lesbian

The 15 Days of Being Single

I am a serial monogamist.

For a long time, I treated this label like an insult, akin to being called “loser” “clingy” “codependent.” Then, over the years, I not only began to accept it, but began to embrace it. I started to feel like maybe this wasn’t a negative boxing, but a preprogramming in my DNA that leads me to nest with someone the minute I get naked with them. On my second date with my last girlfriend, which, I feel like I should add lasted 22 hours straight and resulted in the queerest, most u-hauly sleepover ever, I cheekily outed myself while driving her back from one of the bars we’d just left. “Serial monogamist, right here,” I said, laughing nervously. “Me too. Oh well.” We smiled, and the hidden context was clear— you may now pass GO, you may now move at lightening speed to your joint bank accounts, pet coparenting and adopted Chinese babies. The relationship took off from there in no time, and within a couple of months (okay, weeks really) I was madly, totally, head-over-heels, never-felt-this-before in love with this woman, who I’ll call Lauren. Everything was perfect. And our habits of serial monogamy not only felt acceptable, but felt like a positive.

IMO_serial_monogamy_illu.png

 

 

My entire life (my entire queer life, that is) people would criticize me for leap-frogging from one relationship into another. “Take some time alone,” they’d say. “You need to be single.” These unsolicited comments from friends, family, the homeless guy down the street, or whoever felt like that had license to give me life advice, initially irritated me. I didn’t want to be single. Being single was boring. And lonely. In short, fuck that. And yet, part of me knew they weren’t wrong. But after a failed marriage that left me shaken and questioning my entire future, I welcomed love back in with open arms, relieved that I still had a shot at kids, a family, the white picket fence— the works. This last relationship represented all of that to me.

In true queer-fashion, I thought this was it. At 32, I’d left so many broken hearts in my wake that one girl even dedicated the song “Jar of Hearts” to me. I’d cheated. More than once. Way more than once, actually. And I’d managed to disregard any and all feelings that were not directly my own. In short, I’d spent the greater part of three decades being impossibly selfish. After the dissolution of my marriage, I thought I’d learned my lesson. I was crushed that I’d failed my wife— this amazing woman I’d sworn my life to— and by the time I met Lauren, I felt like I’d done all the growth I needed, and the stars were finally lining up for me.

But the stars do not work that way. It turns out, the stars are a cosmic bitch, actually. I thought I’d earned this relationship with all of the soul-searching I’d had to do after my divorce. Stars, fate, God, the universe, mother nature, Allah, spirits, whatever, didn’t give a single fuck about the work I’d done. After 7 months together, Lauren broke it off in what would turn out to be the most heartbreaking, life-altering ending of any relationship I’ve ever had. Those 7 months with her were spent with night after night in my bed, where she quickly took over at least one drawer, my entire laundry basked and part of my always-packed coat closet. We had plans. We were going to have kids. They were going to keep my name, although she would never change hers. We were going to move to the suburbs in the fall. I was happy— maybe even happier than I’ve ever been.

I’ve only really been broken up with once before. And that was five years ago, by a girl I dated for two months who really wasn’t my type and didn’t do a whole lot for me. When she left me for another girl, I was butt-hurt for about three seconds, and then promptly moved on. So breaking up with Lauren was jarring, to say the least. And why we broke up, I firmly choose to believe, comes down largely on the fact I have never been alone.

So why should any of you give a shit about my newfound aloneness? Because I know I’m not alone in this. And I hope someone out there can get something out of this without having to learn this lesson the hard way. I hope I can learn the lessons for you. I’ve spent the last 10 years in relationships. And today is my 15th day of being single.

I know that doesn’t sound like a lot to most of you. But if I really look back on it, 15 days is probably the longest I’ve ever been truly alone. There hasn’t been a time when I didn’t have a fall back after ending a relationship— usually an ex, or someone I could run back to that would fill the gap. Now, I have no one. The hearts I’ve broken have all healed and moved on to greener pastures, which, I am surprisingly happy about. Besides, I have no interest in reliving the past. Tinder, Bumble, and a bunch of other dating apps I didn’t even know existed have been downloaded to my phone, but I hardly use them. And when I do, they’re lack-luster and almost make me feel worse about being alone.

It’s only been 15 days, but they have been the 15 longest days of my life. I understand now, to a degree, what addicts go through with sobriety. I have, in fact, been a relationship addict my entire gay life. And now, I’m breaking that cycle. I’m collecting my 15 day chip.

