Category Archives: fashion

The Femme Faux Pas

Let’s talk about something light and fluffy on this Tuesday. The femme faux pas. What I am referring to here are things that our femmes do that are similar to our own butch fails (Butch Fails). But, since they are femmes, we would never call them that. They are femmes, after all, the kinder and gentler of our species. Dare I say that they never fail at anything? Femme faux pas seems better, though it’s hard to know what the plural is. So let’s just use “FFP.”

  1. Shy Cleavage: Not all femmes have cleavage in spades, but if you do and you don’t ever show it, that is a FFP. We need to see it sometimes. Actually, we probably want to see it all the time, but we don’t necessarily want you to show other people – so some discretion is required. It’s a tough balance. We get that.

    Wear this…

  2. Overlooking Quick Bow Tie Tying: Some of us butches take special pride in our bow ties, and for those of us who tie them ourselves (ahem), if we tie that perfect tie in a matter of seconds, you must notice. Not every time, of course, but often enough that we know you appreciate just how very butch we are.
  3. No Smokey Eye Makeup: We need you to wear that makeup proudly and generally try to keep up with the latest trends. The smokey eye is particularly sexy, I would go so far as to say, on every femme. Please learn how to do it, and please do it sometimes. It is super hot. No need to wear this or any make up every day, of course, but sometimes break out the special dark and stormy sexy look. But Butch, I don’t know how to do smokey eyes! You can find lots of instructional videos on YouTube; here’s one for beginners, for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_aqWD_9gH8. Or, go to Sephora. They will show you how. Butches, you are welcome.

    …Not this

  4. Granny Panties: Really? Nothing more needed here. FFP
  5. No Purse: We are happy to carry your stuff most of the time, in our ample pockets, but on special occasions, please carry a purse. Then, you can carry our stuff! There is a special exception here for Sporty Spice Femmes. We know that you will never or rarely carry a purse, and we will adjust. Can we at least borrow your chap stick sometimes?
  6. No Pre-Lipstick Kiss: Right, butches? She is getting ready in the morning, or before going out, and once the lipstick is applied, there is no chance in hell of getting a good kiss. “Butch, you’ll ruin my lipstick!”  So, the procedure should be, your femme gets ready, and then the last thing she does is apply that lovely lip lacquer. Just before doing so, she calls out to you (you are on the bed fully dressed, waiting for her, and killing time on Facebook or Twitter) to come and get a “pre-lipstick kiss.” You come bounding over like a giant Sheep Dog. If this does not happen and the lipstick is already on, it will be a while before you get a good kiss. Please don’t forget, femmes.

    No way you are getting anywhere near these lips until the end of the evening.

  7. Wrong Bra: This could really be anything related to the bra – ill fitting, old, sports bra, etc. We butches care a great deal about this particular part of your bodies, and so we also care a lot about the piece of magical clothing that protects this part of you. Please make sure that it fits you well, is flattering, is not old and gray, and is perhaps a sexy, lacy/satiny/cute cottony type number. You know, not something we would wear.
  8. Never Wearing Heels: Now, I am not a Neanderthal. No, I am an evolved butch, so I am not stupid, and I know that heels are torture devices. They hurt and are not easy to walk in. I get that heels are to be saved for special occasions for many femmes. No problem. But when those special occasions come around, will you please think about wearing them? If not, please wear them at home for us – even just for a short while…

    Image

    How about these?

  9. Too Many Pants: Pants are lovely. Pants are great for evolved women. Pants are practical. Pants can be flattering. Pants are perfect for every day wear. But, we butches would love to see you in a dress or skirt every now and then. Would that be alright?

So, even in pointing out – in a light and fluffy way – some of the shortcomings of a femme, I am left singing their praises. Ahh, the femme.  How about you, dear readers, can you think of any FFPs?

It is very butch to love your femme. Be butch.


