(In Honor of Friday the 13th) 13 Things that Suck About Being Butch:
1. Those shoes you love? Yeah, they only come as small as a size 7.
2. Those women in the public bathroom who stare at you like they’ve just seen Whitie Bulger peeing next to them.
3. Your mother constantly adding the word “actually” to every compliment– “I ACTUALLY really like that jacket”– as if she’s shocked your diversion from gender binaries could ACTUALLY look good.
4. Any and all straight girls who ask you where all the “cute lesbians are.” (Hello, I’m standing right here, dummy).
5. Online dating. Okay, so this sucks for most people. But admit it, every time a hot girl’s profile says “I only like femmes,” a little part of you dies.
6. Shopping. You have hips. And boobs. And if a shirt fits you around those, it probably won’t anywhere else.
7. Anyone who tells you “you’d look great if you grew your hair out/put on some makeup/wore a dress.”
8. The random asshole who feels the need to comment on your attire (ie “Nice tie.” Thanks for the clever, bigoted back handed compliment, dick hole.)
9. Getting mistaken for a teenage boy. Yeah, it’s been a while since this has happened to me, but when I was student teaching in college, a faculty member at the middle school I was working at actually took me for one of his young, male students. The male part didn’t bother me as much as the adolescent part, I think. Still, I could get rich from all the times I’ve inadvertently impersonated Justin Bieber.
10. Being called “sir.” So, this one isn’t really fair. I mean, what else do we expect when we dress in men’s clothing, have short hair, etc. It bothers me less now than it used to. But sometimes it still makes me squirm.
11. Those who get butch and transgender horribly skewed. Yes, I wear men’s clothing. Yes, I have short hair. No, I do not want top surgery. No, I do not think I am a man. Please stop reminding me of such. Thanks.
12. Interviews. Fuck my life, interviews are horrible when you’re a butch. I remember interviewing for PA school, and actually waking up in a cold sweat because of this. On the one hand, the fact of the matter is some people will judge you on your clothes. And if I happened to get paired up with a conservative, homophobic interviewer, this could easily have been the end of my dreams. On the other hand… no one wants to accept or hire someone who’s clearly ragingly uncomfortable in their own skin. I went out and bought a women’s pant suit, but actually ended up wearing my favorite men’s suit from Zara, finally concluding that I didn’t want to go to a school that refused me based on my clothes. Fortunately, I was accepted to a super-liberal, homo-loving school, and I’m pretty sure my extremely well tailored men’s suit sealed the deal. Lesson? Be yourself. Still, that doesn’t help alleviate the anxiety I feel when I have to dress for a meeting/funeral/wedding/etc and don’t know my audience. In summary… SUCK.
13. But the reality is… BEING BUTCH IS AWESOME. It’s awesome because it’s who we are. And all those other 12 things are insignificant inconveniences compared to not being yourself. Besides… we could be living twenty or thirty years ago, where our lives were at risk for being out. For every size 7 shoe out there that doesn’t fit, there’s a European brand who’s making tinier versions for men and butches of smaller stature. For every hot femme who says she’s only into long haired, leggy blonds, there are at least two more who find your butch swagger and dude-button-downs ridiculously sexy. For every time your mom says you “actually” look good, I bet she also says she wouldn’t want you any other way. And for every time someone makes a snide comment about your tie, there are ten people who tell you how fucking dapper you are.
Just a reminder on this traditionally cursed day of Friday the 13th AND a full moon– keep your heads high, friends. We’re alright.