Archives for category: queer

Location: Trader Joe’s, Silverlake

Look: Badass butch with a crew cut and excellent red plaid flannel. I didn’t get to see the rest of her outfit, but it may have involved skinny black jeans and boots.

 

Once again, I’m reminded that if I ever find myself single again, I’m only going to hang out in organic markets to meet girls.

I was sitting in a diner with my partner. It was Sunday morning, and I had deliberately not dressed for an outing. I was tired. We had gone for a run and then realized the only thing better than running around a lake with your lady was eating diner brunch with said lady.

As we were eating, I couldn’t help but notice the dangerously good looking gay couple at the booth next to us, right over C’s shoulder in my line of view. And as I was noticing them, they seemed to be noticing us as well.

As I was polishing off the last of my Paleo omelet, the men stood up to leave. As they passed our table, one of them leaned over and looked at me: “You know, my husband thinks you’re really cute. And he hasn’t said that to me in five years!!”  

🙂

That’s all.

I’ve been musing on these questions a lot lately:

What is the line between butch and not-butch?  Or, in my case, between looking butch and looking “pretty”?

When people call me in to audition for butch roles, half the time I get told I’m not “butch enough”. The other half of the time I get weird lesbian jokes because I am obviously the most gigantic butch they have ever seen.

When I choose to wear makeup, why does that make non-butch women think I’m “toning down” my butchness? I think it’s butch to know what makes you look awesome, and man, some under-eye concealer makes me look awesome.  Yes, I still am like a gorilla wielding a teaspoon of peanut butter when I handle most makeup products, but I’m faring.

Why do so many people think being butch also equates to being  any of the following: unstylish, ill-groomed, overweight, overly-casual in dress or manner, or not having an opinion about any of the above?

Because I stopped worrying about how big my chest is (big, and not for lack of trying to eliminate it), does that make me less butch to all the fancy flat-chested butches out there, writing fashion advice and wearing stylish suspenders?

Why do my straight friends still see my labeling myself as butch as something less-than, or unnecessary, and how can I better educate them that this is my choice and how I am comfortable?

Yes, I’m out, but am I proud? Working on it…

 

 

 

I have to confess something I’m doing that can only be classified as “really, really LA.” Something a little more intimate, but something I have to share.

So I have this… moustache. Some butches think that’s cool, you know? Honestly, if I had a little goatee too, that would probably be awseome. I’d look very debonair.

But, I don’t. I just have my swarthy Scotch/Italian genes creating a very hairy upper lip. Since I was eleven years old and my big sister introduced me to the world of Nair and waxing, I’ve had to “groom” my moustache. Wax it. Thread it. Bleach it when the waxing and the threading made me break out.  Ad infinitum.

And I’m tired of it. Because it makes me look tired. And old. And not very well groomed, even in its gleaming-newly-bleached state, wherein it glows like the halo of the dawn breaking under my nose.

The clincher has been the commercial acting classes I’ve been taking – wherein I get to see many, MANY extreme close-ups on my face. And it just makes me look kinda dirty.

So – here’s the LA part – I decided to try laser hair removal. I consulted with an experienced friend. I bought a Groupon. I’m going whole hog.

And the funny thing is, when you’re doing laser hair removal, you can’t wax. Or thread. Or bleach.

All you can do is shave. Yup. They require you do stop all plucking and move entirely to shaving, because only with a close shave can the laser do its follicle-killing magic.

So I’m learning to shave! My moustache! Like, every day. I know of a few butches (and some femmes and straight girls) who do this regularly anyway, but I have never been one of them. Being already swarthy, I didn’t want to encourage any more dark whiskers, you know?

But shaving my lip is AWESOME, and makes me feel very manly and, well – fresh and clean. (Now that I’ve got the hang of it at least.) I have to do it every other day, but I dig it.  So far, the light hairs are still light and the dark hairs are still dark, regardless of the razor (which I know is the scientific truth, but I was still scared I was going to unleash some sort of sasquatch-dark-hair-trigger over my whole face somehow by doing this. I’m Sicilian. Anything is possible.).

So, thank you, ridiculous LA beauty culture, for providing me an entrance into laser hair removal, and the inherent butchness therein.

 

(PS – the laser hair removal is pretty good too. It takes many months to really work (more time to shave!), but the sessions don’t  hurt like I thought they would. A win-win so far.)

 

I had a tarot reading this past weekend and I can’t stop thinking about it. Yes, I am one of those hippy Californians who believe in things like tarot readings and spirit guides and the power of intention.  My great grandmother was a sought-after clairvoyant and miracle healer, in spite of the fact that she barely spoke English,  so I guess you can say it runs in my blood.

This reading was a whim – we had been perusing a fancy mystic bookstore because I like to play the giant singing bowls (seriously, if you’ve never played a singing bowl, you’re missing out) and my eye caught that of a sharp looking British woman behind the counter. And I had one of those moments where your heart beats faster and you don’t know why – it turns out this woman is an Oprah-certified clairvoyant – and I knew I had to get a reading.