Butchscaping among the Gorillas

Dian Fossey, courtesy of Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

I am Dian Fossey, sneaking up to a circle of gorillas. The gorillas are foreign to me, and I seem alien to them, not of their kind. These gorillas are straights, and I’m observing them in their natural habitat, in the midst of where they perform their beauty rituals. A nail salon. Will I be accepted as one of them? Will they share their customs and nail polish with me? Or will they hiss at me from their comfortable, reclined, vibrating chairs, sending me running for my life, without my much-needed pedicure?

Before you get all “But Butch, men and butches do get pedicures,” let me remind you that while of course it is allowed, we aren’t exactly welcomed with open arms. The gorillas were okay with Dian Fossey watching from a distance (i.e., us butches and men waiting by the door to pick up our girls after their nails are done), but they weren’t exactly waving her over to pick nits off of her – not at first anyway. It took them months to let her into their circle and share nail polish. I don’t have that kind of time. My feet and toenails look like crap and I need a pedicure stat.

When I walk in, odd silence. From the ladies who work there: Is he in the wrong place? Looking for his wife? Ohhh, he’s here for a pedicure. Hmmm. Wait, I think that’s a woman (all in Vietnamese, of course). The women in the chairs look up from their magazines and iPhones, the same thoughts going through their minds. But no hissing. No bearing of teeth. Maybe they won’t attack if I stand still by the door for a while and let them acclimate to my presence. Which is exactly what I do until the salon owner says, “What do you want, honey?” I answer boldly – trying not to show fear to the gorillas – “I want a mani/pedi.” I figure, why not? Might as well have my hands done, too. Buff, of course (meaning no polish, just shiny, clean nails). Sometimes, I get my finger nails painted black for a slightly edgy rock star butch look (albeit an older, more  has-been rock star). Not today, though, just buff for the fingers. “Sit down, honey. Tina will be right with you.”

I sit down, wait my turn, and avoid eye contact with the other women waiting. There’s the young hipster who is neither surprised nor interested in me. Excellent. There is the older grandmother who looks at me oddly, but not meanly. Then there is the woman with huge boobs and a Gerber baby. I dig babies and like to make faces at them and make them smile. Make friends with the baby gorilla, and the mom will accept you, right? Straight women don’t expect this from a dude, or from me, so they think I’m cute. Now the grandmother thinks I’m the cat’s pajamas because I’m a dude who likes babies. She has no idea I’m a butch. So far, so good.

After waiting for a few minutes, Tina takes me to my seat. The gorillas are calm and seem unphased, so I make it to my station unscathed, except for a few quick glances. I sit down and because I am so tall I have to move my seat all the way back. I look like a professional basketball player stuffed into a tiny Fiat; my feet are in the water and my knees almost hit me in the face. Very graceful. I’m not exactly blending in.

I spaced like a rookie and forgot to “pick a color” for my toes, so I jump up to grab one. I startle the gorillas with my jerky movement, but I’m still allowed to move freely. I feel confident, so decide to branch out from my comfort zone of butch colors (black and navy) and go all street-walker with “Romeo & Juliet,” a deep, and no doubt tragic, maroon polish. So young. So sad.

See the gross CVS carpet in the background? This is where we fled for new flip-flops.

Here is a picture of my Romeo & Juliet toes. I’m Romeo, of course.

Butches, if you think that manicures and pedicures are for girls, generally you’re right, but get over that. You can’t walk around with huge calluses on your feet and gnarly, long toenails. You can have clean, buffed fingernails and still have outrageously strong, (and in my case, big) hands. Nothing wrong with a pedicure, and a manicure doesn’t take away your butchness.  It makes you more appealing. Think about all the things you do that involve your hands… You don’t actually want to sand your femme’s face, do you?

Clean yourself up. Keep it together. Manscaping isn’t right for us, but how about Butchscaping?  Don’t you want to be the well-groomed butch?  Don’t you want your femme to stare at your hands and imagine you touching her? Femmes, which do you prefer, well-groomed or beastly?

