5 Things Butch Women are Sick of Hearing

1. “But I mean, you aren’t like… BUTCH butch.”

When I was in college (AND in the closet), I took this amazing course in LGBT Literature. One of my classmates (who I affectionately refer to as the Big Dyke on Campus) did this tremendous presentation on the many different “sub-brands” (so to speak) of butch. This included anything from Stone Cold to Saturday Night Butch. Now, I think it can go without argument here that gender is pretty damn fluid. So, there are all sorts of places one can fall on the “butch” spectrum. I, for one, place myself somewhere more masculine than Kiyomi McCloskey, and more feminine than Zac Efron (though only slightly). One of my coworkers has even taken to calling me “gentle butch,” which I find utterly hilarious and adorable. What bothers me, though, is the sort of connotation that being “butch butch” is negative. Because it’s pretty clear that when straight people innocently tell me I’m not THAT butch, they’re implying that those who do fall further on the masculinity spectrum than I do are unattractive, undesirable deviants, as if they’re giving me some sort of backhanded compliment. That being said… what exactly is being “BUTCH butch?” Is one required to sport a flat top and not shave their legs? Because I haven’t shaved my legs since February, and they’re looking just one hair short of “BUTCH butch” if I do say so myself…

2. “So why do you want to be a man?”

Nothing… and I mean NOTHING… makes my blood boil more than this question. And the hardest part about it is that most of the people who ask it are well-meaning friends of mine who are just fucking clueless. Why do I want to be a man? I don’t. I really, honestly don’t. If I could teach everyone on earth one thing with this, it would be that GENDER IDENTITY IS NOT NECESSARILY RELEVANT HERE! I love and support my transgender brothers/sisters. But being butch is not the same as being transgender. I have always identified as female. That’s never been a question I’ve struggled with. I know it’s confusing… but wearing a tie to dinner doesn’t make me anymore of a man than wearing a Bruins hat makes me a hockey superstar (unfortunately… or else I’d always wear a Bruins hat…). The bottom line is, they’re just clothes.  And underneath those clothes, I like my breasts (as long as they don’t get too big), and my hips (as long as they fit into my dude jeans). I cry A LOT. I’m usually the needy one in my relationships. And I love a good Nicholas Sparks movie.

As an aside… I imagine I speak for many other butches out there when I say I get extremely offended when anyone implies I have gender confusion because I like a good pair of boxer briefs.  I dated a girl once who was so jaded by her ex’s transition, she accused me of wanting to do the same nearly constantly. The offensive part was the implication that I didn’t know myself. Apparently this is not a problem exclusive to straight people.

3. “So then why do you want to look like a man?”

I don’t. Or maybe I do? I don’t know. Why do you want to be a blonde? Or like to wear heels? I like what I like. I look better with short hair. And nothing makes me feel sexier than a nice suit. Also, I’d like to remind everyone that what we consider “men’s” and “women’s” clothing is just a fabrication (no pun intended) of the fashion institute. Look at skinny jeans. You can’t tell the men’s pants from the women’s these days. Why do I want to “look like a man?” Because I want to wear what looks good on me, and what doesn’t make me feel like I’ve stepped into some episode of the Twilight Zone where pink doesn’t make me look awkward.


4. “If I was a lesbian, I think I’d like more feminine girls.”

Well. Congratulations. Your input is crucial to the continuation of our species. But, alas, you are not a lesbian.  So I ask you… how do you know what kind of girl you’d want to sleep with if you don’t like girls? And why does it seem that SO many bisexual women EXPLICITLY state that they are only attracted to femmes (don’t believe me, just check out OkCupid)? Listen… you like what you like. But don’t throw in your two cents about something you don’t know. And certainly don’t go out of your way to use this like a disclaimer, as if touching a girl with long hair and a huge rack makes you any less gay (guess what… is doesn’t).

5. “Well… who’s the man and who’s the woman?”

