Bevin's Blog I'm blogging the relentless pursuit of my joy

2013-10-14

How to Make the Best Use of Your Wing Man / Person / Ma’am

A few months ago my dear friend Fannon was visiting town and we were out at a dance party. Searching for a better DJ, we decided to bounce to a different party in Bushwick. I agreed to go if I was assured a ride home because Bushwick is far. Because a car was involved we managed to get a couple of passengers, one of which was talking at length about wanting to hook up with a babe. “No problem, I’ve got you covered,” said Fannon and was totally ready to get on the dance floor and help out this person she’d never met before.

Me and Fannon and Nicky
Me and Fannon (left) and Nicky (right).

The person found someone they were interested in and Fannon was ready to do the work of a good Wing Man and then the person chickened out. I was so disheartened for them–to find interest in someone but to be too afraid to use the resources that fate (or maybe the Goddess if you want to get spiritual) had put in front of them seemed like such a missed opportunity. Just because of fear! This was a great opportunity for the Nobody Ever Died of Awkward pep talk but to no avail, this person was stuck in their fear place.

Fannon and I had a great time anyway and a long conversation on the ride home about how to make the most effective use of a Wing Man. Fannon holds herself out to be a powerhouse Wing Man and I thought those tips might be a great resource for my readers who might be a little too shy to snare someone on their own. Or for readers who want to become better Wing People!

In this piece I’m using the term “Wing Man” as it is in the popular parlance, but I come to it from the perspective that all genders are magical and this term could easily be Wing Woman, Wing Wym, Wing Person, Wing GenderNonConformingIndividual, etc…

Joe
I thought since I was talking about being a Wing Femme in this post I would play the part and offer the services of my blog to my friends. I asked for folks who were available on a Facebook post and a few of my pals took me up on it. This is my friend Joe who rules and gives good date. He lives in Queens.

It’s also important to say up front this isn’t about tricking people or not being genuine. It’s about using your friends to help you get through social anxiety (that many more people have than you think) and your friends helping you be your best, most vibrant self in the face of the inevitable nerves when you’re around someone you find attractive!

Splitting the Herd

Often people go out with their friends, even when they are cruising for people to meet. This is great but it is also an impediment to meeting people because it can be hard to talk to your person of interest if their friends are surrounding them! Wing Men are great for splitting the herd! Your friend goes in and starts talking to one of the people hanging out with the person you’re interested in, sort of isolating the person you want to talk to and bam! They create the opening you need to talk to the person you want to flirt with.

Fannon says, “Girls are rarely at bars alone, right? So sometimes the wingman just needs to distract the friends of the girl your friend is focused on so she can introduce herself without her friends acting as obstacles. This usually only works when your friend who you are wingmanning for is confident in her ability to introduce herself without getting all tounge-tied.”

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This muscley heartthrob is Jesse who lives in Philly and is available. According to Jesse: “ISO bossy femmes, sweet boys, curvy queers. As for the streets!? The streets are mine! My heart is extraordinarily particular. But I crush A LOT.” Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

I’ve also used this where your friend goes over and brings people back to you if you’re hanging out at different tables at the bar. It’s definitely a lot less intimidating to go up to a group where you’re not really attracted to anyone. The rejection stings less on a Wing Person with nothing on the line!

Wing People could use the line, “I was hoping I could introduce you to my friend,” and that’s a great way to pique interest and merge the herds so that your friend can get to know their desired person.

Playing the Middle School Game

It’s soooo cheesy but sometimes it really works to have a Wing Man tell someone you think they’re hot. It really takes the sting out of rejection when someone rejects you to your friend. At least your embarrassment isn’t visible to the object of desire.

Tamara
This is Tamara, she’s available and lives in New Mexico.

Sometimes your friends do this nonconsensually before you even have the chance to ask and in that case maybe it’s more of a casual yenta than a Wing Person but it helps! You can also get all the dirt you need. For me it’s whether the person is available, into femmes and into fat girls. I know if I have those three covered it’s basically whether the chemistry is compatible.

A good friend of mine (who is a complete and total hottie) was complaining this summer that three people in a week’s time came up to her and said their friend thought she was hot. She responded to each that she was flattered and that their friend should approach her. Yet NONE of them did! It is super important to totally follow-up on the diligent work of your Wing Person! My friend is both a babe and approachable, and getting past that next-level shyness might have actually gotten one of those friends a make-out.

