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

2010-05-20

Love Snippets

I have been thinking and talking about love a lot lately. I’ve gotten some amazing anecdotes from people. I’ve been writing them down in my tiny notebook.

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I wish I always looked so put together when I am writing something down. Also, I wish I always had my BFF Rachael looking over my shoulder, but it is sort of like that considering I consult her at least once a day.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in love.”

Me: “Really?? How is that possible, you’ve had so many boyfriends.”

“I always like to keep one foot out the door so that I can leave at any moment. Besides, the way you all talk about it [referring to my friends] why in the world would I want that? I never see you experiencing the upside!”

***

“Do you have confidence that you will fall in love again?”

Me: “I am skilled in dozens, or even a hundred things… Falling in love is something I am adept at, and comes easy. I fell in love by accident most recently. I know I’ll fall in love again. Whether or not I fall in love & it is reciprocated is an entirely other thing that I have no control over. That’s where faith comes in. Do you?”

“It is all I believe in.”

***

“I’m going to see [her girlfriend] this weekend. I think she’s going to break-up with me.”

Me: “Oh no! I am so sorry!”

“It’s okay. The way things were going she was just being shitty to me. At least now she’s being honest about her emotions. I’d rather know that it’s going to be over with. And I have a laycation coming up with someone in a couple of weeks so that softens the blow.”

Me: “Imagine being excited about a break-up.”

***

From a private comment to my last entry about someone being broken up with for being glitter and with someone operating in an emotional beige zone, I read this part of it and had to snap because I was reading it and agreeing so heartily.

At this point in my life — where I’m learning how to allow myself to have desires and feelings (about things like kids or family or love relationships) and not censor them before they’re even allowed to emerge — being with someone who’s interested in imposing emotional limits from the start is a bad idea.

Wow. Yes. And having the wherewithal to actually articulate that is so leaps and bounds into being in touch with your desires and feelings. Sometimes I feel that there is this pressure in the dating community to be so cool with just being casual and having “no labels” and not processing. Not that I love processing, but I feel some elements of social pressure exist to just kowtow to the people who are commitment skittish. Likewise, there is a lot of pressure in other circles to BE MARRIED and HAVE KIDS and assimilate to heteronormativity. There has to be some delicate balance between u-haul lesbianism and enjoying things casually.

I have a friend who uses the term “intimate casual”. It leaves the door open for intimacy in whatever form that will take but also not putting big expectations on things. I think it is possible, but not when you’re so concerned with policing your emotions lest you scare someone away.

I think people who are checked into their emotions are less likely to be scoundrels. I realized that in the long aftermath of my broken engagement that he was never really checked in with himself emotionally and never told me when the landscape changed. Instead he cheated.

This is why I have made it my business to start loving conflict. Having conflict with someone at least means I know where they’re at emotionally, without having to worry if someone is hiding stuff from me. (This is a process. I still hate conflict. But I am trying!)

***

A note on my last post about glitter and beige. I’m not trying to say glitter means extrovert, beige is introvert. I know plenty of glitter introverts. I also know plenty of stage personalities who are also introverts. And being a stage personality is only one example of a glitter personality. I am just trying to call out a beige privilege in dating–a lot of people leave glitter in the dust for someone less intense/less complicated, etc… No shade to beige identified folks.

However, I will say if you find it hard to wear your glitter on the outside, I encourage you to try. It takes a lot of chutzpah to be in touch with what you are passionate about and share it with people, in ways that make you comfortable but also get you out of your comfort zone.

Rebel Cupcakes gotta work hard to stay fabulous–sometimes it feels like a never ending battle to express yourself and feel good about yourself in a world that is telling you that you are always too much for it. I am confident it is going to pay off. Being true to yourself is ultimately a winning battle.

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3/4 of the Baconettes at the last Rebel Cupcake. The next one is June 17th!

***

I leave you, my romantic, ever hopeful sweethearts, with a poem by one of my favorite new-to-me poets. Regie Cabico:

2010-05-12

In Solidarity With Those Who Have Been Called “Too Much”

I have a bestie who lives far away. When we used to visit only once a year and not keep up with each other regularly, as soon as she would pick me up from the airport I would ask for the current love life run-down. She is polyamorous and it was (and still is) always an interesting mix of folks.

One time, the list included a girl she was particularly fond of and things were going quite well, except that the girl’s other love interest was quite the opposite of my bestie. “I don’t know how to describe her except that she’s just… very beige.”

What made the situation, and Beige herself, so vexing was that the love interest was starting to spurn my bestie for Beige. “I just don’t know what she sees in Beige. She’s the exact opposite of me.”