As for my trip today among the gorillas and their beauty rituals, it turns out the gorillas are okay. They accept me into their circle, and my feet look tight. One note on pedicures. Don’t wear your tennis shoes into the salon. If you do, you will be forced to walk out with these stupid little throw away flip-flops that they have for you. This could be ok, or you could end up being given a pink pair, as happened to me today.  Ugh.

Beware the dreaded pink flip-flops & bring your own!

Because we were going out to lunch, we had to fix this. We went straight to CVS to buy a different pair of crappy flip-flops that were more to my butch liking. No self-respecting butch can walk into an establishment, let alone one in the Gayborhood, wearing the shoes in this picture. Plan ahead and this won’t be a problem.

It’s butch to get manicures and pedicures. Be butch.


Blame It On The Henney

ImageI was at a fundraising party tonight for Lambda Legal (a fantastic organization for those of you who don’t know them, www.lambdalegal.org) and I had an interesting interaction with an older straight male attorney there. I’d been there a while and was comfortable. I chatted up a few different folks and was doing the proper business card exchange when up walks this old guy. A well-dressed man with tiny spectacles and a cognac in hand introduces himself to me, and then he says: “You have the best look of anyone here. Seriously.” I was flattered and thanked him. Right on!

Now, I’m feeling pretty awesome about my look and smiling both inside and out. Butch has got it! We talk a minute or two more and then he compliments me again. This time, he says I’m a “wise man.”

Scratch the record, stop the music. What the hell! I’m a wise man? Really? This guy has no idea I’m a woman? After several minutes of conversation? Wise? I’d like to think so. But, man? It’s not like I was at a Tea Party pep rally. Remember that this was a fundraiser for a group that fights for the rights of gays and big ol’ dykes. I was among my people! He should have been prepared. Maybe I should have corrected him, but I was really too shocked to do so. Can I blame it on the Henney? I don’t think so. He seemed like a seasoned drinker. Bully!

So, void the cool compliment. Obviously, this dude has no power of observation whatsoever. There could have been three other people at the party with cooler style than Butch, and he would have had no idea.

For those of you who are interested, the “look” was as follows:

  • Orange and blue french cuff dress shirt, Thomas PinkImage
  • Orange bow tie, Nordstrom
  • Black plain front cotton dress pants, Dockers (yes, black with blue, it works sometimes)
  • White belt, silver buckle, Adidas
  • All white Stan Smith’s tennis shoes, Adidas
  • Silver square cuff links, vintage – my grandfather’s
  • Silver screw head earrings (they look like Phillips head screws), Uncommon Goods

Oh, and cognac-holding old guy! I’ve got a big rack under this men’s dress shirt and no Adam’s apple above my bow tie. Pay attention, Jackass!

Butches, what do you do when someone refers to you as a man?

It’s butch to have style, even when old straight white guys think you’re a dude. 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.


Skinny Jeans: How Soon Can I Take Them Off?

In trying to keep up with the times, I have been forced to purchase a pair of skinny jeans. For any of you who are not familiar with the skinny jean, it is a tightly tailored or fitted jean that tapers dramatically at the ankle. This is the kind of jean that you tuck into your boots to show off that boot fetish that you might have.

It seems like a woman’s thing, because the pants are so tight. But I have seen plenty of men sporting the skinny jean. Well, not plenty, and they are all on television and magazine pages, but you get it. Men like Usher, the guys from Train, Russell Brand, the Jonas Brothers. My gorgeous fiancé assures me, however, that they are not just for rock stars, femmes, and comedians. They are for butches, too.

So, she just gave me an awesome pair of stylish combat boots as an early Mother’s Day gift, and I was intrigued by wanting to show them off. The fact that I wanted combat boots for Mother’s Day is further proof that I am a butch; the fact that my fiancé gave them to me is proof that I am one lucky S.O.B. Unless I intend to wear my new boots with shorts or, gasp, a skirt (no way in hell), it is time to consider a skinny jean to show off these cool boots. What to do, what to do? Off to The Gap.

