queer

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.

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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.

 

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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

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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

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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

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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/

 

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The Art of Layering…Part II

 

 

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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).

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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.

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These came from American Eagle, believe it or not.

Vests: They Aren’t Just for the Woods Anymore

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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).

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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.

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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.

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:

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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

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

 

5 Ways to Up Your Style Game Using Ebay

Yeah, I said it… ebay. I hate that shit. No, seriously. I mean I really hate it. There’s nothing worse than finding something you love, getting really excited, and placing a bid, only to find out that some creeper in Montana outbid you in the last 3 seconds. That’s why I stay clear away from the whole “auction” idea.

You probably already knew that when you do a search on ebay, you can select the “buy it now” option. That means no annoying bidding, and no creeper from Montana screwing you out of Brittany Spear’s platform shoes from 1999. But what I bet you didn’t know is that there a few key items you can get on ebay for ridiculously low prices that can seriously help upgrade your style game.

1. Ties (search: skinny ties, bow ties, pre-tied bow ties).

Skinny ties, bow ties, bondage ties (no, I’m just kidding… we aren’t talking about that kind of tie here)… they’re all over ebay. I bought a pre-tied bow tie in black silk from a company in China for… get this… $.99. That’s right. $.99. Not even a dollar. You can’t get get a cup of coffee from McDonald’s for $.99 now. Shipping was even free. You aren’t even going to find a tie for $1 at Goodwill. This one doesn’t smell like cat pee, and the quality is decent.  For those of you with the dapper skillz to tie your own bow tie (I’ll be posting a video on this shortly), you can also find those for a few bucks. *Disclaimer– most of the ties you’ll find for that price will be “silk.” For some reason, it’s much harder to find cotton/cloth ties for under $10.

2. Dress shirts (search: men’s slim fit dress shirt)

This one was the biggest find of all. I put in “xs men’s dress shirt and was expecting to find a couple used pieces. Instead, I found page after page of Korean/Chinese companies selling what looked to be decent dress shirts in various colors for around $11 (with shipping). Now, I’ve spent a lot of time honing which brands work for me and which don’t. An extra small shirt from Alfani is like… four times bigger than an extra small shirt from H&M, and even those shirts within the brand vary from model to model. So I took a gamble and ordered the small. I got the shirt two weeks later, and it’s now one of my favorite dress shirts. The sleeves hit in just the right place, it’s fitted but isn’t too tight like so many of my other shirts post-cruise, and the length was spot on (which is nearly impossible to find). The quality is about what you’d expect for a $10 shirt, but again, it’s new, its cheap, and the fit is fantastic. *Disclaimer– these are “asian” sizes (their term, not mine!). They run VERY small. I’m normally an extra small in SLIM shirts here, and the small in China is about one cheesburger away from being too tight. Order at least one size up, and make sure you’re ordering the US size and not the “Asian” size (a US S is an “Asian” M).

 

3. Pocket Squares (search: pocket squares)

These run about $2-3. If you go to JCrew you’re looking at at least $30. Even a TJ Maxx find will be at least $8. My theory on pocket squares is that you’re only looking at about a quarter inch of fabric. Most people aren’t going to judge you on the thread count… and if they do, they’re douchbags. If you don’t know how to make your own, ebay is a great place to build your stash.

 

4. “Leather” Jacket (search: men’s slim fit leather jacket)

Proceed with extreme caution here– I was NOT a fan of the fit here. Leather jackets are tricky. Faux leather jackets are trickier (maybe I’ll do a post just on leather jackets soon). They have to fit better than any other jacket you own. If not, you look sloppy and ridiculous. I ordered this jacket in an extra small, and unfortunately, I ran into the problem I almost always run into when I buy leather jackets… it was too long. A leather jacket should hit at your belt, and not below it (ouch). And, while there’s some wiggle room with other types of jackets, you have to stick to this rule. However, if you’re taller than I am, I highly suggest doing a search for “men’s slim leather jackets.” Worst case, you spend $25 plus shipping on a jacket you can’t wear… Not the end of the world.

5. Suspenders (search:.. uh… duh.. suspenders…)

I’ve decided to try rocking the suspenders again, since my girlfriend says she likes them. It’s been a long time since I’ve done it, but I’ve seen some great fashion posts using them with bow ties, or just open collar dress shirts. A quick ebay search yielded cheap suspenders in just about every color/print you can imagine for a total of about $4. You’ll probably want to go with the clip-on ones, like I have on here, unless you’re feeling swanky enough to get buttons tailored onto your pants (which I’ve done before). If you get the clips, you can wear them with anything from jeans to suits without having to permenantly alter your pants.  *Disclaimer- I recommend a bland color like gray, khaki, black or navy, unless you’re really bold. Anything too bright or colorful is going to be limiting and (unless you’re REALLY good) detract from the dapperness of the outfit.

 

So there it is, folks. No bidding required. Now, if you’ll excuse me, ebay is calling.