Author: thedaprbutch

Why You NEED to Subscribe to Birchbox Man

We all have those pesky automatic withdrawls that come out of our checking accounts every month. For me, it was my Planet Fitness membership that hadn’t been used in literally years (don’t worry, I finally canceled it). But there’s one deduction that still gives me butterflies when I see it on my bank statement– my Birchbox Man subscription.

For those of you who think Birchbox is only for lady-ladies, I’m here to tell you how horribly wrong you are. For those of you who have no freakin’ close what Birchbox is until now (like me, before I started dating Jess, who had the women’s subscription), prepare to have your minds blown.

Birchbox works kind of like a magazine subscription. Every month, a small fee is taken out of your account, and you recieve your box in the mail. The original Birchbox is for “women” (quotes intended, as obviously I am not comforming to BB’s gender binaries). It’s $10 a month, and doesn’t offer quite as much as the “men’s” box. Jess used to get it, and it usually included some small samples, and a bottle of nail polish or a headband or some femme crap like that (no offense, femmes… we love you). If you aren’t into that, I highly suggest the Birchbox Man subscription.

For $20 a month, you get what usually turns out to be a KILLER box filled with sample sized products for skin and hair, gadgets, and style items to make you look extra dapper. Their whole MO is to clean “men” up.

This month’s box came with a Nick Graham tie ($49):


I know, I hadn’t heard of him either. But that’s the awesome part about BB. They’re always onto the newest trends and tools. This is a tie I’d probably never buy on my own– but I will absolutely wear it now that BB has 1. given it to me for free (who doesn’t love free stuff?) and 2. shown me how to “mix it up” (as was the theme of the March box).

Another favorite came in last month’s box. The theme was “gentleman’s code.” I received this great cap from the Knottery, which I admittedly was on the fence about. It says “Mr” on it. The debate should be pretty obvious. I didn’t want people to mistakenly think I was mocking the trans community in any way, shape, or form by being an identified female and wearing a cap that says “Mr.” Ultimately, I decided that I am kind of a mister. I hold doors. I always let the lady order first. “Mr” sort of fits. I wore it through most of the eastern Caribbean and to the Bahamas. I rocked it. And no one neither mistook for a man, or some sort of trans-hating biggot.


The skin and hair products have also been invaluable. I’ve gotten a chance to try samples of $120 moisturizer I would never in a million years buy (let’s be realistic here… I’m not Jordan Belfort). I even actually bought the full sized versions of the Cartier cologne from my first box, and the Ernest Supplies soap-free face wash and moisturizers ($43 for both). You also will now have a bathroom stocked full of… get this… TRAVEL SIZES of just about every kind of hair wax, skin cream, chap stick and cologne known to man (or butch).

Here’s another kicker– if you buy the products from, you get points for every dollar you spend. You can also get free points from writing product reviews. Eventually, those points add up, and you get… MORE FREE STUFF! No, I don’t work for Birchbox Man… Although I bet that’d be a really cool job… I just love their stuff. It’s like Christmas every month when I see that my box has shipped.

I only have a couple of beefs here… Small ones… Not even a half a cow… First of all, I’m not a big fan of the way the marketing is geared toward, well, men. I get it. It’s supposed to be Birchbox MAN. Not Birchbox Butch, or Birchbox More-Masculine-Than-Feminine-Identified-Women… But still, I admit I feel just a little uncomfortable when the sneak peek videos and emails are all referring to “men” and “guys” and “dudes.” It can be just a tad frat-boy at times. That being said, I have noticed a handful of women who subscribe to BBM (and not just those who are speaking for their boyfriends) on the message boards. I don’t necessarily have a suggestion to change this… I’m just sayin.

Second beef— I get a LOT of shaving products. I thought this was just me, but my bro B said the same thing. I think this has something to do with the online profile you fill out when you subscribe so they can better tailor their choices to you. One of the questions asks about facial hair… the answer to which was obviously “clean shaven” (again, it’s not exactly queer friendly, since neither “full beard” or “slightly scruffy” was not a reasonable selection either). My girl has been known to use the shaving creams on her legs. And I’ve done it too. But still, I really think they go a little overboard.

BBM’s slogan is “get more handsome for $20 a month.” And it’s true. In my boxes in the past year (oh hey! I just realized this is my one year anniversary with BBM!!!awwww!), I’ve received some gorgeous designer dress socks, a wool beanie I wear all winter, a pair of foldable sunglasses, things like collar stiffs and cuff links, and a whole mess of other awesome products. I am also never short on face wash, body wash, and moisturizer that doesn’t smell like a Victoria Secret model.

Go to and sign up. It’ll be the most important $20 you’ll spend this month (unless you donate to the Red Cross, HRC, Planned Parenthood, ASPCA, or any other human/animal/charitable organizations…then you’re a really great person and you’ve earned this).

Olivia Vacations- Pay More, Feel Free

If you’re a lesbian over the age of 35, chances are you’re quite familiar with the travel company Olivia.  For all you baby dykes out there who haven’t heard of Judy Dlugacz and her nearly 40 years as fearless leader of this amazing organization, I’m here to tell you why you never want to travel with any other company. Ever.


*Jess and I, along with her mom and her mom’s partner, were lucky enough to attend Olivia’s Equality and Leadership Cruise to the eastern Carribean at the beginning of the month. Don’t be put off by the title. When we first heard, we had terrible flashbacks of college English class. Jess even asked if we’d be required to take any tests at the end. We wanted to lay out in the sun and drink mojitos by the pool, not listen to a bunch of speakers tell us how the world was changing. But boy was our world rocked…

Olivia wrangled together the A list stars of LGBT equality, and somehow convinced them to set sail with us. Get ready for this list…

-Our hero, and personal DOMA destroyer, Edie Windsor


-Dr. Maya Angelou (not a lesbian, but always a feminist)

-the Indigo Girls (I know, right???)


And a whole slew of commedians (including Suzanne Westenhoeffer), and strong, amazing women who stood up for our rights and won.

Okay, so maybe we could take a tiny break from getting our base tan on and listen to what these ladies had to offer… (sarcasm intended).

The stories of courage from these women were literally enough to turn you into a blubbering baby. And don’t even get me started on the screening of Edie Windor’s documentary “Edie and Thea; a Very Long Engagement”– you’ve never seen so many butches in tears. And I will never forget hearing Edie advise us all to “keep it hot.”

The Indigo Girls blew my freakin mind. My mother, though certainly not a lesbian, used to play Swap Ophelia every day in the car when we were kids. I grew up on Emily and Amy. To be 28 years old and finally see them live, in such an intimate venue, was kind of a gay girl’s dream come true. Also, on a side note, Amy Ray still has some serious swag.

Obviously, the leadership and sheer estrogen power on this boat was beyond unbelievable. I could have gone my entire life and not been surrounded by so much good in the world. But then, there was the unscheduled stuff…. Don’t underestimate the healing that comes from being at sea with 2,000 other lesbians. Sure, it’s 2014. DOMA is dog meat. Our President is the first to actually speak out for LGBT rights. Hell, even Arizona didn’t succumb to the right wing hate propoganda being thrown at it. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t all seriously benefit from the insane sense of community that comes from a vacation of only women.


The destinations were spot on– Grand Turk, St. John, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Holland America’s personal island Half Moon Cay. But the real highlights for me were on the boat itself. The Holland America crew provided some of the best service I’ve ever experienced… EVER. As I said to Jess, if any one of them were at all hesitant about serving a ship full of queers for a week, you’d never know it. Every single crew member, from the Captain down to the house keepers, were always on. There wasn’t a sour face among them– and that’s saying A LOT considering there were hundreds of staffers on the MS Westerdam. On our very last night, Holland America’s Cruise Director (not at all affiliated with Olivia, or in need of supporting LGBT rights) got on the mic and announced how honored he was to be in the presence of so many strong and corageous women. I teared up…For like… the tenth time that week.

I credit Holland America for their exemplary treatment of the LGBT community. Not once did I feel judged, or different– which is sort of the point of an Olivia vacation, after all. And I even went the entire week without being called “sir,” as did many of my butchier travel counterparts. But I also have to give the biggest props of all to Judy, and the Olivia company. It was very clear from the beginning that these guys (er… ladies?) are pros at selecting vacation destinations that are not only accomodating and friendly, but are also embracing of LGBTs and allies. I can’t emphasize this enough. Anyone who’s ever been on a trip to a city or town where they felt discriminated against can understand. Many of the women on this trip were from the midwest, or the south, or even other countries where they are not allowed to be openly gay. An Olivia vacation is their one week to be completely open and out with who they are. I can’t think of anything more valuable than that.


