Monthly Archives: January 2013

Touch Your Lips, Hold Our Gaze & Other Femme Tactics

In my last post, I wrote about my own frustration in finding our beloved femmes when geography isn’t the roadmap. This post generated more likes, comments, retweets and shares than most. Apparently, our femmes are even more frustrated than I am.

Yikes! Butches, they are throwing themselves at you (not me, I would notice), and still being ignored or dismissed by you (not me, I never ignore a femme). And, they are pissed. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for a lovely femme to head out for the evening all gorgeous and femme-like and to have no butch even talk to her because they’ve dismissed her as straight. Argh.

I asked these Femmes what were their best moves for being noticed by us. Below are the most popular strategies they shared. Butches: take note! Femmes: perhaps you can incorporate a new move from your femme sisters.

1. Longer Than Polite Eye Contact

Gaze at your Target Butch (“TB”). Bat your lovely mascara’d eyelashes at her. Be sure you make eye contact and hold her gaze for a moment longer than normal.

Note to make sure you smile; you don’t want to appear to be staring in disgust or judgement. You don’t want to get lumped into that probably large basket of folks who gawk or stare at the TB (including me, as I definitely get this one).

2. Stare, Smile, Stare

This one particularly caught my attention. The play is to make eye contact with the TB, smile, look down and then look back up at her. Meow. If she’s watching, it sounds pretty powerful – it will work on me for sure. How about you?

3. Arm Touching, Leg Grazing, Hair Pulling

Touch the TB’s arm with little excuse, like laughing at her joke or something she’s said. Depending on the forum, (like sitting at a bar) you might touch her thigh – sending a laser signal to her. Basically, the message is if a femme can find a reason to touch the TB, she should do so. TB: Pay Attention! If she touches you, there’s probably something more there.

One femme even admitted pulling her TB’s hair. She’s a stylist so there was a good excuse, but still… Take me home!

4. Appropriate Stalking

Shop, get coffee, check out books, drop off your bike for repairs when TB is working. Also, work out when she does, join a group she likes. Sure it’s stalking, but in an entirely appropriate way. The hope is that the sheer number of sightings and contacts will wake the TB, and us in general, up.

5. Rainbows & Unicorns

Wear a visible one somewhere: bracelet, ring, necklace, cell phone case (make a call), sticker on your car. Unless you drive a Subaru, then no sticker needed.

Several lamented the need to tattoo “FEMME” on their foreheads. Sigh. Would be such a shame to mar those lovely faces. Now, you could tattoo that in a few other places and I think that would be just fine…

Where was I? Oh yes, number 6.

6. Hello! Outright Flirting

Plenty of Femmes said this was necessary and that it works. Apparently, we are dumb as posts at times, and the sure fire way is to say hello and give your number or ask her for coffee.

The answer is yes, by the way, I’d love to have coffee.

7. Drop the L Word

Say something lesbian or gay. Drop that subtle hint. Did you see that Portia has new hair? How about the President’s speech – go gays! Or I was just reading this cool butch blog the other day…

Super obvious way to signal you are lesbian, and thus a femme. That is, unless TB mistakes you for a supportive straight. Perhaps it’s best to pair this one with any other strategy to minimize the possibility of confusion on TB’s part. Remember, we have slightly more testosterone (sounds right even if it’s not) and that makes us dumber. Plus, you are pretty so we can’t concentrate.

8. The Hair Tuck

Find an opportune moment, preferably whenTB is looking, and tuck your lovely hair behind your lovely ear. This will draw TB’s attention to your ear and neck, encourage noticing of the hair/face/eyes/neck. All good things.

If possible, do it with your hand that sports a rainbow bracelet or ring. If not, do it while holding the TB’s gaze. Now, we’re off to the races.

9. Secret Handshake

We need a signal. Something secret that we all can recognize. If this blog were popular enough, I might be doing some real good here by suggesting this. But, it’s not. Who cares? Let’s agree on a signal for us cool kids.

Touching the side of your nose? Too Santa.

Winking? Too BBC and Benny Hill.

Hair flipping (which is different from the hair tuck)? Too common, hot though. Please feel free to do this liberally.

Sticking your tongue out? Too forward and could be embarrassing.

The Macarena? Too 90’s

How about brushing your lips with your two forefingers briefly (like Quentin is doing below)? That’s subtle enough not to stand out to any Muggles who happen to see, but just sexy enough to catch our attention. Certainly, it would catch my attention. It’s worth a shot! Even if TB doesn’t know the signal, touching your lips is usually hot, so where’s the downside?

