Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2009-11-04

Secret Single Behaviors

November 1 came and went without any fanfare from me, but I remembered yesterday that it was the two year anniversary of my sudden singlehood. It’s been an incredible journey and as painful and crazy as that time was, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. (If you want the backstory, wait for my forthcoming memoir or download Episode 2 of FemmeCast.)

In celebration of my singlehood, I’ve decided to share with you, gentle readers, some of my deepest Secret Single Behaviors. There was an episode of Sex and the City that talks about Secret Single Behaviors–those things that you do when you’re alone, because you’re single and you can get away with it.

The first one is that I often turn on QVC when I’m home alone (I have a roommate). Sure, sometimes I listen to music, but often it’s just nice to have the company. I love shopping and even though I’ve only ever bought two things from QVC in my entire life and I was engaged and shacked up at the time, I still really like their chatter. As a Femmecee, I have learned a lot about improv from the hosts on QVC.

Today’s Special Value is some sort of purse charm. I think if I were selling them I would talk about the safety factor–I know some people who have been assaulted while looking for their keys. It’s a good AND fashionable idea to have a little charm on your purse with a hook where your keys are in order to prevent the shuffle.

The second Secret Single Behavior I indulge in are meals that make no real sense and require no forward planning. I really like asparagus and I really like bacon. They are both easy to prepare. That’s probably my most common meal. Sometimes it’s broccoli or green beans. Sometimes I just have refried beans with taco sauce and cheese. Sometimes I am really scraping the barrel and use a stale piece of bread broiled with some cheese and a tomato.

This is in stark contrast to my last relationship, where we had all of these very planned out meals (planned a month ahead–we used the Saving Dinner 20 for the Freezer plan*) and leftovers for lunch the next day. Those days were nice, don’t get me wrong, I fondly recall Omaha steaks made on the grill. But getting to have meals that are entirely created from my own intuition and how I want to eat is really liberating, empowering and makes me feel really single.

The third Secret Single Behavior is what I call phone echo. Which is when I obsessively look at my phone as though I’m going to get a text, even though nothing’s coming through. In this day of text-based communication, people enact entire courtships via text and picture texts and whatnot. When I don’t have a sweetheart blowing up my phone, well, it seems like a cavern of emptiness where you can’t hear anything but an echo. Of course I get the occasional hilarious missive from a friend and the loving text reminders from my google calendar, but there’s nothing more single feeling than looking at a phone and having nothing there. And then obsessively looking again and again as though it will change.

My fourth Secret Single Behavior is probably more like Femme Realness, but I keep a self-help book for bathroom reading. It’s true. Ironically I haven’t gotten past chapter one of The Power of Focus for Women, but it’s in there for guests if they need it. I decided that magazines in the bathroom were too cluttered.

The last one I have is something I really hope I can maintain for the rest of my life. But when I go to bed, after a particularly good night out or night in, I lay there, look at the twinkly lights above my pink bed and smile in deep gratitude for the adventurous life I am blessed with.

John, if you’re out there reading this, thanks for dumping me. I’m the closest I’ve ever been to the life I’ve always wanted.

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That’s me at my Celebration of Personhood (as opposed to couplehood), which was the party I had on May 17, 2008 in lieu of my wedding.

*I heartily recommend it if you have a live-in family that eats together.

2009-10-01

The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Breaking Up and Declining a Date Invite

Yesterday the fabulous Vagina Jenkins posted a Facebook Status that said the following:

“Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowbois!”

My response was “I disagree. The cowbois raised today will be cougar fodder for you and me when we’re 50, Vagina Jenkins.”

Vag: “Hmmmm, true! I revise my previous statement to say ‘Mamas, do let your babies grow up to be cowbois, as long as they keep it packin’ and know how to treat a lady…'”

Bevin: “How about ‘Mamas, do let your babies grow up to be feminist cowbois with good hair, appropriate equipment and manners.'”

Vag: “Yeh, but now it sounds like it might be offbeat….BB you are an amazing woman…you know that?”

Bevin: “I do know that, but I never ever tire of hearing it. Especially during my currently highly jaded and annoyed attitude towards my romantic life. This is when I turn to my art and just do shit so that the tiny queers coming up now know how to love themselves, treat a grown ass woman and be good ethical humans. Even if things aren’t going well for me now they can go well for a sassy 30 year old queer fat femme in 2019.”