Here’s the bottom line:

You can go on a Carnival cruise for $500, and spend your week with a bunch of families from East Bumfuck, Texas, who may or may not stare at you and your partner like you’re Jack Sparrow and his band of dirty pirates. Or, you can spend a small fortune (let’s be honest, Olivia isn’t cheap), and get a vacation where you are guarenteed not only your safety and acceptance, but also the rare oppertunity to network, bond, and grow with 2,000 plus other lesbians. Not to mention the incredible guests, events, and oppertunities you’d never get on a run of the mill Travelocity excursion. Olivia’s slogan is “feel free.” And (remember, this is coming from a beyond poor graduate student) it is worth every shiny penny to be somewhere for seven days where you can do exactly that.

Make Her Breakfast!- The Dapper Butcher

The Dapper Butcher (All About Food): Make Her Breakfast

A butch needs to know how to keep it right and keep in tight. In her style, in the bedroom, and in the most important place of all; the kitchen. Take the Dapper Butch’s advice on this one, the way to her heart is by making her breakfast.


1. Coffee

Nothing beats a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning. On a busy weekday, I’ll admit to drinking the shitty coffee-flavored water known as a K-Cup. But on a sleepy Saturday morning, take the extra time to make her a strong cup of the good stuff. I’m a big fan of Bodum kettle, and since accessories should always be coordinated, I like the matching French press too.

bodum bodum2

Bodum Hot Water Kettle and French Press

In the summertime, I’m obsessed with cold brewed coffee. Just let the coffee grounds steep in cold water overnight, strain it, and drink!  It’s so easy to make that you can keep this cold brew flowing all summer long.


Improvised kitchen tools!

Check out this how-to guide

2. Fruit

Fruit is sexy. Sliced apples may make you feel like you’re giving her a kindergarten snack, but there is nothing juvenile about a beautiful bowl of raspberries, figs, and passion fruit. Next time you are at the grocery store, pick out interesting produce. My trick is to cut everything up. It makes it less messy. I love berries for that reason. Messy food is not sexy, so always make sure your dishes are set up to be easy to eat. Fruit is also colorful, which helps liven up any dish. Tan toast with tan coffee on a tan plate is like….Zzzz. So add some color and brightness by putting your fruit pieces into small colorful bowls, give a squeeze of fresh lime juice and serve!


3. Pancakes

To really impress her, make pancakes from scratch. Stay away from the powdered garbage where you just add water. I never quite understood why those mixes are popular. Nothing could be easier! Are you sensing a pattern here? Easy and effortless are as key in your outfit as the kitchen. With a few simple steps, you’ll convince her that you’ve turned your bedroom into your very own Vermont B&B. All you need is good quality simple ingredients. Some flour, milk, eggs and a few other pantry staples (see recipe below) and you’re good! Top it with softened butter and good quality maple syrup.


Good Old Fashioned Pancakes


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Sneak Peek- “Same Time Next Week”

Hey, Readers! I wanted to present you all with a little look at my next book I’m working on, Same Time Next Week. It follows a young attorney as she struggles in her marriage, and finding love with someone else. Please give it a read and let me know what you think!




I’m a cliche, sitting in a coffee shop surrounded by dykes, reading stories from The Best Lesbian Romance, still in tattered paperback while I’m immersed in a sea of e-readers and computers. The women here are all cooler than me, each emanating their own sort of hipster vibe, complete with thick rimmed glasses and wool caps that have nothing to do with the warm spring air outside. Cooler, yes. And at almost thirty, they also seem to be about a century younger than I am as well. I haven’t been here since I broke up with Tory– also known as the most insignificant relationship in the history of the lesbian world. And not since Bella and I have been married, either.
Married. What a ridiculous concept. I didn’t feel married. No. I still felt very much the same twenty-three year old bachelor, breaking hearts left and right when I was bored, or ready to move on to the next endeavor. And yet, I’m not breaking hearts anymore. At least not yet.
What I remember most about my wedding to Bella is the heat. Ninety-five degrees on the shores of the gay-mecca of Provincetown, and the sea breeze was doing absolutely nothing to relieve the film of sweat forming under my white dress shirt. I waited with my “groomsmen,” a bunch of butches dressed in black Dockers, trying to keep my heart rate from taking off. And, as I stood in front of Bella, all of my focus went into staying conscious. Your wedding day should be about fantasy and romance and happily-ever-after. Mine was always, has always been, about happily-enough, for as long as I can stand it.
But it’s getting harder and harder to stand it. I’m getting restless, and at a rate much faster than I’d planed. When I proposed, on Christmas Day, Bella and I had only been dating for about eight months. Her mother, who loved me, was thrilled that I’d decided to settle down, and picked her daughter. Her father, a rough and tumble blue collar type, had his share of reservations. But when I broke out the tiny, half carrot ring, and she said yes, and I cried, none of that mattered. I cried big, sloppy tears. Tears that seemed to say “you’re doing the right thing, Alex.” Tears don’t mean shit.
I’m three pages deep into a story about a carpenter who seduces a single mother, when she walks in. She’s tall, with long, flowing chestnut hair that bounces against her back as she makes her way towards the table for two I’m occupying.
“Do you mind?” she asks, plainly, gesturing to the empty seat across from me. “It’s pretty full in here.”
“Of course not,” I reply, and stare at her for at least thirty awkward seconds before she eyes the cover of my open book. “I’m a lawyer,” I say, defensively, as if that should somehow excuse the pleasure reading on my table.
“I’m Michelle.”
When I interviewed for law school, almost seven years ago now, the Dean of the University asked me to tell him about the moment I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. I gave some practiced answer about legal injustice in Syria I’d loosely based on a Dateline episode, but the truth of it was, there was no moment. Life is so rarely defined in single days or events we can pinpoint– those aha moments that are supposed to change everything. But that day… The day I met Michelle… That was one of them.
I found myself back in the town’s dyke-run coffee shop for the second time that week. It was Saturday, and I’d told my wife, Bella, I needed to get some work done on a case involving an old lady who slipped on some Red Bull in a Walmart. If I didn’t, I told her, I’d never make partner. We both knew the only partnership I’d be making anytime soon was the one I formed with the barista at the Starbucks who filled the office coffee orders for me. Besides, this place was full of loud, teenage (well, teenage to me) hipster lesbians who chatted wildly about dates and parties and feminism while they sipped mochaccinos by the pool tables. I didn’t know exactly what I was doing there again. But working on Eleanor Cohen’s Red Bull case certainly wasn’t it.
I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about the girl from earlier in the week. It was true, it definitely wasn’t the first time I’d occupied myself by thinking about the way someone else’s hips swung or lips moved. More often than I liked to admit, those were the things that got me through my marriage. But this one, Michelle, she stayed with me, offering more than just a momentary distraction from my blistering relationship.
Michelle walked in at 2:15pm, wearing a flowing purple blouse that I couldn’t help but notice fell just below the top of her breasts. A wool pencil skirt hugged her curvy hips and straight waste, and a pair of black pumps made her even taller than the last time I’d seen her. The last time I’d seen her, which was really also the first time I’d seen her. She must have caught my stare, because she offered a small smile and made her way through the crowd and towards my table for two.
“No book today?” she teased me, pulling out the mismatched red chair across from me.
“Not today,” I said with a smile, hoping to regain just a modicum of the charisma I knew I had only a few years ago. A few years ago, I could charm my way into just about anyone’s pants. I had all the right lines, the right moves. Then again, I was also a complete jackass. I guess I’d traded some of my machismo in for just a hint of chivalry. “I’m working today.”
“Working on a Saturday?” Without asking, she grabbed the manilla folder in front of me marked “confidential” and opened it.
“That’s um…”
“Confidential? Yes, I can read too.” She peaked over the folder at me, her eyes bright and confident, and something inside of me woke up.
I went back on Tuesday, biking the four blocks from the firm in the hopes of running into her again.
Michelle was later than she had been on Saturday, and I looked for her every minute after 2:15, as if her stylish, Banana Republic attire had to mean she was the kind of girl to keep a strict coffee schedule. What made me think she’d even be back? Hell, even I could count the number of times I’d been there on one hand. For all I knew about her, she was an out-of-towner, visiting a sister or cousin, accidentally stumbling on the gayest Northwood establishment in search of a decent cup of coffee. Stupid. And what would I do if she did come back, anyway? The ring on my left hand was the heavy anchor that kept me from going too far to sea. Maybe I was just lonely.
I was already halfway through my designated lunch break, chewing mindlessly at the last bite of my bagel as I stared at the door, when she finally entered. This time, she was draped in hospital scrubs, a purple stethoscope swinging from her neck.
I fought the almost visceral urge to jump out of my seat and wave like an idiot, but she was already making her way to me.
“You aren’t going to pull my chair out for me? Huh. I took you for a gentleman,” she said, sitting down next to me.
“Oh Alex. You know you’re awfully cute when you’re nervous.”
Flirting– for the last few years, I wasn’t even sure I’d have recognized it, never mind known what to do with it. But there it was. As blatant as the dumbfounded grin that took over my face when she said my name. For 28 years, I’d been Alex, or Al, or Allie Wallie (that one was Mom and her Bridge buddies), but never once had I heard my name quite like that. When Michelle used it, especially that first time, it was like hearing a new language. One reserved only for me. One that made my cheeks burn and my palms sweat.
“So, you’re a lawyer?” Okay, let’s see if the third attempt to answer her is a charm.
“Yes. Well… technically.”
“Meaning,” I started, regaining some version of the confidence that usually came readily to me, “I’m sort of a paralegal right now. I passed the bar and everything. But the job market…”
“Don’t worry about it. I have a friend who passed the bar and is selling perfume at Macy’s. You’re young. Plenty of time.”
“How young do you think I am?” I asked.
“Young enough that it’s completely acceptable you’re still doing sandwich runs for middle aged men with comb-overs.” She flashed her beautiful, white teeth at me. Bella’s teeth were always a little crooked. “But old enough to be married.” She ran her thumb across the gold wedding band on my hand. The anchor.
“Debatable,” I mumbled.
My marriage was not something I usually enjoyed discussing with complete strangers. Or at all, actually. Even if they did make a pair of scrub pants look like a patient’s wet dream.
“Oh please. You butch lesbians are all alike. Can’t commit even when there’s a ring on your finger.”
“That’s an awful big generalization to make, seeing as you hardly know me.” But there was nothing cold in my tone.
“Do you love her?” Even her tactlessness was sort of adorable.
“I married her, didn’t I?”
“That’s not an answer.”
“Bell? I’m home.” Our dreary apartment was exactly that; dreary. Three days worth of dirty dishes were stacked in and around the kitchen sink, so many you wouldn’t believe it was just the two of us there. The overhead light fixture was too dim, several of the bulbs needing to be replaced. The tiled floor had collected more than a few weeks worth of dirt and dust balls. And a clutter of unopened junk mail and empty cereal boxes took over the counter.
Jed, Bella’s Maine coone, met me at the door like he did every day, purring and rubbing his massive frame against my shins.
“Hey Big Guy.” I reached down to scratch the spot right at the base of his tail he loved so much.
“Hi.” Bella emerged from the bedroom, dressed in the same oversized UCLA sweatshirt, my UCLA sweatshirt, and yoga pants she always wore, looking very much like every day of my life. There were so many nights like this. So many evenings where I came through that same door, into that same dreary kitchen, with the same overweight cat rubbing against my shins, and the same wife, in the same UCLA sweatshirt. Three years into married-life, and everything was the same.
“Hey.” She walked casually to me and put her arms around my neck. I could smell her perfume. It was the same perfume she’d worn for the last four years. It was the same perfume that set me on fire when we first got together. I don’t remember a lot of depth or substance with Bella in the beginning. But there was a lot of heat. More than once, we had to sneak off to a bathroom or a dark corner just to get at each other. But that didn’t last long either. It became the same perfume that, a year in, comforted me, offering me solace and friendship and a rock to rest on when I couldn’t stand on my own. And It was the same perfume, now, that made me cringe, just slightly, a reminder of slowly being crushed under the weight of my own choices.
“What do you want for dinner?” I obliged her by putting my hands on her hips, but the fact was, it had been a long time since touching Bella had felt good.
“I’ll put together some tacos.” I was no cook. That was for sure. All throughout college, I’d survived on the University dining hall, the late-night frozen yogurt stand down the street, and whatever girl I was dating that was somehow able, and willing, to feed me. My wife, however, was not one of those girls. Her culinary expertise fell somewhere between boxed macaroni and cheese and scrambled eggs, and more often than not, we found ourselves eating whatever leftovers she brought back from the bar the night before.
Three years ago, when I slipped that chintzy wedding band on Bella’s left hand, I didn’t know what married life would look like. I knew there would be a lot to learn. What I never imagined, though, was feeling so much like a couple of kids playing house.

