Tag Archives: kd lang

An Interview with Sofia: John Mayer Meets kd lang

I am reprinting on my blog from the Huffington Post.
/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/301/31342575/files/2014/12/img_2082.jpgI recently sat down with up-and-coming singer-songwriter Sofia. We had so much fun talking that I lost myself in a few places. What? I’m not a professional journalist. I am a butch lawyer who writes a blog, and I can count on one hand how many times I have actually sat down with another butch. What follows is (most of) our conversation.

Tell me about yourself.

I’m 23. Half-Venezuelan and half-Lebanese. I was raised in London and lived in Venezuela until I was 5, in Caracas, the capital. I am very passionate about cultures and mixing them. Cultures of the world. I am very much about peace. That’s what I was raised in. I want to promote peace. I’ve been into music my whole life. Started violin when I was 5, singing when I was 13. By the time I was 15, I was writing my own songs. My dad is literally the best guitarist I’ve ever known. [In high school I] went to the five-week program at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I was a songwriting major [at Berklee]. I’ve never been to California. I’d love to do a West Coast tour and hit all the places in California. I really want to play in New Orleans. I went there for the first time for BUKU Music + Art Fest. I went with my friend Avery, and it was like a mental-health trip. “Let’s go to NOLA and have fun!” We made friends with everyone — the waitresses at the beignet shop. I read that it’s the most dangerous city in the world, but I felt safe and comfortable there — more than anywhere in the U.S. I’m Venezuelan and Lebanese, so it takes a lot to scare me. It is really a blessing to have an English passport.

I sometimes feel it’s a curse to have an American passport, I’ll tell you!

But the U.S. is the center of the music world. Freedom of speech, protests. There is a huge international community at Berklee. Everyone is from somewhere else, but everyone wants to be in the U.S. And Boston, though it’s bloody cold, is amazing. When I was really sick, I didn’t think I was going to make it. I was stuck in Boston with my mom.

Please explain your struggles with Crohn’s.

I was at Berklee and had to withdraw from the semester because I started getting fevers every day. I was hospitalized a bunch of times in a couple of months. Three blood clots were found in my spleen because my immune system was so compromised, so I had to inject myself with blood thinners for about three months. Things escalated so much that I started to bleed internally and had to have like seven bags of blood in a week. I went back to school the next semester and somehow managed to graduate on time. It meant so much to me to be there at Berklee. I had a scholarship and was so grateful to be there, so I kept going even though it got really tough sometimes.

It was after I got sick when I wrote “Mum I Like a Girl.” I came in second in the “Songs for Social Change” competition, and it was the first time in my life I had ever won an award for a song I’d written. So in a sense it felt like I was overcoming my health battle with music.

I inject myself every two weeks with an immune suppressant called Humira. It saved my life. Crohn’s can be a really scary process; it’s almost like having cancer, but it’s not cancer. They use similar terminology: “in remission,” “no appetite,” “nausea.” And I have a high risk of cancer in the future. It’s really a crazy disease to have. I try to speak to my best friend Avery, who struggles worse than me, every day, and her experiences really gives me a lot of strength. It is hard to want to do anything and stay positive, but we do because we know that there are kids as young as 8 who get this. That’s why it’s important that we make it more accessible to talk about stomach problems and make it more comfortable to talk about food issues, including irritable bowel diseases. We would help a lot of people to feel more comfortable with the fact that there is nothing wrong with you. You just have a disease!

Who are your musical influences? Pretend I am from Rolling Stone.

I grew up listening to Eric Clapton and Bryan Adams. My mom loved to play Elvis and Harry Belafonte. Embarrassing albums too, like the Spice Girls. I love what Eric Clapton does because of his smoky element and yet his own stuff added. I went to school and decided, “I want to be just like John Mayer.”

Have you been compared to him?

Yes! … I like how emotional he is and how vulnerable he can be. I struggle with that when I am writing. I get writer’s block because I worry about being emotional. I am also a huge fan of Tegan and Sara, but I think I am late in the game. When I was in school, my mentor was Melissa Ferrick. Do you know her?

No.

She is a big advocate for LGBT musicians. Check her out; she is amazing.

Do you identify as a butch lesbian?

I do. I used to be very feminine. I used to have really long hair. I looked quite feminine. It took me a long time to feel comfortable dressing this way. I think Ellen is one of the coolest people in the world, and yes, I do want to dress like her. I do want to dress like Kate Moennig from The L Word. I don’t know if you know that lots of Venezuelan women have won the Miss World pageant. George Clooney just married a Lebanese woman.

Do you feel more pressure or scrutiny because you are Venezuelan and Lebanese?