I tried on a variety of their skinny offerings. Warning: they are not true to size, for all you butches and dudes out there wearing baggy, relaxed, or loose fit jeans. As it turns out, you will need to go up a size to sport the skinny jean. After some funny poses and maneuvers in the fitting room, I found a pair that seemed to fit. My fiancé assures me that they look good on me, and are flattering. And my boots look tough, badass, and all-around awesome.  (These are the actual boots in the photo.)

Trouble is…they are very uncomfortable. I mean, really. I wore them and sat on a stool. If I leaned back in the stool, I had to fight to keep from sliding off the stool. No matter how I sat, I had to worry about my ass hanging out the top. Crack is whack, right?  The skinny jean is so taught and tight, that it turns my body into a sort of stiff board – at least on the bottom. So, that’s fun, trying to keep from sliding off the stool or chair.  And, there is no room for adjusting or shifting. Honestly, I don’t know how you boys do it. I don’t have to worry about “adjusting” like you do, but even us butches occasionally get a wedgie. Just go commando to save yourself the trouble.

Plus, you know those pockets that I am so fond of? The ones that I like to use to carry everything I need – and my girl’s stuff? Yeah, well you can forget about them in the skinny jean. They exist, but what’s the point if the jeans are too tight to actually use the pockets? I made my wallet work, because, well…it’s my wallet, and I have to have it.  My lip stuff? Too weird in my front pocket. And my iPhone? I had to take the case off of it to fit it in my pocket.

Wearing my new skinny jeans would have to be this butch’s first experience with form over function. Fashion over any kind of utility. Much love and props to you girls for handling all this and looking so great for us butches and dudes!

Worn right (with combat boots, no ass crack), skinny jeans are butch. Be butch.


Butchopoly

I was recently playing Monopoly on my smart phone and it got me thinking…  What if there was a butch-themed

Wouldn’t it be great if we had our own version?

Monopoly game?  What would the game look like?

Traditionally, Monopoly has 8 sets of colored properties, 2 utilities, and 4 railroads to buy. Hazards include 2 kinds of taxes and, of course, jail. The pieces a player gets to choose from are: battleship, cannon, dog, iron, race car, shoe, thimble, top hat, and wheelbarrow. I note that some editions also have a man on horseback, a train, and a sack of money, but I’ve never seen or played with those.

If I were to butch up Monopoly, it might look something like this.

The properties one would buy would be 8 different breweries, with my 3 favorite beers from each. The utilities would be Home Depot and Target (a butch can get everything she needs for daily living at these two stores, minus clothes and food, of course).  The tax squares would be classic butch problem situations resulting in the payment of a Femme Tax.  One would be: “You’ve been caught staring at another woman, buy your femme flowers to try to fix it.” The second:  “You have no idea what your femme is trying to tell you so you have to hire a translator to save your dumb ass.”

Community Chest becomes Femme Chests and includes cards explaining a variety of things you do that are “Butch Fails” and will send you directly Butch Jail – do not pass go, do not collect $200.  But, it’s alright because Butch Jail is staffed by sexy femme prison guards.  Meow.

The pieces would be transformed like this:
Battleship = Polar Bear, because they are big and powerful like a battleship, but not charged with that militaristic, gas-guzzling, establishment, gay-hating aura that the armed forces have.
Dog = Shark.  Remember, sharks are hella butch.
Iron = Toolbox. Obviously.
Race car = This is my favorite piece, so it would stay. Model it after a Shelby Cobra, though.
Shoe = Engineer boot. Very butch.
Top hat = Bow tie. ’nuff said.
Wheelbarrow = Big beer bottle.
Thimble = BBQ grill

Now, who wants to play?

It’s butch to play games.  Be butch.


How to Be Butch*

*Author’s Note: This blog is mostly meant to be tongue-in cheek, a funny take on my life and observations. I never mean to imply that I am the sole “authority” on being butch (or even any authority at all), or that my way of being butch or my style of being butch – or even a lesbian, for that matter – is the only way to be. I will write more about the amazing diversity in the lesbian community, and the relative paucity of butch-femme relationships soon. Suffice it to say now that I mostly want to make you laugh, intrigue you, or perhaps give you insight into another point of view. I do not mean to pass judgment on whoever you are, whatever your style may be (except for you over there in the ratty t-shirt and cargo shorts), or however you live your life.  Now, that said, let me tell you how to be butch.

