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

2010-01-21

I Believe in Butch* Abundance

During the Femme Family Heart Share Brunch on Femme Competition and Femme Mutual Aid, we were talking about the ways in which Femmes sometimes compete for affection from butches.

I declared to the room of ten, “I believe in Butch* abundance!”

I went on to explain that living in a scarcity mentality is damaging to community and collaboration. There is enough love to go around. There is enough sex to go around. There is enough.

I totally know what you are saying. “Oh Bevin! There’s no one in this town to date! I know them all! Wah wah wah!” Or “Oh Bevin! There are no butches for me to be friends with! Who will watch football/craft/do other butch bonding activities with me?”

I think that there are tons of butches. Openly relying on anecdata, I meet a new butch-identified person every single week. This is specifically butch, not also including the many myriad masculine-of-center folk also orbiting the queer community and are new-to-me all the time. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I am attracted to them–quite the contrary, generally I am not. I think oftentimes people who are complaining of butch scarcity are specifically referring to a lack of people who they are attracted to and are sexually available to them.

The fact that my single Femme friends are still finding new butches* we don’t know through OK Cupid, Craig’s List and other online dating sites further reinforces my anecdata.

I keep telling the story of a fat femme friend of mine who found a really fabulous artsy late twenties butch none of us had ever met before on OK Cupid as though it is an urban legend. Because those dating sites can often seem so dried up, it still feels like an urban legend to me, even though I’ve actually met the butch and she’s foxy, smart, funny and exists in real life.

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This is my friend Kieran, with our mutual niece Etta Pearl (we are heart family). She’s single, butch and totally awesome. She also does sweet things for me like bought me flowers for my birthday and brought me cupcakes to the middle of nowhere when I was camping.

Further, I think there is a lot of butch abundance evident in the burgeoning Butchosphere. Check out the Sartorial Butch, putting a face and words to the fashionable faggy butches I often call friends. Also, check out this amazing post by amazing subversive stitcher BeeListy in response to gender policing in the Butchosphere.

Not to mention a whole conference of butches, studs and aggressives! When cruising the conference facebook photos** I didn’t recognize at least half or more of the attendees.

People also like to argue that the “next generation” is not producing any butches. I say not so! I have a lot of fresh out of college friends who are 23 and totally rocking the Butch label proudly and who want more butch friends. Shout out to SirMaamSir, Alex, who taught me Garage Band and is helping with FemmeCast.

I think propagating the notion that butches are diminishing is dangerous.

When you get into the mindset that there are only so many butches around, it enables the excusing of bad behavior.

In the past, I have clung romantically to people who were super shitty to me because I didn’t believe that there were other cute butches out there who would treat me well. Cutting ties and sending the badly behaved back out into the water enables me to have a heart free and wide for those who are ethical.

Packing the JAM.
My friend Grover told me that morning she was “packing the jam”.

Further, believing in a scarcity of butches propagates competition and bad behavior on the part of hoarding or horse-thieving queers. Going after a butch who is dating your friend***? Not cool at all. I have had some significant emotional violence wrought unto me by two different close Femme friends because of a sense of butch scarcity. I don’t wish that on anyone.

Okay, you know your community better than I do. But, in this day and age of people traveling all over (four of my favorite people are going on tour next month, maybe through your town–including SIlas who totally still identifies as Butch) and people moving to far flung god-knows-where, I feel that there is enough deck shuffling that there will always be someone new. You just have to be open to it.

I’ve also taken to widening my online dating search to no location parameters–I like to see who else is out there, plus I love to travel. I am not closed to the idea of a long distance romance, I love a good laycation.

So, gentle readers, when you begin the familiar butch scarcity rant, stop and challenge yourself into a different way of thinking. What if you believed in Butch* Abundance, like I do? What doors would that open up in the realm of romantic and friend possibilities?

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*And queers of a more masculine gender persuasion, including but not limited to butches, genderqueers, transfabulous people, studs, AGs, and other non gender identifying foxy folks.
**Act like you didn’t do that yourself.
***Unless they are poly/non-monogs AND you’ve had those important, possibly hard/awkward conversations.

2009-10-15

Additions to the Queer Lexicography: Doing it and Doing it Well

Damien Luxe brought me the following two terms after her trip touring the Femmes Fight Back Installation* 10,000 miles in August and September.

