cast on my leg right now. My gorgeous finance wanted to schlep our suitcases during a recent trip and I still wouldn’t let her. We have too many bags for me to carry alone, so of course she pulls her weight, but not with the big bags. What kind of a tool bag would I look like if I let her lift the big bags off the belt or carry them out of the airport?

“I’m too tired to take out the trash [or do whatever she is asking you to do].” This won’t go well. Butches, take out the trash, change the light bulb, pick up your shit. Whatever she asks you to do, you do it. And, smile! Why? Because she is pretty…and she smells good.

“Can you get me a beer?” Is it wonderful when your girl brings you a beer? Absolutely. Can she do that for you? Certainly. My gorgeous fiancé likes to bring me a beer – but she has to offer.


“She made killer chicken.” This is a mistake. If you say something like this, you don’t know women. I never do this (holy crap, I know better) but I know some women who have to put up with it. As a butch, you think it’s just about chicken. And to you, it probably is. But your girl will take this as an insult to the chicken she cooked for you, and will assume you just told her that your ex is across the board superior to her. You are likely to end up with her undoubtedly delicious chicken in your lap and, if you’re lucky enough that she cooks chicken for you ever again, a reminder each time that you said something so stupid.

Bottom line, she doesn’t want to hear about your ex unless it’s about how fat or whatever she is, so zip it – tightly.


“Wow, that woman is hot.” Now, I am sure that I do not have to explain this to any of you butches in a relationship. If you aren’t in a relationship, perhaps this is why. Don’t say anyone else is hot, unless maybe it’s about J-Lo, because your girl thinks she’s hot too. Unless you’re talking about an unobtainable movie star, keep your comments and your eyes – to yourself. You only have eyes for her. But if you don’t, don’t be fool enough to be so obvious.

“Dude…” Femmes do not like to be referred to as “Dude” or “Man” or “Brah” or any other affectionate tough term that butches might use with dudes or other butches. I said this to my gorgeous fiancé not that long ago and she said, “Don’t call me dude.” Message received.

“Oh, ok, if everything is ‘fine’ then great.” Butches, when a woman says that everything is “fine,” nothing is “fine.” Bear down because you probably have a long conversation ahead of you. Best to gently push and ask what she is thinking. Second best, hightail it out of there and give her some space.

I am sure that there are lots of other things that us butches have said to our femmes and then wished we hadn’t. Anyone want to share?

It’s butch to zip it. Be butch.

Tiny Dogs, Gentle Giants

As we know, butches relate to the world slightly differently than femmes. For example, my male friends routinely slap or punch me on the shoulder. Fist bumps are routine. “What’s up, man?” I’m asked regularly. This NEVER happens to my gorgeous fiancé. It got me thinking about other things that I hear – either from her or from others – that she would not hear. Here are a handful that I have experienced.

1. “Sir.”

Maybe an obvious one, but I can’t really skip over it. Say it with any inflection you like: “Sir!” “Sir?” “Sir…” Femmes do not hear this. Straight women – for the most part – do not hear this, but I would wager a bet that most butches hear this – frequently. It happens to me at least once a week. I have written about this a decent amount. You get the picture by now.

2. “Baby you have to be more secure in your butchness so we can have a small dog.”

This was a very funny one and it went like this. I love big dogs, the bigger and fluffier, the better. My gorgeous fiancé likes little dogs – tiny ones even. I prefer big dogs for lots of reasons. One of those, a minor one, is how silly I think a butch looks walking a tiny dog. Obviously, that’s dumb and not a reason to choose or not choose a dog to rescue. I have hesitated, however, to agree to a small dog, and my hesitation generated the statement above. We will be getting a tiny dog…and a big dog, too. Hey, compromises make the world go round. Woof.

3. “When your muscles actually start showing, you are going to be such a pain.”

So, I have been on a serious mission to slim down and bulk up. I want less fat and more muscle. Little hints of muscle are starting to show – at least I think so. The other day, I put my arms around my girl and flexed my bicep. She looked slightly exasperated, because she has caught me flexing in the mirror when I thought she wasn’t looking, and made the above statement. I’ll need to be more subtle in my flexing from now on.

4. “Your Butchness”

My friend Jason called me this the other day, and I freakin loved it. I felt honored to have earned this name. It’s like the butch equivalent of “your honor” or “your highness.” I may have to print some business cards with this title.

5. “That’s where you draw the line? An undershirt?”

I bought some men’s dress shirts from Banana Republic and they were very, very thin. I tried the yellow shirt on (purchased to go with my cool blue and white pelican bow tie) and you could see through it. My gorgeous fiancé suggested that I wear an undershirt, to which I responded negatively.