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I’ve had a hard time articulating a way in which I can turn my latest rage into productivity. In the absence of some flowery prose, I will tell you what is giving me the rage lately:

People who don’t know how to break things off with someone properly and/or who cannot gracefully turn down a date.

First, I will give you a list of real life examples from my life and my friends lives in the last couple of months to illustrate why my rage is at a boil.

Example A: You go out with a girl on two proper marathon* dates with a total of 3 hook ups that involved going all the way. You break up with her via picture text message. A picture text from a popular nighttime drama set that films in New York City.

“[This show] is filming by my work again, it made me think of you. Also you’re awesome but I don’t want to go out with you anymore can we be friends?”

Rage.

Example B: You get a cutesy email from a Femme asking you out on a casual date because you have been flirting for a month and she’s trying to cut to the chase. You respond with a five paragraph emotional dump going on some long tangents about your private emotional business, including some massively hurtful assumptions about the Femme’s relationship to food, along with about four excuses as to why you can’t go out with her including that you’re not really interested in dating anyone anyway. Follow that up with going on a date with her roommate 2 weeks later. Just for good “I was lying about that stuff anyway” measure.

Rage.

Example C: You’ve been dating a girl about six months. You publicly claim to be very chivalrous, but instead of breaking up with her in person, you call her on the phone. While she’s at brunch with her friends. Break up with her then.

Rage.

Example D: I was just reminded of this tonight, so I’m just going to reiterate it here. Get the full story on Episode 2 of FemmeCast. But how about you’re engaged to be married to a Femme, due to your made up depression (to conveniently explain away your affair with her friend) you’ve decided you need some space to sort your emotional mess out so you move away to a place with no lease so you can move back in with your fiance again. Oh, and she’s moved to another place that she can afford on her own but has made all of these accommodations because you are supposed to move back in with her in a couple of months. So you take her out of your top friends on myspace and the same day dump her in an email.

Rage.

Listen up, people. This goes for Femmes and non-Femmes alike, even though all the above examples were butch identified women or transguys. There are, unfortunately, a million more examples every queer who has ever dated can come up with just plain rude and ridiculous behavior. Scoundrels and bad manners come in all gender presentations, and while curing scoundrelhood is beyond the scope of this blog post, I am going to teach you bad manners queers a little something.

A little something about acting right.

When a potential suitor complimented another girl’s cleavage on my facebook page, Alysia Angel gave me the term “That’s just no home training!” I’ve found that phrase really apt and helpful in the last few months.

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Look, everyone makes mistakes and everyone screws up, especially with regards to other people’s feelings. But it doesn’t take more than a moment’s consideration to figure out how to best handle a sticky situation where someone wants something from you, romantically, that you can’t or won’t give. Mostly, it just takes courage.

The easy way out is to text a girl instead of having a conversation with her about how you don’t want to see her anymore. But seriously? If you live in the same metropolitan area as someone, you need to go see them and break up with them. If you’ve had more than one date with a girl that involves sex, same deal. Meet over coffee. Yeah, it’s awkward. Nobody ever died of awkward.**

And sometimes it feels like in New York City everyone has to have a long distance relationship because interborough travel can take up to 2 hours. But seriously? Your girl is at brunch and you can’t just hustle your ass to meet her afterwards if your breaking up with her is so ridiculously urgent?

Chivalry does not end during the courtship phase. It goes all throughout the relationship and on into the break-up.

And as for how to decline a date invite graciously? A simple “No thank you, I don’t feel that chemistry between us” will suffice. Nothing you can do about lack of chemistry. It’s inarguable. Way better than some bullshit “I’m not over my ex” or “I just don’t feel like dating right now” because that only makes you look like an asshole when you start hitting on her friends on OK Cupid.

And for crying out loud, please don’t go into WHY you don’t feel like chemistry is there. I don’t want to hear some convoluted story about why you don’t like fat girls or why you don’t like people who love themselves or why you’re threatened by a girl with an advanced degree or a high IQ. No chemistry is fine. I’ll just assume you don’t like femmes or tall people or glitter or whatever I need to in order to preserve my pride.

In defense of the majority of people I have dated or tried to date will say I have been party to plenty of graceful “no, thank you’s”. My ex, Seth, drove all the way up from Philly to break up with me. We’d been together for three years and at the time I didn’t stop to think about what a class act that was, but it was. It was really classy to make that 90 minute drive. And I’ve had a few date declines that even involved semi-colons and nice words about how hot I am. Semi-colons are my favorite punctuation. A good date decline is awesome and makes me feel really good about having those people in my life as friends.