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Laycation: A Laycation is a vacation or staycation (where you don’t leave your town or home) with a lover where the intent or the result is that you do it the whole time. A vacation to get laid. Or a “we’re so broke we can’t do anything and we’re long distance so we’re just going to lay around and do it when she comes to town” sort of adventure. I love the idea of a Laycation, especially considering how in the queer community often our lovers need to be imported from other places to keep things fresh and ethical.

“Sorry to miss your party, my long distance romance Shawna is only in town for three days–we’re going to be on laycation the whole time.”

Web 3.0: Damien used this term to describe being in person with people–making actual community connections instead of remaining plugged into the social networking media websites (also known as Web 2.0). I have been using the term Web 3.0 to talk about the ways in which Web 2.0 actually enhances real life experience. Like a queer dance party that is announced and networked entirely on Facebook but brings people together. Or those twittering experiences where you’re able to increase your understanding of an event as it is happening.

At the Gossip concert the other night I was getting tweets on my smart phone from the people in my entourage around me (since I couldn’t hear their reactions because we were in a crush of hipster bearded boys), communicating en masse to our friends who were trying to find us in the sea of aforementioned hipster boys, as well as seeing the tweets of JD Samson of MEN (one of the opening acts) from backstage. I think there’s something to that information that adds nuance to an in person situation just so long as you’re not glued to your iphone during the entire experience.

The following term was brought to me by Ally Picard of Bloodhound Photography, who held a copy of the Lesbian Lexicon in her hot little hands.

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According to the Lesbian Lexicon, (and I summarize because it is sadly sold out so I don’t have a copy of my own) the term Bangover describes the sore muscles one has after a night of banging. Seriously, there are certain ass muscles one only feels the day after sex. Or a sore arm. Or a sore whatever kind of body part because of the position/place you all were doing it.

I love it! Allow your Web 3.0 experience to coordinate a laycation, but be sure to nurse that bangover with some advil and gatorade!

These photos were part of the animal print photo shoot conceived of by Damien and photographed by Ally. It was so much fun!

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That’s my dog, Macy, wearing zebra print and doing her best stuffed animal impression.

*It’s really cathartic and powerful–she’s trying to tour it around the East Coast in late Fall, bring her to your town!

2009-10-13

Nobody Ever Died of Awkward: The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Battling Insecurity and Asking People Out

A few months ago I was in Rachael’s king size bed fretting over sending a very forward propositional text message to someone I thought was foxy. “C’mon Bev, nobody ever died of awkward. Worst case scenario she’s flattered and says no.”

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I sent the message and the response I got was articulate, complimentary and offered a raincheck. Kelli Dunham, Butch Comic in Residence for FemmeCast asked if this person had taken classes on how to write text messages because it was so good.

But more than the response, I was really proud of myself for putting myself out there. Zoe beats it like a drum everytime I do something like this.

Half the reasons I’ve missed out on getting ass in my lifetime is by not articulating my desire. Insecurity, fear of rejection, fear of being made fun of… the list is endless. It’s hard to put yourself out there in a racist, homophobic, misogynist, binary gendered, anti-erotic, fatphobic, ableist, etc… society when you’re at one or many of those intersections of marginalized identities. Plainly stated, I’ve been a fat girl my whole life, shit from middle school runs deep and it’s hard to bounce back from significant early rejection.

Out of that insecurity can come a bevy of reasons to psych yourself out of propositioning someone.

After that moment I incorporated “Nobody ever died of awkward” into my regular on stage repetoire. As any of you who have seen me femmecee can attest, I am a fan of encouraging my audience to interact after the show or during intermissions. I often give out pick-up lines, conversation starters and ways for people to connect. I love matchmaking.

At the Zombie Queer Cabaret this weekend someone said I was easy and I said, “I’m not easy, I’m just straightforward.” When I’m attracted to someone it can often inspire in me my old shyness. In fact, one of the signs that I’m really into someone I’ve just met is if I have a hard time looking them in the eye (though I am working on getting over that). The shyness is really just insecurity. The fastest way to get through that shyness, for me, is to just be direct.