On Saturday, I biked down Lincoln, the spring thaw biting my nose. Michelle was already inside, sitting at the counter this time. A pair of black reading glasses, not altogether different from the cafe hipsters around us, rested on her nose as she typed furiously on a laptop in front of her.
“Is this seat taken?” I asked quietly, edging closer to her, but never touching.
“You’re so cheesy.” Michelle looked up from her work, her perfect cheek bones just slightly more pink than I’d seen before. She pulled out the stool next to her and I sat down.
“If you’re busy, I can…”
“No,” she said, jumping and grabbing my arm. “Stay. Please.”
I ordered a small, black coffee, and a bagel with jam from the blonde, spiky-haired girl behind the counter, and took out Eleanor’s case file.
“Still working on that Red Bull case?” Michelle asked.
“Yeah. Right now I’m going through all the slip and fall data from every Walmart in the county in the last three years. Invigorating.” I liked that she asked about my work. Bella never seemed to take much interest in what happened during my day. Of course, I guess now, that could be seen as some sort of sick advantage. “What about you? What are you working on?”
Michelle silently turned her laptop screen, revealing a beautiful image of a park with the words “Save Our Green Space” scrawled on top.
“But on Tuesday you were here in scrubs…” I said, the confusion surely evident on my face.
“This is my part time gig. I work for the county parks department, saving the world one tree at a time.”
“And your other gig?” She smiled with her full lips that wore red when she wasn’t coming from whatever her day job was.
“Nurse. I work over at Northwood Hospital. In the Emergency Room.”
“So you’re like… some kind of superhero then?” She chuckled, and I swore I saw the red rise across her smooth, white skin.
“Something like that.”
“Impressive,” I said, meaning it.
Bella was younger than me, which, I guess, in some obscure way, made it acceptable for her to be a bartender with little to no ambition to be more. For almost four years, I’d told myself this was fine. She was just figuring out what she wanted. Anyway, who was I to judge, besides a pencil pusher and latte retriever for Watson, Johnson and Smith? But as Michelle talked about her work– her passion for saving her patients, or saving the planet– it became harder to deny that these things that I once told myself didn’t matter…well, they did.
Michelle and I met like this twice a week for a month, eventually giving up the facade of just “bumping into one another.” It had become intentional. Incredibly intentional, really. At least on my end. I lay awake at night next to Bella’s ignorant snoring, imagining what Michelle’s lips would feel like against mine. I fantasized about faint lip gloss and light musky perfume and handfuls of her silky blouses in my hands. A month of over-caffeinated conversation, and I still didn’t even know if Michelle had a girlfriend. Or worse, a boyfriend, maybe? But the way she looked at me told me she probably didn’t.
These coffee dates (which I could neither reasonably nor morally call “dates”), with this girl, this stranger, were breathing life into something I didn’t know was dead. They were breathing life into me. Until I was waking up in the morning thinking about her, and going to bed counting down the days until Tuesday, or Saturday, when I would walk into the cafe and not-so-accidentally find her sitting at the counter, reading a weathered copy of JD Salinger, or a borrowed Michael Crichton novel, depending on the mood she was in. I quickly found myself, only somewhat inadvertently, memorizing her routine; Tuesdays meant scrubs from the end of an early morning shift, and an extra large Columbian roast with one Splenda. Saturdays always brought out those Coke bottle reading glasses and an earl gray tea.
Bella and I had been married for three years, and I still couldn’t tell you how she took her coffee.
“Tell me about your wife,” Michelle asked on another long Tuesday lunch break.
“My wife? But why?”
“I want to know what kind of woman it took to lock you down.” She reached out and touched my wedding band again.
I didn’t know her well. After all, how much can you know about somebody you only share a latte with twice a week? But something told me Michelle was not shy. Ambitious, warm-hearted, yes. Shy? Not a chance in hell. And when she touched me like that, offered me little tokens of affection that really couldn’t be taken as much more than that, I had to wonder if she was like this with others– if a particularly outgoing persona was often mistaken for purposeful flirtation– or if she was really interested in me. Then I’d quietly remind myself it didn’t matter how interested Michelle was. I was married. Maybe if I kept repeating it, it’d mean something.
“She’s 25. She tends bar at the Applebees down the street. She’s…” I froze. Was I that incapable of finding a few nice things to say about Bella?
“Glowing review,” Michelle teased me. “How long have you been married?”
“About three years now.”
“Three blissful years, I see?” She loved poking fun at me. I was almost certain she was getting some kind of thrill from the color draining out of my face.
“Marriage is hard,” I replied matter-of-factly.
It was hard. Much fucking harder than anyone ever tells you. When I told my parents that I was getting married, my mother’s words to me were “divorce is expensive, Alex.” Pearls of wisdom coming from the woman with four husbands. I’ll never make your mistakes, I’d grumble to myself. But I was about to marry someone for mostly the wrong reasons. I was already making her mistakes.
“Do you regret it?” She asked. I thought about staying the course of denial. But something in the candid way Michelle looked at me told me I didn’t have to.
“Sometimes.” I thought about Bella– about my wife.
I thought about how, when I was 25 myself, she was going to be enough for me. Our life was going to be enough for me. We were best friends for years before we got together. Or, rather, she was my best friend. I was the object of her undying affection.
We were introduced through my cousin without any real intent, on a weekend at the end of the summer I graduated from law school. She was young (although, so was I back then), and full of that adventurous breath that made you feel like you were absolutely missing out on something she was in on. Bella was down for anything, and never up before noon. She long boarded down Main Street in her bra and panties, with only a little help from a few Coors, still hung out with the kids who would have made fun of me in high school, and never, for a second, seemed to doubt she could do anything. I was a magna cum laude UCLA graduate, living in her parents’ attic for the summer, studying for the Bar and going to bed after Letterman. In a matter of a weekend, Bella made me feel the way 23 year olds were supposed to feel. And, by the end of the weekend, when she hurled herself at me for a dorm-room-hookup-worthy kiss, she made me feel wanted, too. Bella took no mind to the fact I was still in a year long relationship with a girl back in California. But that was college. And everything was changing, anyway.