My grandfather asked this sweet, albeit incredibly insensitive question, when he first found out I was gay. Now, because he was 80, I cut him all the slack in the world. But for those of you born AFTER 1930, you have no excuse. And, in case no one’s done it yet, I’m here to educate you a little. Contrary to ABC, NBC, CBS, blah blah blah, not all lesbian couples are femme-femme. Not every Caleigh Torres wants an Arizona Robbins (although who wouldn’t? Seriously). Oh, and also, that “butch spectrum” I mentioned earlier? Ellen is like… way closer to the femme end than not. So here we have all modern media representing all lesbians as femme loving femmes. And in “real life” we have just about every ignorant person alive asking who the “man” is. The answer is neither are the man. I know. I know… this is going to be a stretch. And I realize the faux hawks and lack of makeup are throwing you for a loop. But regardless, we’re both still women. ALSO…ALSO ALSO ALSO… Here’s an interesting fact many people don’t realize… Not all butches like femmes! I know. Total mind fuck right? I’m a bad example, since I’m pretty much exclusively attracted to super femmie girl-next-door-Katie Holmes pre-Tom Cruise types. But not all butches are. Many butches are attracted to other more masculine women. I dated a butch woman once (for a whopping 2 months) and it didn’t pan out.. partly because she was a child, and partly because she just wasn’t my type. And I admit, I struggled at times with the image of two masculine women being together. But then I stopped giving a fuck. Because who really cares how the world see it after all of the victories we’ve already won together? My point is, no one is the man. And don’t be so quick to assume that anyone is even more masculine than the other. Lesbian relationships: typical gender stereotypes need not apply.


Movie Review- Blue is the Warmest Color

How “Blue is the Warmest Color” Kind of, Sort of, Almost Breaks the Mold

Hollywood thinks it’s super progressive and edgy these days. Seriously, it’s like, “hey, let’s put Jared Leto in some lipstick and we’ll be totally helping represent the LGBT community, cuz we’re like… such awesome people.” I will give mainstream media some credit. With the advent of Orange is the New Black, Glee and uh… I guess a couple of other movies/tv shows that think they’re successfully portraying lesbians, we are getting somewhere (albeit really freakin’ slowly). But truth be told, I still think even gay men are more commonly featured in today’s media (HBO just came out with a killer new show called Looking which follows the lives of a group of gay friends in San Francisco, making the L Word days nothing but a long lost memory.)

So, if the American’s are sucking at showing the world what it’s really like to be a lesbian, maybe the French could do it right? I’d heard a lot about Blue is the Warmest Color— a Sundance flick that’s received a good bit of attention considering it’s both foreign and gay. Last night, I finally checked it out for myself.

The movie opens in a high school French lit class, where you’re forced to read a subtitled version of a bunch of teenagers reading aloud from some romance novel. It’s painful, to say the least, and you’ll find yourself wondering how you could possibly sit through 2:59 of this Baz Luhrmann-Romeo and Juliet-esque dribble. But if you can get past the first ten minutes, you’ll get to the actual movie. We now get to know Adele– an adorable, angsty 17 year old closet case whose bitchy group of friends preasure her into having sex with this dude, and then slut shame her when she does. Of course, being the young future-dykling that she is, Adele doesn’t really enjoy her roll in the hay with this guy, and instead has her token gay friend take her to a girl bar. While there, she meets Emma– a blue-haired art major with a girlfriend– who immediately chats her up. On the one hand, I was totally icked out by the fact that Adele was clearly underaged… I don’t care that this is France and children can go to bars… it’s gross. On the other hand, I found myself really, really wanting Emma to take Adele home and show her the ways of the lesbo world.

Adele and Emma begin spending time together, talking about art and philosphy and wine and other such sophisticated things that all 17-20 year olds love to discuss. And after a very long, excruciatingly tense moment where the two just stare lustfully at each other, they finally kiss. And we all cheer for Adele’s newly found dyke-ism, and thank Emma for dragging her out of the closet. By the way, there is never any mention of Emma’s girlfriend of two years after this… But my guess is she did was any 20 year old lesbian would do and told her she had to go find herself.

Now we get to the real story– the pain and excitement of first love… sorta. But what really impressed me and made me say “I have to write a post about this” was the sex. Gasp. I know, how taboo. But seriously, one of the most infuriating things about mainstream lesbian media is the way the sexual relationships are represented (or worse, not represented). “Blue is the Warmest Color” has the longest, most beautiful female love scene I’ve ever watched. Unlike most shows/movies, we aren’t teased with a kiss and a fade to black. If anything, the first love scene between Adele and Emma goes on TOO long, leaving you feeling like a voyeur encroaching on a couple’s most intimate moments. It’s a little creepy. But what makes it creepy is that it’s realistic. These aren’t two straight girls (well, they may be… but I’d doubt that) who are acting out their porn-laden ideas of what gay sex is. This is vulnerable and beautiful– something I’ve never said about any sex scene before, ever. I was blown away not only by the accuracy of the emotions that were portrayed by these two women, but also by how unafraid the French were to “go there.” For YEARS we’ve been totally okay showing Tom Cruise getting fucked on a train by a hooker. But I can all but promise you if this movie were Americanized, there would be a right winged uproar like you wouldn’t believe. Good for you, France, for not being afraid to show a little boob.