An undershirt? YUCK. Why would I want to wear a men’s undershirt? I mean, when I think of a men’s undershirt, I think about this guy. Eeew. Why would I want to look like this guy?

She looked at me – standing there in my men’s jeans, men’s shirt, men’s shoes, men’s jewelry, and a bow tie – and said, “That’s where you draw the line, an undershirt?” I guess it is an odd place to draw the line. I have since gotten some nice, high quality undershirts, and I love them. They look nothing like the ones that Homer Simpson passes out in, dreaming of donuts and Duff Beer. Mmmm, donuts.

6. “This is the ladies room.”

Yes, I know, annoying stranger in the mall, restaurant or airport. Thank you for stating the absolutely and unnecessarily obvious. I am in the right place. Are you? Next.

7. “You really are a gentle giant.”

This is my favorite, from my gorgeous fiancé. Think of all that it conveys. I am big and strong like a giant. Plus, I am gentle as a lamb – actually, like a huge dog. When is the last time you saw a hyper Newfoundland, Great Dane, or Norwegian Wolfhound? I am the great protector. Heh.

Butches, what other things have you heard that you would add to this list?

I love it when people find a way to reference my butchness, good or bad. It reminds me that butches are a special breed who get to experience and hear things that very few other women experience and hear. This is part of what makes us special. Hey – it’s butch to wear an undershirt into the ladies’ room while walking a tiny dog. Be butch.

Big Butches Do Cry

In certain circumstances, a butch is absolutely prohibited from shedding a tear. For example, while getting a tattoo.

Crying is forbidden – no matter how much it hurts – because you WANTED to get a tattoo. You chose to get a tattoo, and paid someone to give you one. No one cares that the pain is horrible and you just want to haul ass out of there and pound a few craft beers to get through it. No self-respecting butch can cry in that situation. If you do, just go ahead and give the tattoo artist your butch card before you high tail it out of there. You won’t be needing it anymore. I have gotten two tattoos, and they have both hurt like hell. The most recent tattoo was only a week ago. My gorgeous fiancé went with me and kept me company. I was doing my best to keep it together and not lose my butch card. Because she is wonderful and she saw me white-knuckling the chair with a desperate look in my eyes, she kept talking to me to distract me. It helped a lot. She left to go to the bathroom and I knew I was in trouble the second she walked away. Now that there was no gorgeous fiancé watching me, I was at serious risk of letting a few tears eek out. I kept it together though, and thankfully she came back pretty quickly. I sucked it up and was allowed to keep my butch card in my back pocket. Phew.

This painful tattoo experience got me thinking: when is it alright for a butch to cry?   Here are a few no brainers: (1) when your kids were born, (2) the Saints got crucified by Commissioner Dumb Ass – most likely resulting in a lost season, and (3) Ironman fell back through the hole in the atmosphere just before the portal closed and then was saved by the Hulk. So touching. Of course butches can cry at moments like those. It is perfectly acceptable. What I am talking about is good old-fashioned tears because we got injured, or are just plain sad. Revolutionary?

I think not. I may not cry that often, but I will burst into tears if I get injured (not like a paper cut, but actually hurt), or if my feelings get squashed. Probably not in front of you, mind you, but maybe later. This is sometimes challenging because it is hard for others to remember that butches do have feelings, and no matter how big and strong we are, crying is sometimes the result.

When we cry it is likely harder for us butches to explain it to you. “Why are you crying?” you might ask with all the sincerity in the world. But the honest answer might be, “I have no idea.”  Frustrating for you ladies, I think. Ironically, if we started crying during the tattoo torture, you would know exactly why – you just wouldn’t respect us!

Femmes and other non-butches tend to be much more in touch with their feelings. At least in my house, my gorgeous fiancé is very capable of putting into words what is upsetting her – whether it is some butch fail of mine, or something else entirely.  I am not so good at it.

Take the other day. My gorgeous fiancé and I are working with a personal trainer. She is very intense. The most intense trainer-type person I have ever worked with. Think Jillian Michaels. She is perfect for us because she pushes us really hard. I have written before about how strong my gorgeous fiancé is – stronger than I am in most ways. But I am very strong, too. Jillian knows this about both of us, and she knows what our goals are, so she is pushing. The other day, the workout was the most difficult that I have ever experienced. By a mile. As we were getting ready to stretch at the end, I started to cry. Not sobbing or anything, but my eyes filled up with tears that spilled over. I stopped at a machine to wipe my eyes (no crying in the gym!), and then went out to stretch. As I lay on the mat stretching my hamstrings, I couldn’t help it. The tears streamed down my face.