And lastly, I note one butch’s comment… Hit on whoever you are attracted to. If she’s not a femme, fine. Her point is men don’t care if their target woman is gay, they make a move. Women flirt without knowing if a guy is gay or straight. Why the extra burden on ourselves? The world is our oyster, Butches.

See her, flirt with her. Done. She’ll either be open to it or not. If not, she’s likely to be flattered. As long as you’re not flirting with Michelle Bachmann or anyone at a Republican or conservative church gathering, there’s probably pretty low risk.

For another look into how us Butches see this dilemma, check out this blog over at CardCarryingLesbian.

It’s butch to let us Butches know you’re interested, lovely Femmes. Be Butch.

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Hello Femmes!

A Gentleman Doesn't Share

A Gentleman Doesn’t Share

I’m sitting in a lesbian bar having a beer. I am alone. I only came out to retrieve my Visa that I unceremoniously abandoned here the night before. I was, as you might imagine, having a very good time. I was drinking with a friend and chatting with a lovely femme. (A gentleman won’t share any more than that.) I knew she was a femme because she was here at this lesbian bar. Not out at a hip restaurant or bar in town. Not here with a posse of gay boys. Her presence here, combined with her eye makeup, clothing and generally pleasing girly appearance signaled me. This is a femme, and I knew she was interested in butches because she was “talking” with me.

But what about when I’m not here? What if I’d seen this lovely woman at a conference? At the airport? At Jimbo’s? Shopping at Nordstrom? Rock climbing at the gym? Would I have known she was an option, as it were? Maybe not.  And, what a predicament that is. What a pickle.

Geography Makes It Easy

Geography Makes It Easy

How are we butches supposed to identify our beloved femmes when we are out and about? Obviously, this isn’t an issue when you are introduced by friends, know her as a colleague, or when the geography sends the signal. Like here at this bar.

Outside of those cocoons, though, I think it’s clear that we butches need your help. Femmes, make yourselves known. Reach out. Make eye contact a little longer than is generally considered to be polite. Touch us on the bicep and make a face that signals you are impressed with the massive (cough) muscle you find there. Lean into us a little when chatting. Flip your hair. Touch your face.

In short, you the much fairer species need to make the first move. I and my butch bros will drive from there. But you’ve gotta send up a flare. Throw us a bone. If you’re as pretty and girly as I’m imagining (and you are), I might look at you longingly and then dismiss you as a non-option. I’m sorry, but I might think you are, umm, straight. Not that there’s anything wrong with being straight, mind you. Some of my best friends are straight! But it does limit (although not entirely exclude) my ability to … take you somewhere more quiet.

You might even say, “Oh Butch, I can tell you work out. I bet you could press me easily.” No straight women would ever say such a thing to me, so we’ll be off to the races. [Note: Certainly, there are some straight women that like to flirt with butches, in particular, even though these women think they’re straight. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether you agree with them.]

femmevisibilityThis is not a post about femme invisibility. I’ve read plenty about how that’s crap. I see you. And so do the rest of my butch friends. You are not invisible. But, this is a cry for help. We don’t like being rejected (who does?). So, bat your eyelashes at me. I will take it from there.

It’s butch to make sure she is actually a femme (as opposed to a lovely straight woman) before turning on the charm. Be Butch.


How to Date with Kids

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Ah, the maternal looking femme. A model mother.

Dare I talk about this? I feel like a bit of a pariah in my community. I have … two kids. The death knell, I think, for dating. Sure, I know there are lots of lesbians with kids. But, these are mostly married or seriously committed partners who had kids together. That is no longer me – hasn’t been for a while.

It would be bad enough if I was a lovely, maternal looking femme. All soft and fluffy. Perhaps even driving a mini-van (shudder) or some sort of giant Tahoe and wearing a pink cashmere sweater. You know the kind of woman I am talking about? She is a perfect mother. Always has gum, never forgets water for the kid’s practices, can do a perfect French braid. Nurturing. You see her and it’s easy to see her as a mom.

But that’s not me. Nope. I am, in case you haven’t read anything else I have written, a big butch. A proud butch. I’ve got a Mohawk – check that little avatar over there. That’s me. People are ALWAYS surprised that I have kids. So, here I am, a big butch. I get it. I don’t really even talk that much here about having kids. There are several reasons for that. First, it’s not sexy. Second, it’s not always funny (sometimes, sure). And, third, I want to protect them. I am the writer opening myself up to scrutiny, not them.

