Part of what I love about the online butch blogging community (of which I am still a very new and small part) is the acceptance of the spectrum of butchness.
One of the (very tiny) downsides of seeing my awesome trans friend T this past month was the realization that we once were sitting very close to each other on the very butchest end of the rainbow, and now, 10 years later, we’re each at totally different points. T went on to join a whole other spectrum. I envy his facial hair. I moved ostensibly back towards a more feminine center. He appreciates my dedication to a career that forces me to be 100% visible.
Admittedly, I freaked out a little about how “girly” I was in comparison to him. I mean, sure, I still wear almost all men’s clothing, keep my hair cropped, and do all sorts of butch things like build stuff and swig bottled craft beer on a daily basis. But there’s other stuff that has creeped in due to my profession – like I keep my eyebrows groomed impeccably. Days when I have auditions, I wear some under-eye concealer. The man bag I carry is often mistaken for for tomboy purse. I only wear plaid shirts with excellently paired solid ties and vests.
In the middle of this freak out, my gf just looked at me and giggled. “Look at all the other people in this (hip, vegan, queer-filled) restaurant,” she said. “You are WAY more butch than any of them. Sure, you and T have moved in different directions, but you’re still on the same end of the spectrum.” She held her fingers up, an inch apart. “This is the distance between you and T. These other women, even the queer ones, they’re WAY the fuck over there.”
She also pointed out what I chose to title my blog. My whole identity is wrapped up in this dichotomy. How pretty can you be before you’re no longer butch? And vice versa? And according to whom? It’s such a weird line to walk on, since I’m balancing my art and my profession and my weight and my shyness and everything, and at any moment I may tip the scales in a different direction. Some days I think I must be nuts, and I wish I could go off and move to Portland and hide away as a web designer, lounging my days away in a craft beer haus, wearing the shabbiest, manliest shirt I can find. (My gf thinks this is a sexy idea.) But we need to be seen. So first, I need to be brave enough to keep walking.