I have no idea why I was crying. I wasn’t hurt or injured. No one hurt my feelings. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t crying because I was so proud of myself or emotional about doing all that I was asked to do, although I could get there perhaps if I stopped to ponder it for a while. None of those things. My gorgeous fiancé realized that I was crying and was understandably alarmed. “Are you ok? What’s wrong?” she asked me. “Yes, and I don’t know” were my honest replies.

If the situation were reversed, she would have been able to explain to me exactly the cause of her tears. I could not. I wanted to. I am not trying to be tough emotionally – that’s silly. I want to be able to share whatever I am feeling or experiencing with her, but I was at a total loss. Of course that made it worse – being confused. Ack!

I still haven’t figured it out. I realize that this may be frustrating for you, dear readers, but I don’t have an answer for you. If any of you have any ideas, please let me know! Anyway, I thought it would be good to remind the world that butches do cry. We try to hide it. We want you to think we are tough (we are tough), but we do cry. And sometimes we have no idea why.

It is butch to cry. Just make sure it’s not while you are getting a tattoo. Be butch.

Butch Jaxon & Her Posse of Ruffians

Remember how I told you that I get stared at a lot? I’ve written about this before ( I am tall, with a bleached blonde mohawk. I do not wear women’s clothing. I tower over many men that I encounter. I do not apologize for walking into a room. When my gorgeous fiancé is with me, I dote on her and it is obvious to anyone who sees us that we are together. It is the same thing when I am with her and my kids. We are obviously a family, and we sometimes get stared at by people whose families do not seem to resemble ours. Here is one specific and glaring example that took place in a very conservative and religious suburb of San Diego. Not too many moderate Republicans in the room, let alone Democrats. It went something like this…

You could hear nothing but the sounds of our own footsteps. The saloon had fallen so quiet that we had to look around to see if we were alone, or if some mystical or alien force had suddenly transported an entire bar full of patrons elsewhere. Poof! From the sounds of it, we were alone. But we weren’t. In addition to the 8 of us (4 women and 4 children), the saloon was positively stuffed with people, those dusty from the trail and those fresh from their Sunday morning church visits. All of whom, it seemed were staring intently at us. So what had made them all drop silent and stare so rudely, so unabashedly, as we walked in? Were we intimidating and ferocious – as if they had just seen drawings of our faces on a “Wanted” poster? Butch Jaxon and her posse of ruffians? Was there about to be a showdown at the OK Corral, err, Hamburger Factory, right there in the middle of Podunk, California?

Crazy as it sounds, this was the scene that we walked into late Sunday morning as we went out to breakfast. Dear friends of ours had come to visit for the weekend, bringing their two kids. We had a wonderful time, wrapped in that little extra familiarity and ease that comes from being with another family that looks like yours. In that space, it is so comfortable, so relaxing, that I forgot how differently we are viewed by people outside our family. I say “viewed” because I know that my family is like yours…and yours…and yours. Unless you happen to be the Obamas, the Hiltons, the Jolie-Pitts. Then, maybe not so much, but if any of those families are reading, right on! Oh, and we are not like the Sopranos or the Mansons. If any of you are reading, please stop.

It is unfortunate that this rude gaping and gawking happened to our two families at all, but especially on this morning. We were all still high and buzzing from the joy of being together, of being part of, of belonging, when a room full of assholes tried to make us feel different. We filed into the room, past the idiots and heathens, to our table. A nice twist was the absolutely amazing service we received from both our server and the manager. Had they seen the tumbleweeds roll down the town streets as we sauntered down the middle of the dusty street? Had they noticed that the upright piano stopped banging out a tinny tune when we pushed open the swinging saloon doors? Had they heard the lone whistle that replaced it, the one from the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?

Possibly. Or, maybe these two cool souls were just the Universe’s way of showing us kindness, of reminding us that we are alright, that not everyone is a rude asshole. Thank you, Universe.

We had a great breakfast, anyway. Or, I should say, in spite of the townspeople willing it to be otherwise. As we walked out, I held my shoulders and head high, kissed my gorgeous fiancé and shepherded all those kids out to play in the park. I have to admit, though, that I did wish for twin gun belts, a black cowboy duster and hat, and shit-kicking boots with spurs so I could make that fantastic spur sound as I walked out. Can you imagine the look on people’s faces if I’d stopped by the door, held my hat in my hand, let out a yee-haw and shot a few rounds into the ceiling?

“I am Butch Jaxon, wanted in 4 states and in Mexico. The next time me and my posse come ’round here, if y’all don’t greet us at the swinging doors and welcome us with arms wide open, and a short stack with bacon and a stiff shot of espresso, I’m a do a whole lotta shooting and me and my posse are gonna tear this place up.”

I can only imagine. Having a posse of lesbian friends and kids Wild West style is butch.

Be butch.


Be Butch.


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