In honor of the upcoming holiday, I will summarize it like this:

On the first day of being single, the bastard fates/universe/God/whatever gave to me a broken heart, a lot of crying, and convincing myself this couldn’t possibly be the end.

On the second day of being single, the bastard fates/universe/blah blah blah gave to me a few less tears, a little more hope, and the feeling that maybe, possibly, I might gain something from this mess.

On the ninth day of being single, all that shit above gave to me the sense that I actually do need to be alone. That I need to learn how to like myself enough without the help of others. That looking for constant validation from my relationships is wearing and exhausting, and until I am okay enough with me, I’m always going to be looking for that from someone else.

On the tenth day… a lot of anger. Like, a lot. Let’s just say I’m out one iPhone 7 which was casually tossed across the room in a fit of rage, resulting in a very expensive tempter tantrum.

On the fifteenth day of being single, this is what’s been given to me: the ability to self-care. Since I’ve been alone, I’ve purchased 4 new jackets (one of which is Burberry), a brand new iPhone X, a new tattoo, and just about anything else I felt like. My rule of thumb has been Buy Whatever Makes Me Feel Good. I have a good paying job, and if spending money is going to soothe some of my angst and provide some comfort, I figure it could be worse. I could be drowning myself in whiskey, sex, or worse. If a little credit card debt is the worst thing that comes out of this, I’ll count that as a win.

I’ve also learned something very important: I have people. I’ve reconnected with friends who I haven’t seen in ages, because I’ve been so wrapped up in my relationship. I’ve fortified new friendships. I’ve surrounded myself with people who love me, and appreciate me for who I am. And for the first time in my life, that has felt more than fulfilling.

 

IMG_0058.jpg

Rely on people who have been there for you, even when you haven’t been (featured: my friend and coworker Rachel at our hospital holiday party last week)

I’m not going to sit here and tell all of you serial monogamists to please stand up, end your relationship, or stop looking for one, and travel down this road of loving yourself with me. It took me a decade to be ready for this, and even now, I had to be forced. I’m also not saying it’s easy. In fact, I’d dare say it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done (and I’ve literally sliced into people’s rectums with scalpels). I struggle every day, every moment of every day really, to remind myself that I am good enough. That I don’t need to be desired or wanted or pined after to know that. And everyday it gets a little easier. I’ve learned to sit in the discomfort of being alone. The discomfort of not having that go-to person to text about your day. The silence from my cell phone (which has proven very unsettling at times). The terror of sleeping by myself. I’ve learned that Lauren breaking up with me was not because I wasn’t attractive enough, or smart enough, or interesting enough. It was because she simply couldn’t love me enough for both of us. But the hardest part has been reminding myself that, even if she did break up with me because I just wasn’t “the one,” that is not a reflection on the rest of my life.

So, if you, fellow serial monogamist queers, find yourself in this similar situation someday, know that there is good to come from it. There are lessons to be learned. The tears and the anger and the discomfort will give you the strength and the resilience to be better the next time, and, more importantly, to know there will be a next time. Even if that next time isn’t right now.

 

Holiday Party Style

December is almost over, but the holiday parties are just revving up. Stumped on how to pull off an outfit that’s dapper without trying too hard? Here are some of my suggestions.

The Leather Jacket

IMG_2627

I love my leather jacket. No, really. I think it’s my favorite piece ever. It’s nothing fancy, but it fits perfectly. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it a million times before, but a leather jacket that doesn’t fit well looks sloppy and super 80’s. Mine is actually a Wilson’s Leather women’s small. If I had my way, I’d own a Schott leather jacket like this one (I’m obsessed… Someday, I’ll get one). But until I start making some bucks… I’ll continue to wear the hell out of this one. You should be able to zip the jacket up, and it should hit just ABOVE the belt. The body should be tight, and the sleeves should not be at all baggy. Once you get a jacket you love, you can pair it with literally anything, including a tie. This works especially well with a knit tie like this one from American Eagle.

Shirt- H&M

Jeans- Zara

Belt- H&M

Jacket- Wilson’s Leather

Tie- American Eagle

IMG_2603

The Solid Bow Tie

I’m always hesitant to wear bow ties, for fear of looking like Jacob’s bar mitvah. But this looks actually works really well for a company party or a holiday concert. If you’re worried about looking infantile, like me, I’d suggest going with a simple, solid color (like the gray one here). Steer clear of crazy patterns and prints. Add some suspenders, but if you’re short, like I am, you’ll want to go with a thinner strap. Pair it with some skinny pants for a more modern look.