A month of talking about the theatre, and the most recent exhibit at the city museum, and the rose garden in the park she took care of, and Michelle had morphed into everything I’d ever known I wanted in a girl, but was too afraid to ask for. She felt it too. I knew it when she’d lightly touch my arm or brush by me to get to her seat at the counter. I knew it when she started getting to the cafe early, with my bagel and jam and black coffee waiting for me. I knew it when she stopped asking about Bella.
It was just coffee, though. A little detour from the drudgery of my marriage. Somehow, it had become enough to sustain me.
“It’s getting late. I should head out,” I said, and sighed. It was Saturday. Spring was in full bloom in Rhode Island and everything felt a little easier. I brought my dirty plate to the buckets in the front of the cafe, and returned back to grab my coat.
“Me too.” Michelle got up from her chair, carefully wrapped a purple, silk scarf around her neck, and leaned in as if to hug me. I did the same, though much faster, bumping her forehead with mine in a freakishly middle-school snafu. “Sorry I…”
“No, that one’s on me.” We smiled shyly and walked out the door, together, into the warm afternoon.
It normally took seventeen minutes to bike home, but I took my time riding down the winding streets, reveling in the feeling of the breeze against my skin. The light rain pelted my face as I rode.
“Have you been at the coffee shop this whole time?” Bella quietly questioned as I opened the front door to our apartment and attempted to brush the wet from my denim coat. I pulled the Red Sox cap off my head, never bothering to look at her.
“Doing what?”
“You know what. I was working,” I replied simply.
“The whole time?”
“Yes, Bell. The whole time.”
She came in to kiss me, and I returned the motion. “Well, I’m glad you’re home. I have to leave for the bar in an hour. I’ve missed you.”
“I’m going to order a pizza for dinner. Sound okay?”
Bella ran off to shower and get ready for work, and I was alone again, relieved by the reprieve. I called in for delivery, searching my coat pockets for my credit card with the phone wedged between my chin and my shoulder. I didn’t find the credit card. But I did find a fresh piece of stiff paper tucked in next to my keys.

Michelle M Masters
Rhode Island Parks Commission
Fundraising Director- 555-2495

“Hello? Ma’am? What can I get you?”
“Your pizza? What would you like?”
“Oh God, I’m sorry. Uh, just a pepperoni please.”

I turned the card over, the phone still crammed against my ear, not sure what I was looking for.

Six weeks of coffees, I think you owe me a phone call- M

My heart caught in my throat.

“The address?”
“The what?”
“The delivery address, ma’am. We have to have to address to bring you your pizza.”
“Oh, right. Of course you do. 132 Brooks Ave. Northwood. Thanks.”

I hung up the phone, still holding the business card in a trembling hand.
Thirty minutes later, Marco’s dropped off our pizza, and Bella and I ate in front of the TV, like we did every night. We’d never once had dinner at our dining room table, without the distraction of a Bruins game, or a Simpson’s rerun. Never once. The conversation was always easy. Surface stuff that never delved into politics or philosophy or our dreams or failures. I already felt connected to Michelle on a level I never did to Bella. And that terrified the hell out of me.
“Okay, baby, I have to take off.” Relief swam through me as Bella stood from the couch and moved to the door, leaving her empty plate and half-cup of Pepsi on the table.
“Have a good shift.” I rose, offered her a quick embrace about as heart felt as the pizza crust on her plate, and she left.
I held Michelle’s card for a long time, rubbing it between my thumb and index fingers so long some of the ink began to smudge. My knee bounced up and down, and I stared worthlessly at my cell phone sitting in front of me. Jed, who was perched on the arm of the sofa, looked up at me from his tenth nap that day and glared.
“What? It’s just a phone call!” In disbelief, Jed blinked his eyes, and went back to sleep.
I picked up the phone, slowly and deliberately punching in each of Michelle’s numbers until I reached the last one. I hit the final digit like I was crossing over a land mine that threatened to blow me to tiny pieces at any sign of adultery.
It was ringing.
“Took you longer than I thought.” Her smooth, warm voice came through almost as clear over the phone as it did over coffee.
“It’s only been like,” I glanced at my watch, “three hours.”
“That’s two hours and forty-five minutes more than I’d given you credit for. And that’s taking into account the time it would take you to get home and find my number.”
“What can I say? I’m unpredictable.” There was silence on the other end of the line.
“Oh, I’d be willing to bet against that.” I could hear her smiling.
“And why is that?”
“I’m willing to bet you don’t have the unpredictable balls to come over here and pick me up.” I was pretty sure my heart had stopped. “Alex?”
“Come get me. Let’s do something.” No. My heart hadn’t stopped. If it had, I wouldn’t have been able to hear it pounding in my ears.
“I’m married…”
“So? Bella doesn’t let you have friends?” But Bella didn’t let me have friends. At least not attractive female friends who showed any remote interest in me. Forget interest. They just had to be attractive to set off her radar. The second I mentioned a girl’s name she didn’t recognize, her face narrowed to a scowl and she went into a sort of attack mode. It didn’t matter if it was the girl bagging my groceries who asked for paper of plastic, or Liddy, my very beautiful, but very straight, cubicle buddy. Bella was a force to be reckoned with, and I knew she’d have more than a few things to say if she even knew Michelle existed.
“What? Of course she does. Of course I can have friends.”
“Then come pick me up.” This girl was nothing, if not persistent. And I wanted to get in my car and go get her, no matter where she was, no matter what we were doing, more than anything. “My car’s in the shop. I’ve been walking to work. I live about a mile from Northwood Hospital. You do have a car… don’t you?”
I laughed at her, realizing how ridiculous I must seem leaving the cafe on my little vintage road bike every day.
“Yes I have a car.”
“So then?”
“So then what?”
“Do you, or don’t you, have the balls to come see me?”
I paused for what felt like days. And as I did, I thought about all the ways I’d felt confined over the last three years, maybe even longer than that. I thought about all of the times I’d met a gorgeous woman, who, in some unimaginable way, appeared to want me too. And I had to turn around and go home to our dreary one bedroom with Bella, bitter and resentful. I thought about all of the times Bella had told me “no”– “no, Al, you can’t get drinks with the office after work.” “No, Al, I don’t want to meet your friends.” “No, Al, just no.” I thought about what it meant when I took those vows and put on that ring three years back, what it was supposed to mean. I thought about never sleeping with another woman ever again. Never kissing another woman again. And I felt trapped, chained by some words and a piece of paper and some hunks of metal we wore on our left hands.
“I’ll be there.”