This love push and pull between my bestie, that girl, and Beige would go on for years, with the girl bouncing back from monogamy with Beige to my bestie and back again.

I have incorporated the descriptor “Beige” in my love vocabulary now. It’s hard to describe what Beige even means, as a personal trait. Maybe it’s just the absence of bold color? I just know it’s pretty much the opposite of glitter. I identify as glitter, which to me is a color.

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Vagina Jenkins has been told that she is “too much”. Also check out her kickstarter so she can bring her too much to your town!

Glenn Marla has a performance piece in Tragic Magic where he talks about people who have been called “too much”. I’ve been called too much my entire life–too fat, too loud, too feminine, too “lipstick” when I first came out, too expressive, too blah blah blah blah blah.

I hate it. I love big and I always express myself. When I am excited about something I get louder, and I really like to be excited. I am effusive in my praise of people, and when I’m with someone in a romantic context I can make them feel like the only person in the room. I’ve been told this by multiple partners, which is why I tend to date Leos. I have also been told that I am a lot different than people expect by a lot of lovers.

I LOVE romance. I really enjoy giving and receiving special attention and courtship. I am so not the kind of girl who can play aloof–I just don’t have time or inclination to pretend to be something I am not. If I can “take it or leave it” I’ll just leave it.

I was told by someone I went on a couple of dates with that I was “a lot to get used to.” It brought up a lot for me–I had so much rage around being told that and it took me a few weeks to unpack. It felt like being told I was too much, even though I know that wasn’t the intention. I guess this post is my way of turning that unexpected rage into productivity.

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Heather has been told she is “too much”. Me, too. That’s why I got big hair, to go along with my big personality.

Heather and I were talking about being too much and how people get so scared and run to the easy, non-threatening beige. “It’s so unfortunate because they could have something so good and so easy, but instead they run away like a coward and don’t want to deal. If I wanted to date people who didn’t want to communicate and were douchebags I’d just go back to straight dudes.”*

We’ve both been left for people who didn’t hold a candle to us. It sucks! I don’t even know how to tell you how to deal with that except just to let it show you who that person really is. If someone prefers beige to glitter than it tells you that they don’t have it in them to date you and they don’t deserve you.

I go out with people and I see they have all of this potential and then all of a sudden they’re dumping you in a picture text message from the Gossip Girl set.** It can take a minute to realize that they really just showed you all you needed to know about them from their bad behavior.

I don’t know what it is like to be left for someone who is fabulous. I’ll let you know if it happens. I don’t usually get left for someone else, though, I get left because people aren’t emotionally ready to deal with anything, not even the conversation where we come to some agreement about what our casual romance, Romance, or ROMANCE could look like.*** I mean, everything is negotiable. And if it isn’t then at least you know it isn’t and that in and of itself is some sort of answer. I just think it’s worse being left in the dust holding nothing and wondering what the hell happened.

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My BFF Rachael, the Donna of Femme Mafia International, has been told that she is “too much”. Hey Atlanta, check out her new monthly Friday Femme Centered party starting THIS Friday, Friends With Benefits. Info here.

My friend Taueret has a tattoo that says “I love harder than expected.” I think that’s true for a lot of Ferocious Femmes and other flamboyant queers. I think it scares people. I mean, it’s true, some of the most scoundrely scoundrels I have dealt with let loose the “I love yous” within a week of starting to date me, which I ate up. I like to think that I am learning how to temper it a bit and be a little bit more skeptical about professions of forever(!!), and of course not profess love too early. But I do believe in showing people affection. And when you’re enthusiastic about people, actually saying “You’re awesome!” instead of hiding who you are and how you feel.

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Taueret. Frankly I just don’t understand how there can be too much of her love.

My bestie Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha told me once on the heels of another fizzled romance that she feels like this agent who incites change–that she tends to somehow be that catalyst for the people she dates to suddenly start working on their issues, and then they are sadly no longer emotionally available to date. It feels very frustrating when this happens over and over again.

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I feel like if Leah is an agent who incites change, it is somehow made less threatening and more appealing by her propensity for wearing hot miniskirts. I’m just saying.

There’s no great answer to this. I want to tell you all there is absolutely someone out there for you and that suddenly your Prince(ss) charming will show up and tell you that you are SO much instead of TOO much. I do firmly believe that there is someone out there for everyone. I just also know from personal, current experience that it takes empyreal patience to find someone who is in it for the full flamboyance, nurturing, love, whatever you have to give.

It took so much work to become the confident, courageous, colorful and caring person that I am. I won’t quiet it and I won’t be shushed just to make someone like me back. The right romantic interest, friends and community would want me to be my most vibrant self.