I still have to go through the same cycle of insecurity I always have when I proposition someone, but now I can psych myself up about it way faster than I ever could before. I’m talking a matter of hours versus days, weeks or months. In college it would take me weeks to work up the courage to ask someone to hang out as a friend-that-might-lead-to-more. Now I might let a passing interest develop into a crush for as long as a month, but there’s a certain moment of annoyance I reach when I am getting mixed signals from someone and I just want to cut to the chase.

When I ask someone out I always use the term “date”. I encourage you to do that, too. My friend Megan Beene used to complain about the “Lesbian Not-Date” syndrome where you’re hanging out with someone and you’re not sure if it was/is a date.

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I like to make sure it’s clear what my intentions are. I also often tell them that my intention is “casual” or “proper” date.*

Even if you’re not asking someone out and just expressing interest, it is really great to be direct. One of the greatest examples I’ve experienced was really more of a gesture than the words themselves, but this really hot butch I’d been trying to make contact with for 2 weeks came up to me in the dark, put her hand on the small of my back as she walked by and said something in my ear along the lines of me being a really attractive woman. And then she walked away. I don’t even remember what she said but it was really clear.

The best part about having a move like that is that no matter how nervous you are, you’ll never actually seem that nervous in person. Trust.

Another thing I always do when I ask people out is to be complimentary and to not give them the reason to reject your offer. If they want to turn you down, they can, but let them be the ones to come up with the excuse.

An example is “Georgine, I’ve found our long talks about homo fashion really intriguing and would love to continue the conversation. Would you like to go out on a date with me? I am thinking a casual walk along the Christopher Street pier where we can see the fashions of the gay youth of today followed by a coffee at the one remaining West Village gay coffee house.” Instead of all of that followed by “Unless you’re busy. It’s really okay, you know, if you’re busy. Or if you don’t want to. Or if you want to just be friends.” If they want to be friends they can propose that with their proper response to you.

I tend to also be really cutesy with my date requests and use a little schtick. A friend of mine uses rhyming, which is particularly adorable. I like to think putting some personality in the date request makes it all the more flattering, and that is what a date request should ultimately be.

Rachael’s flirting philosophy is “It is never a bad time to make people feel good about themselves.” I think this absolutely applies to asking people out.** I have also found that the fastest way for me to get over a crush is to be rejected by them. And, really, how can you be into someone who doesn’t think you’re fabulous enough to date?

It’s comical how many of my friends I once asked out or who once asked me out. In every one of those cases it was clear within a few months that it was way better that we chose the friend route.

The awkwardness lasts as long as you let it, and I purposefully act like nothing is wrong until nothing really is wrong anymore. It’s best to just try to be normal.

What I love about having gotten a lot of practice asking people out in the last couple of years is that now it comes much more naturally. I met this hot girl last month and after flirting with her a few times in the evening as I was bidding her adieu and we exchanged numbers I told her straight up “If you’re interested in asking me on a date I would love that.” (Sometimes the butches like to do the asking.)

The important part is that you see your success as battling your insecurity and putting yourself out there, rather than what the reaction of the other person happens to be. You’ll always be successful when you push yourself to grow.

Today on Twitter, Shit My Dad Says tweeted “That woman was sexy…Out of your league? Son. Let women figure out why they won’t screw you, don’t do it for them.”

So the next time you are getting an attack of insecurity about a crush, or you aren’t sure whether you should ask someone out, stop thinking and start texting/emailing/calling/talking and do it. Let them make the decision whether they will go out with you. You won’t die of awkward if they say no.

*I’m going into much greater detail about this in the episode of FemmeCast I’m editing right now, on courtship.

For me a casual date would involve a meandering hang out, a variety of outside activities, watching a movie at home, having cupcakes together. Something easy and cheap. I often prefer casual dates because I lead such a fast-paced life, what I’m looking for in a potential dating person/girlfriend is really someone who its easy and fun to be around. Casual dates help to tell you that.

A proper date is something more traditional. A performance and drinks, dinner and a movie, just dinner. Some of the best dates I’ve been on involved an activity that told me more about what the person was passionate about and had a sweet and small souvenir.

**Of course, this is NOT the case for those who are monogamous or you are otherwise ethically barred from dating, like your friend’s recent ex or some such close queer connection. Let ethics not insecurity slow you down!

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