How to Meet Your Future Wife on OK Cupid

It’s Friday night. You’re sitting alone in your room watching the same episode of Criminal Minds you’ve seen four times this week. Your dinner consists of a can of tuna and an entire bag of Tostitos, and you’re lonely. Your three queer roommates are out for the night, drinking and dancing and having fun, and you only wish you were as cool as them. No, not really. You just wish you had someone to share your Tostitos with.

In a moment of self-perceived shame, you open up your laptop and log in.


(First of all, can we just take a minute and ask what the hell a quiver match is anyway? Seriously, I think it has something to do with a bow and cupid and all that, but I just don’t know…)

You also have 47 messages from girls who 1. tell you about their pet worm collection, 2. ask you if it hurt falling from heaven, or 3. want you to join her and her husband in the bedroom for his fiftieth birthday present.

So how do you weed through all the crazy (and downright creepy) out there in OkCupid (or any other online dating site) Land, to find whatever it is you’re looking for?

I’m not an expert. But I did manage to meet my girlfriend on OkCupid over a year ago, and we’ve been happily together ever since. I’m also told I got lucky, only going out with one other girl before Jess, and only talking to a handful of…colorful characters. But the dating world is daunting, to say the least. Especially if you’re queer. And unless you’re one of those who feels okay going to your local Dyke Night and offering to buy that hottie a drink, there aren’t a whole lot of other outlets. Online dating can be fantastic. And the stigma behind it seems to dwindling as it becomes more and more common for couples of all types to meet through dating sites. But there are ways to up your chances of success.

  • Know what you’re looking for!- So maybe you aren’t looking to meet your future wife. Maybe you’re just looking to get some. And that’s okay too! Whether you’re searching for a one night romp, or the great love of your life, or something somewhere in the middle, the important thing is that you’re up front about it. Before I met my girlfriend, I went on a date with a girl I met on OKCupid who sounded pretty neat. She seemed smart, funny, and relatively attractive, and after a few OKC messages, we started texting, and eventually met up. Right away she was all up on me, flirting and touching and doting. Also, she was drunk. We’ll get to why all of these things were a recipe for disaster. But for this point, I’ll say that it wasn’t until things got physical that she up and bounced, and I realized that she wasn’t looking for more than a hookup. I, on the other hand, was looking for more, and by the time we’d crossed that line, I actually liked this girl. Shame on her for not being up front with me about what she wanted right off the bat. But more shame on me for not asking. Whatever you want, just be straight up with it. Either the girl will be on the same page with it, or she won’t. That way, no one gets hurt.

  • Don’t be a Prick- This one seems pretty obvious. Right? But how many online dating profiles do you see that could have easily been written by the Biebs on an ego-fueled bender? Do you really want to go out with someone who’s What I’m Doing on a Friday Night section says “banging bitches, drinking 40s”? You aren’t being funny. You’re just being gross. And no self-respecting girl is going to respond to that (also, don’t answer your Most Private Thing I’m Willing to Admit section with anything along the lines of “I look great naked.”). There’s a fine line between bragging about your sick motocross skills, and talking about yourself like you’re the second coming of Shane McCutcheon. The same applies to messaging. This is sooooo important. I learned this the hard way, in the post-messaging phase of my relationship with my girlfriend, when I made sure to tell her I was a great kisser. I think she probably barfed all over her phone. She told me later that she felt weird, because we hadn’t even met yet, and she wasn’t even sure she WANTED to kiss me. Which brings me to my next point.

  • Flirt With Caution! – Congratulations. You’ve figured out what you want in a girl, and what you are able to give to someone else (because we all know that’s the most important part, right ladies?). You’ve made yourself a great profile with a few interesting facts and some pictures that look reasonably like you (if you turn off the lights and squint real hard). And hey, you’ve even found a nice, cute girl who responded to your message. She says you’re funny. She says she likes your tie in your profile picture. And she says she loves craft beer too, and it might be fun to get one together sometime. And then, she drops you her digits…”hey, texting is way easier. You should hit me up ;).” Go ahead, Casanova. Do it up. Text that girl. But please, for the love of the L Word, keep it clean! I think my point above is a pretty good example of how easy it can be to alienate a great woman with a few bad pickup lines. Now, I was toning it way back with Jess, because I sensed she was a lady, and not one to let anyone in her pants after a few dates. It was one of the things I loved about her. It’s fine to drop the occasional “you look beautiful in that picture,” but stay away from anything resembling a come-on or a sexual advance. Seriously. Just trust me. She will find out on her own that you’re a rock star kisser. And you will have plenty of time to tell her she looks smokin hot in that dress. All in good time, grasshopper. For now, stick with getting to know her, and keep the (blatant) flirting to a minimum. Remember, you don’t know this person yet!

  • Give Love a Chance! (But Not Too Much of a Chance)- Look, I’m not saying love should be based on physical attraction. But let’s all just take a minute and be honest with ourselves here. When we’re cruising our Quick Matches, we aren’t looking for someone who also loves Golden Retrievers and baseball. At least not right off the bat (no pun intended). The first thing we’re going to see is someone’s photo. I’m certainly not suggesting you dismiss all other factors and go out with someone because she looks like Jennifer Lawerence pre-haircut (*sigh*). Of course not. But there’s that old saying, looks will get you there, personality will keep you there. And that’s truth, folks. Straight up truth. But what about that 99.99999% match who isn’t quite your female archtype? I say, go for it. TO AN EXTENT (and I say that with caution!), attraction can bloom over time. This girl, who may not strike you as someone you’d necessarily be attracted to, could turn out to be someone you really click with. That being said, I don’t really believe that attraction can be forced. Either you’re going to be attracted to her, or you aren’t. Don’t waste your time, or her time, messaging, texting, or especially going out with someone you know it’s just never going to happen with. We’ve all been there. Probably multiple times. It’s Friday night. You’re eating those Tostitos again. You’re lonely. So you pick up your phone and text that girl whose number is listed under “Jen OKC” and ask her for a drink. Don’t. Just don’t. Unless you’re a heartless bastard who doesn’t mind crushing people. You never know. Jen OKC might really be into you. And you might break her heart. Yes, give love a chance. Don’t shut the door on someone because she couldn’t necessarily be Beyonce’s sister. But don’t be a negligent dick either.
  • Don’t Give Up!- All too often I hear friends say “I’m done with online dating.” And they walk away. For about a month, until they come back and re-activate their account. Online dating can be a great tool! But, as with anything out there, you have to wait! Not every date is going to be the girl of your dreams. You’ll probably have to sit through some awkward conversation, some sparkless first kisses, and some painful rejections. But with some patience, some hard work, and, let’s face it, a little bit of luck, you’ll find her. I did. And if I got that chance… any of you guys can.


Look Cool, Stay Warm- The Art of Layering

It’s almost the end of January, and the dreaded Polar Vortex seems to be sticking around longer than your mother-in-law when she comes for a visit. No one can argue that winter is a bitch (shut up, skiiers…) and sometimes it seems that finding something fashionable to wear when it’s this cold is almost impossible. I know I, for one, have to dig a little deeper into my closet and think a little bit harder this time of year, or else I’ll end up wearing the same v-neck sweater every single day.

I know some of you swear by the hoodie and jeans look. And that’s fine. But for those of you looking to dapper-fy (see that? I made up a new word) your look this winter, I have a few suggestions here.

Layering is key! If you aren’t layering, you’ll end up wearing that puffy parka and a t-shirt until spring. Layering gives you the opportunity to show off all kinds of different pieces without giving up the warmth we so badly need (especially here in the northeast).