Being a risk-taker in love is going to pay off. I will always have experiences worth writing about, good and bad, I will always have things to learn from. I will always keep changing and keep growing. I am the kind of person who needs an adventurous risk-taker to come along for the ride. I encourage everyone to take risks, big and small, in love and in life as much as you can. It is what makes life so much more interesting than beige.

I had a great date with a really hot, fat, tattooed older butch who said they didn’t like make-out parties because “I’m a specialty food. The people who are attracted to me are really into me. But there are lots of people who aren’t.”

I have found a lot of empowerment from this statement. Being a specialty food is something special. It makes me a lot more interesting–going through the work I have had to go through to unlearn self-hatred and myriad of other things has made me a really fun and fascinating person. It makes the days I feel good really fucking shine, for no reason in particular. It means the work I do as a Queer Fat Femme performer, writer and activist is to create visibility. I hope my visibility helps all of the young Queer Fat Femmes out there have an easier time with dating when they’re 31. Maybe in 10 years Queer Fat Femmes won’t be such a speciality food (but will still be special!).

There’s no magic formula to making someone not intimidated by you. There’s no magic formula to helping people get over a lifetime of hatred to love themselves enough to want to date someone who is nice to them. It’s true for any marginalized identity, fat folks, dis/abled folks, people of color, trans folks, survivors, queers, etc…

I can give you this answer: There is only patience and confidence that as a community, if we love each other enough and work to help one another heal, we’ll create queers who are confident enough to love out loud and give glitter (and orange, purple, and paisley) a chance.

*I want to say there are plenty of straight dudes who are not douchebags.
**True story. “Thought of you. Also let’s not see each other anymore.”
***This is why Unicorn Dick is described as that fantastic head, heart, lust, timing combination–timing is often a bitch. Um, also, I hate this trend amongst queers where it feels like we can’t talk about “WHAT IT IS THAT WE’RE DOING” because it’s so threatening to have words for it. Come up with something creative but don’t avoid talking about it because it’ll scare someone away. It just leaves you left with no ending because there was no real beginning. Dangling participles are sucky in grammar and suckier still when they hurt your heart!

2010-02-14

Validation Day Thoughts

I was pondering the last couple of single Valentine’s Days I’ve spent. Both were pretty miserable, but I realize in hindsight it was because I had some sweetheart that was dicking me around.* It’s amazing how much peace you can get in your life when you recognize bullshit when it comes your way and give it a sweet, polite “No thank you.”

That attitude certainly doesn’t eradicate bullshit or drama but it helps give you permission to trust your instincts around it and walk away when you notice it.

This year is different. Sure, I’m noticing how couple-oriented the mainstream is (Thanks you tube! Thanks significant other week on FaceBooK!) but at the same time, I don’t really care. I’m also noticing a lot of magical self-love celebratory moments.

The Adipositivity Project capped off their couple stream with a photo celebrating self-love. My friend Lissa (a pastor) is preaching today about self-love. I’m seeing a lot of love in the world.

I feel really happy about the life I’m leading. I get the sweetest notes from people who have significant to my writing, performance, podcast, videocast and blog posts. Taking some really fun and gorgeous photos. Having a lot of fun with my friends. Making time to make a lot more art. Carving out a business that will make it possible to see my goal of having an art career and talk show. Working at a store that is aligned with my core values and lets me play as much Dolly Parton and Pointer Sisters as I can stand. And the stuff I don’t like about my life I am working hard to change.

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This is how the shop girls (Taueret, Erin and myself) and Jesse celebrated Validation Day this morning.

It is a radical act to love yourself in a society that says you shouldn’t because of any number of your inalienable characteristics. It is a radical act to create a career that is different than the typical 9 to 5. It is a radical act to send your friends cards with compliments on them (which is what I did for Validation Day, but now I think the blizzard from last week delayed their arrival).

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So if you’re having trouble escaping the cult of couplehood this Validation Day, stop and figure out how you can put a little more love in the world. Instead of dwelling on your couch, take a cruise through your phone and send people compliments via text message. As FemmeCast Sexpert and my BFF Rachael says about flirting, it is never a bad time to make someone feel good.**

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Photo by Shameless Photography–I did a pin-up photo shoot and had so much fun composing this photo with Sophie for my Validation cards.

Happy Validation Day everyone!!

*Jay-Z said it best when he said “I got 99 problems…”
**Whitney Houston said it best when she said “Ain’t it shocking what love can do?”

2009-11-25

Single in Sharp Relief

Thanksgiving is a really hard time of year for me. It is one of those holidays that puts into sharp relief how very single I am. I am happy with my life, I am making my life into the kind of life I want to be living and am extremely grateful that I’m not in an unhappy, unsatisfying and sad lesbian foot warming* kind of relationship.