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Miasia, from Washington DC, performing at Rebel Cupcake. She’s available for dates, is smart and delightful and has one of the most infectious laughs I’ve ever heard. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Fannon mentioned making sure that you point out your friend accurately, lest you point to someone and they think you’re talking about someone else! This actually happened to me once a few years ago where my friend approached this hot fat butch I was into and said her friend was into them and they looked (seemingly at me) and said, “Oh, I’m not feeling it.” And then the hot fat butch asked me on a date a year later. When I asked what was up about that they said they thought she was pointing to someone else!

I’m also intentionally using the term “available” rather than “single” because people can be available (hello, polyamory/nonmonogamy) and people can be single and not available (for example, a period of chosen celibacy).

Abby
This is Abby who lives in Baltimore.

Pep Talks on the Go

I use Wing Men all the time. I don’t seem like on the outside it but inside I am wildly awkward around people I find attractive. Especially if I’ve got a full-blown crush, I feel like a mess. The single best thing my Wing Besties do for me is to provide pep talks and remind me that I’m a babe. You can totally use Wing People that aren’t even at a venue with you if you’ve got your phone and they are on text alert. I’ve even called friends right before a date just to get reminded that everything is okay.

I’m also a big fan of the social security blanket I get when I’m around people I am comfortable with. I feel much better stepping into my fierceness. I know this may seem weird because I get up on stage in front of thousands of people and am completely at home. But stage presence is a lot different than cold calling strangers one on one! I’m doing a thing now where I get Wing Men to go with me to professional networking events because it helps me feel more vibrant.

So just letting your Wing Folks know that you might need a pep talk is a great idea before you go out cruising, or asking for that help when you need it before you approach someone.

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This is Alix who lives in San Francisco, is available, super kinky and very much a Leo.

Go Digital!

There’s a new app coming out in November called Wing Ma’am. It’s basically the queer grindr. Using GPS technology, people turn it on and it shows who is out cruising nearby. One of my BFFs met his boyfriend on Grindr so I have some high hopes for how this will work in the queer community. Imagine going to a bar and whipping out your phone and knowing in a few clickies which hotties at the bar are available and what they’re looking for? It’s like having your Wing Man do the work of finding out whether the hottie is single at the click of a button. But in order for it to work friends have to get their friends on it and get it to spread. You can sign up for more information on their website. The developers are also really open to conversations about aspects of it, here’s a link to their contact form. I’ve definitely been talking to them about making it more broadly gendered and using inclusive language.

The app is also going to have event listings and whatnot, so it will be completely relevant as a community building tool even for non-available folks!

Laura
This is Laura, she’s available and lives in Brooklyn.

Tag and Release!

I am a huge fan of using Wing Men to tag and release. If I am talking to someone hot and I have to run off (as a party promoter this is pretty common because I need to do rounds, pay out my performers/staff or handle some kind of issue) I really love introducing the object of my desire to one of my Wing Femmes and having them keep them entertained. Number one, this is a great way to get dirt on them that you’ll hear later, number two it also, selfishly, keeps them occupied so other people won’t get to them! Yeah, yeah, the more the merrier but sometimes you want to put your name on a cupcake you’ve only gotten to have one bite of before someone swoops in to eat the rest!

Make the Wing Man Relationship Clear

I’m a lucky Femme that is surrounded by attractive people of all genders and presentations. This often means in heteronormy ways that people assume my masculine of center friends are my dates which is totally not true. (I’m 100% available right now, BTW.) If you’re Wing Manning it up for someone make sure to drop the “My friend” dripping with emphasis on buddy or whatever you need to do to ensure that the object of lust is aware y’all are just platonic.

ORRRR if you’re polymeowmeow, it is super important if you’re flirting with someone (or flirting on behalf) that the person understands your availability. I often assume if someone tells me three times about their polyamory that they are flirting with me and this is about 75% accurate.

Leah
This is Leah who is available and lives in Vancouver!

Get Their Attention

Fannon suggests this gem for the Wing Man. “Pretend it’s your friend’s birthday which gives the all points permission to ask someone out or tell them they are cute. If they hit it off and start dating, your friend just turns it into a ‘I didn’t know how to approach you and thought that would make it easier,’ which hopefully gets an “Awwwww, that’s so cute you needed a wing man” response.” While I’m not the biggest fan of lying to get people’s attention, this is cute and vaguely harmless.

Fannon also mentioned a great pick-up line (which only works if the person is available, you don’t want to anger someone’s girlfriend accidentally). “Encourage your friend to use the virtually fail-proof ‘Hey, I’ve never done this before but I think you are really cute, wanna make out?’”