And that leads me to my major beef with nearly EVERY PIECE OF LESBIAN MEDIA THAT’S BEEN MAINSTREAMED!!! (Yes, caps very much intended). Why do we have to always send the lesbian heroine back to a man in the end?? In Orange is the New Black, as we left it, Piper just can’t bear to leave her fiance, and ditches her sexy, passionate and heartfelt romance with Alex for heterosexual normalcy. There’s also Kissing Jessica Stein, the Kids are Alright (so Juliane Moore’s character doesn’t end up with Mark Ruffalo but she does sleep with him), Imagine Me and You, and about a billion others. My question is a rhetorical one — we do it because it’s a way to make a “controversial” romance more acceptable… because apparently its still 1980 and it would totally cause hell fire and damnation if the lesbian didn’t crave back hair and beer bellies in the end.

“Blue” seriously flirts with this premise, to the point where I nearly shut it off with about 20 minutes left. *Spoiler alert* The demise of Adele and Emma’s relationship comes from Adele sleeping with her male coworker. *Groan. Listen. I have no issue with bisexuality, pansexuality, whateversexuality. Label yourself anything you want, or nothing at all– I couldn’t give two shits. But can we please, just once… ONCE… have a movie or TV show where the lady-loving-lead doesn’t go back to guys? I watched through gritted teeth while the really lame attempt at sexual tension built between Adele and her snooze-worthy collegue, until they finally kissed. And I almost threw my laptop across the room (but not really, because it was Jill’s laptop and she would have been really, really upset… obviously). For real, Adele? Not you too! Not you!!!

Luckily, I kept watching… although I’m not sure why. Just as I was about to write “Blue” off as another failed attempt at a dyke relationship, Adele and Emma break up, and Adele is heartbroken. She doesn’t go running into the arms of one of the many annoying dudes in the film. Instead, she remains single (and downright hot in those little teacher-glasses), still pining over the loss of Emma. But “Blue” doesn’t completely dismiss the temptation to make the femmie leading lady a convert. There always seems to be some guy or another trying to get in Adele’s pants, and Adele always seems just a little too okay with the idea. That’s why I can only give “Blue” the title of “almost” breaking the mold that Hollywood has made for lesbian films. They just couldn’t go through with it without some awkward hetero sexual tension in the background.

In the end, Emma and Adele (sadly) don’t end up together. The teenager in you wants them to. But the adult in you knows that, realistically, there’s no way your first gay relationship (as a teenager nonetheless) is going to pan out long term. And your cynical, grown up self applauds the film makers for being true to that reality. But brace yourself for the last five minutes… because a whole lot of NOTHING is about to happen. Seriously. Those French writers sure know how to make us go “wtf?” The movie literally ends with Adele walking down the street, being chased after  by one of her male suiters. There’s absolutely no resolution– unless you count some kind of internal conflict about her feelings for Emma and her adulterous ways. Still… I kind of liked it… And at least she didn’t go sleep with this stalker (which, I admit, I thought she would).

All in all, I’d say I had a good ride with Adele and Emma. “Blue” was a shining example of first love– both the growth and the destruction of which felt relatively organic. But this movie should have ended like… five times. At 2:59 , you’ll begin to wonder if you’re going to sit here until young Adele is nursing home bound. And then, as mentioned above, when it ends… it doesn’t really end. But maybe that’s the point? Maybe the depth of the nothingness here is just too deep for my American brain?

Watch this. If nothing else, you’ll have a chance to reminisce about your first heartbreak (awwww). Or watch some hot naked girls. And hey, you’ll feel smart, because you have to read the subtitles the whole time, right?

How to Make Your Own Skinny Ties (video)

This idea rocked my world this morning almost as much as the Kate Mara photo shoot in this month’s GQ. I am hardly crafty (which is why I’m posting this). And I can’t take credit for this brilliance either, since I found it through a Google search (which, believe it or not, originated in a Buzzfeed post), by this lady named Design Mom. Design Mom wanted to make some skinny ties for her young son, but didn’t want to spend a fortune. Some crazy tailor wanted to charge her $40 to turn a not-so-skinny tie…well, skinny. Design Mom said “oh helllllll no.” And thus, genius ensued.