Speaking of writers, a couple of months ago, my idol Butch Wonders *butch swoon* posted a great piece about dating a woman with kids. I’d like to talk about it from the other side. Here I am starting to date. Out and about. Ready to be suave and charming (don’t laugh, I’ll try hard and try hard not to look like I am trying hard!). And, I have all these questions about my kids and Her – that’s what I’ve nicknamed any woman I might approach or date. Pretty clever, I know.

1. When Do I Tell Her?

Oh, yes. Very, very smooth.

Oh, yes. Very suave and charming.

First and foremost, when is the right time to tell Her that I’ve got kids? Do I walk up, buy Her a drink, and as I am handing Her the Cosmo say, “I’ve got kids!” No. Clearly not. Turn off. What? Am I asking Her to marry me? But, how long do I wait? If She comes home with me, She will immediately see evidence of children. If not, it could be kept a bit. Not much more than a few days though, practically, because of my kid obligations. “Butch, let’s go to a movie this weekend.” Oh, I’m sorry, but… I, uh, can’t.” Why? Do I bust out the T-ball/martial arts/chorus practice reason?

I joke, and obviously I need to tell Her relatively quickly, but when? I don’t want Her to think that I am thinking so long-term that She has to be on board with kids now. What if we are just having a bit of fun?

2. When Do I Introduce Her?

My instinct here is pretty strongly that this doesn’t happen until I am very serious about Her. My kids have been through a divorce (from their mom) and the loss of my now-ex gorgeous fiancé. The kids love them both. I don’t think it’s fair to introduce a new Her every couple of months. Kids fall for people pretty quickly, and I don’t want Hers coming in and out of their lives too much.

The problem is that I can see this being a real sticking point with Her. “Don’t you love me?” Yes, I do (at some point, right?). “Well, why can’t I meet your kids?” I want to wait until the time is right. “When will that be?” Gosh, I just don’t know.

3. How Involved Is She Supposed To Be?

Assuming I haven’t scared every Her away, and we’ve moved on to being in love and introductions, what is Her role? My belief is that, although kids can never have too many adults in their lives who love them, they only need so many parents. As I said in Wanted: Femme for Butch, my kids don’t need another mother – they already have 3.

I want Her to be a good role model. I want Her to be kind. I want Her to be happy to see them and spend time with them. But, I don’t want Her so attached that She wants to take over my role. I will handle the care and feeding of my munchkins. She gets to be a happy bystander for the hard stuff, and hopefully, a willing participant in the good stuff.

4. Is It Alright If My Kids Know I am Sleeping With Her, or a Variety of Hers?

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Would that I dated often enough to actually have one of these…

Being a shy and proper butch, I am very concerned about my kids knowing that I am committing cardinal sins with Her (or a variety of Hers). Cough. Anyway, religion out of it, I don’t really want my kids thinking about this. We haven’t had the birds and the bees talk yet, so I think I am safe for a while. My point really is that if I date, I don’t want my kids to see a revolving door – regardless of how frequently that door actually revolves. Anyone have any WD-40?

Interestingly enough, my kids gave me the perfect opening to discuss this with them recently. Both of them are pressuring me to get a girlfriend – which if you think about it is adorable and kind of hilarious. Why, guys? “We just want you to have one.” Anyway, when they said this a week or so ago, I jumped at the chance to talk about dating. I said that I was ready to date, and indeed was out and about having fun. I told them that I was going to keep them from the details, that I might start seeing someone and not introduce Her. My daughter was shocked and said, “You are going to date behind our backs?”

I laughed and said, “No, I am going to date right in front of you. I’m just not going to introduce you to anyone for a while.” Why? I explained that I didn’t know when I might find the Her that would be in my life (and, thus, their lives) for a period of time, and I didn’t think it fair to introduce them to a bunch of women. Now, I realize that I might be making myself out to be a real ladies man here, and sadly, this is really not the case. But, hopefully, you get the point. The kids seemed to accept this, although they didn’t like it.

I wish I had a crystal ball the moment I meet Her. One where I could gaze at it and peer into the future. If I could see that She will be in my life a year later, two years later, of course I would introduce Her to the kids. But, how do I know?

One Her to Rule them All

One Her to Rule them All

As lucky as I would be to find the One True Her (the one to rule them all) right out of the gate, I think that is unrealistic. Of course, if the Universe sends me the Femme from my Want Ad, I suppose all bets are off. But still, when do I introduce Her to my kids? Help me out, friends.

It’s butch to protect your kids, isn’t it? Be Butch.


“MOM! The Tooth Fairy Didn’t Come!”

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It’s not fair that we have to work all this “magic” for our kids, without actually having any!