Someone told me tonight “It’s cowardly to break up with your fiance in an email.” Yes. Yes it is. So I just implore all of you out there reading to cowboi up and don’t be a coward. Do the right thing and just be the best version of yourself when you’re delivering news someone doesn’t want to hear. Respect her and respect yourself. Take a couple of breaths before you respond to hysterics with more hysterics and use your “I” statements.

Keep in mind when you’re breaking things off with someone you’ve had the luxury of thinking about it a long time before she has, and give her the chance to catch up by being clear-headed yourself.

There are lots of hot people out there who read my blog, I know because some of you are my friends on Facebook. (Damn, you’re looking good.) Anyway, you all need to do right by each other so that we can have a little more peace in the queer community and a little less rage.

Oh, and by the way? Girls talk. Do wrong by one and a network of 10, 20, maybe more girls will hear about it. It is the blessing and the curse of our community.

Since I know there are plenty of you out there who are all “But Bevin, I have this oh so complicated situation and I can’t do anything but this douche move*** in this instance” I challenge to by saying NO! There is still a classy way out of it. Email me and I’ll help. My service to the community or whatever. Femmecast at gmail dot com. I’ll get the Gay Dr. Phil, one of my very favorite cowbois, to help me out.

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Why do all the classy boys in my life drink cheap beer?

*Marathon is 6 hours or more. Basically when you go out for a solid part of a day.
**Rachael gave me that one. It’s my motto.
***The show Greek on hulu.com is better than Gossip Girl.

2009-02-14

Unicorn Dick

Zoe and Tara and I decided to head to Toronto for a crazy Femme adventure and somehow fate landed us each a hottie to have as a date on NYE. Despite our burgeoning Canadian trysts, we had an amazing Femme bonding weekend*. We went to a women’s only spa called Body Blitz, lounged in their salt pools, hot tubs and saunas for a few hours for only $35 Canadian! We ate brunch, our favorite meal, every day at a new place. We got to indulge in one of our favorite activities, sexcapade redux on the road trip home, as it is rare that the three of us are getting it simultaneously.

During our trip we plotted out the details of our Golden Girls retirement home. You see, our plan is that we are each others’ life partners, and we intend to retire someplace warm (I oppose Florida because humidity is not a friend to my thick tresses) and to seal our bond we are going to adopt a new last name. This last name is an amalgamation of all of our Femme Besties’ last names put together, O’LowErlelisshamwinsonsonlee-Murphy. Rolls right off the tongue! We can’t wait for the telemarketers to get a hold of that one.

I had a big crush on the Toronto Hottie I hooked up with, who I propositioned for a make-out ahead of time with a clever Facebook message. Rendering me shy is the sure sign that I am monstrously attracted to you, and even though I’ve known Toronto Hottie for years, I’d never mustered the gumption to flirt with her and thought the Facebook proposition was the surest way to overcome my shyness.

The proposition was very well-received. She was even better, nicer, and more talented than I had thought, and we connected in a way I crossed my fingers might be more than a one night fluke. A couple of sweet text messages on my ride home, and a few dirty Facebook emails the following weekend told me the chemistry was still there. It took a week to muster up the courage to ask her for a phone date. Or rather, a week and Zoe’s Consiglierie insistence “JUST TEXT HER AND ASK”. Our phone date was the same night, three hours long, I got off the phone and my cheeks hurt from smiling.

There’s just so much to talk about and I have a lot of fun even on the phone with her. Since I’m funemployed, I’ve got a lot of extra time on my hands these days, thus much more traveling flexibility, as I can look for a job using the internet even in another country. Anyway, it didn’t take much beyond her first couple jokes of “You should come visit next week” for me to seriously ponder this as a possibility.

I debated this pretty hardcore for the better part of a day. In some ways it seemed very practical–a fact-finding mission. Did we have chemistry beyond the first date? Was she as fabulous as she seemed and was she more than just a friend? Could she make the amazing deviled eggs she promised? Naima answered the practicality for me. “Bevin, the way I see it, there is nothing more sane than traveling for good sex.”

I got further support from my friend Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. “I completely support you traveling to the Dot** for Unicorn Dick.”

So I drove my Prius up to Toronto again and had a really great date. I learned a lot about her and had a lot of fun in all the best ways. The sex was still amazing and so was hanging out an watching our favorite movies.