However, when you were in a relationship (or 2 back to back relationships, in my case) where you were creating a family… Thanksgiving is just one of those family holidays where you feel extra weird when your day to day family doesn’t involve other people.

Just like Bad Fat Days, which happen to all fat activists and body loving fat people, being Single in Sharp Relief can be jarring even for the most ardently happy single person. But we already have all the coping mechanisms we need to get through it, just like Bad Fat Days.

The first thing I like to do is to be really grateful for the opportunities I have because I’m single. Thanksgiving is obviously an appropriate time of year for that, though I do a gratitude practice year round. Historically troublesome as it is, it is nice that Thanksgiving is a time when all the folks in the US are reminded to be grateful for what we have.**

*Holidays can be really stressful for couples and I get to enjoy the holidays in whatever way I decide to do them.
*I have a lot of self-reflection time.
*I get to think more critically about what I want out of my life and where I am going without worrying about compromise.
*I get to decide where I go on a Friday night without worrying about compromise.
*I get to flirt with any other single folks wherever I go.
*I get to save money or spend it on myself when I have it, rather than lots of money spent on couple gifts/activities.
*I don’t have to worry about the stresses of dealing with my partner’s people or family.
*I get to focus 100% on my family of choice and origin.
*I can have the high priority of travel without worrying about my partner not being able to come along or making those compromises.

Of course, that’s not to say I wouldn’t love to have a special someone in my life–I am a serious nester and do enjoy making the magic of a relationship. But I think the more you get involved in creating the magic of your single life you take a more critical eye to constructing a relationship that brings out the best in both of you, instead of defaulting to compulsory couplehood. Believe me, I was in two back to back partnerships for 5 years and both were big giant lesbian plunge situations. Nothing carefully constructed.

My BFF Rachael actually pointed out to me recently when I was talking about bad dates making you jaded that being jaded can be a good thing. “It makes your expectations for people’s behavior higher, which is good because you want to have a critical eye towards giving away your affections.”

So, in the meantime, it is nice to be in a place where I am excited about singlehood and focusing on the positive, even in the face of the Thanksgiving single stress.

As far as holiday plans I am in a unique place because my immediate family is very small (just my mom) and my extended family is scattered and only about medium size. I have spent my fair share of Thanksgivings and other holidays being another family’s 5th wheel or sidecar with my mom. Now I am a total free agent when it comes to compulsory holidays. Because it costs so much to travel and I always have had some sort of employment that requires my attention around the holidays, I’ve only been back home to the Bay Area for Christmas once in the last 7 years.

Being a free agent for the holidays is really exciting because I can figure out what I want to do and have creative community gatherings. This year I am really excited to share a Thanksgiving table with some of my favorite Brooklyn artists and have a turkey served from the glorious hands of Sarah Jenny wearing a vintage apron.

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L-R: Damien, Bryn, me and Sarah Jenny at the Original Plumbing release party in Brooklyn about a month ago. I should finish my review of the magazine.

*See Episode 6 of FemmeCast to learn about that phenomenon.

**Sometimes when you’re so stuck in your personal pity party, you need to reach out to your friends to help out. Big love to Kentucky Fried Woman and Ally for their help with this entry and reminding me why I am glad to be single even during Thanksgiving!

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!

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.

2009-07-17

On Femme Dates, Femme on Femme Action and Cultivating Both

In reference to my previous post Additions to the Queer Lexicography: Dry Spell Edition, I received a comment that stated they thought calling a date between two Femmes was exclusionary of Femme on Femme Action (FOFA). In fact, Mae says my term Femme Date is heterosexualism and “it seems to imply that anything between two Femmes is platonic and just friends”.

Mae! I have to respectfully and indignantly disagree with you! If you read my definition of Femme Date, I say “In this context I mean it as a platonic event that is ultimately constructed as a romantic date is, but without the bumbling, attraction questions or all of the other baggage of a regular date. It’s specifically designed for Femme bonding time.” Femme Dates are all about not being romantic dates. NOT TO THE EXCLUSION OF FEMMES DATING.

Here’s the thing–if two Femmes go on a romantic date, it’s called a DATE. Just like if a Butch and a Butch go on a romantic date, or a Genderqueer and a Femme or whatever. Two Femmes going on a date is a date that, of course, increases the FOFA (god that’s such a great acronym) in the world, and, according to Cherry Poppins, when two Femmes do it they produce glitter that comes out of nowhere. It happened to her and her ladyfriend and they were very thrilled.