For a Casual Dinner Out:

Blazers don’t have to be super formal. This look is one of my favorites. Pair a button down (don’t go crazy with the iron), and a fun tie with a tweed or wool vest. Then, to bring down the black-tie factor just a little, layer a light hooded sweatshirt or tshirt under it (just make sure it isn’t too sporty, like the one above, which is a plain, navy waffle-knit pattern). Finally, add your blazer. I personally like a nice wool blazer, but you can also go with a tweed or a harringbone if you find one. Like always, the trick here is fit. Find a good winter blazer, get it tailored, and you can wear it with just about anything. A pocket square finishes off the look, blending the casual with the formal for a look that works surprisingly well.


Shirt: H&M $39.99

Vest: Morona from Targer $24.99

Tie: Vintage collegiate

Sweatshirt: Gap waffle knit hoodie $24.99

Blazer: Gap

Jeans: American Eagle men’s Skinny $39.99

Boots: Earthkeeper by Timberland $129.99

Glasses: Warby Parker


The Rustic Look:

This one is easy, and you can wear it anywhere from the office to taking your kids sledding. Start with a collared shirt like the H&M one above, and pull a fitted crew neck sweater over it. Wool can be itchy, so you’ll want those layers anyway. I like to pull the sleeves of the sweater up just a bit to show a little cuff. Like anything else, match your colors, but feel free to mix patterns. I love the details of the elbow patches on this sweater. Make sure it’s snug, and doesn’t hang off you. Wear this with a pair of dark jeans and boots. If you’re in the Arctic Tundra (like we are, here), you’ll probably need a jacket too. Quilted jackets are really killing it right now. I love the one above, from Barbour, the kings of the quilted jacket. Finally, I like to wear a wool hat, great for those days when you just don’t feel like doing your hair.



IMG_1182Shirt: H&M $39.99

Sweater: H&M $39.99

Jacket: Barbour $199.99

Jeans: American Eagle Skinny $39.99

Hat: Rosavelt Supply Wool Watchman’s Cap $18.99

Boots: Earthkeeper by Timberland





Fun with Fair Isle:

I’ve been obsessed with all things fair isle lately… Like, to the point where I had to stop buying stuff that had fair isle print on it or else I’d end up with a wardrobe filled with holiday-esque sweaters and scarfs I could only wear for another two months. The great thing about this print, though, is you can really wear it all winter long (not just at Christmas time). This look works for walking around town, shopping, or just a day out. Start with a henley. They’re a nice alternative to a t-shirt, and are usually really flattering on almost anyone. Just make sure it isn’t too lose or too tight. Next, add a zip up, mock-neck sweater like this one from Gap. Then, skip the coat, and put on a warm down vest.


Henley: American Eagle $14.99

Sweater: Gap $49.99

Vest: H&M $49.99


The possibilities for winter are pretty daunting, although they can be great if you start with a few staple items and build on them. Don’t fear the winter wardrobe!………. Just the Polar Vortex.



Is Marriage Equality Setting Us Back?- Thoughts From a 28 Year Old Divorcee

Okay, before you start with the hate mail and death threats, hear me out.

Like anything else on The Dapper Butch, I can only tell you what I know– this is what I know:

I was married at 25, and divorced by 26. The girl I married was someone I’d only known for two years, and had only been steadily dating for one. And, to add to the whirlwind, my ex wife and I were only together for about seven months before I proposed.

My best friend was with her ex partner for just about a year before they got married on Valentine’s Day. They were divorced a few months later.

Two women my ex wife and I used to spend time with had been together for five years. They were in their early to mid thirties, and had both had significant past relationships. They even had six kids between the two of them. For five years, they lived together, happily, until they were married. A year after they were married, they were divorced.

I could go on, but the point of this editorial isn’t to send all of you to a Xanex and a pint of Half Baked. I’m bringing these harsh examples to light, because I want to ask a very important question that someone asked me; are we getting married too quickly, because we can?

I know, it’s a big one. And I can’t possibly answer it with a few first hand, heart breaking experiences. But I would like to attempt to reflect on it a little, because I think it’s important. How can we expect the haters to take our marriages seriously if we ourselves aren’t?

The day of my wedding, one of my life-long friends approached me and said “well, it’s not like you’re really going to be married.” Yes, actually. It is a real, live marriage. At least in the state of Massachusetts (and many others) it was as legally legitimate as any other, complete with real, live divorce. But I couldn’t help but ask myself– was there a part of that also didn’t think of my marriage as “real”? Or on the plane of my other hetero friends who were tying the knot that year? Or was it just my young age and poor choice in life partner that caused me to laugh it off? I think there is still a huge misunderstanding out there when it comes to marriage equality, even among my VERY open minded, liberal friends here in Boston. With so many shades of gray between “totally illegal” and “rainbow themed weddings,” there’s a lot of confusion. And, because the idea of marriage equality is still so new, I have to wonder, do we ourselves even take it as seriously as its traditional counterpart?

Again, I realize I’m inviting backlash here. And I would like to state, for the record, that I am not one of those self-hating gays who thinks marriage is not meant for two queers. Not even close. I married a woman, after all, at a very young age, at a time when it was still illegal in many other parts of the country. But, like most young divorcees, I am gun shy. And not just for the usual reasons. I’m gun shy because I think we, as lesbian identified women, have to ask ourselves some additional questions that our straight friends may not have to (again, this is not a universal concept. Just something to consider). If I’d really thought about it, back in 2009 when I got engaged after only a short time, I would have realized that yes, part of me was rushing into it because, well, I could. Because why wouldn’t I want to exercise this new right that has been so long coming to all of those who struggled before me? (I’m looking at you, Edie Windsor). Don’t I want to be “normal” like my straight friends and family? If I’d asked myself these (hard) questions, I would probably have realized that they were contributors. Big ones too. And I think the ladies mentioned above would agree, to an extent, with that.

There is another issue, too. One that I know many of you will lose your panties at me for (and not in the fun, Teagen and Sarah concert way, either). The concept of U-hauling is not a myth. Call it a stereotype based in lies, or a mysoginistic representation of women, but it comes from some serious truth. When my girlfriend and I first started dating, I was frustrated with the “slow” pace things were moving (aka we hadn’t professed our undying love and moved in together in the first month). *Jess, being the smart, logical woman she is, said to me “every relationship has someone who’s the brakes and someone who’s the gas… You’re the gas.” Truth. Harsh, harsh truth. I have always been the typical “gas” in all of my relationships, as many (many) women are. I just so happened to find one of the rare “brakes” out there to keep me from proposing to her on our third date. But what happens when two “gasses” get together (as if often the case when two women unite)? It’s no secret that things can move at warp speed, finally exploding into tiny little relationship fragments. And I believe that, at times, maybe too many times, this warp speed is bringing us right to the alter.

This is not a criticism, my fellow Exxon-ers out there. It’s just the way some of us our programmed. I am wired to ask for a key when you buy me a coffee. My girlfriend is wired to make a long pro and con list for at least six months before taking a vacation with you (okay, so I exaggerate, but you get the idea). I would also like to add that this is not an exclusively lesbian problem. Of course two men, or a man and a woman, or whatever you identify as, can all be fast-movers. I’m just saying it seems to be more common within our community. That being said, I encourage you all to slow it down.

I love Jess. I would even go so far as to call her the love of my life. And there are times I have to fight every inch of my being to marry her right this second. But I don’t. Partly because she’s way too smart for that, but also, because it isn’t safe. Just because we CAN (and SHOULD be able to) now, doesn’t mean we have to rush it. We expect to change the way the world sees the concept of marriage. We want to dispel that notion that same sex marriage will mean higher divorce rates, poor parenting, etc. And I think we need to start by making sure we’re making sound choices in our own relationships. Sure, our heterosexual neighbors’ divorce rates will probably still sky rocket. And that’s tragic. But if we want to be taken seriously, we have to treat marriage seriously. So please, all you “gasses” out there, put on the brakes… or, at least find someone who will. Ask those important questions. Let’s change the way others see us by starting with how we see ourselves.

Let’s be those couples who manage to stay together for a lifetime, as often as we possibly can.



The 7 Butch Fashion Staples

Listen up, you dapper readers out there. I have a serious announcement for you.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a killer wardrobe!

There are a few key essential staple items you can get (for relatively cheap, if you play your cards right), that you can mix and match into just about any outfit. Here are some of my favorites that I don’t think I could ever live without:

1. A solid colored Oxford shirt

I suggest blue, like this slim fit J-Crew beauty. Layer it under a crew neck sweater, over a t-shirt, or, my favorite, wear it as is with a pair of jeans. An oxford is perfect for your friend’s dinner party, or date night, or even weekend wear.

