February 22, 2012

To Butch or Not To Butch?

I’m feeling bloggy. In a rambling, sleep-deprived, I-think-I’ll-throw-a-bunch-of-random-thoughts-out-into-the-universe kind of way. And ignore my spell-checker (which I’m convinced is really an intoxicated ninety-year-old struggling alcoholic that doesn’t know how to work a computer and yet, thinks he can try and correct me at every turn. Hah-hah! NO. I may start intentionally misspelling things now…just to spite him). Anyhow!

I was thinking earlier about the whole femme and butch thing. Yeah, you know that thing. I’ve mentioned before that I identify as feminine. I don’t have a butch bone in my body.

But sometimes, I think I do.

No, seriously. I’ve given this some consideration when I started thinking earlier. Granted, it was only about two seconds worth of consideration, but I’ll give it more consideration in this blog. Warning: The phrase, “I was thinking,” or, “I started thinking,” is generally a hint that things are about to get messy. And there will probably be bouts of nonsensical humor ahead. There, can't say I didn't give you a heads-up!

Now, let’s go back to that, “Sometimes, I think I do.” Think is definitely the keyword.

My wife often jokes with me that I have an inner gay man. Okay, usually, he only comes out when I’m on the telephone (or when it comes to clothing). I keep trying to tell her, “Look, it’s just my courtesy voice.” You know, that voice you whip out when you’re trying to be nice and sweet and cheery with someone on the other line. Usually, this voice isn’t reserved for friends. It’s reserved for complete strangers. Like, when you’re calling about a job application and you’re trying to pry it out of someone if they’ve looked at your resume or not. You want something. You want the job. So, you whip out your, “I’m really a nice person, see how nice I’m being to you, won’t you be nice to me too?” voice.

My “nice” voice apparently sounds like a flaming Queen. But, I’m slipping away from my point here.

Back to the butch!

I had a rush of memories bombard me as soon as the thought popped into my head. They’re like fireworks, sometimes (thoughts, that is). Pretty, sparkly, but you don’t want to stand too close to them, or to me – ‘cause I’ll eventually snap out of my own little fog/thought bubble and inevitably seek to drag in the person closest to me, to share those thoughts with them, and then leave them changed forever, and at the worst, scarred for life.

I started remembering certain times throughout my childhood and then, a few occasions with my wife. Usually, when my wife’s fixing something I stand there watching and handing her whatever she needs. She’s not butch either, but she’s, well, a more competent woman around the house. For sure.

The other day we were cleaning when the vacuum started smelling funk. In my head (or in reality, I’m still not sure which) I was convinced I saw a plume of smoke (maybe it was just dust) shoot out the back of the vacuum. Now, I was holding it and making sure it didn’t savagely attack her (as it had earlier that day) while she was using the attachment on it to vacuum cat hair off our bedroom curtains. When I saw what I thought was smoke and smelled burning rubber, I was convinced the vacuum was going to burst into holy flames and come after my ass. For a moment, it took everything I had to control my impulse and not to run from the vacuum. However, I did not control the impulse to quickly and abruptly shut the vacuum off and exclaim to my wife, “Bec! It smells! I saw smoke! It’s burning!” The only thing I failed to add was, “It’s going to burst into flames and we’re going to be simultaneously incinerated!”

If I had to put the expression she gave me into an emoticon, it would be this one: -.-

“You had your foot on it when you were holding it, didn’t you?”

“Errr, yeah…”

“The belt was spinning. That’s what you smelled. It’s fine. Just keep your foot off of it. Don’t put weight on it.”

I took a cautious step toward the vacuum.

“It still smells,” I said, eyeing it warily.

How could I not? The damn thing had turned on her just a few hours earlier. For all I knew, I was next on its shit list.

I’m ashamed to admit this, but in that moment, any trust that vacuum and I had ever established with one another had been broken in a matter of seconds.

I held the vacuum an arm’s length away, until I was certain it wasn’t going to go Christine on me.

So yeah, I have my terribly girly moments. I’m not always proud of them. BUT. Every now and then, I’ll get it into my head that I’m a strong, capable, independent, and unstoppable juggernaut of awesome lesbian flesh.

Like a few weeks ago, Bec and I installed magnetic catches on the cabinets under our bath (to prevent the cats from getting in under the tub). Whilst sitting on the floor, handing her screws and watching her mess with her Dremel tool…

I had one of those moments.

That little voice inside of my head clicked on and went, “Psst, hey! You can do that! You can totally do that! Go get it, girl!”

“Bec?” I asked.


“Can I drill a pilot hole?” (The fact that I had to Google ‘pilot hole,’ to make sure that I know what I’m talking about here should tell you something…)

Bec looked at me, considering (Murphy’s Law, probably). “I’ll let you do the last one, but not on the cabinet door. I can just see you going right through the wood.”