Tie- American Apparel

Suspenders- Ebay

Pants- Zara

IMG_2702

IMG_2702

IMG_2697

A Dapper Butch (DykeNight-Boston) Event!

I just wanted to give everyone a heads up about a great event that’s happening in Boston on December 19th!

The ladies at Dyke Night Boston will be hosting a fantastic 21+ queer dating event at Urban Art Bar- 709 E. Broadway, Boston, on 12/16 at 7pm!

I’ll be reading from my new book, Searching for Forever,  to get the party started. I encourage any and all ladies (single or taken) to come check this out.

“No this is not speed dating!!! Think of this as a giant card game. Everyone is going to be given a card with some clues and a unique fact about themselves. Groups will then whittle down to 6 people that will be matched at random and then the games will really begin as people sit down as a table of 6 strangers for the 2nd part of the event. We can’t give way any more secrets, sign up with friends, or solo and meet a new significant other or a new life friend!”

 

Register here (only $10!)! But hurry! It’s filling up!

http://theurbanartbar.com/events/dyke-night-art-dating/

 

IMG_5067

The Art of Layering…Part II

 

 

IMG_2425

 

The Old Standard

Some things will never go out of a style. And a peacoat is one of them. I’ve been wearing one since I was 15, and my grandfather and his Navy buddies wore them long before that. Wall Street boys wear them. Steve McQueen wore them. They’re timeless. And you can do it with just about anything. Try pairing your old peacoat with a chambray shirt, tie and cardigan, like I did here. I also threw in a pair of distressed jeans from All Saints to keep things more casual (it is Friday, after all).

IMG_2409IMG_2407

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro tip: Get a pair of these brogue boots. They’re brogues… but they’re also boots. Get it?! No but really, these things are amazing. The white soul make them casual enough to wear with jeans, but the wingtip stitching and chocolate brown leather makes them dressy enough for a suit.

IMG_2438

These came from American Eagle, believe it or not.

Vests: They Aren’t Just for the Woods Anymore

IMG_2504

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite looks right now is a vest over a suit. I know it sounds funny, but trust me. It looks amazing. Put on your favorite suit and top it off with a matte, down vest, like this one with color blocking and gray flannel. Bonus points if it has tweed on it (I just couldn’t find one in my size).

IMG_2457IMG_2478

 

The Toggle Sweater

I love everything toggle… Sweaters, coats… Okay, well maybe that’s it. But still, I love it. Toggle buttons hold this weird juxtaposition of sophistication and Paddington Bear that just really does it for me. Find a good, chunky toggle sweater like this one from H&M, and you can wear it like a jacket, or layer it under a long driving coat like I did. This driving coat is my new favorite, by the way. It’s almost impossible for me to find a long coat that doesn’t come down to my ankles. This Zara boy’s find was a steal. Not the warmest thing ever, but it sure does look great over a heavy sweater.

IMG_2590IMG_2543IMG_2542

In Honor of Friday the 13th– 13 Things that Suck About Being Butch

(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.

Product of the Week: Mr. Natty All Over Wax

Product of the Week: Mr Willie Mack’s All Over Wax by Mr. Natty

unnamed5

I know what you’re thinking. Say what????? An ALL OVER wax?? That’s exactly what I said when my friends over at Birchbox Man sent me a sample of Mr.Natty’s All Over Wax. I wasn’t even sure what “all over” meant, never mind what it would look like! But I’ve been thoroughly impressed with this totally unique, convenient new product.

The first thing I noticed, like always, is the packaging. The All Over Wax comes in a cool, round tin that’s small enough to fit in your brief case or gym bag. So, I opened up this bad boy and gave it a whirl, first, applying it conservatively to my arms. Mr. Natty and Birchbox Man insist you can use this stuff anywhere on you… I admit, I was hesitant at first. I usually hate all in one products, finding them mediocre at best in their multitasking skills. But after I dared to try Mr. Natty on my arms, I then ventured to put it in my hair… Yes, *gasp* my hair that I so obsess over. I had to try it. After all, the container says “a fresh head.” The end result? My mane was smoother and softer, and still stayed in place. Don’t believe me? I’ve provided you with photographic evidence.

 

 

unnamed

unnamed2

unnamed3

unnamed4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hands down, my favorite thing about the All Over Wax, though, is the smell. I’d use this stuff all day just for the woodsy, patchouli-esque smell. It’s unique, and stays on you. I even used it to cover a sun burn this past week. It left my skin smooth AND smelling amazing.