+Pro-tip- don’t wear an Oxford with a suit. Please. Just don’t. Unless you’re a college physics professor. Or Kanye West. Then you can do whatever you want.

2. A quality V-Neck and crew T-Shirt

I seriously can’t emphasize enough just how important this is. If you only listen to one thing I ever say, listen to this. Get a good looking, high quality V-neck and crew neck T-shirt in a solid white. And I’m not talking about those three packs from Hanes. Yes, I admit, I own a few of these, but in a couple of washes the collars start to wrinkle. Not to mention the fit is horrendous- the sleeves are too long, and they usually go down to your knees. If you MUST buy the Target special Fruit of the Loom brand, wear them strictly as undershirts.

A lot of fashionistas will tell you to spend $75 on a designer T. But I’m a realist, and also a broke graduate student. I won’t be able to spend $75 on an undershirt for another three years, at least. Instead, I suggest something like the Legend crew neck from American Eagle.

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 12.39.37 PM

Or this Essential V-neck from Gap.

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 12.43.00 PM

Wear it by itself in the summer with a pair of dark jeans for a classic James Dean look, or put it under a button down as a layering item. The possibilities are basically endless.

3. A solid crew-neck sweatshirt

Crew sweatshirts were everywhere this fall. And I’m pretty sure they’re not going anywhere, because they’re a staple. That’s the beauty of all of these items. They’re timeless. I own two from H&M (their Divided label in the “basics” department) and I wear them all the time. I’m wearing one in gray right now, actually, layered over a blue Oxford (see, I told you… Staples). You don’t have to spend a lot of money to look good. These H&M crew necks are under $15. They aren’t going to stand the test of time, but, like most of H&M’s stuff, you’ll get trendy clothes for cheap.

H&M Crew


Like anything else, fit is key here. Notice how this sweatshirt isn’t your Dad’s baggy Champion thing he wears to pickup basketball. The arms are slim, and the armpits are high. Also, notice how the body doesn’t sag. Contrary to popular butch theory, extra bulk will only do that– add bulk. I like to wear this as a sweater, with a button down underneath, or with a plain white t-shirt for a more classic look.

4. A white dress shirt

“But isn’t that the same thing as an Oxford, Dapper Butch?” No. No it’s most definitely not. And shame on you for thinking so (but that’s why you’re here, right?). An Oxford is made of cotton, and has a very collegiate feel to it. The collar is buttoned down for a more casual look. What I’m talking about here is a white dress shirt. One to wear with that suit you just bought after reading my previous post. Or, you can wear it with a pair of navy or gray dress pants, with or without a tie (just stay away from black, lest you want to look like a waiter at the Cheesecake Factory).

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 2.21.14 PM

I, personally, love the 1MX Slim Fit Shirt from Express. The only problem I find is that the sleeves tend to be a little on the long side. Express also sells similar shirts in a “modern fit” (which is a little more relaxed and accommodating for the bigger chested among you). Go with a solid white for starters, since it will literally be the most versatile piece in your wardrobe. Seriously, I just packed for our cruise next week, and I’ll be able to wear this shirt with my suit (and no tie) for formal night, and open-collar style with a pair of khakis for dinner.

5. Wing tips

Buying shoes has proven to be one of the most difficult parts of butch fashion for me. I’m small, but my feet are on the average end of the spectrum for women (I’m a women’s size 8). Here’s the issue though; most men’s shoes only come as small as a size 7 (that’s a women’s 9). I’m able to wear a 7 with a thick pair of socks or some padded in-soles, but for those of you who have smaller feet (like, a women’s 6??) my advice to you is boys, boys, boys (well, not really… I mean, the boy’s department). For the tiny-toed among us, check out J-Crew for their kid’s dress shoes. Also, sometimes Zara and H&M carry decent ones, although they can be hit or miss. I admit that my black cap-toe dress shoes are from Payless (I know, the shame!), and are a boy’s size 6. The rule of thumb is that your size in a men’s shoe is your size in a women’s shoe minus two (or, for those mathametically inclined readers, that’s W-2=M). Same with kid’s sizes. In summary, I’m a women’s 8, and therefore wear a men’s and boy’s 6 (or, a 7 if I find myself a really hot little number I can’t live without).

I know wing tips are going to be a bit of a stretch for some of you. They’re reminiscent of a Mad Men era (which is why I love them), but the stitching on them makes them a little more daring than a plain shoe. What I like about them is they’re stylish, but also timeless.  Go with a brown (I especially love a lighter brown) like these from Call it Spring, and wear them with your gray, navy, or tan pants (just, please, not black). They also look slick with a pair of dark jeans. And, for the bolder butches out there, swap out the laces for a pair like mine from Cole Haan (below) for a fun flair.

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 2.25.52 PM

+Pro-tip- Check out Aldo, and their sister store, Call it Spring. They carry inexpensive, fashionable shoes (and lots of wing tips) in as small as a size 6 (online). My brown wing-tips are from Call It Spring, and I pretty much wear them everywhere (note the laces have been changed out for these khaki colored ones).


6. A tailored blazer

I can’t even begin to tell you how much you can do with a fitted blazer. I’ll be honest, I found my first one at a thrift shop. It’s a navy blue (with pin stripes) Calvin Klein boy’s jacket which I spent $10 on. When Richie the Tailor was done with it ($80 later) it fit like a dream. Bottom line, I don’t care where you find it (thrift shops are awesome. Just be patient), just get it tailored. The same rules for suits apply for blazers. Go for the H&M, Zara, or Top Men selection, and remember, make sure the shoulders fit right (everything else can be altered). Butches also really like the J-Crew Ludlow collection, like the jacket below.


Stick with a solid gray or navy, no crazy prints. And, general rule of thumb, avoid pin stripes (unless they’re so subtle you have to be really close to see them, like mine). This makes it much easier to pair with an outfit. Wear it with dark jeans and a button down. Add a tie for a more dapper experience. Or, if you can rock it, wear it with a solid crew neck T-shirt (just don’t do the Mike from Shah’s of Sunset and pair it with a tank top. Seriously, what is happening there?).

+Pro-tip- Two words; pocket. square. If you’ve never ventured into the world of accessorizing your suit, this is a great way to do it. Just make sure to match the colors of your pocket square to at least one of the colors in your shirt or tie. Feel free to mix patterns (in fact, I encourage it, when you get brave enough). Trust me, I almost feel naked wearing a blazer sans pocket square now. Start with a solid white, and then slowly up your game to gingham (just stay away from silk… they make you look like you should be drinking brandy in a smoking room with a bathrobe on).

7. A timeless (get it?) watch

This one is up for interpretation. If the thought of yellow gold makes you cringe, then go for silver. If you want to play it safe with a round face and simple dials, do it up. A watch is something that you can use to express your style, and also to get some serious attention. I, personally, have about ten watches, all for different occasions, because I’m a watch slut, and I would spend every paycheck on watches if my girlfriend wouldn’t kick me out.

Speaking of my wonderful girlfriend, for Christmas this year, she gave me my favorite gift of all time– this tank watch from Omega, made in the 70’s. I love it because 1. it was a thoughtful, beautiful gift from the girl I love and 2. she put a lot of research into it, so that it pretty much completely sums up my look. She knows I love JFK and Steve McQueen as icons, so she did a little (okay, a lot) of looking into what kind of watch they wore back in the day. And she came up with this beautiful Omega vintage watch I adore, and wear everyday.


Straight up, find a watch you love, that you want to use as a daily-wearer (no, this is not necessarily the same as your dress watch you wear when you have a nice night out). Change out the band, get it sized, do whatever you have to in order to make it yours. Just be wary of the face. I’m relatively small-wristed (that’s not a gay euphemism), and have a hard time with modern men’s watches, as the faces tend to pretty much take up my entire wrist. This just looks sloppy. If you have to go for a women’s watch that is made to look more masculine, do it.

Start with these 7 must-haves, and you’ll be up and running.



The Butch Bag- Not Your Girlfriend’s Purse

The closer I get to thirty, and the longer I remain baby-faced, the more I try to to look like an adult. Here’s a tip for you all– nothing says “I’m still in high school” like a backpack.