True to her word, she allowed me to do the last pilot hole and I didn’t botch anything. (I am woman. Rawr!). Of course, afterward, I started telling her how cool I thought it would be to use the Dremel to do artistic glass etching and admitted to her that I really wasn’t interested in the Dremel beyond that.

On the topic of tools, Bec loves Home Depot. I’m often left a tad confused and overwhelmed by it all. Once, when we went, we walked in and she breathed out a sigh and confessed, “Aah, I love Home Depot. Look! Drills! Oh!”

I stood by the shopping cart, looking around uncertainly, thinking the place smelled like tires, armpit sweat, and metal, while my wife flitted about the store in utter delight.

Surely, I could find something in Home Depot that interested me. The Garden section, perhaps?

I hung my head, feeling like a disappointment to lesbians everywhere while I pushed the shopping cart after a gleeful Bec.

And then, I looked up and right there, smack dab on the sign right in front of me read:

Aisle 9 (I honestly can’t remember what number it was, so we’ll just go with “9”).


“Bec!” I steered directly down the aisle. Bec looked around and immediately went, “Oh, geez.”

On one side of the aisle was nothing but spools upon spools of rope! Black rope, blue rope, red rope, green!

“Look!” I said and pointed at the sign above my head. “I found the TIE DOWN aisle!”

I made her wait while I browsed. Hey, if I ever wanted to take a genuine interest in Kinbaku, I knew where to get my ropes. (As obvious by this post, I did store that knowledge in the back of my mind, thank you).

While I was browsing and trying to figure out which rope I thought was the most pleasing (decidedly, the glossy black rope), I heard Bec exclaim joyously behind me, “Look, honey!”

I whipped around to face her.

She raised the item she’d picked up off the shelf and beamed at me. “A blow torch!”

And that’s essentially how she scared me out of the Tie Down aisle…

So, where does that leave me? Does giving Barbie and other dolls a butch hair-do count? When I was about three, my mother found me in my room with a pair of scissors (in her defense, I was sneaky). I’d chopped off my doll’s hair, and then some of my own golden locks.

But, that again could be blamed on my inner gay man. Hmm…

There was also the time when I was about three or four that I dropped trou and peed in the corner of the yard (I can still hear my mother screaming as she came flying out of the house when she caught sight of me squatting and already doing my thing – in my defense, I grew up with two older brothers. I blame them. Totally. If you’re reading this, shame on you!).

There were little things. I acted like a tomboy sometimes. I climbed trees. I wasn’t afraid of mud. I tried to dig up an old dead hamster with a spoon once (another moment my mother wasn’t very proud of). I brought home bugs I had caught (usually, Praying Mantis’ – I was utterly fascinated with them as a child). There was a time when I found a whole colony of Mantis’ and brought all the babies home. My mother flipped when they got out of the bug keeper and into the house. (Whoopsie!). I had a pet tarantula named ‘Fuzzy.’ I also used to bring home pet worms (I liked to pretend they were snakes, because I really wanted a snake as a kid and my mother wouldn’t let me have one). When one of my guy friends got a motorcycle styled bike, I wanted to trade him my pink and purple bike with training wheels. Of course, he wouldn’t trade with me.

Alas, I was just a kid, exploring her options.

And though I like to think I’ve got a butch bone in my body…

I know I’d make a terrible butch. I can’t fix shit. I can break it and wait for someone else to fix it, though. And, I failed to mention that when Bec got out her Dremel tool to do the magnetic catches on the cabinets, she had to “warm” me up to it. I’d stepped back warily from it just as I had with the evil vacuum. “It’s just a drill. Why are you scared?” I wasn’t really scared, but she had pointed the sucker at me to show it to me and well, she pointed it at me. If you didn’t learn anything about the vacuum story, I’m sometimes convinced inanimate objects are out to get me.

I’m femme. I leave my hair in the sink, on the carpet, and in the bed where it tangles around my toes. And though Bec has explained to me how to unclog my sink (when my hair builds up to the size of a small kitten in the pipes), I still don’t exactly understand what I have to do (with the catch or whatever it is) under the sink before shoving a hanger down the pipe to get the hair. She does the work while I stand by with paper towels and a flashlight.

Not because I can’t do it…

But because I’m a lazy damn femme…and the things that come out of my sink gross me out more than handling, thawing, and feeding our snakes dead mice.

In an effort to redeem myself, I’m somewhat domesticated (as domesticated as any author or artsy type gets, really). I can bake, I can clean, and though I take two hours to get ready to go do anything and I like to smell nice, I do it because I’m a lovable and lazy damn femme…that collects swords and daggers, knows how to tie a good knot, and how to shoot a gun.

There you have it.