Jill has this super dapper coworker who loves to give me ties. They’re always these gorgeous, vintage ties that I love, but unfortunately, they’re vintage, so they’re wide as a truck. Wide ties may work for some butches, but when you’re hardly able to reach the shelf with the cereal on it, the wider the tie, the shorter you look. This post from Design Mom (who may or may not be thrilled that a big ol’ lesbian from Boston is using her idea to further butchify herself, depending on what part of the Bible Belt she’s in) gave me an idea. I could try to turn Jill’s coworker’s ties into something I could actually wear. Now I’m not Martha Stewart (outdated reference, but honestly I don’t think I know any other crafty famous people), and my sewing experience goes about as far as 8th grade home-ecconomics class, but this was really freakin’ easy.

Go to Goodwill, or, even better, a legit vintage thrift store, and buy some wide ties for $2, like this beauty from Coach that Ray gave me. Then, watch this video (it’s in TWO PARTS so you have to watch both… sorry gang!), and learn how to make it into something that won’t make you look clownish.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Demystifying the Lesbian Haircut


I will start you off with a little bit of humor here, courtesy of our good friend Google Image Search. But now I need to be completely serious…

There is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING funny about a dyke with a bad haircut (okay, so it’s sort of a little funny…).

There are many butches out there with long hair. Short hair is not requirement for being butch. In fact, nothing is. But let’s face it, there are a lot of us with short hair… maybe even a majority. If you’re a butch with long hair, this article isn’t for you. Not because I don’t respect your dapperness, or your masculinity (remember Brad Pitt in the 90s? How about Jared Leto at the Golden Globes?), but because I know absolutely nothing about long hair. I came out at the tender age of 21 (late bloomer, to say the least), and almost immediately rushed straight to the nearest salon and chopped my hair off. I’ve had short hair ever since. Those of you in my boat, this is for you.

We laugh about mullets and rat tails… But I can’t tell you how many I saw amongst the “older generation” on my Olivia cruise. The generation Xers among us aren’t any better! We’ve simply replaced the mullet with a Justin Bieber shag (see above).

When I was a baby dykling, I had what I suppose you could call a “faux hawk”– about 2 inches too long on the top and on the sides, and about a pound of gell… which no one should be using in this post NSYNC era. Here is my attempt at a “faux hawk,” which was effectionatly (and appropriately) referred to by my ex as the “shark fin.”


It’s awful… I know. Don’t do this. Just don’t. It’s never okay…

If you want this hair style, here’s what I suggest. Skip the goop completely. Go with a texturing paste like Crew fiber, or Go 247 texture cream. Keep the sides and the back buzzed short (a 0 to a 1) and leave the top around 3 inches. Apply product to the damp hair, and blow dry working from the back to the center. You don’t need every hair to stick in place. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy. This guy from High School Musical (okay, I won’t pretend I don’t know who Zac Efron is…) got it right… I did not.


Probably the single most popular lesbian haircut in recent years has been the Bieber Shag. I personally also experimented with this one for many many years. Unfortunately, I learned that my hair is far too straight and thick for it. If you look at my friend Whitney in the picture above (sporting the Bieber Shag back in ’08) you’ll see how to do it right. I don’t think Whit did anything to her hair other than let it rage… But if you have gorgeous, wavy locks like that, you do basically nothing. If your hair is a little on the straight side, a sea salt spray like Bumble and Bumble makes can give you some extra texture for this look.

But if you REALLY want to be on top of the world of hair trends, there’s one cut that everyone’s doing these days– and it’s getting a lot of attention.

There are a million different names for it, but I tend to call it the pompadour. It’s classic and old school and looks good on just about everybody. Think Adam Levine, David Beckham, James Dean. It’s daring, sure. But I promise you the payoff is worth it. And I’m seeing more and more butches with this cut.