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Cherry Poppins commented on this photo, “Bevin, what I really ♥ about this picture: it’s like Southern high femme realness (fancy frocks + Lone Stars + cute shoes + camp chairs).”

I think titles give something an air of importance. What I mean by giving Femme Date a special term, is because making time where we treat our friends with the same special devotion and attention we lavish on our romantic dates, it honors our commitments to them and honors our common identities (here, Femme, but you could easily do it with fat friends, trans friends, Femme friends over forty, etc…) and how special it is to have a friend who you see across from the table who embodies what makes up you. Who can really SEE you. I want to give at least the same amount of attention to a Femme Date that I do on a date with someone I might want to do it to.

Recently I’ve had my nose buried in Femmes of Power: Exploding Queer Femininities*, and I’m being all meta, quoting Ulrika quoting Clover Cuthroat, who is talking about her BFF Vagina Jenkins.

“About [Vagina Jenkins], you in return wrote: ‘Even thought there is an age gap between [Vagina Jenkins] and me, we’ve such similar lived experience, it’s like I’ve known her all my life. Because we both grew up black, poor, fat and awkward, we know what it’s like to be invisible aside from our sexual orientation. She encourages me to take up more space and exaggerate my beauty. We understand each other’s past and present and love each other for it.'”

Vagina says about Clover:

“‘I love her like the sibling I never had and always wanted. My childhood girlfriends understood my socio-economic background, my college girlfriend from the Black Student Union understood my racial politics and my queer girlfriends understood my sexuality stuff. I love those friends for the gifts they’ve given over the years. But Clover is the one person who gets it all without explaining any of it.'”

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Clover to the left and Vagina to the right. You should book Vagina Jenkins at your venue, she’s phenomenal, sexy, sparkly and really down to earth.

I will admit to tearing up a little bit when I read that essay. There’s something so special about creating friendships with people who really see you, understand you and bring out the best in you that just gets me to that spot in my heart where Beaches and other BFF movies from the 80s settled in. Plus, I have that in my life, with quite a few people. And I do sacred rituals like Femme Dates with Zoe, Femme bonding trash tv time with Chris, and long weekends with Rachael in order to make sure that my Femme relationships are cultivated with the same intentionality as my romantic relationships.

I want to also make it clear that just because I make a lot of noise about dating Butches or folks on the transmasculine spectrum, it doesn’t mean I exclusively date them. Quite the contrary, before I dated my ex of 3 years Seth (Genderqueer), I exclusively dated femmes. They weren’t femme identified necessarily, but definitely gendernormative and very feminine presenting. A couple of them would go on to become quite butch** but most of them are still just as girly.

What I struggle with now, as a Femme community leader, is the fact that so often I’ll make a new friend and default to Femme friendship because it’s really complicated. Femme bonding is so special and distinct, and as a leader I don’t want to screw things up for people, you know? Also, I am very wary of power dynamics and the complications of queer ethics. I had a crush on a Femme recently and it really spun out my tires because I was weighing all the measures of whether it would disturb community building or power dynamics too much to try to date her instead of just being friends and working together. Some of the ways in which I’ve figured out how to determine whether to default to Femme friendship is to find out right off the bat if they do date Femmes, have considered it or are open to it. I also try to make sure people know that about me. I’ll tell you my Femme type (which is oddly specific, as are my types of the transmasculine variety) if you ask nicely.

So, anyway, Mae, I’m interested to know your tips and tricks for a Femme dating Femmes. How do you meet girls and not default to friendship? How do you ask them out and make sure they’re clear it’s a date-date and not a lesbian not-date? Do you date Femmes who perform Femme in the same way you do, or do you go for a different kind of Femme?

*A book by Ulrika Dahl & Del Lagrace Volcano that just came out in the US. We celebrated the East Coast launch in Atlanta last weekend. Holy crap was that fun! I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s so lovely and wonderful to read and see images of all of this Femme lusciousness. If you can’t buy it from your local feminist bookstore, if you click on the link to Amazon right here I will make some pennies towards the costs of producing FemmeCast, which is totally unfunded and a lot more than you’d think.

**Hot damn is my first girlfriend a really good looking genderqueer now, but she was also hot when she had long blonde hair. At the time I was embarassingly clueless.

2009-07-16

Additions to the Queer Lexicography: Polyamory Edition

It’s time for some additions to the Queer Lexicography!

A long time ago, this term was given unto me by my BFF Rachael.

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Side Dish: An apt way to describe a special lover who is not your main lover or partner. As further explicated by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha when I threw the term around her the other day: “You can enjoy a meaty entrée on its own, but how much better is it with a delicious side of greens or okra? Giving you vitamins and tastes that you just don’t get with the main dish. Making both taste more delightful in the mouth. How lovely.”