I know, dear readers that you may be so delighted, so intrigued with my life experiences that you want to know how you, too, can be butch. You must have the secrets – and, stat! If only…if only there were an instruction manual. Wait just a tick; I have found such a manual, dear readers, which I have written. Read on for a step-by-step guide to being a proper butch.

1.  Clothing. Go to your closet. Find every piece of women’s clothing. Throw it out. Well, ok, donate it, but it has got to go. You can’t look butch in a blouse for chrissakes. Shoes, too. Straps are out. Heels are ok if stacked or on a cowboy boot. Otherwise, not so much. Ok, jeans are good, always. Buy some vests. That will get you started. There are lots of more advanced rules, but I could write blogs and blogs about just lesbian fashion. Actually, I already have – see Tipping the Velvet (http://butchontap.com/2012/03/08/tipping-the-velvet/), Out of Pocket (http://butchontap.com/2012/03/05/out-of-pocket/), and Tie One On (http://butchontap.com/2012/01/20/tie-one-on/). And there will be more.  Fashion is fun to write about.

2.  Jewelry. I am pro-jewelry as long as it’s the right kind. Nothing you would buy for your girl.  No hearts. No unicorns or rainbows. Fleur de lis, shamrocks, skulls – all acceptable. Silver is golden. Gold is a bit too New Jersey Shore. Jewels are your own call. Just remember, less is more.

3.  Sports. You can’t go wrong with a team sport:  football, basketball, hockey (extra butch), volleyball (high quotient of attractive sporty spice lesbians here – neither femme nor butch, but displays qualities of both), softball (where you will find many femmes and loads of sturdy, but not quite butch, lesbians). Shooting sports like archery and marksmanship are obviously butch, although obscure and inaccessible. Hard to imagine your femme coming out to watch your archery match. Country club sports are tricky and can go either way – largely depending on what you wear. There is kind of a spectrum starting with tennis (no tennis skirts or ladies wear) being less butch, moving to racquetball which is more butch, and then handball which is super butch.  Hitting something that hard with just your hand? Wow. Scary butch activities would include things like boxing, kick boxing, hunting, sport fishing, and cage fighting. Do one of these and you are sending out a very scary vibe. Badminton (hitting a “shuttlecock”?) is out. Golf is the holy grail of butch sports in my opinion. Hitting a small ball hundreds of yards with a metal club, stylish, wonderful clothing options, lots of drinking while you play. Great opportunities for being charming (not out of breath), lifting heavy things for your femme (golf bag), offering to clean off her spikes, smoking cigars (without it being odd). Of course, as an avid golfer, I am biased.  Plus, lots of lesbians play golf and straight men seem to embrace this – a bonus.

4.  Drinks. Alcohol? If not, nothing wrong with that at all. Drink whatever you like, but no fruit or cherries in the glass. If you do drink alcohol, don’t order a cream-based drink if you want to be butch – think Bailey’s. Drink that at home (yum). Stick to beer and you can’t go wrong. The hard stuff (whiskey, bourbon, scotch) are super butch – as long as you don’t get sick. If you can’t hold your liquor, don’t drink it. If you do drink it, nothing with an umbrella. In my opinion, nothing even with juice. The down side to beer is gas…not too sexy. Drink slowly!

5.  Jobs.  Let’s see, what is the butchest job? Unless you are one of those Deadliest Catch fishers, you probably don’t need to think about having a butch job. I will go so far as to say ANY job is a good job. Pay your bills. Handle your business. Be secure. If you decorate cakes for a living, that is plenty butch if it allows you to meet your needs and take your date out for dinner and a show. I don’t care if its floral design, or painting nails. Being employed and responsible is very butch.