Eavesdropping

Sometimes a Wing Man is good for eavesdropping to find out more information. I think the approach of actually meeting the person is a little more effective, but if you’re not ready to even make that move sometimes having your buddy just stand nearby to get a sense for what the group is doing at the event is helpful. Maybe there are common interests you could spring a conversation from?

Designated Friend

Fannon also said a good Wing Man will “Stay slightly sober so you can manage logistics and provide liquid courage for your friend.” It’s kind of like being a designated driver for hitting on people. It’s also nice to have a friend tell you, “No you’re not too drunk to talk to a new person,” or, “Yes, you are too drunk to talk to a new person. Stay right here and have some water.”

I hope this lighthearted list of ways to use your Wing People helps out folks who might be a little too shy to talk to strangers at events! Also, before you go out there refresh yourself with some ways to broach the subject of crossing the friend line I wrote about in Just Text Them.

If you’re interested in any of the available folks featured on this post, email me and I’ll put you in touch! queerfatfemme at gmail

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Folks who donate $30 get this amazing 11 x 14 poster, custom designed for QueerFatFemme.com by James Leander.

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2010-05-23

Butch Fashion

When I talk about fashion it is generally with an eye towards Femmes for obvious reasons. Butch fashion has been a topic of conversation recently as the Re/Dress Shop Girls & The Femme Family are prepping for the upcoming Sartorial Summer: A Butch Fashion Show*.

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I titled the event after one of my favorite new fashion blogs, The Sartorial Butch. What a much-needed concept. After hearing about the event The Sartorial Butch decided to drive down from Maine and let me personal shop for her and the Sartorial Love.

In celebration of Butch Fashion Week in Brooklyn**, I present unto you, gentle readers of all gender presentations, the fashion items of the more masculine flavor that I enjoy a great deal. Both in a purely platonic allies-in-fashion-greatness way and also in a subtle lay down for any future suitors doing research.

TWO-TONED COWBOY BOOTS

I love cowboys and cowboy boots. I also like flamboyance. Two-toned cowboy boots are the perfect storm of flamboyance and rugged cowboy magic.

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L-R, Ariat International Men’s Cobalt XL, Ariat International Men’s Legend Full Quill Ostrich, Justin Boots Peanut Brittle Iquana Lizard, Wilson Handmade Custom Two Toned Boots. For hard to fit sizes, they can customize just about every part of the boot but they are pricey!

As a bargain shopper, I encourage people to shop thrift, vintage, ebay and etsy for boots on the cheap. But as feet are a nonrenewable resource, I also believe in investing in a good pair of boots that will last forever.

My friend Mackenzi called two-toned cowboy boots my sweet spot. She’s not wrong.

DIP ME IN HONEY AND THROW ME TO THE BUTCHES WITH BOW TIES
Thanks to K. Ulanday Barrett for that quote. (Follow Browntranslaments on Tumblr! So so so good.)

I think bow ties are one of my very favorite things. Both nerdy and dapper.

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DJ Sirlinda, who is djing the butch fashion show & dance party portion, wearing a bow tie at Hey Queen. Photo by Scout.

A bow tie can dress up virtually any outfit. They come pre-tied, clip on or the old-fashioned do it yourself kind.

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See? Virtually any outfit. This is Ariel Speedwagon, one of our models, at Hey Queen.

GENTLEMANLY ACCESSORIES

I was on a date with someone and he gave a ride to a friend of mine between parties. Because I’m the Queer Oprah, suddenly my friend was unintentionally crying and talking about a break-up. He whipped out a handkerchief and handed it to her. As a souvenir from the date he left another handkerchief in my purse, which I found the next day. Both were sweet gestures and spoke to preparedness.

Hankies can do a lot, including let people know your desires.

I also enjoy the full range of old-fashioned accouterments. A nice flask, a pocket watch, a sexy knife. I smelled something sweet in the air at a party once and immediately had a reason to talk to this fine gentleman, Justin Credible.

Kris is fancy. Flavored tobacco smoke.

But it doesn’t stop with flavored tobacco smoke. No no. Then suddenly a pocket watch comes out.

And lots of fancy accessories in pockets.

Good accessories are a huge conversation starter for me. I have stopped people on the street because of their extraordinary fashion and flare.

Of course, my very favorite butch fashion accessory is integrity! Living with intention and ethics are really important to me, especially as regards the feelings of their friends and romantic partners. All the intention towards your fashion doesn’t matter one iota if you intentionally, knowingly or recklessly treat other people poorly.