Another oldie but goodie, my friend Erica came up with it years and years ago, when we went to our first Michfest, to describe how some of the folks there deal with being on The Land with or without partners.

Free Ass Pass: The arrangement you make with your partner or primary or date or ladyfriend and side dishes or whatever, that when you are at a particular place or doing a particular thing, you are free to get booty. I’m in the process of making buttons to sell at events, conferences and what what that say “Ask me about my Free Ass Pass”. It’s a great idea to advertise that, especially when you’ve got a limited time, a vast pool and since the queer community can be SUPER shy about cruising.

This one tossed around me last night at Femme Family Femme Book Club by Damien D’Luxe.

The Slow Burn: A way to describe the extended flirtation of going out with someone and not going all the way or even kissing right away, or where no one is making a move at all but there’s still some palpable chemistry.

Often, timing and circumstances dictate the need for a slow burn. Long distance is a bitch. So is someone getting out of a weird life situation (in recovery, big break-up, etc…) so the slow burn is the emotionally responsible choice for both parties. We’ve all been there with the Reckless Rebound. That shit rarely lasts. She’s 6 weeks out of a long term relationship, so we go on these dates where we make out like Mormon teenagers in front of subway stations and then part ways because we need to use a slow burn to preserve longevity.

For long distance slow burn situations, Damien suggests periodic text messages of interest (factual and flirtatious) to the intended to fan the flames until the slow burn does something at some point. She also gave a lot of great advice about courting out of town ass for the upcoming episode of FemmeCast on courtship. She’s my Trampage hero and is totally going to be coming to a town near you this summer on her Stonewall Femmes Fight Back tour. I’ll update here about it, or you can check out her website.

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Sometimes a Slow Burn happens with an intown date where you’re just waiting for the right timing/life circumstances to bring it back around. Holly and I had a date right before she left town on the Equality Ride and when she came back she’s gotten together with this other girl and I still don’t know what their poly situation is. I’m letting this go on the slow burn and see what happens.

Glenn Marla warned that the danger of the slow burn is that things might fizzle out too soon. Last summer I had a slow burn that definitely died, but it was nice to go on dates and just hang out with someone hot and fun, a little kissing at the end of the night, but I was still far too broken from the end of my relationship to try to ratchet up the passion. And my date at the time was way too shy to ratchet it up himself.

But it is important to remember that anticipation can be an excellent aphrodisiac. Vivia the slow burn!!

2009-07-04

Correspondence: Aqueel or Michael

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:

TO: Bevin
FROM: Aqueel
RE: hi

Hi, Nice profile 🙂

Just wondering, do u ever flirt with men ?
If not, would you ever flirt just for fun ?

Michael

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.

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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.

2009-06-29

New Minisode of FemmeCast Now Available!!

After a brief hiatus, FemmeCast returns with a minisode all about the sweet stuff (or the not so sweet stuff we turn into a good story)!!

Host Bevin Branlandingham is joined by Femme Shark Correspondent Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, hosting live from a road trip journey earlier this Spring.

Miasia tells her favorite story of street harassment, you can find her website and book her bellydancing at Miasia.org
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Bevin relives a drunken adventure in search of an ice cream treat with FemmeCast Sexpert, Rachael, Femme Family NYC Madam of Hospitality Chris and The Gay Dr. Phil.
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Bevin and Leah discuss “cotton candy pink sugar pussy brain” and how you can make it so finding love and good sex doesn’t mean losing yourself, your friendships and values to a content and cow-like existence.

What we’re listening to:

Gravy Train!!!, “All the Sweet Stuff”

Jill Sobule, “San Francisco”

Stay tuned for our next episode, Thinking Big! or A FemmeCast Guide to Courtship, coming soon!

Subscribe via Itunes


Subscribe via RSS

Stream it live in this magic pink widget doohickey or if you have to download it and take it home, right click here and select “save link as”.

Stream it live right here, scroll down in the widget to find Episode 8.5!!

Get this widget!

2009-06-19

The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Starting a Community Group

To: Bevin
From: Someone on Myspace who lives in Idaho
Re: Question

Hi There!

Since the Femme Mafia website is under construction [It’s back up now] I thought this would be the next best place to find what I am look for. I have been reading your blog for a long time and was very impressed as always with your fabulousness and the success of Femme Pride 2009 this last week. This got me thinking about something I have been putting on the back burner for some time and that is starting a chapter of the femme mafia here in good old Boise, Idaho. Your blog post stated that Atlanta was also working as a big sister chapter to help get other chapters throughout the country get started but the link also directed to the under construction page and frankly I’m impatient lol!