6.  Hair. The shorter the better. I would like to try and change the butch world a little bit here.  It doesn’t have to be shapeless. Style is sexy. Style is cool. Yes, style is butch. If you’ve had the same do for a couple of years, it is time for a change. The Bieber is cute and fairly butch now, but probably not so much in two years. Even my mohawk – which my fiancé and I think is uber-butch – won’t be around two years from now, at least not on me. But, no matter what hair you rock, no mullets, please. Represent, butches!

7.  Makeup.  You should not have any. Your sole collection of makeup should be the high-end chapstick or lip balm you carry. My current favorite, by the way, is the Jack Black men’s skin care line – not that Jack Black. Anyway, the lip balm is fantastic, and it gives me something to look for at Sephora when my girl is busy looking at mascara and nail polish – or whatever. Black guyliner is awesome on occasion, but you will use your girl’s makeup for this. You should not own any yourself. Unless you are single; then guyliner is a must.

8.  Nails. Keep them very short and clean. You don’t have to just hack them off yourself with clippers, though, there is nothing wrong with a nice manicure. I always choose “buff” rather than any polish. Recently, though, my girl painted my nails black and put some silver crackle stuff on top. To my surprise, it looks very, very butch! Plus, there is nothing wrong with giving your girl a reason to stare at your hands.Think outside the box, I guess is the lesson here.

9.  Pets. Dogs, lions (or any other big cat), turtles, sharks, yes. Seriously? Come see my pet shark? Hella butch. Cats, birds, and fish, not so much. Not all dogs, though. The bigger the better. St. Bernard, Mastiff, Dane, Sheepdog, Lab – you are rocking the butch pet. Terriers, Poodles, Schnauzers, and anything miniature or teacup, forget about it. But it’s okay if your girl has one and you happen to be seen walking it for her on occasion. 😉

10.  Bowties. Learn to tie them. And fast. I mean learn how to tie a bowtie fast, not quickly learn how to do it. This is very sexy to femmes. Plus, other butches, straight guys, and your gay brethren will be envious at the end of the evening when you untie your bowtie and leave it gallantly hanging around your neck – James Bond style, thereby proving it’s not a clip-on.  Clip-ons are for 5 year olds. Seriously, my 5-year-old son has one. But tie it yourself? Oh, yes. It’s hot. But Butch, I don’t know how! No problem. Here’s a link to the drawing I used for a couple of months until it clicked for me (http://www.folds.net/bowtie/). No shame in asking a friend or the lady at Nordstrom’s for help. As for regular ties, if you want a real tie knot go with the Windsor. My dad showed me how to tie a good old-fashioned Windsor knot. Thanks, Dad! Now, I’m set on both fronts.

11.  Books. This is a wide open category. It doesn’t matter much unless you are on vacation. You don’t want to be seen by the pool with anything by Danielle Steel or Mary Higgins Clark. Any kind of fantasy, sci-fi, spy, or thriller is ok. Romantic novels are right out! Michael Crichton, Stephen King, Tolkien, yes. Stephanie Meyer, no.

12.  Music. This is a tough one for me because I am a music fanatic. I can’t get enough: classical, easy listening, dance, adult contemporary, electronic, big band, and house – questionable choices for a butch, but that’s not very evolved. Metal, rock, country, hip hop – obviously safe, but who wants to be safe when it comes to music? If you play an instrument,  lead guitar (acoustic or electric), check. Drums, yes. Bass guitar, of course. Sax, maybe. Piano, this is a tough one. I say yes. It’s not super butch, but certainly passable butch. Flute/violin/clarinet/harp/viola/tambourine…you play one of these and you can leave your butch card at the door.