I didn’t really have any questions I wanted answered, other than “What the hell am I doing?”, which made the woman laugh when I told her. I hadn’t intended to be sitting in a tiny room with essential oils rubbed into my wrists and incense burning, with a Brit with a stark haircut intoning a prayer to the spirits and angels. But I figured something had brought me there, so I was ready to be open and receive whatever messages came through.

I pulled cards from three separate decks, and she laid them out in a pattern I didn’t recognize, all facing her. She explained that the way the pattern worked was that everything in the middle column was my future, while the left branch was the work I needed to do to get there, and the right were the obstacles I was facing. Now I was pretty jazzed by the middle column – Victory and Success, Intuition, and Abundance and Power were the leading cards. Not too bad. I had missed that the bottom was Heartache and Loss.  But the clincher was the obstacles – I had pulled four straight cards highlighting mental blockages – doubt, confusion and distress, lack of self-confidence – everything I’ve been struggling with this year so far.

The top card of the obstacle column was the tipping point: Authority. At first I was like, ok, I’m getting in my own way of being my own boss, I get it. But she explained that what she was meant to tell me was that, for me, the Authority card meant my masculinity. I wasn’t expressing it well, and it was blocking my progress. I wasn’t getting fully in touch with my divine butch, as it were.  I just sat there with my mouth open, but not incredulously. I was totally there. I got it. And it was/is true.

It’s now or never. I need to fully embrace my butchness, my masculinity, or get out of dodge. I can’t keep walking the fence. I’ve certainly made huge strides over the past year and a half – this blog being the largest, closely followed by my Butch Fatale entry, I’d say. But I can’t keep trying to live in the shadows, pretending that my butchness isn’t out there for all to see, and that my particular brand of butchness may not be the same as your brand of butchness, and that’s ok. Because yes, even though I’m here, and I’m an actor, and I’m “trying to put myself out there” and all of that, I still haven’t truly accepted myself. The spirits gave me a gentle reminder. Do it.

My lady and I went to the theatre this past week  – actually, we went to the theatre about 10 times since I’m working in the Hollywood Fringe Festival and there are 250 shows happening… – but this particular instance was part of our week long 8-year-anniversary happenings. We saw the tour of ‘War Horse’ (the play that inspired the movie) which was incredible. Truly astounding. The life-size horse puppets were some of the most awesome stagecraft I’ve ever seen, and even folks who don’t enjoy theatre would love how epic this show is.

But I digress – because this was a fancier outing for us, we both fancied ourselves up to go out, and I took the opportunity to wear a brand new tie I picked up recently that has been patiently awaiting an outing. I paired it (as usual) with a black shirt and black vest and black jacket, because the tie is a few brilliant stripes of lime and emerald green and white and the gay man in me likes to have a pop of color.

green is my favorite color.

I don’t know if it was the relatively older crowd at the show, or the predominance of families attending, or just that I haven’t been out in “high society” in while, but I garnered more looks and stares than usual, and within about twenty minutes of waiting in the will-call line, I felt thoroughly shy about my attire.  There is something about hearing little kids think you’re a dude, and then hearing their parents telling them that no, you’re not a man, and then the kids always ask “well why is she dressed like a boy?” that I never get comfortable with.

If kids ask me directly, I say it’s because I like the clothes whether or not they’re for boys or girls. Unless it’s a question coming from a pre-teen boy, that usually satisfies. If kids ask me if I’m a boy or girl, I usually ask them to guess, and then I ask them the question right back. This usually elicits giggles and ends the conversation well.

But it’s that weird hushed parental tone that I hate. It reminds me of some dark memories of my parents’ friends commenting on my “tomboy” look as a little kid. It cuts right to my core and brings up all my insecurity, and it all overflows onto my tie. Because without the tie, you can just be a woman in a blazer. Innocuous and possibly fashion-challenged, but not threatening. With the tie, you’re butch. (Well, unless you’re wearing like a cocktail tuxedo jacket and stilettos, or something…. I should say, with the tie and the short hair and the cocky stance and the gf on your arm, you’re butch.)

Some ties, however, wouldn’t get that much attention. My favorite purple plaid skinny tie never makes me feel weird. Somehow it goes under the radar a little more. But I love this new tie. I love how bright it is. I love how when I tie the Full Windsor the stripes on the knot are perfectly perpendicular to each other.

It’s just another one of my ties. I don’t know why it makes me shy. (This is on the verge of becoming a weird/bad Dar Williams song.)  These triggers are so random, I guess, and this one snuck up on me.  And now I’m about to go don yet another tie, the dark gray one with tiny orange circles, that I wear as part of my costume for the Fringe, which will not make me insecure because I can always pretend that I’m “playing a character”. Still working on playing myself.

 

 

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