Old School, Old Fashioned?

Yes, back to pondering butch femme interactions.

As a single femme I have the opportunity to go on dates, get to know people, kick game and whatnot.  As a single high femme I am often appalled at the lack of finesse, manners, protocol, courtesies, call it what you want, from some femme lovin’ butches and transmen.  I was talking/ranting with a friend who just witnessed some butch asshattery this past weekend and pondering my own interactions that just lead me to question, wtf?

One of my friend’s complaints was the equation of old school manners and protocol with old fashioned, and that brought up an excellent question: what are we replacing them with?  So, if getting a car door for me, high femme, is old fashioned, then it’s replaced with inaction on the butch’s part?   Is that the end of it?

If the common courtesies that are part of the dance are no longer applicable, the appreciation of femininity is passe, then what now? I don’t hold with old fashioned static ideas of butch femme roles, I don’t believe femme equals passive or subservient, nor do I believe in heternormativity that is sometimes attached to “old fashioned.”  But, I like the dance.  The steps may be queerer but it’s still a dance that has protocol as foundation, the basic steps which are then enhanced, discarded, replaced if need be. This protocol does not come from a place that assumes that I, high femme, am somehow rendered incapable of opening a door because of my heels and makeup, they come with the dance and they are rooted in appreciation and respect.

The other thing that I find absolutely infuriating is when butches claim to covet high femmes and yet they don’t show us respect and appreciation.  Suddenly “high maintenance” is an accusation rather than a reality, and it also ignores the fact that butches can also be very “high maintenance” just in different ways.  Butches who claim to like high femmes and complain about lipstick kisses are absolutely aggravating to me.  If you like the beautiful grrl with the pretty makeup then you have to understand that:

at some point makeup will get on your body or your clothes if you are LUCKY.  If you are lucky enough to be with a grrl who wants to kiss you, then be proud of it, revel in it.  She is blessing you.  Don’t complain about the lipstick, whether you love it or hate it, focus on the kiss and appreciate that.

it takes time to look the way we do.  Don’t. Fucking. Rush. Us.  And don’t complain passive aggressively about it.  As a high femme I plan ahead.  I know I take a while to be ready so I manage my time to allow for that.  If it’s a spontaneous outing, I will probably still want to touch up or change.  The energy it takes to deal with the butch’s bitching just makes it take longer.  If you like the way we present, then deal with the preparation that goes into getting there.  Even better, enjoy it, the preparations can be part of the dance.  Admire us.  I had a lover who was aroused by watching me put on my makeup and I thought it was the most wonderful thing ever, even if it took a little longer to get ready.

don’t make asinine comments about how our shoes look uncomfortable.  They may be, but you are supposed to notice how sexy we look rather than worrying about the podiatrist or chiropractor.  And for extra points, if a date will involve lots of walking, give us a heads up.  I know I appreciate it so that I can wear my walking heels.  If you don’t give us a heads up, then the femme sets the pace when we are walking.  Chances are a high femme will wait until her feet are bleeding to complain about her shoes so let us lead and spare us.

Folks please, just because you are a butch doesn’t mean you are exempt from fashion.  A little effort goes a long way.  You think it’s so wonderful when you pick us up and we are dressed up in our pretty dresses, flawless hair and makeup and sexy shoes.  Guess what? We like it when a butch puts the effort in as well.  Honor your sense of style but do put in the effort to look good for her and to look like you care, not like you rolled out of bed in your clothes and directly to the date.  Unless you are a total ass, dressing up and looking sharp significantly increases your odds of getting a second date.

making jokes at a Femme’s expense= not funny.  If you appreciate femme, act like it.  The frat boy butch thing is so not sexy.  Really!  And really, making jokes at any person’s expense is just generally in poor taste.  If you have to tear someone else down to build yourself up, and if you have to do that to be funny, then I suggest you work on your repertoire.

And finally, as femmes, we don’t have to put up with poor behavior.  We don’t have to settle, we don’t have to accept it, and it’s okay to call it out when we see it.  It doesn’t mean we have to be rude about it but it’s okay to say, “I really appreciate having the door opened for me.”  It’s okay to have standards, it’s okay to be seen as aggressive, in fact it’s hawt!  Don’t let insecure people tell you otherwise.

I love butches, bois, boys, transguys, female bodies/socialized transmasculine people.  LOVE!  And I don’t just mean in an “I wanna hook up with them” way.  I genuinely enjoy their company, I enjoy the dynamic of butch femme whether it be a friend or someone I’m dating or just sharing space and time with.  I love butches.  I will go out of my way to be an ally to butches, to debunk the stupid stereotypes about grunting fratboy stupidity.  While as a queer I also sometimes date people who don’t id as any of the above, other gender expressions do not complement me in the ways that butches, bois, boys, transdudes, and transmaculine people do.  I can partner only with them when it comes down to capital R Relationships.  It really makes me feel disappointed and confused when I see femme lovin’ butches behaving in ways that seem to reinforce negative stereotypes and that don’t feel like they are affirming of femmes.

Whether you are trying to get under my skirt or not, as a butch who dates femmes I expect you to honor me and my gender identity just as I strive to honor yours.  Whether you are trying to get under my skirt or not, I am your sister.  Show me the respect I deserve, and demand.  I will do the same for you.

I am not asking for anything I am unwilling to give in return.  I will honor and cherish your identity as a butch, I will learn new steps with you, I will teach you mine, and will respect you.  The dance takes two.  Step up.

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1 Comment »

  1. Jay T. Said:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this read. Thank you!


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