13.  Movies. No chick flicks. Terms of Endearment, Steel Magnolias, Something’s Gotta Give, The Notebook (I’d rather stick my face in a notebook and slam the rings closed than see this movie), and all romantic comedies (anything by Nora Ephron or starring Meg Ryan) are out. If it makes your girl cry, it’s not a butch movie. Contrast this with the typical action movie – Terminator, Star Wars, Bad Boys, Lethal Weapon – and any bromance movie – I Love You Man, 21 Jump Street, Dumb and Dumber, The Hangover. These are butch movies. Notice that the inclusion of a love story does not contradict the butchness of the movie. Violence, spies, sex, explosions, and car chases make a movie butch. A romance thrown in is just fine, especially if the woman is hot. Over the top violence is not butch; that’s just a waste. Hollywood showing off. Look what we can do! Look how realistic this death and gore is! No, thank you. Even butches don’t have to sit for that. Saving Private Ryan, and Braveheart are out in my book. Super hero movies are platinum – even bad ones – and fantasy flicks like Lord of the Rings. Oh, and comedies are always butch – Ace Ventura, Bridesmaids, Coming to America, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Art films are not technically butch, but can be great for getting laid. Sadly, if it won an Oscar, it’s probably not butch. Notable exceptions: The Godfather, No Country for Old Men, Casablanca, and anything directed by Scorsese or starring Clint Eastwood. You have carte blanche to see these. Relationship note: There are deals to be made here. My fiancé likes art house flicks and plenty of chick flicks (although she hates romantic comedies), so we trade off. A real life example: I saw Black Swan for her (WTH!?), and she came to see Thor with me. Plus, if you go see an indie or chick flick with your girl, bring tissues and provide that shoulder for her to cry on.

Alrighty then. Now that you know everything that the “how to” guide says about being butch, you are all set.

Better yet, it is very butch to be yourself. You define whether or not you are butch. So throw out this guide and just be yourself – as long as you lose the mullet! 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.


Femme Gyver

Today we stopped at a fancy yoga boutique so that my fiancé could get a bag for the gym.  There is this one lovely bag that is pewter with lots of pockets (I am told) that she really wants.  It even comes with a secret brownie recipe tucked into one of those pockets. The bag she has now, a nice little Under Armor number, does not work for her because there are no pockets.  I will probably be the new owner of this bag once a suitable replacement is found.  That’s fine by me because I like it, although it is small and my large gym shoes take up most of the bag.  But I digress.  Apparently, it is no good to have everything just thrown into the center of the bag – like I do with my own gym bag.

I ended up getting a cool pair of yoga pants (men’s, obv) and as we checked out, I saw something odd.   Next to the counter was a bowl of black circle stringy things held together by something that I think might be called a scrunchy.  I picked up the spaghetti-like mess of rings and wondered aloud, “What is this?”  The lady helping me checkout answered, “Those are hair ties.  We use them as zipper pulls on all of our jackets and they double as emergency hair ties!”  She was very excited to explain this to me.  Can you hear the inflection of her voice and the requisite head tilt?  Really?  What kind of emergency?  I imagined a female fire fighter about to rush into a burning building who might need to pull her hair back.  “Honey, look at this odd thing,” I said to my fiancé as I held out the black octopus of beauty utility.  “You mean the hair ties?” she responded immediately.  She doesn’t even use hair ties, and still she knew exactly what they were.

Sometimes, it really seems like we are from different planets.  Or, I guess I should say me and the rest of the non-butch women in the world.  Do you all get taught these things in school?  Does someone pull you aside at a young age and explain the world of hair ties and how they might be used during a hair emergency?  Oh, and Splenda packets.

I was driving her car to work the other day and looked down to see a package of Splenda in the center console with a perfect set of lips on it.  At first, I thought she had kissed this packet of Splenda to send me a little love note.  But then, I saw that there was a second packet with the same set of lips on it.  At this point, I realized that the sexy packet was not a special message – symbolic of the sweetness of our love – but rather a lipstick blotting tool.   She does not use Splenda anymore, so I can only assume that she is using found objects (vestiges of our old Splenda days in the glove box) to handle beauty emergencies like blotting – like the zipper pull hair ties.  So inventive.

She is the MacGyver of femmes!  She has found that the all-powerful Splenda is two things:  by day, an innocent coffee additive, by night the secret to beautiful lips bearing the perfect amount of lipstick.  According to her, women are one simple blot away from looking like whores.  Whatever you say, honey.

Be butch.


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