The above is a great article from Details magazine about how to get this look. Here’s what to do: tell your stylist to go super short on the sides and back (0′-1′ guard) and work a fade in. The key is leaving enough length on top to be able to slick it back. Any hard wax or pomade works well, but I like Clean Cut by Paul Mitchell ($20). I have also been known to use Murray’s ($3) because my hair is ridiculously fickle (but be warned, a little Murray’s goes for weeks… I’ve been known to have that stuff in my hair for days on end). Use a flat brush and comb from the back, at your natural part, forward. Then, pull the front of your hair back. I like mine more centered, but you can part is to the side too. If you don’t have super thick hair like I do, you can use a blowdryer to get more lift. But I just put pomade in my damp hair and comb it where I want it. Don’t worry if it looks sketchy… Mine always does when I first do it. Once the pomade sets, you can reshape all day long.

Here’s my do…


My barber got me to use a small hand mirror to tackle the cowlicks in the back. Just follow the hair until it lays flat. This has changed my life….

I want to leave you with one last crucial piece of advice… GO TO A BARBER!!!

Seriously. I spent years going to high end salons searching for someone who could manage my hair with only moderate success. In my darkest days, I was paying a Boston stylist (who worked in a hipstery warehouse with a one word name) almost $80 to literally shave the sides and back of my head and not even touch a pair of scissors to it. The cut ended up mediocre, at best. Then, one day, Jill (my girlfriend formerly referred to as Jess– as she has since insisted I use her real name) said “why don’t you try the barbershop down the street?” A barber?! The horror! I was bombarded with flashbacks of being taken to the local old dude downtown as a kid who would take a number 3 to my head and leave me looking like Buzz from Home Alone. But hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. So I tried it…albeit hesitantly. When I walked in, I immediately noticed a shelf full of Jack Black products– and my hopes were high. They paired me with John, whose haircut I also judged just as quickly. He looked good. And when he started to talk about what I wanted, he told me he loves to keep up with men’s fashion. The best and most unexpected part of my barbershop experience was that not ONCE did John either 1. pretend I didn’t want a men’s cut, or 2. make me feel like a freak for wanting one. Long story sort of short… John gave me the best haircut ever. And for only, get this, $23… Now, I can afford to go every three weeks, which is what this cut really requires.

If you want a men’s cut, get a men’s barber. They do dozens of these dos every day. Your barber will be the other most important guy in your life…along with your tailor. Big thanks to John and Richie for keeping it handsome.

Why You Should Keep Dating Your Girlfriend

When Jill and I first started dating, we were doing just that– dating. Fourteen months ago (but who’s counting, right?) we would take the bus and meet somewhere downtown for sushi (not my favorite, but I ate it because it was her’s) or a movie. There was something so exciting and terrifying about those first nights. I distinctly remember sitting in the freezing cold at a bus stop by Northeastern, waiting for a bus I’d never ridden to take me somewhere near Fenway Park. My heart was pounding so hard I had to listen to music on my iPhone to drown it out. We did this once a week at first… And then, it became two or three times a week. And finally, a month or so into seeing each other, she let me come over.

Kristen Stewart playing Butch Femme2

Now, don’t get me wrong… the dating didn’t stop here. We still went out to dinner in the city and saw the occasional show. But it soon became evident to me that Jill could cook better than any restaurant, and her apartment was adorable and homey. I preferred cuddling on the couch watching fifteen straight hours of Bravo and eating her scallops and spinach risotto to fighting Saturday night crowds in Boston and trying to find $40 parking. Eventually, I moved in. And her homey home because my homey home. And our nights were adorable too, and filled with cooking dinners and drinking red wine and all of that new-couple romance.

But let’s get real, ladies. This doesn’t last forever (I can actually see the appalled look on Jill’s face when she reads this for my saying this… hear me out, baby). The truth is, over time, Friday night candlelit dinners sometimes get swapped out for On-Demand and Dominos. I love these nights. I love when I finish a twelve hour shift, swing by the local pizza place, pickup a $20 pizza and a bottle of soda, and we watch hours of House of Cards in bed. Do not, I repeat, do not think I’m in any way belittling the simple things here.