A few years ago my Mom got me a beautiful Kenneth Cole camel colored shoulder bag. I loved that thing. I loved it so much, I set out to beat the ever-living crap out of it by carrying it with me on the Boston subway (gross), the Boston public buses (grosser), and into the hospital I work at (grossest). I thought that the years of abuse would give the leather a nice, vintage feel (as time tends to do to good leather). Unfortunately, it just ended up looking like a Goodwill special. For that reason, this Christmas, I invested in a Jack Spade military briefcase.

This is the Kenneth Cole bag I have, in its better days.

This is the Kenneth Cole bag I have, its better days.

My advice to you is this; ditch the backpack, Bieber, lest you want to look like a Red Bull smuggling punk.

My bro (see my earlier post “How to Have a Bromance with Your Girlfriend’s Ex”) turned me on to these sexy little things by my guy Jack Spade.


Here are some other backpack-replacements we love!


B has that awesome bag from JCrew.

B has that awesome bag from JCrew.

Clearly, we love Jack. No. Love doesn’t seem to do our feelings justice. But if you don’t want to shell out $200 for a messenger bag (and I can’t say I blame you), you can find some killer knockoffs at H&M, or even, yes, American Eagle, all for way under $100.

I admit, I still own a backpack. It’s a simple, black North Face backpack I bought when I moved to the city, thinking it might be better for trucking my textbooks across campus in the middle of winter. But I try to refrain from using it, except for something like a flight where I need a little extra space in my second carry on.  Because, believe me, it makes me look like a member of One Direction, and God knows I don’t need any help with that one.

If you must carry a backpack still, do it like this (from Herschel):

Herschel Backpack

And finally, fellow accessorizers (and also, fellow-accessorizers), don’t count out your weekend bag. It’s only been in the last year (when I was shlepping my clothes back and forth to my girlfriend’s place every couple of nights) that I realized the importance of a nice duffle. Don’t just use that ratty old gym bag that smells like last month’s spin class. No really… please don’t. The other subway passengers will thank you. Try one of these on for size (but, actually, that’s the best part about bag shopping… they all fit):


Bottom line, bags aren’t just for your girlfriend. My bro and I are pretty much obsessed with new bags, and would probably buy a new one every week, if we could. I use my Jack Spade brief case as the ultimate butch purse. It holds my iPad mini, a couple of paperback books, 14 different kinds of chapstick (okay, so I lose them… a lot), gum, and other such essentials. Use it like a pocket book. Bring it with you wherever you go. Just don’t fill it up with junk (month old Dunkin Donuts receipts are not considered essential every day accessories, guys).

Trust us… a little bit of Jack can make a big difference.



Hey! Buying a Suit Isn’t As Bad As You Think

I’m starting with this topic because it tends to the bane of the fashionable butch’s existence. I know it was mine.

If you’re a truly “dapper butch,” you probably like dressing up. And even if you don’t, it’s inevitable you’re going to have to do it at some point or another. So how do you navigate the world of Men’s Warehouse and Macy’s and Nordstrom’s (Oh My!) to find something that doesn’t make you look like Rosie O’Donnell at the GLAD Awards (no offense, Rosie…)?

When I first came out, I made the gradual transition from girl jeans to cargo shorts, until I was rocking the horrendous 2004 gel-fest known as a faux hawk and singing “I Kissed a Girl” (not really. Katie Perry didn’t actually start experimenting until a couple of years later). When it came time to look nice, I always shuttered a little bit, because I wasn’t altogether comfortable with ties, never mind a full on men’s suit. But since I’ve moved to Boston (the land of we-don’t-give-a-fuck) I’ve become much more okay with who I am — which usually involves men’s clothing. It’s taken a long time, though, to figure out the tricks to suit-buying.

If you’re in the market for a really great suit (which, let’s face it, you really should be), you’re going to run into some major problems. In general (and there are exceptions to this rule which I will mention in a minute), men’s suits are, well, just that; they’re made for men. And, as much as it irks us, men are taller, have bigger shoulders, longer arms, and straighter hips. Oh, and the biggie, they don’t have boobs. Guys like Calvin Klein, Armani, and Versace just didn’t have masculine-identified women in mind when they started designing! (I know, it’s horrible).

But, fear not, my fellow suit-lovers! THERE ARE WAYS AROUND THIS!!

1. Find the right stores-

Seriously. I can’t emphasize this enough. There are about a billion menswear brands out there, and they all fit differently. A small dress shirt from Alfani is like, ten times bigger on me than a small dress shirt from Express. Yes, you Stone-Colds out there who hate shopping, you’re going to have to try stuff on. Find a brand that works for your body type. If you’re lanky, hip-less and flat-chested, you’ll find this easier than most. But for those of us who aren’t, it’s going to take a little more experimenting.

I’m a ginormous 5’1″, and usually wear a size 29 in men’s pants and an extra small shirt. Now, I may be bias, but I think I have one of the hardest female body-types to shop for. If you’re like me (a little on the petite side), I suggest H&M, Zara, J-Crew and Top Man for starters. And don’t even think about reaching for that “regular cut” (gag!). When it comes to suits (and everything, really, if you’re in the Lollypop Guild like I am), I have three words for you you must carry with you at all times; SLIM, SLIM, SLIM. Got it? Good. Look for terms like “slim fit,” “vintage fit” etc. Trust me on this one– if you have a small frame, anything slim is going to fit you normally, not leave you looking like you just came out of a Fall Out Boy concert with your little brother.

If you’re taller, and a little big on the bigger-chested-bigger-boned size, you can basically shop anywhere, with these points in mind: the shoulders should hit at your shoulders. Not halfway down where that tribal tattoo from the 90’s is (yeah, I’m talking to you!). Shoulders are KEY, since they are the most expensive alteration your tailor needs to do. Next, make sure it’s big enough in the chest area. Suits aren’t designed to hold a set of breasts. They just aren’t.

Melange Blazer

Melange Blazer – from H&M;amp;

See this dude? He’s doing it right. H&M has some great jackets in men’s sizes, for those of us who aren’t pint-sized and are lucky enough to make them look good.

And for all shapes and sizes…Please, for the love of God, leave MC Hammer and Justin Bieber out of this!! That means NO BAGGY LEGGED SUIT PANTS. Honestly, ladies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this. Your pants should not flow freely in the wind. They just shouldn’t. Keep them snug, and fitted, like everything else, or you will look ridiculous. Period.

I adore Casey (come on, who doesn’t want to be part of that relationship??). And the above is a great example of a suit looking dank on a larger chested woman. I am not, however, a huge fan of the sleeve length, or how baggy the pants are. Slim, folks. Slim. Also, the sleeves should hit just below your wrist. Bonus points if you show off an inch of your sleeve cuff.

Now, I’m going to suggest something rather extreme. Something that has proven successful for me for a while now….

2. Shop in the kids section!

I know, this sounds crazy/a little sick. But it works. If you’re small enough to get away with it, do it. It’s cheaper, and odds are a boy’s size 14 is going to fit you better than a men’s 36R (which is usually the smallest suit jacket size you can find in most stores). This is me, in my favorite suit I wore in my best friend’s wedding this fall (and to, like, five days of PA school interviews… which brings me to my side point– DRY CLEAN, kids…).

3. Tailor, tailor, tailor!!!

Did I mention tailor? This is, by far, the single most important thing you can do to get a suit to up your swag. I found this great little Armenian guy named Richie who works out of a tiny hole-in-the-wall in downtown Boston. He charges exorbiant amounts of money, but my stuff comes back looking flawless. There is (almost) no such thing as a suit that fits off the rack. Especially if you’re a female! So find yourself a Richie, and make him your best friend (if I sent Christmas cards out, Richie would definitely make the list). Don’t be surprised if you end up paying more to tailor the suit than you paid for the suit itself. The above Zara outfit cost a total of $125, and I think I paid another $200 just in alterations. A good tailor will be able to take in the waist (just because you’re soooo butch doesn’t mean your clothes shouldn’t fit), hem the legs, take up the sleeves (because there’s nothing worse than a suit jacket that’s too long), and even take up the pant pockets. This is a must. So if you skimp on anything, don’t let it be the tailoring.

4. Finally, own that shit.

There’s nothing sexier than someone who knows they look good (unless you’re a dick about it… then you’re just gross. Ew). Walk down the street like the dapper butch you are, and expect to get a ton of compliments.