A struggle I found in coming out, and recognizing my sexuality and gender identity was that in Idaho I couldn’t seem to find any lesbians who looked like me, dressed liked me, or understood the issues I was experiencing and found important to me. The social circle I run in I adopted from my partner who leans more towards a butch label and I find myself the only femme in a sea of dykes quite frequently. I KNOW THERE HAS TO BE MORE OF US OUT THERE! I was lucky enough to enter the queer blogosphere and find like minded femmes that helped me find my way and realize that just because I suffered from femme invisibility in my home town didn’t mean it had to be that way. A big motive for me is that I want to help extinguish that issue, as well as the other femme stereotypes that have been created for us here.

I guess what I was really wondering is if you could offer any advice on how to get started, a good way to find some femmes and to create an interest in forming a femme community for support, to open discussion and to hopefully create a loud sparkly place in Idaho for us.

Thanks so much for your time!

Hi [Name Omitted]! Thanks for getting in touch!

The first piece of advice I have for you is that community building only requires two or more people with a commonality, who get together to share it. So keep in mind that while you are one, as soon as you start making space for Femmes, they will join you!

I’m really happy to hear that you have found recognition of your Femmeness on the internet. It’s so hard to walk around in LGBT community and feel like you don’t belong. The first time I ever went to Michfest I felt like I was the worst lesbian ever, so alone and isolated because I didn’t know myself or have any language or touchstone to how I presented. In a sea of lesbians I felt like I looked straight. Of course, that was my own massive insecurity talking. There were lots of Femmes running around, I just didn’t know how to see them or identify with them.

The next year at Fest they started the Femme parade and it made all the difference to feeling included, represented and celebrated. Now it’s a huge, yearly event and while Femme isn’t the majority in the mainstream lesbian community, we’re certainly starting to stomp our stilettos and get noticed in lots of unlikely places.

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That’s me at this past year’s Femme Parade with Emma Riot of the Miracle Whips (an LA based a queer femme performance troupe that works to promote models of progressive femininity, to create radical erotic possibilities, and to disrupt conventional notions of sexiness).

The nice part about the internet is that it makes it easier to facilitate community building. I’m a big believer, though, in taking community offline and IRL*. There’s no replacement for the magic that happens when you see yourself (or at least parts of yourself), in person, across a brunch table, in a meeting, at a coffeeshop, wherever you gather. And making that happen, as a community leader, is a gift you give yourself and other people.

You mentioned that pride is this weekend. My suggestion is to pick a meeting place, date and time (public spaces like coffee shops work best, especially for shy newcomers who may not feel confident enough to come to someone’s home) and make a flier. Do it really DIY, on a copier, instead of doing expensive postcards. At big pride events we are inundated with flashy corporate BS** that the homemade 1/4 page copy on hot pink paper will really stand out.

Say something like “Are you interested in starting a Boise chapter of the Femme Mafia? Come to this planning meeting and meet other Femmes!” I would then include the mission statement from the Femme Mafia Atlanta***, which is what Damien and I did when we started the Femme Family in NYC. It gives people an idea of what you’re trying to do and what it can look like. I also strongly advise against using exclusively the term “femme lesbian” because Femme is so much more than that, and the Femme Mafia in particular is inclusive of bisexual, queer, lesbian, dyke, etc… femmes of all genders.

So pass out those fliers, post in craig’s list Women for Women, let other places on the internet frequented by Femmes know about it (the Butch-Femme.com buletin boards are a great spot to find people looking for community). Post it on Facebook and Myspace and have friends of friends tell people. You are absolutely right, there are lots of Femmes out there.

At the meeting, make plans for what people are interested in organizing. Group attendance at events (like drag shows or bar nights) are fabulous and easy to put together. It took us 6 months but the Femme Family did a fabulous coming out party to great effect, and we got to dress exactly as fancy as we wanted to. And our Femme Poker nights (which are Femme only events) are our smallest attended events but perhaps the most meaningful.

My favorite quote about Femme invisibility is from Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s keynote address at the 2008 Femme Conference. “Femmes aren’t invisible. People just don’t know how to look.” Your job, starting a Femme Mafia chapter, is to teach them how to look!

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What you need to know about the Femme Mafia main chapter is that right now it’s being run by Debby alone, who has to get through each chapter application. You can email her at femmemafia at gmail dot com for the application. But it will take a minute, so don’t let that stop you from starting a local Femme group in the meantime!
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Me and some of the various current and former Femme Mafia leaders, L-R Debby, Angela, Rachael, Jen and me.