Don’t forget if you sign up for Birchbox Man you can get great products like this in your monthly box! Not a Birchbox user yet? Sign up today and get points for buying products in their shop!

How to do Provincetown Right

DSCN1120The first time I went to P-Town, I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven… Or, maybe Gay Disney World. Everywhere I looked was one queer person after another. Stores and hotels are blanketed in rainbow flags. Drag Queens ride bikes in glorious 6″ heels down Commercial Street. And best of all, there’s a sort of tangible sense that you belong. But with cute little shop fronts and coffee joints and clubs squashed together like circuit boys at a rave, finding your way can be a little overwhelming. I’ve only been going to P-Town for a handful of years now, but because my girlfriend’s family has a place there, we’re sort of considered mini-locals (and not just because neither Jill or I top 5’2″). So, I’ve taken it apon myself to play tour guide, and give you a butch’s how-to guide for doing-up the great Gay Mecca in style.

SHOPPING:

Because really, this is the most important part of any vacation, right? Okay well, maybe not THE most, but fuck, it’s up there. There are a lot of little chintzy women’s shops in town. But there are also a lot of GREAT menswear selections.

Board Stiff:

DSCN1121

Board Stiff is a great little surf shop located on Commercial Street (where most of this stuff is). They carry a variety of products from O’Niel, Hurley, and other swimwear brands, as well as about a billion different kinds of flip flops. Everything here goes for retail price (like everywhere in P-Town), so don’t expect to be blown away by any mid-season sales. But if you’re looking for a new pair of board shorts or Reefs while you’re on vacation, this is the place to do it. Check them out at www.boardstiffprovincetown.com.

Kiss and Makeup:

Both Jill and I are obsessed with this place. Kiss and Makeup is hands down the place to go in Provincetown for any kind of hair or skin product. They carry some of my favorite men’s brands, like Billy Jealousy (try their energizing facial scrub), Clinque, and Ursa Major. But they also rock the local stuff. The last time I went in there, the extremely well-groomed and helpful guy behind the counter introduced me to Previse, a Provincetown based skin care brand that he was happy to offer me full sized samples of (review to come). Christine and her crew are also one of the few stores I’ve found anywhere to carry Malin and Goetz– a skin care line that makes some amazing hair care products (like my favorite, their styling cream, and their pomade). The staff here is fantastic. They’re always beyond helpful and friendly, and if you’re lucky, you might even get to meet Christine’s adorable dog Paddington. Until Kiss and Makeup came to town, there really was nowhere to go if you forgot your moisturizer, hair wax, or high end shampoo. No more Axe Hair for you, friends! Fear not, Kiss and Makeup is here!

DSCN1131 DSCN1132 DSCN1133

Tim Scapes:

Of course if you’re going to P-Town, you’re going to want to pick up some kind of swanky t-shirt, right? How else will you make your other queer friends ridiculously envious? There are about a billion grimy t-shirt stores on Commercial Street about on par with those you’d find on Myrtle Beach. And that’s fine. But what if you want a shirt you’ll actually wear again? Tim Scapes is the joint. Tim is really more of an artist than a t-shirt guy. All of his designs are done with duct tape, and then screen printed onto t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, bags, etc, creating a cool, dapper souvenir that won’t end up in your Goodwill pile. I, personally, own a sweatshirt, a t-shirt, and a tanktop, and I am currently eyeing my 2014 purchase– an adorable navy American Apparel t-shirt with a small white anchor design on the left chest. Did I mention that Tim’s only uses high end shirts from American Apparel? Which means one thing, kids… FIT FIT FIT! That’s right– no more sloppy, oversized “I Heart P-Town” shirts. And hey. Tim’s even carries hooded sweatshirts for dogs… Now, even your pets can be dapper.

DSCN1134

 

 

 

 

DSCN1135

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item:

Item is one of the higher end menswear stores in Provincetown. But if you have a little money burning a hole in your pocket, this is the place to get rid of it at! The selection is small but mighty, with a nautical theme throughout. You’ll find all kinds of flat front shorts, casual button downs, belts, and my favorite, understated, JFK-Goes-to-the-Cape-esque jewelry. Be warned though, nothing in Item is cheap. You’re going to pay at least $80 for anything in here, including the bracelets. Basically, if I had a laughable amount of disposable income (and believe me, someday I would like to), I’d shop my heart out here. Check them out on Facebook here.