Oh geez. Just reading the title, you probably know what’s coming. Mom is an idiot. That’s me. Damnit! I made a mistake. Don’t worry too much, I’ll give away the punchline now and tell you that I fixed it – I think. But, I messed up. If you’ve been around a while, you will remember that playing the Tooth Fairy (TF) is not my best thing. Read my last harrowing experience with the TF here (http://butchontap.com/2012/10/29/tooth-fairy-butch-style-2/). So what happened this time?

Two nights ago, my daughter lost a tooth. Actually, she pulled it out and came running to show me. Being a proper butch only extends so far, and so when she shows me a gaping hole in her mouth that is bleeding rather profusely, I get a bit, erm, squeamish to say the least. Blood is not my best thing. “Wow, honey, that’s great,” I say walking out of the bathroom and away from the blood. “Make sure you put it under your pillow,” I add casually.

Well, she forgot to put it under her pillow, and I forgot to care. Yikes. Anyway, the next morning she was upset that the TF did not come. I was able to nimbly explain that the TF won’t come unless the tooth is in the proper TF place – under one’s pillow. She had, in fact, left her tooth on the bathroom sink. “Too bad, baby. Make sure you put it under your pillow tonight.” Right? Good job, Mom.

Flash forward to last night. She remembers to put the tooth under her pillow, complete with a note. She made sure to tape the tooth to the note – apparently wanting to ensure proper pillow placement. I removed a ten dollar bill from my wallet and left it in the kitchen – so I wouldn’t forget. Well, after getting the kids to bed, I was exhausted. As many parents can probably relate, I did the dishes, laundry, packed my gym bag, etc. and then finally sat down to do some work, along with urgent tweeting and facebooking (natch). Several hours later, I was wrecked and … headed to bed. Not a thought in my mind for the precious tooth taped to the note under my daughter’s pillow. Or for the ten dollar bill patiently waiting to find its way under that pillow.

This morning I was awakened by my daughter knocking on my door in tears. “Mom, the Tooth Fairy didn’t come,” she sobbed. OH MY GOD! I kick myself and curse my horrible parenting skills as I open the door to see her there – clearly still fully believing in the TF. “What the hell are you going to do?” the voice in my head is screaming. To my daughter, I say, “What do you mean, baby? She always comes.” “No, she didn’t come,” she cries. “Well, let’s see,” I say ushering her towards her room. “Did you put it under your pillow properly?” I have remembered the ten perched in the kitchen, just so. If I can just get that ten into the bathroom, maybe I can pull it off. I need to stall, thus the extra questions that I already know the answer to. “Yes! I even taped it to the note!” I walk into the kitchen sending her into her room – “One second, baby,” I say.

I grab the ten and slide it onto the bathroom counter where her tooth had been two nights earlier, and then rush into her room to find the note under her pillow. Now, how to make the transition? My son saves me. He innocently says, as he looks at the note, “You can’t tape it to the note. That’s why she didn’t take it!” Whew! Yes, this will work. I jump onto the 6-year old bandwagon, “Yes, baby, I bet that is it. She came, saw the taped tooth, and wouldn’t take it. A breach of TF protocol, clearly. Are you sure she didn’t come?” My daughter looks at me confused. So, I add, “Did you look everywhere? How about the bathroom?” My son sprints to the bathroom and yells, “THERE’S A DOLLAR!!” He returns to the room smiling and waving the TF evidence around – with is actually a ten (he’s just learning to deal with money).

Now, to drive it home, I usher them both to the couch. “Let’s talk this through,” I say. “What do you think happened?” We decide that the TF wanted them to know that she sees every tooth immediately, even when not properly placed, and so she left the money on the bathroom counter (where the tooth had been mistakenly placed). And, that you must not tape the tooth to a note. WHAT A RELIEF.

This TF business is exhausting. How many more teeth are my children going to lose?

It’s butch to protect your kids’ fantasies, even if it means being a fairy. Be Butch.


How Butch Are You?

Plenty of readers have asked me a variety of this question: How do I know if I am butch? How do I know if someone else is butch? Why don’t people know I am butch? Or, what about lesbians that look butch, but don’t identify as butch? “Well, she is wearing a vest, after all!” And, what about lesbians that identify as butch, but no one sees them as such? “You can’t be butch, you have a purse!”

As I am now clearly the worldwide expert on this (NOT!), I do feel compelled to try to answer. And, frankly, I am honoured (trying to appeal to my newly broadened audience with a more international spelling) that any of you would ask for my opinion. My hope is that this blog will start a lively conversation and that a LOT of you will comment on this post, adding your view and opinions to what I have to say. As I have said before, there are many ways to be butch, and there is no right way. And, it is definitely more than the clothes. That is just the wrapper on the yummy butchness inside.

