The problem is, there is no one “us.” Identities like Femme are deeply personal and there’s no one way to be Femme. There are certainly overlapping characteristics and generalizations that exist--which is how we find each other and create community. Tenderly paw in paw we find ourselves a niche (or several) in queerdom. But it is essentialist to say “This is a trait common amongst Femmes,” because as soon as you think you’ve isolated one commonality about Femmes you’ll find a whole pile of Femmes who belie that trait. This is simultaneously awesome and complicated when you’re trying to spot a Femme in the wild.
I was interviewed on Charlotte Cooper’s amazing blog, Obesity Timebomb. Check it out here!
Also, Friday, July 10th is the Femmes of Power East Coast Launch Party in Atlanta, GA! Check out ME femmeceeing, my oft-mentioned BFF Rachael, Cherry Poppins from Austin, TX, the incomparable Vagina Jenkins, Ms. Stewart and Clover who were all featured in the book. There are rumors Ulrika Dahl, one of the authors, may be in attendance. It’s going to be a PARTY, so get in your car and get over there!
From the myspace mailbag:
Hi, Nice profile 🙂
Just wondering, do u ever flirt with men ?
If not, would you ever flirt just for fun ?
Dear Aqueel or Michael:
First of all, thank you very much for the compliment on my myspace profile. I’m not shy to admit it took me years and a lot of websites with glaring and obnoxious blingie flash advertisements to find just the right theme that projected a high femme flourish without being hard to read. Aside from aesthetics, I really love language and have worked hard to express just exactly “Who is this Bevin Branlandingham” within the confines of the Myspace writing prompts*. Language is important, Aqueel or Michael, don’t you agree? Evolutionary psychologists have said humans know over 60,000 words. “We have all these words because we like to mate with people who caress us with language.” It’s totally true.
Of course, let’s be real, I’m not using myspace to get ass. Like a lot of people, these days I’m mostly on The Book. The interactivity of The Book means I can passive aggressively flirt with as many as 6 people at one time. And, frankly, that’s my preference. Overt flirting works for me here and there, but I am so hapless and flummoxed when I’m attracted to people often I can’t do any real cutesy flirting and people have no idea that I’m interested. It’s a struggle for me that I am trying to overcome.
Often, I do flirt just for fun, and it’s way more fun to flirt with people I’m not actually interested in. For example, my friend Glenn Marla and I flirt a lot, but he and I have a lot of good boundaries** and it’s just flirting.
Through our flirting we’ve actually concocted this story about how we were once high school sweethearts at performing arts high school, and we would lie in bed and sing Madonna lyrics to one another and broke up 12 times and one of our songs was “Hungry Eyes” from Dirty Dancing. Even though Glenn is 4 years younger than I am, it’s still fun to imagine how Baby Glenn and Baby Bevin would be in love. Like the Muppet Babies but with fat queers.
So, Aqueel or Michael, to answer your question, I do flirt with men, and sometimes I do flirt for fun.
I’m not sure if there was a subtext to your question, and I’m thinking there probably was because of the smiley face. Emoticons are the building blocks of text-based flirting. So if you sent me that message to try to start something up with me, I’ll tell you now I’m at a full stop because of this quote from your myspace profile.
“I believe in me, I believe in you And you know I believe in love I believe in truth though I lie a lot.” [Emphasis mine.]
Listen up, Aqueel or Michael, I have had way too many scoundrels in the last couple of years to put up with even a second of any of this business. Scoundrels who would lie to my face and yet claim to have a big ol’ truckload of integrity and, like you, believe in truth. I recognize now that people often show you who they really are right away, you just need to learn how to look.
I asked Dan Savage in Episode 88 of the Savage Love Podcast how I could develop a bionic bullshit detector. I really think in the last year I have, and it’s saving me time and energy I’m not spending on scoundrels.
Scoundrely quote aside, the fact is that the rest of your profile isn’t that interesting. Maybe do some caressing of language and upload a few photos and you’ll have better luck in future endeavors.
*I even managed to get a code to defeat their ridiculously rigid gender binaries and sexuality misnomers. Sure, I’ll let someone call me a lesbian when it’s convenient, but ultimately I do identify as queer because I do not acknowledge a gender binary and most of the people I date don’t identify exclusively (if at all) as women.
**Good boundaries are hot.