DSCN1140 DSCN1142

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BodyBody:

I would wear absolutely everything in BodyBody. Everything. Unlike Item, which is a little more on the casual side of things, Item carries more ties, button downs and polos. Last summer, Jill’s parents bought me a shirt and tie from BodyBody for my birthday. Word has it that Jill’s mom went right in, told the sales clerk she was looking for a gift for her girlfriend’s daughter. Not only did this not phase him (this is P-Town, after all), but he also knew exactly what style and fit to take her to that would look good on a woman. Needless to say, he was right. The shirt fits like a dream. Besides their extensive clothing collection, ranging from khakis to t-shirts, BodyBody also has the sexiest shoe extravaganza in P-Town. Right now, they’re carrying a pair of honey colored double monk straps that have taught me the meaning of shoe lust. BodyBody isn’t Butch on a Budget friendly, either (wow talk about alliteration!). But everything is high quality, designer garments that you’ll love for years down the road. Follow their Facebook page here.

MAP:

MAP is tucked away at the tail end of Commercial, out toward the West End of town, and can be easy to miss. It’s small, and if you aren’t looking, or aren’t walking up that far, you’re going to be sorry. This store is unlike any other store in P-Town. it carries an impressive array of vintage belt buckles, leather goods, and Levis. Pretty much everything in here screams Steve McQueen. Because nearly everything is legit, often handmade vintage items, MAP can be pricey. I fell in love with a calf skin chain wallet behind the counter the other day, and when the owner told me it was going for $325, I almost fell over. But even if you don’t have a wad of cash to spend on a pair of jeans, MAP is absolutely worth the look. Check out their Facebook page.

This is the wallet at MAP I'd sell my first born for... But maybe not for over $300.

This is the wallet at MAP I’d sell my first born for… But maybe not for over $300.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT:

There are a lot of clubs in P-Town. And I mean, a lot. Sadly, most of them are focused on gay men. If you’re fine with that, then look no further. But if you’re feeling like being surrounded by a sea-full of ladies, there are a few things to do:

Pied:

Pied is the only girl bar in town (shockingly enough). The times I’ve been in there, it’s been pretty dead. But because the pickings are slim for lesbian clubs, I’d suggest trying your hand here around 11:30pm. They have a great patio that doesn’t get too crowded, so if you’re like me, and don’t always enjoy sweaty people grabbing you by the shoulders to push through you over loud, ear-shattering bass, this may be a nice alternative.

Lesbian Nightlife:

DSCN1173 DSCN1174

Lesbian Nightlife is a fantastic organization that does a lot of great womens’ events in town, and throughout the country. They host the Memorial Day Weekend parties every year, and often have killer guests like Kiyomi from The Real L Word. They throw a great event. Unfortunately, they aren’t in P-Town all summer…Visit their website and sign up for events in your area.

Tea Dance at the Boat Slip:

Basically, a Tea Dance is where the whole town shows up in the afternoon, drinks rum punch from plastic cups and dances their asses off. And the Boat Slip is really the only place to do this. From 4pm-7pm everyday, you can have a mini party with just about everyone in P-Town. The Boat Slip has great music, a couple of pools (which aren’t open during Tea to avoid any drunk drownings), and cold drinks, and it’s a good start to the evening.

Look Things Up!

The best thing you can do for entertainment in P-Town is Google that shit. There are often themed parties, drag shows and comedians going on, and this is the best way to find out. Of course, you can always walk through Commercial Street and wait for someone to hand you a flyer… They always will.

 

FOOD:

You have to eat, right? There are a thousand places to do that in P-Town. Sounds easy. But like those t-shirt shops, it can get exhausting trying to sort through a sea of sandwiches and lobster rolls. These are a few of my favorite things.

Relish:

Jill and I like this place partly because it’s so close to our house. We usually go for the coffee, but they also carry a delicious selection of pastries, cookies and cakes. I’ve also found that their lunches are some of the best in town. Relish offers a variety of sandwiches (a glorified chicken salad with pears that I pretty much died over, a caprease style, tuna), and you have the option of getting any of them without bread (if you’re on a low-carb, beginning of summer diet like me). They’re cupcakes are tremendous, and they’ll even do custom cakes for events. Check out their menu at http://www.ptownrelish.com.