It comes down to two things, IMHO

It comes down to two things, IMHO

Being butch, in my opinion, is about two things. How you see yourself and how others see you. Of course the first one is the only one that matters; but the second is important if you want to appear to the world in a way that is congruent with your view of yourself.

1.  How You See Yourself

Michelle Pfeiffer isn't butch just because you put her in a suit.

Michelle Pfeiffer isn’t butch just because you put her in a suit. And, meow!

So, how do you see yourself? Do you feel butch? Do you like the label, tag, or identification of butch? Does it feel like it fits you? That’s the crux. If you feel like a butch, but you wear dresses, good for you. If you feel like a femme, but wear only men’s suits and fantastic vests, good for you. You alone define yourself.

I spend a lot of time on my blog “defining” what it means to be butch, but this is always tongue in cheek. You can read some of these, like How to Be Butch* (http://wp.me/p27vDp-3W) and I am a Butch (http://wp.me/p27vDp-3W). I am simply defining what it means to me, and of course, trying to do it in a way that is amusing for all of you (or maybe most of you? Some of you?). For example, I don’t wear lipstick or makeup (except for eyeliner, which I call “guyliner”). I wear all men’s clothes. I have super short hair (a Mohawk, to be precise). I am bigger and taller than most of my friends, many men included. I like to be strong and want muscles. But that is just me. There are a tremendous variety of lesbians who are butch that would take exception to much of that. Again, it only matters how you see yourself. Do you feel butch?

2.  How Others See You

kd lang didn't become a femme when she put this dress on - my favorite song of hers, btw.

kd lang didn’t become a femme when she put this dress on – my favorite song of hers, btw.

As humans, we have a need to label and categorize ourselves and others. Yes, labels are bad. No one fits precisely into any one category, but don’t hate. You know it’s true. You walk down the street and you see someone, anyone, and you assess them in a split second. Safe, dangerous, attractive, ugly, straight, gay, athlete, lazy, rich, poor, smart, dumb. Translation: desirable or undesirable. Of course, the classifications are much more complex – a handsome, straight, well-educated, well-off, married man. And, so on. While you’re doing it, so is everyone else. Making judgments about you based solely on how you dress, walk, look, and talk. Most people probably see me and think, “There is a big, butch dyke.” [Note: To our ally readers, don’t use the word “dyke” unless your lesbian friend told you it was ok to use it, and then, only use it with her. It’s hate speech and with a butch, it might get you punched in the face.] I’d rather it was, “There is a handsome, dashing, well-educated, charming single butch.” We can all dream. How do people see you? Do your friends think you are butch? What does your mom think? Side note here, my 9-year old recently told a lady at Nordstrom that her mom is butch. I am lucky because the way I see myself lines up with the way others see me – as Über Butch. Whew.

The vast majority of lesbians that I know define themselves as neither butch nor femme. It is much more common to simply consider oneself a lesbian. There is a spectrum of lesbians. On one end of the spectrum are the most masculine lesbians who identify as butch – maybe 15% of the lesbian population. On the other far end of the spectrum are the most feminine lesbians – maybe 15%. But the vast majority of lesbians (70%) would fall somewhere in the middle. I am just picking numbers based on my experiences, no research or anything. This article needs citations!

I have no idea how Jillian Michaels defines herself. She might not look butch in those dresses, but her attitude and poise are hella butch. Hey girl!

I have no idea how Jillian Michaels defines herself. She might not look butch in those dresses, but her attitude and poise are hella butch. Hey girl!

3. But, Who Cares?

The bottom line is that there is no one way to be butch. For me, being butch means that I want to take care of the woman I love – to protect her. I want to be bigger and stronger. Sometimes when I am lifting, I want to pound my chest and roar (Jillian would probably approve). As dumb as that is, I want a woman who thinks it’s cute – or maybe even hot. I want to open the doors. I want her to wear heels, lipstick, dresses. But that’s just me! How about you? What makes you butch?

I would like to add that there are gobs of lesbians that are more butch than me, and I am good with that. Butches, we are good. No need to track me down in a bar, or (gulp) side street and challenge my butchness. You win! Please don’t come looking for me unless you want to grab a beer. If you are butcher than me, I will buy…

Some random blogger's shirt. Heh!

Some random blogger’s shirt. Heh!

I would also like to add that if any of you think you might be a femme, but aren’t sure and would like help figuring it out, come looking for me! I am available for consultations, including door opening, and roaring. We will get you through this – together.

It’s butch to define yourself. Be Butch.


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