butch in the world

August 14, 2008

I’m still trying to figure out how to explain to you all what it means to be butch. Well maybe not to all of you since there is at least this one girl who gets it. But that’s what happens when the thing you desire is so rare; you hone your skills to detect the subtleties of it all – the things that make a butch be butch. And she’s got a sharp and practiced eye. So a femme, like this girl, reading those things in me, it kinda changes everything. For one thing, I’m not living in exile when I’m talking to her. And neither is she. The world is ours for a second or two. Ok, maybe an hour. Alright, alright, there was this one day. And for another thing, it can be hot. She knows what she’s looking for and she’s looking for those things in me. And she knows I’m looking back.

But mostly being read as butch is a stealth endeavor. Not being read as a big dyke mind you; cause that’s easy. I could do that in my sleep. You’d see me and say there’s a a big sleeping dyke. The obvious point being that I’m obvious. I stick out. If you’ve never met a dyke before, you’re pretty sure that have after meeting me. Believe me, I’ve seen the look in plenty of parents’ faces to know how it works.

I recently heard that this guy I like referred to me as a bull dagger, which I took as a compliment, even if it was a little outdated. But it said to me that maybe he was reading me as butch. And mostly it’s more of an unspoken exchange between me and and the larger world, including many of you. Although, I’ve considered that maybe many of you, being the polite midwesterners you are, would just never call me butch to my face. But now you know you can, cause that’s what I am.

And really you’ve been validating that all along. Maybe just not bringing it to consciousness, like all the guys at every airport I’ve been to this year who’ve called me sir. But remember when we all played racquetball and you didn’t let up one bit. I swear to god, Jim nearly broke my rib going for a ball once, not that he meant to. He just wanted to beat me. Or maybe we’ve cruised girls together or more likely we’ve flirted (among other things) with same ones. There’s additional things too, but they are more nuanced, more like head nods, jokes, raised eyebrows and such. And then there are perfect moments when one of you straight girls has asked me to move something for you or put something together or got me to comment on your cleavage.

I fear I’m lapsing into cliche again. I dunnno, you all can tell me if you care to. Maybe I can’t describe it; maybe it’s all so experiential. Hmm. Or maybe I’m just trying too hard to explain that being butch is just being a different kinda guy. Either way, the challenge of it is making me think of the crazy gymnastics queer girls go through to get read as femme.

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