DSCN1147 DSCN1148

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ScottCakes:

These are truly the best cupcakes in town… and maybe in the world. Scott started out selling his cakes on the streets, until some whiney nay-sayer threw a fit and complained. And thus, his slogan Legalize Gay Cupcakes was born (note: he sells t-shirts that say this. They’re adorable). Scottcakes only does vanilla cake. That’s it. When we asked him about it last summer, he said he wants to do one thing really well before he tries to venture out and do anything else. I can respect a man striving for perfection. For Jill’s birthday last year, I wanted to order some cupcakes from Scott. He was willing not only to make and sell them for me in October, but also to deliver them for a small fee. 409693_395452903837204_560781202_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this helps give a little direction for your next trip to the great Provincetown. Now go do it up. And keep it handsome.

Meet Your New Favorite T-Shirt

I have this t-shirt that I bought at the Northeastern bookstore when I started doing my pre-med classes. It’s a simple gray with the classic college lettering, and I’ve intentionally worn and washed it at least once a week since I’ve owned it in hopes of getting that soft, vintage look and feel of a tee I’ve had since high school. After a few  million washes, though, I’m still not completely happy with the outcome. How many more years of laundering am I going to have to go through to get that perfect t-shirt?? Answer: none.

Alternative Apparel has managed to create a shirt that is not only sustainable and eco-friendly, but also great to wear.

I purchased my Alternative Apparel Eco T-Shirt from Birchbox Man, who featured them as one of their April products (which, sadly, I was not lucky enough to recieve for “free” in my box that month). Right out of the package this shirt is even softer than that old Northeastern one I have, without the clumping that cotton tends to do after so many trips to the washing machine. It also lacks that thin, sheer look of worn shirts, which I think we can all appreciate.

image

 

 

 

The biggest surprise about this tee has been the fit. I chose the v-neck version, although both Alternative Apparel and Birchbox Man carry crew neck, tank top and sweatshirt versions of the same material. Now, I can’t speak for their other products (although I would love to try more of this line!) but I can say I was thrilled with the way the Eco V-Neck fit. Not only is it soft and comfortable, but it doesn’t hang like a sloppy old college tee either. The sleeves are cut high, the neck is just low enough, and the body is slim– everything you’d want in a t-shirt you can wear under a leather jacket on date night or to the gym.

imageimage

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t say enough about these guys and what they’re doing. Sure, $28 for a t-shirt is a little steep when you compare it to the Hanes three pack at Target. But I promise, this WILL be your new favorite.

Don’t forget to sign up for Birchbox Man (www.birchbox.com/man) for the chance to get products like this very t-shirt in your monthly box!

Butch on a Budget Goes to the Beach

 

If you’re anything like me, you despise bathing suit season… And not necessarily for the usual reasons that women hate bathing suit season either. Sure after an entire winter spent binging on pizza and my mother in laws ravioli, I’m not psyched to show a lot of skin. But even that beats the eternal butch conundrum of what to wear to the beach.
For years I played it safe, always opting for board shorts that were far too long and a usually see-through A shirt (tank
top) that left me feeling awkward and surprisingly exposed. But what’s even MORE awkward is having to put on some kind of femmie bikini with ruffles and flowers that left me looking like (as my friend says) a confused little boy about to disappoint his conservative asshole father. Finally, a couple of summers ago, I started dabbling in actual bathing suits again.
If you aren’t too proud or can be slightly flexible in your masculinity, I’ve found that wearing a simple two piece in a masculine color without any bells and whistles can be not only sexy, but comfortable and somehow appropriately still butch. I like this number from Target made by Speedo.

20140514-105544.jpg

It’s a solid, darker color, sporty, and simple. If $50 is a little more than you want to spend (this IS Butch on a Budget after all), then try this one, also from Target for only $15. I actually bought this one in charcoal gray last year.

15108277_201403281551

 

If you aren’t into the two piece, try http://www.theswimoutlet.com for a lot of great one pieces. I like a simple, sporty looking suit that offers just a little more coverage, like this one, from Nike.

48192-2T-259x292-AUTO

 

Now onto board shorts…

If you aren’t comfortable walking around in your suit bottoms, a good pair of board shorts goes a long way. For the butch on a budget (like myself) I really like H&M’s selection. They have a lot of shorts starting at $13 or so and maxing out around $30. Try something in a solid color, like these, from H&M:

hmprod

They’re extremely versatile, and can actually be worn going to get ice cream, fried clams, or a BBQ.

If you want something a little more adventurous, try these color blocked shorts, also from H&M.

hmprod2

 

Also check out Zara, Forever 21, and Top Man for a great selection of board shorts. The important thing is length, length length! Your shorts should NOT come down past your knees. And if you’re short, like me, you probably want to stick with the super short length as shown above. Trust me, it’s a cleaner look and much more JFK than Bieber at the beach.