COLLARED SHIRTS

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Photo by Quito Ziegler.
Here is Elisha Lim, after a Sister Spit show in Manhattan. Looking dapper but not trying too hard on a hot and humid night. Also pictured is Silas Howard in the sparkly suspenders (!) and collared shirt, who is probably one of the most consistently well-dressed butches I know. Check out the info on his new movie “Cooler” The Movie. (Also they are still looking for investors and it sounds like a great investment. Message Silas through the fan page!)

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Again, I like flamboyance and cowboys, and often those have a perfect marriage in a good cowboy shirt. This one is available from Old Man Pants Vintage, which is an etsy store run by a friend of mine from Oakland.

FLUEVOGS

Clearly I love fancy footwear, but I lust after Fluevogs in a major way. Sometimes, when I am window shopping on the internet, I coordinate his & hers Fluevogs. As in, “I want to go on a date and I want to wear these shoes and I want my date to wear those shoes.” It’s a fun game.

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L-R Snyder in Blue Cairo, Resist Creeper, Rusnak, Wessex.
Women’s Row: Truth: Pilgrim , Wish, Arabica, Buffy (I like these both for what they’re named for and their appropriateness.

Fluevog shopping money saving tips–shop resale! We get Fluevogs in at Re/Dress and tweet about it. Fluevog stores have a 15% off sale every year for John Fluevog’s birthday. Very rarely, but sometimes, they have huge vintage Fluevog sales. I got a pair for $30 once.

I will say this for Fluevog heels: they are the most comfortable heels I’ve ever worn.

BEING WELL-PUT TOGETHER & PERSONAL EXPRESSION

I love sweater vests, ascots and other items that make an outfit and outfit, but individual personal style matters most to me in terms of turning my fashion head. Someone just today confessed to almost exclusively wearing knee socks, always mismatched. It’s hot! It’s goofy! It’s an expression of personal style.

Both of these outfits show a lot of personal expression:

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Alix Izen of the Inverted Eye, from the flier for the Folsom Street Fair. A specimen of the put together butch. His fashion is always swoon-worthy.

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I am always impressed by my friend Jesse’s fashion. Check out his tips on courtship on Episode 10 of FemmeCast!!

*And just a note from our preparations for the event–three of the models said that they would be willing to wear just underwear.
**We’re talking Butch in the same totally open-ended self-identification ways I use Femme. And check out the second event, the Original Plumbing Release Party on Friday night! SO MUCH GOOD FASHION AT THOSE. And hot queers of all presentations.

2010-04-14

Exquisite Camaraderie: The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Queer Brooklyn Nightlife

In May 2008 I discovered the queer hipster party circuit in Brooklyn and it revolutionized my New York nightlife experience. 

I came of age shaking my ass at gay boy bars with my fag friends, one of the only dyke fag hags in the joint. Let’s face it, a Femme loves a Fag.*  And once I stopped trying to fit in at lesbian bars, because it never worked, I was generally annoyed at the bad music or lack of people dancing.

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A night out in Philly a couple of years ago illustrates my early frustration with lesbian dance clubs.

During its four year stint, Panty Ho’s was an institution in queer nightlife. Located in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, a hive for hipsters, it definitely had the crowd of big plastic 80s eye glasses and ironic/unironic neon fashion. I walked in and was so excited to see a bunch of hot queers I didn’t know, hear incredible dance music, and drink cheap booze. And while I felt excited about the social possibilities, I was also a little freaked out at the lack of body size diversity. It was clear to me that I was the fattest girl there by a long shot and one of only a smattering of Femmes.**

Once I found out about Panty Ho’s I learned about all of the other parties going on and I was determined to get into a regular dancing rotation. Fresh from a break-up I was ready for something new. I loved the energy buzz of going out until 4 AM and meeting new people.

So I did what I do when I feel excluded—I try to include myself. I would send an email to all of my fatty and fatty ally friends before the weekend and tell them what parties and events I was going to go to in order to rally support. Even having one person on my arm was enough to get me confident enough to be out on the dance floor, making an appearance, and being part of the change I wanted to see in the scene. Sometimes I was lucky enough to roll up to 10 deep.

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At February’s Hey Queen with Taueret and Jesse.

Over the past two years I’ve gotten very entrenched in Brooklyn queer nightlife. I love this scene because it is super gender diverse—queer and gay cis and trans boys join andro queers, hipsters and Femmes of all stripes. I have learned the DJs who play music I like*** and I feel pretty confident that I can walk into one or all of the parties dressed as wild as I want to–whether or not I “fit in” I will be accepted. I’m in a great feedback loop of flamboyance.

I also rarely drink much out in Brooklyn as it is expensive and I am broke, but I have so much fun dancing and socializing I don’t really care. New York is fortunate enough to have Right Rides for those that need a safe ride home.