Something happened to us last night though. Something unexpected, and kind of reminiscent of our early “courtship.” Jill and I decided to try this place that does bowling and flatbread pizza. It’s apparently some kind institution in the Boston area. We were tired from a full work week, it was 5 damn degrees outside, and we really had to push ourselves to leave the house. But we did. It turned out the bowling joint has a 50 year long wait list (not really,  but close), so we abandoned that plan and started to wing it. For a while, we walked down the streets of Somerville (a little city/suburb on the outskirts of Boston), holding hands and trying to figure out what to do for dinner. We settled on a BBQ place we both loved, and while we waited at the bar, something crazy happened. We talked. I mean really talked. Jill and I talk, of course. We talk at home. We text. We call each other. But often, too often, as we’ll both agree, life tends to get in the way of that talking. There’s this Facebook meme going around that says something like “you’re my favorite person to lie in bed with and look at our cell phones.” True that. Come on. You know you’re guilty of it. Jill and I have both agreed on multiple occasions that we spend far too much time interacting with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even other people via phone lines when we should be spending time with each other. It’s so easy to be in the same room with someone, and not actually be IN THE ROOM with them.

For several hours, we sat and talked over pulled pork and sweet tea. Nobody picked up their phones. Nobody answered texts or checked their email. It was just us (and the 50000 other people crammed into the restaurant that night). Over just one dinner, we reconnected about our jobs and our goals, our friendships, and reminisced about our past together. There was something almost ethereal about the whole thing, as I looked at her, overwhelmed by all the same things I felt on those first few dates. I knew I loved her. I never question that. But don’t underestimate how important it is to be able to have this moment, where you look at your girlfriend like you’re seeing her for the first time… again.

I know this isn’t exactly news. But if everyone knows it, why is it so hard to follow through with? I know it can be for us. I don’t care how long you’ve been dating. I don’t care if you pee with the door open or talk about your rashes or know every last little thing about her. There’s always something new to learn, and probably, something new to fall in love with. So get off the couch once in a while, put away the take out, turn off the Bravo (I know, I know, but Andy Cohen will be there when you come home), and take that woman out for a real, honest to God date. The longer you’ve been together, the more you need to. And if you’re just starting out… make a habit of it now.


I don’t care if you go bowling, or if you go to a black tie event. Just please, whatever you do, make a NO CELL PHONE rule, and stick to it. Focus on the beautiful woman sitting across from you who probably still has some really great things to say– certainly better than Justin Bieber’s twitter account. One of those lame signs you can hang in your college dorm room says “marriage is falling in love over and over again, always with the same person.” How are you going to do that if you’re too focused on what Ellen’s wearing to the Oscars? Go ahead. Buy her a pulled pork sandwich (or put it on your mutual credit card, because it’s 2014, and you have joint finances). You might be pleasantly surprised what you get in return.

How to Be a Butch Lesbian– According to the Internet

How to Be a Butch Lesbian– According to the Internet

What can’t you find on the internet these days? Seriously. I just found a recipe for something called “monster cookie dough dip” (yeah, it’s as perfect as it sounds). I also just learned how to sew my own tie. I learned about Putin, and I watched Andy Cohen twerk his way across the West Village. But did you know that the internet can also tell you how to be butch?!? Amazing. What’s it going to tell me next??! How to be a woman?? How to make my heart keep beating?? Oh great and powerful internet! How far is your reach!!!

But seriously. I found this article by accident, while searching for articles on (what else?) butch fashion.

How to Be a Butch Lesbian– from wikki how– in only 7 easy steps!!! I will walk you through this… Just in case you need some help.

  1. Ask yourself a few questions. Why do you want to be butch? Do you feel attractive and natural in this look? or is this just a cheap scheme to get women’s attention? Can you handle people knowing about your sexuality? How will others react?

Let’s take a moment and review, shall we?? Why do you want to be butch? That’s sort of like asking me why I want to be female. I don’t want to be, wikki. I love it, sure. But I didn’t decide to be butch. I literally came out of my Mom this way, demanding to burn my dresses and wear only my favorite red corduroy overalls and Ninja Turtle’s t-shirts. It’s not paper or plastic. It’s an identity. Do you feel attractive and natural in this look? Okay, so this one isn’t terrible, I suppose. Being butch is all about being who you are. And that means feeling sexy and comfortable. No, wikki, this isn’t a cheap scheme to get women’s attention. In fact, I dare say that many of the femme’s I’ve pursued have preferred other femmes. And if I had a dime for every straight girl I heard say “if I were a lesbian I’d want to be with someone like me…” …. Can you handle people knowing about your sexuality? You’re right, Mr How… it’s probably better to just go into hiding and dress like an escaped Amish girl so no one figures out you like boobs. But I’m glad you pointed that out.


           2. Develop more masculine mannerisms. Walk with more confidence and stride. Don’t slouch or sit with your legs together. Watch the way men move and move like them. Try to only copy more of the popular guys, when observing them think, is this guy cool? Does he seem attractive to girls? If yes, he is a good example since you do not want to move awkwardly.