Finally, you’re going to want something to wear over that bathing suit top when you aren’t in the water. Tank tops look great on most butches, regardless of size. And right now, slightly oversized, skater-era tanks are big.

00073471-04

 

If you’re feeling particularly ballsy, geo and southwestern prints are really big this year, like this one from Forever 21.

00087862-01

For $15, it definitely fits into the Butch on a Budget’s finances. Plus, bonus, Forever 21 Men     is now carrying extra smalls.

 

My Brush with a Terrorist- Watertown, MA One Year Later

 

My Brush with a Terrorist (and How it Changed my Life)– The 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing and Watertown Terrorist Attack.

 

The day I realized I was in love with my girlfriend, Jillian, we almost died.

April 15, 2013 started out, like it did for everyone in Boston, as the perfect spring day. After a brutal winter, it felt like the sun had finally decided to show its face, and Jill and I decided to try to take in one of the first Red Sox games of the season. We sat in Fenway Park, eating hot dogs and watching Dustin Pedroia smack the ball over the Monster. The sky was clear– the weather almost ironically pristine considering the events that followed. Life didn’t get much better. We talked about the future, and the kids we both wanted, and all the things we wanted for ourselves, and for each other. And when the last ball was hit, we decided to take a walk down Boylston Street to take in a little bit of the Boston Marathon.

 

This picture was taken at the Red Sox Game right before the bombing.

This picture was taken at the Red Sox Game right before the bombing.

This was only my second Patriot’s Day (a holiday we, in Massachusetts, made up, because we decided we can do that kind of thing) in Boston, and I’d always wanted to watch these crazies who actually choose to run twenty six plus miles straight. Around 2:30pm, we settled in at mile marker 25, pushing our way through the massive swells of people to cheer on the runners. At 3:00pm, we decided to head home, beginning our trek back to the car which was parked several blocks away. Still immersed in the crowds and sounds and excitement, I didn’t think much of it when I heard a paramedic say “well we’d have to stop the whole race and turn everyone around.”
As we got closer to the car, a few scattered pedestrians were running and shouting into their cellphones. Police car after police car wailed down the streets. I told Jill it was probably a false alarm. That these kinds of things happen all the time in EMS. And then, a man on his phone ran by shouting about a bomb exploding in the Prudential building. I squinted straight ahead, the Prudential building looming in the foreground, looking for any sign of fire or smoke.There was nothing. Yeah. Probably just a false alarm
We picked up our pace, though, because I told Jill this was all “just a little too 9-11 for me.” It wasn’t until we flipped through Twitter that we found out the truth– two bombs had exploded at the finish line of the Marathon. Less than a mile from where we’d been standing.
Jill and I were lucky that day. Certainly much luckier than the hundreds of injured, and the three who lost their lives. And there are much more heroic and harrowing Marathon stories than ours. But this isn’t a story about that day.
I mention that day only because we escaped what was a horrible, life changing moment for so many, and could have been for us as well. And because I knew, that day, that I loved Jill. I’d known for a while, actually. In fact, really, I knew back in February, during the northeast’s epic three foot snow storm, where we stayed in together all weekend, made beef borigone and drank too much wine. But I hadn’t told her. Because it was insanely too soon… And also, because it could wait. On April 15, though, when we finally made it back to the safety and comfort of her Watertown home, it couldn’t wait.
Of course, I didn’t tell her. Days went by, and though the tragedy of the bombings didn’t ebb, my immediate feelings of mortality did. There was time again. Time for the perfect moment, time to make sure she felt the same… Wasn’t there time?
It was just after 11pm on Thursday the 18th. Jill and I were fast asleep already, preparing for an early work day, when several incoming text messages jarred us both awake. I tried to ignore them, but a few minutes later, she called for me, the fear immediately evident. Her friend in California had been watching the news. A shooter was at large in sleepy little Watertown. We rushed to the living room and turned on the television, while I insisted on keeping all of the lights off. If there really was a killer out there, I didn’t want him to know we were home.
Watertown is small. Very small, actually. And not the kind of place you’d ever expect to house an international terrorist. Jillian’s mother grew up there. And her parents, and their parents. The last thing anyone expected was for the Tzarnaev brothers to end their murderous rampage there.
We spent the rest of the night holed up in the bedroom, the house pitch black, listening to news reports on the static of Jill’s laptop. Over and over again we heard police warning residents not to leave their houses or answer their doors for anyone, and stay away from the windows. Meanwhile, a few streets down, word got to us that the older of the two brothers, who we’d just learned were the suspected Marathon bombers, had been shot and killed. And Zhocar Tsarnaev was still on the run… In our town… Maybe even in our back yard. It was the most terrifying night of my life. Something about hiding in a dark house, with nothing but the crackle of what sounded like an old radio telling us there was a nut job on the loose trying to kill us was more than a little unsettling.
Morning came, and with it, a little bit of reprieve from the terror that had haunted us. Tsarnaev was still out there, and the town, as well as the greater Boston area, was on a mandatory lockdown. We didn’t go outside that day, but pictures shown on the news later displayed an eerily almost post-apocalyptic Copley Plaza, with not a soul on the streets. The shelter-in-place order remained for the entire day, while we eagerly watched the events unfold on TV. Just outside Jill’s bedroom window, SWAT teams armed with enormous assault riffles had taken over the streets, and armored cars and tanks were the only vehicles on the roads. Helicopters buzzes overhead. It was a scene out of a movie. One that I really never wanted to see.
Around 5:00pm, the Governor announced a lifting of the ban, and Jill and I debated leaving the house to go to the grocery store. I was changing my clothes when she shouted to me from the living room. Several police and SWAT trucks had pulled up on our street.