Definitely. People say, “Gosh, you are so beautiful! Why would you dress this way?” I felt like I was in drag when I dressed like a woman is supposed to. But I get flattered when people call me “sir”! I secretly wanted to be more androgynous than I was. I get “sir’d” a lot more in the UK than in the U.S. Maybe because here we wear more skinny jeans. I didn’t expect that. But it’s amazing to come home to London and have people say to me, “You look like yourself now.”

Where do you see yourself this time next year?

Gosh, that is a really good question. I have absolutely no idea. I would love to be on tour. In just over a year, I will be releasing the next album. It usually takes about a year to get everything together. My goal right now is to get to play all over the world. I love to travel. I love different cultures. Music brings everyone together.

Do you have any pets that you will have to leave when you go on tour?

I have a dachshund, and her name is Cashmere. Ironic because we spell it like the fabric rather than the [place].

Like Adele?

I met her! And her dog! I worked at her label and had the chance to eat lunch with her. I’ve got a big crush on her.

Ready for the lightning round? Just one-word answers. No explanation needed. Blondes or brunettes?

That’s really really hard. Blondes.

Cake or pie?

Cake.

Boots or trainers?

Trainers.

Movies or television?

Movies. My favorite is A Beautiful Mind.

Snow or rain?

Rain.

Beer or whiskey?

Beer. Blue Moon, partially because of the song.

Bow tie or straight tie?

Bow tie. I do wear them and love them. Went to my first-ever gay wedding and wore one. Plus, I wore one to my graduation.

London or New York?

London.

Suits or dresses?

Suits.
You are adorable. People will want to know if you are in a relationship.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/301/31342575/files/2014/12/img_2081.jpgI am too young for a relationship right now. I want to have some fun. I always try to be a gentleman. … I say no to misogynistic butches. I don’t want to be the horrible power-controlling stereotype.

You don’t have to be, Sofia. There are plenty of butches who think like you do — like me! Don’t let a few opinions change who you are. If you are butch, be butch. You don’t have to let it be an excuse to embody the worst parts of male stereotypes.

I really enjoyed talking with Sofia, and I hope that she gets more exposure! Check out her music on iTunes and Spotify.

It’s seriously butch to be an out butch singer-songwriter. 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.


WANTED: FEMME FOR BUTCH

Wanted-Ad-Banner_Black

This one is long. Grab a beer or coffee before reading. Go ahead, I’ll wait… Welcome back! Ready?

I’ve been single for 4 months, and I’ve been thinking that I might be ready to go out. For a while now, friends have been asking, “Can I set you up?” “Are you ready, Butch?” The answers are maybe and no. Maybe I am ready to be set up on a date. I might be ready to spend some time with someone – and by “spend time with someone” I mean have sex. But, am I ready for a relationship? No. I suppose I could be, but I’ve been trying to be good at being alone; focusing on the pause and clearing out my mind and heart. I’m hoping to be a better me when the next woman strolls into my life. Butch 2.0.

But the questions have been followed by… “What are you looking for?” “What’s the future Mrs. Butch like? Why not write it down?” Ok. I have come up with a pretty good list, but that’s pretty boring. Instead, how about a butch classified ad? What would my ad say? I’m pretty sure this woman doesn’t exist, so there should be no harm in pretending and, er, fantasizing about her. Ahem.

wanted-sign

ME:

  • Big, tall, and strong. 5’10, close to running back size, but slower. Much slower. Mohawk, bleached blonde. Brown eyes, devilish (I’m told) and alternately confused, puppy dog, or hungry when looking at you. No makeup – other than occasional guyliner. Freckles, lots. Pale without sun. Big, strong hands with callouses from rowing and lifting. Body in progress, but also in its 40s.
  • Smart. Quick on my feet. Hard to argue with but frequently wrong – although I’m irritatingly slow to admit it. [Note: I have plenty of flaws, but I don’t need to point those out in my ad, right?] Good in front of people and crowds. This turns you on. Funny, an embarrassing amount of anecdotes and analogies. Professional, a lawyer. Lots of work obligations, meetings with people, some of whom are attractive and engaging.
  • Stylish. Fashion is key. Think bow ties, skinny ties, knit ties, jackets, flashy dress shirts, cuff links, boots, skinny jeans, and skulls on choice items. Bracelets, earrings, belts, watches, cologne, pedicures, massages. Cargo shorts are for hiking and carrying cargo.
  • Serious about the gym, be-about-it-serious, not talk-about-it-serious. A fanatic about all kinds of theater (I even like opera), especially musicals. You too, but fanaticism not required. Golf, swimming, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, movies, coffee shops, shopping. Travel to local and exotic places is key. A 5-star resort is OK as long as we sometimes kayak and camp along the river. Mexican food. Craft beer.
  • A devoted mother to two kids who are mostly adorable and wonderful. Although not with them all the time, I am always their mother. Very connected to my parents who are close.
  • Strong, intimidating and tough to the whole world except for you and the kids.