Great idea, since we are, after all, just playing a part. Might as well find a good dude to study so we can “pass.” Or… and I’m just putting this out there… we could just walk, talk, move, “stride” and sit however we want. Nah…
            3. Get some masculine clothing. You can buy men’s clothing, or, buy women’s clothing that is boyish. Choose colors that you like in sizes that fit your body nicely. Some good things to get:

  • A few polo shirts
  • T shirts with cool designs on them. Try not to go with big logos or dorky souvenir shirts.
  • Loose-fitting jeans. Not too baggy, not too loose. You can go with men’s jeans or women’s boy-cut jeans since those are made for a female frame.
  • Dress clothes. Pants suits, shirts with ties and nice shoes are great for special occasions. Do learn to tie a tie , as clip ons are tacky.
  • Accessories. Get a few belts and a nice watch (go for a neutral color). A chain to wear around your neck can look handsome.
  • Shoes. You really only need 3 pairs: comfy shoes, dress shoes and boots.
  • Binder. Some butches dislike having large breasts and may wish to bind them down.
  • Boxers – No butch should wear girly undies. Go for comfort. Plaid, solid or simple patterns are best. For the most part, you will be the only one that sees them; keep in mind that your girlfriend will see them so they need to look good.
  • Messenger bag or backpack. Purses are to be avoided.

So, I don’t hate this part. I especially enjoy the cliche reference to “plaid patterns.” Because what kind of butch are you without plaid, dammit?!

4. Skip the make up. Concealer for blemishes and pimples is fine. Eyeliner is okay in small amounts and also make absolutely sure that your always brush your teeth.

I admit to wearing only concealer to cover up those pain-in-the-ass, sickly looking dark patches I get under my eyes in the winter, or to hide the occasional adult acne outbreak. Eyeliner? Not a chance in hell… for me. But I know plenty of butches who wear makeup (um… hello… Ellen? Rachel Maddow?? Kiyomi?? F&%^$%# Shane McCutcheon wore more makeup than Joan Rivers does!). Oh wikki, you’re so wrong. Butches can wear makeup too! Also, make sure that you always brush your teeth… Good advice for everyone, I’d venture.

                5. Get a short hair cut. Look at both women and men for inspiration. To find a look that will look good on you, ask the hair dresser what will match your face shape.

Because, obviously, butches can’t have long hair… *Because men don’t have long hair… Right??… (*read as Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Johnny Depp, Steven Tyler…etc etc etc.)


                   6. Be active. Try to get into a sport or just work out. Be proud of your body and its strengths. Looking attractive and gaining muscle can also be a benefit.

I attempt to play hockey twice a week, partly because I like it, and partly because it makes me feel tough. Also, it must be because it keeps me butch, right? If I didn’t play hockey, I’d surely wake up one day a swiveling femme in lipstick and heels. If butches must care about their bodies, by this logic, femmes must not? Makes sense… Sort of? Or maybe we should all just try to get up off the couch, regardless of our gender, orientation, or where we sit on the masculinity scale. A note to Wikki, I am no less butch when I am 10 pounds too heavy and can barely walk up a flight of stairs without seeing God.

                 7. Act the part. Be confident and masculine. Be chivalrous and gentleman-like. Try your best to stay calm and in control of your emotions in public. Confidence is key, so be sure to take charge and be assertive. Most of all, be yourself.

This is my favorite. Wikki really knew how to finish strong here. They actually go right out and say “act the part.” Being butch isn’t an act. It’s not a part we’re playing. It’s an identity we haven’t chosen anymore than we’ve chosen our parents. “Be chivalrous and gentleman-like”. Okay, I can’t argue there. Butches should always be chivalrous. If not, you’re an asshole. And no one wants to be an asshole butch, right? “Stay in control of your emotions in public.” Seriously??? Seriously. Like… what?! I just… I can’t even… Excuse me, I’m getting emotional and I wouldn’t want you to think me any less butch.

Finally, “be yourself.” Oh… okay, Wikki… now that you’ve just told me exactly how to be, I’ll get right on that.

I’m sure whoever wrote this did so earnestly enough. But really? Maybe I can find one on “how to be a cat” next?


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.

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.


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.

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Or this Essential V-neck from Gap.

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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).

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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.

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+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.