The scene from outside our house.

The scene from outside our house.

“It’s probably just another false alarm,” I reassured her. But as I looked out the window, more and more officers were arriving, until both our street, and the cross street were full. In a matter of minutes, each officer left their vehicle and ran down Franklin Street, riffles pointed ahead, yelling orders we couldn’t hear. The news, which was still on in the background, reported a breaking story: “body found in Watertown back yard.”
My first, and most horrific thought, was that Tsarnaev had invaded Jill’s neighbor’s house, and killed them. And then, the news quickly revealed the body was found in the neighbor’s boat. And whoever it was, was still alive.
But we didn’t have time to hear anymore before the first round of twenty to thirty gunshots shattered the air. Even growing up in rural New Hampshire, I’d heard only a handful of gunshots in my life, and they were all hunting riffles. Jill’s upstairs apartment was tiny, with windows throughout the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom, and even the bathroom. I searched frantically for a safe place to bring us, where one of what was probably many stray bullets wouldn’t make its way into Jill’s house. Even the hallway was in the direct line of fire. So I grabbed Jill and pulled her into the only confined space I could think off– the bedroom closet (I know, the irony…). She still laughs at me today for this, but I hold to my decision. We closed the door as best we could while I held her, waiting for the noise to stop. When it finally did, we ventured out, trying to decide what to do next. Jill called her downstairs neighbors to check on them. They were in the basement.
“Can we get there from here?” I asked. We could. But we’d have to leave the apartment, and enter the downstairs unit first. We made our way as quickly as we could, managing to make it down stairs before the firestorm started again. As we huddled in the basement with her neighbors, listening to the news stream on a laptop, we waited. More explosions echoed outside the walls, and then, the news feed cut out. Family and friends who knew we were on Franklin Street were calling and texting, keeping us updated on what was happening right outside the door. It had come out that Tsarnaev was the body in the neighbor’s boat. And he was alive, and desperate. We hatched our escape plan incase the gas tank on the boat that Tsarnaev was hiding in exploded (a possibility that had seemed likely to the news at the time). I held Jill, my arms shaking violently. I’d never felt death quite so close as I did that night. I loved her. And I hadn’t told her. There wasn’t time. And now, we were going to die.
After what felt like days, the noises stopped, and our family on the outside confirmed what we’d felt was impossible. Tsarnaev was in custody, and no one else had been injured.
When it was safe, we left the confines of the basement, and took to the streets with every other resident of Watertown to watch the police cars and ambulance take away the man who had terrorized a city, a country, and now just a tiny town.
We didn’t die that day. But I did tell Jill I loved her the very next morning. What happened on April 15th was a tragedy. And what happened on April 19th was the subsequent triumphing of good over evil. I still choke up when I remember the feeling of standing next to her on what is now our front porch, watching the first responders clear our street. There were a lot of lessons to come out of such a horrible week in the great city of Boston. But the most important I took away was not to wait. Because there isn’t always going to be time. And you may not get the chance to say that thing you were too afraid to say.
A couple of months later, I moved into that same house on Franklin Street. And I will never again wait to tell her how I feel.

image