*In Real Life
**Though, Absolut, Suburu, etc… if you’re reading this I would love your sponsorship for my Pink RV tour. Get in touch, femmecast at gmail dot com.
***In the words of my bestie Rachael:

“At its most basic, the Femme Mafia is a progressive, edgy organization of self-identified femmes open to all genders that seeks to foster connections between femmes, reinforce femme identity and provide members with the occasion to bask in their own fierce fabulousness and the fabulousness of others. In a larger sense, it provides us with a sense of community, a forum for the examination of our identities, of how each of us fits in the community at large and of how we femmes as a group can make a place for ourselves. The organization also does a lot to counter the many misconceptions and preconceived notions about what a femme is and what a femme does and to show none of those assumptions are true all the time. Being at a Femme Mafia event and seeing Femme reflect back at you in so many different forms can be a challenging and transformative experience. It can also be addictive. I find that Femmes are hungry for it, and so am I. For me, Femme is an umbrella under which we find solace, and not an exclusionary or restrictive predetermined formula. Femme Mafia is reinforcement, it’s challenging, it’s celebration, it’s discussion and it’s fucking fun.”

If anyone reading this is in Boise and wants to be put in touch for organizing purposes, comment here and I’ll send your info along!

2009-05-26

What’s the Fattest thing you’ve done today?

Right now I’m on Gaycation with my Bestie Rachael (The founder of Femme Mafia International and FemmeCast’s Sexpert), which basically means I get a cheap flight to Atlanta and come live down here for a few days, going to parties and living life cheaper than in the Big Apple. Plus I love the South with a great passion.

One of the nicest things about Atlanta is that socializing is fundamentally different. I find in NYC we’re all so busy and it takes so long to get from one part of one borough to another that we tend to meet one another at events and restaurants instead of loafing around in our apartments being casual and relaxed. Plus our apartments are pretty small. In Atlanta they have big houses that cost less to rent per month than my 2 bedroom apartment.

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Me, Rachael and our friend Angela during a dirty south bar crawl (through all the dirtiest gay bars in Atlanta).

Since I don’t have TV at my house, I binge on BS tv when I’m gaycationing with Rachael, cozied up in her king size bed. Last time I was here she introduced me to the Real Housewives of Atlanta*. This time I discovered the magic of the BBC documentary Should I Smoke Dope? It is hysterical watching this reporter get high for thirty days and try to record it for posterity. “I don’t want to eat the crisps but then I wake up and I’ve had four bags and a chocolate cake!”

Part of the joy of not watching TV regularly is not being exposed to commercials, and especially diet commercials. I have now seen this new Weight Watchers ad campaign** about Hunger as a cute fuzzy monster plush doll. It’s as though Hunger is a Muppet. He even tap dances like he’s on a vaudeville stage.

The concept of the commercials is that these women (and only women) ignore/defeat their Hunger, despite the fact that he’s hella cute and chilling in the vending machine at work. However, I think Hunger is totally awesome and I want to take him with me everywhere and make sure he gets chorizo when he needs it.

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I introduced the concept of the fattest thing you did all day in FemmeCast episode 3.5. In brief, last summer Glenn Marla came up with the brilliant idea that fat people (and fat allies) should start cataloging the fattest thing they do every day***. It’s a great way to train yourself to relearn fat as a good, positive and fun thing instead of the mean, crappy word it usually is. I also like to use humor to gain some power/control over oppression and it’s fun to joke about oppression with your other fat and fat ally friends.

The fattest thing I did today was try to go into a Weight Watchers (clinic? meeting space? storefront? what are they called in strip malls?) so that I could see if they had Hunger plush dolls. They did, but they weren’t open, sadly. I totally want to have one to bring with me to restaurants and take photos with, doing lots of creative things with Hunger. And also maybe have one with a squeaker inside for Macy, my Shih Tzu, to play with.

Not that I’m saying hunger is a good thing, I’m just much more likely to want to have fun with it in order to make fun of the diet industry. I think instead of trying to fight hunger, you should try listening to your body and what kind of information your hunger is giving you. And let it give you a good show when it is tap dancing.

*My favorite quote from that series is “Have you ever seen such beautiful feet on a man? I am fifty years old, have you EVER seen such beautiful feet on a man??” That series is delightful.

**I also really like the F-Word write-up about the Hunger campaign and Janeane Garafalo’s schilling WW.

***This also works with other identities. To celebrate queer femme identity, I like to have all of the Femme Family Madams do a go around before each meeting answering the question “What’s the Femmest thing you’ve done today?” Today Madam of Southern Glam, Amanda, tweeted “femmest thing i did today: use a power sander on my newly purchased antique makeup vanity.” That’s my favorite answer so far.

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