YOU:

  • Smaller and shorter than me. Small enough for me to pick you up and carry you over puddles…into bed. Curvy. Any color hair is cool, long and full enough to put up in a ponytail and tuck behind your ears. Eyes, full of wonder, joy at the world, depth. Eyes that can see me for who I am and love all you see. Skin, pale, tan, or dark. Make up – please, especially lipstick and sexy eye shadow. Not all the time, but not just special occasions. Body, soft and full in the right places, comfortable and fit, not a freak about food (everyone needs a potato chip now and then) or obtuse about it (kale, what’s that?). Healthy. You turn heads when you walk down the street. I like it. Mid 30s to early 40s.
  • Attitude unguarded and confident. Kind, steady. Patient and balanced. Slow to anger. Quick to forgive. Trusting. Fun, good sense of humor and laugh easily. Good listener. Comfortable in a group and can hold your own. Easy-going, confident. College, I think, but other than that any profession that allows you to support yourself. Veterinarian? Business woman? Adventure guide? Sea World trainer? Ballet dancer? Supportive of me and my career, as I will be of yours.
  • Stylish and put together. Dresses, skirts, lots of dresses. Blouses and necklaces, dangly earrings, rings, accessorize! Heels often enough for me to fuel my fantasies. Jeans, yes, of course. And my dress shirts with nothing on underneath. Yoga attire is appreciated and distracting. Lingerie welcomed as gifts and worn – even under jeans. Sweats are only for the house and exercise. You smell good, your skin alone and your perfume.
  • You like the adventure activities I like, plus? The more the better. Music, you are musical – play something, can sing. Maybe an artist. If you are crafty, that’s something you’ll mostly do alone. You’re good with that. You like beer, or at least tolerate it happily. You like to go out and be with friends or go out with just me often. It’s awesome if you cook. Love of travel and adventure is a must. We’ll try things and explore together. You read a book every now and then. You tolerate my gadget fanaticism. You make me see chick flicks (I will pout), but you’ll see Bond movies and The Hobbit, and anything with explosions, car chases, and sexy women. And occasionally, porn. =:o)
  • No kids for you. Or, maybe you have kids, but no new kids for us together. Maybe you always wanted them but didn’t meet the right woman, were busy in school or the service. Maybe you have kids that are almost grown. You like that I am a mother, like the softness the kids bring out in me. You don’t want to be their mom (no need for another), but you enjoy them and being part of their lives. You understand my kids have another family. You know we must communicate and coordinate. It gives us lots of alone time.
  • Feminine. People sometimes underestimate your strength, but I never will.

tumblr_mcudl15ujv1qldb7ro1_500
US:

  • I don’t want a wife, but I don’t want an exotic dancer either. You take care of me sometimes; you see me as a woman (and I am comfortably a woman) and look forward to expressing that. You don’t initiate often, but you are happy I do. I will initiate a lot. You will almost always say yes.
  • We aren’t threatened by each other’s past – unless you dated Rachel Maddow, Ellen, or kd lang. I might be threatened then. I am in my 40s, there have been significant women in my life. I prefer “history” to “baggage.” You accept that I care about other women, especially my ex.
  • I’ll always be ready before you, but the way you look when you’re ready will make it worth it.
  • I’ll hold your bags and sit on the dude couch while you shop.
  • I’ll bring you flowers and you will swoon over them.
  • I’ll take out the trash/carry the groceries/kill the bugs unless you want to do these things yourself.
  • I’ll carry your bags, but not because you can’t.
  • I’ll be confused sometimes when you explain your feelings, but I’ll try really hard to understand.
  • You’ll find me a special kind of beer I’ve never had and I will swoon.
  • I’ll wear any tie you pick out for me, as long as you wear that dress I bought you.
  • I will carry your lipstick and ID in my ample pockets when we go out and your women’s clothes suck in the pocket department – but excel in the cleavage department.
  • I’ll carry your kayak to the water and you’ll be ok with getting your hair wet.
  • I’ll always open doors for you. Always.
  • We won’t be happy every second, but there will be much more good than bad.
  • You will always see the best in me, and never assume the worst.
  • When you look up at me, I’ll pretend to be strong when I’m melting inside.

If this is you, email me at notachanceinhell@butchisdelusional.com.

I don’t expect to be lucky enough to find this woman. I’ve been looking but haven’t found her yet. If I had, she would still be mine and I’d be writing a thank you note to the Universe instead of a classified ad. To the Universe, I say: “On the off chance that we really do put into the world what we want and it comes to us… please mix up a batch of this impossible-to-exist femme and send her my way. Not tomorrow, or even next week, because I want to be ready. That will be soon.”

And to you, this mystical, amazing femme, I say: “I will be ready for you. And if you do show up, I will never let you go. Ever.”

It’s butch to open yourself up to love again. Be butch.


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