The next few weeks and follow-up visit have had me thinking a lot about Unicorn Dick in the context of the Queer Fat Femme lifestyle. Anyone who has done the dating thing as a Queer Femme knows how hard it is to find someone that embodies the killer combo of personality, looks, chemistry, smarts and timing.

I asked Leah to define Unicorn Dick further, and here’s her dispatch:

“Unicorn Dick is lust and sexual skill. It also refers to the almost mythological perfect butch/trans guy cock / love / brain package that we often believe is as rare as a Unicorn Dick. When we find it, we can sometimes go insane, elevate the degree to which which value it above our life and our girls, and try to hide it / protect it / get crazy over it / everything in the world pales next to the Unicorn Dick.

This is unhealthy and is counter to the Femme Shark principle of ‘His dick is not gold plated, but you goddamn well are.'”

It’s hard to avoid a scarcity mentality when you find something you don’t come across very often. As in, you want to absorb as much as possible because you’re afraid it won’t come around very often. But it’s important to remember that if the Unicorn Dick is worth it, s/he is going to realize how crucial your besties are to you and support your priorities. Further, if you’re a badass Queer Fat Femme, you can’t become any less badass to please someone. In past relationships I usually deferred to the sensibilities of my partner because sometimes I was “too much”. I remember Zoe reminding me when I was broken up with my ex, John, how much he held me back. I’m not doing that again.

You can get excited about Unicorn Dick but you can’t let your inherent amazingness suffer. Because, ultimately, Unicorn Dick won’t hold you up the way your inner strength does or your besties do. Maybe over time, maybe when things develop Unicorn Dick becomes part of your support system–but even then it should be part of it and not everything. I know from losing the man I thought was my forever how crucial it was that I kept my friendships strong. Even when I didn’t even have the resources to get up off my kitchen floor while I was crying, I knew I could call someone to be there with me while I fell apart.*** That’s what besties are for.

The reason why my Toronto trip was so wonderful wasn’t just because I got laid or uncovered Unicorn Dick like a lusty archeological dig, it was because I was having such an amazing time with my closest friends. And you can’t let years of friendship suffer because you find something shiny.

While I remain very excited about this Unicorn Dick, I’m still letting things unfold and in a data gathering phase. I enjoy the time we spend together, am appreciative of our connection and the chance to learn more about her and have great sex when we can make time for one another. Leah calls this attitude a “Zen Buddhist slut move”. But what I’m really grateful for right now is the support of friends like Zoe. Knowing I have been having a really horrific unemployment/housing situation right now, Zoe sent me the following love letter.

“dear Bevin [a femme love letter]

sometime around spring 2002 i went to see this philly drag troupe perform and watched wistfully as all these hot [thin] femmes performed on stage alongside the kings. and i so wished to be one of them but i knew that as a fat girl, i wasn’t good enough to do so. and then you came out and you unhinged my world in … Read Morethe best of ways…

7 years later you are one of the best BFFs a girl could ask for. not only did you help me get on that stage myself (and so many wonderful, crazy, lascivious, hilarious adventures ensured), but you have been there for me through the good, the bad and the downright fucked up, steadfast in your love and loyalty.

over the past 7 years i’ve watched you grow and change and unfold unto the fucking dynamo badass force of glitter, muppety smiles, cheer, snark, wit, glamor, smarts, performance art, social hub and social change that you are. and you did so even through serious strife and hard times. i am so fucking proud of you.

one of the things that so amazes me about you is not only your ability to stay strong and positive and to focus on your joy in the midst of bullshit, but to be able to ask for help and reach out when times are hard and when you need support.

and so i just want to remind you, openly and here on facebook and for posterity, that i will always be there for you, by your side, whether it’s on stage in matchy-matchy glittery outfits, holding your hand through hard times, or being next to you on the couch, cuddled up next to you and laughing while you torture me by playing Bob Seger songs on repeat.

you are an inspiration and you are my heart.

golden girls forever.
xoxoxoxoxo,
Z”

It is my wish for all Queer Fat Femmes that they find the kind of community, love and support I’ve found with my QFF besties. It’s really the most special, magical thing you’ll ever find–even more magical than Unicorn Dick.

*We were having such a great time Anna hopped a $70 flight from NYC to join us. She did not hook up on NYE but is pretty much awash in pussy in her new social circle in Portland, though technically still single and looking for dates.

**Why do people call Toronto “T Dot”?

***This happened to me again recently, for reasons not related to romance.

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