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Photo by Maro.

In a turn of total magic and gratitude, I am the Queen of Honor at this month’s Hey Queen party. The theme of the party is Size Queen—in celebration of body diversity and all of the ways in which you can be a size queen. A big shift from going into the queer nightlife feeling like one of the only fatties!! Size Queen is on Friday night and I am planning hourly outfit changes as I have the benefit of a backstage.

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The one thing that always bothered me about the fact that it is more of a party “circuit” than just one club, is that it is hard to know what is going on unless you get on everyone’s email list/facebook group. I have found the trick is to check TheQueerist.com (if you are an event promoter anywhere in North America PLEASE put your events on that listing service—it is fabulous and free and Lissa the webmaster is a treasure) and also the “friends events” tab on FaceBook.

Panty Ho’s is over, but there are a lot of other monthly or occasional parties that pop up.

*Sweat!, run by Khane Kutzwell, is an all queer, all gender expressions, all dance, all night sort of gig. Held at a lot of different venues, the crowd really gets rolling by midnight and is very diverse.
*Hey Queen! as previously mentioned, is on the third Friday of the month at Sugarland in Williamsburg. The promoters, Amy Agony, Scout, Kitty La Kitty & Sarah Jenny are very diligent about the inclusion of a lot of different parts of the queer community.
*That’s My Jam is the biggest queer dance party in town. Run by DJ Tikka Masala and Bad Boy Trent (both really amazing folks), it’s a really fabulous place to just go and dance. The performances, when they happen, are always top notch–they had MEN in February and introduced me to SheDick. It’s generally on a Saturday night.
*DJ Tikka also throws a few other nights around town so it is worth getting on her email list.
*He’s a Rebel is a queer soul night at Nowhere Bar. Not in Brooklyn (the East Village) but still fun to get dressed up in vintage duds and dance. Zan is an incredible DJ.
*Original Plumbing Release Parties! Both have been absolutely amazing and packed in NYC. They have them in other cities as well! (Related–Murray Hill’s Mr. Transman 2010 Pageant is on April 25th!)
*GayFace mysteriously pops up now and then with dance parties.
*Banned! was going on regularly last summer and hopefully will return again this year. Always a lot of fun.
*Muff Muff Give. I don’t know if it is actually on the third Friday, but people can always party hop to Hey Queen.
*Rumours. In a little room above Public Assembly. It has the air of a speakeasy.
*Rebel Cupcake. Me, living the dream, with a flamboyance & body positive queer dance party for folks of all shapes & flavors. It’s going to be Thursdays, monthly. The first one is May 6, International No Diet Day!

There are a few others, you should pop over to OutAboutBrooklyn blog for more regular listings.

What I love about this roll of parties and events is that they are events BY queers FOR queers. Each party promoter saw a need and decided to do the work to fulfill it. As a producer of shows and events for over 10 years, I know finding a good, consistent venue, booking it and promoting is no small feat. It truly comes out of a love for community and making a safe space for good times. Exquisite camaraderie.

In sum, I want to say that it is super worth it to create a niche in a scene if you feel like it needs body and gender diversity. Oftentimes when I was coming out as fat and femme, I felt really ostracized in nightlife because I just didn’t fit in. But rallying my friends and doing what I needed to feel comfortable really helped me create what is now a really amazing nightlife for myself. Also, my fashion motto for going out in Brooklyn is to wear whatever I will feel most fabulous in, and not worry about whether or not people are going to get dressed up. I’ve gotten opportunities simply because someone knew me as the “fat femme in the french maid’s outfit”. Imagine if I’d let my insecurities keep it at home?

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Check out this video in honor of the last Panty Ho’s made by the gorgeous Sarah Jenny (above with Ice Queen hair bling). It shows the magic of the queer nightlife. I’m in it wearing an outfit inspired by Heather #1 from Heathers.

Ally moved away and broke our hearts—I sang Acapella versions of “End of the Road” to her for an entire week

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*Tip of the tiara to Damien Luxe for “A Femme Loves a Fag / A Fag Loves a Femme.” I’ve used this turn of phrase constantly and even applied it to specific sex acts.
**Though, ironically, the promoter of the party would end up being Ally, who has the best manicures ever.
***My top local DJs, in no particular order, are DJ Shomi Noise, DJ Sirlinda, DJ Tikka Masala, DJ Amber Valentine, DJ Designer Imposter, DJ Lil’ Rae, DJ As If. Almost all of these DJs have played Pointer Sisters at my request.

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