A Message From Mo

Butch Please is taking a break.

Hopefully it won’t be a long break. We love the site, and we love our readers. But life is making it hard to keep this site going right now. We want to be able to post more than once or twice a week, and since that’s not possible right now, we’ve opted to stop and take a breather.

In all honesty, it was probably unwise to start a website without having money to invest and a detailed plan for long-term success. Then again, waiting for all the stars to align before starting something often means not starting the thing at all. And I am glad we started this thing.

So this is bye for now, but hopefully not for too long. If you miss us, we encourage you to visit our archives and check out some older posts. It’s good stuff, I promise!

Thanks for reading.


Author

small mo


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The Travel Companion

We all have a story like this.

When I was 24, I worked at a research company downtown. It wasn’t the most fulfilling of jobs (still waiting for that!) but it paid the bills. Prior to taking this job, I had spent a year working at Scotia Place, a shiny, impressive-looking building that had its own LRT station. This little transit perk had made commuting a treat for my directionally-challenged self.

I had been at my new job for about a week, and as such, I didn’t yet have a feel for my coworkers. Since I wasn’t comfortable spending my lunch break with strangers, I had made a habit of going out. So far, I had spent the week’s noon hours wandering aimlessly around the city, keeping an eye on my watch.

On one particular day, I had made plans to meet my old work crew for lunch. Scotia Place was several blocks away from my new job, so I decided to take the LRT. The ride would be short (only a couple of stations) and direct. Minimal room for error.

I descended the concrete steps and made my way to the middle of the platform. There were lots of people around (though not quite as many as I’d seen during morning and afternoon rush hours). I determined which side of the platform my train would be on, and I turned to face that direction. The schedule indicated that I only had a few minutes to wait, so I didn’t bother sitting down.

A minute or two later, a man came up to me. He appeared to be in his thirties; not much taller than I was, nor much bigger. He was standing a bit too close for comfort; a fact I was just starting to register when he began speaking.

“Hello,” he said. Continue reading “The Travel Companion”

Losing Sleep

I come from a family of good sleepers. Mom and Dad are both in bed by 9:00 each night and, as I understand it, they’re asleep minutes after their heads hit the pillows. My brother is the same way. He doesn’t even need a bed; a couch or a comfy chair works nicely for him when he’s ready to doze. He doesn’t go to bed as early as the folks do, but he seems blessed with their uncanny ability to nod off at the drop of a hat.

I’m not so lucky. I’m prone to bouts of sleeplessness, usually due to stress or excitement, and it’s been in high gear for the past couple of weeks.

The last time I had extended insomnia was over three years ago, in the summer. I was working full-time during the day and doing some pretty intense socialization on most evenings and weekends. I was about as far outside my comfort zone as I’d ever let myself go, and although there were definite benefits to that experience, it also created an ongoing sensory overload that made sleeping all but impossible.

Those days are behind me. Lately, I socialize very little. So what’s keeping me up at night?

Continue reading “Losing Sleep”

Man or Beiste?

Football coach Shannon Beiste was first introduced to Glee fans at the beginning of the second season. She was a force to be reckoned with; an intimidating presence with a hefty build and a loud, booming voice. She came with a bit of a chip on her shoulder, having been bullied throughout most of her life for her perceived lack of femininity.

In general, Coach Beiste was not considered sexually attractive. In one unfortunate storyline, several of the glee club boys (and one girl) chose to visualize her in overtly sexual outfits as a way to avoid “overheating” during make out sessions. Clothing choices included lingerie, a cheer uniform, and a ballet leotard. The juxtaposition created by this “mannish” woman attempting to be feminine and sexy was, apparently, a pretty effective boner killer.

cheer
Beiste as a cheerleader. (Never Been Kissed)

When word of this unkind strategy made its way to Beiste, she was visibly hurt. She insisted that she wasn’t gay (a fact that she would repeat more than once as the series went on) and expressed her exasperation with situations like these:

“I know I can be a little intimidating sometimes, but deep down inside, where no one can see, I’m just a girl. Am I nuts that I just wanna be reminded of that sometimes?”
Continue reading “Man or Beiste?”

Kinda Gay: Bi Erasure on Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Willow Rosenberg wasn’t always into chicks.

Throughout season one of Buffy, our lovable hacker pined for her best friend, Xander. Her feelings weren’t reciprocated (Xander was too busy mooning over Buffy), but even so, she carried a torch for him well into season two.

That’s when she met Oz, an adorable guitarist who made no secret of his interest in her. The two began a tentative flirtation, rendering Willow appropriately smitten. Eventually, she managed to ask him out on a date. So began the cutest romance ever.

Xander, upon being rejected by Buffy, eventually struck up a dalliance with a cheerleader named Cordelia. After a bit of a rocky start, they settled into being boyfriend and girlfriend.

Things were going great for everyone until a few days before Homecoming. Willow and Xander decided to try on clothes for the dance together. Nothing was amiss until Willow emerged from behind the privacy screen and they saw each other, fully and fancily dressed.

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No harm in dancing ridiculously close, right? (Homecoming)

They stared, awestruck. Xander told Willow she was gorgeous. Awkward breathing and shifty gazes inevitably gave way to kissing. When they (finally) parted, both felt guilty but still drawn to each other.

The two struggled with their palpable attraction over the next few episodes, playing secret footsies in the science lab, giving ill-advised temple massages in the library, fighting a losing battle. Oblivious to their hormone-fueled angst, villain Spike chose precisely then to kidnap them and lock them in an abandoned factory. Continue reading “Kinda Gay: Bi Erasure on Buffy The Vampire Slayer”

Big Brother Boys Club

(Feature Photo from CBS.com)

Big Brother (the U.S. version) is nearing the end of its eighteenth season. As someone who has been watching since the very beginning, I can tell you it’s not a terribly prestigious show to be a fan of. Most people my age are surprised to discover that it’s still on the air, since they can’t name a single person they know who actually watches it. But every July, without fail, it returns to the CBS lineup. Year after year, Big Brother is kept alive by a mostly silent but intensely loyal fan base. (It’s sort of like the Nickelback of television in that regard.)

Why do I watch? Because it’s fascinating. It’s a three-month long social experiment that I get to observe while sitting on my comfy couch and eating popcorn. It’s a microcosm of the western world; a (not quite random) sampling of America. It’s a popularity contest with a $500,000 prize, and sometimes, when they get the mix of people just right, the underdog wins.

So who’s the underdog? Well, just like in life, Big Brother‘s underdogs are any contestants who are not straight white males. We can blame the casting process for this, to a point. People of colour are vastly underrepresented on the show, and it’s a rare season that includes more than one sexual minority. Alliances usually form between like-minded individuals. Straight white dudes are typically in the majority, and they frequently decide to work together.

On paper, women get a fair shake at the outset. The cast is always split 50/50 by gender. On Day 1, there are just as many women are there are men, so why are the ladies only pulling out 29% of the wins?

Continue reading “Big Brother Boys Club”

In / Out

(Originally posted on January 12, 2013 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

I am not out at work.

A handful of my co-workers are also friends with me on Facebook, and they’re bombarded with my truth on pretty much a daily basis. My super gay life is all I talk about on the Internet these days. But most of the people I work with don’t know I’m gay. Some of them may suspect, I suppose, but they haven’t received any sort of confirmation from me.

My non-work friends are surprised when I tell them this. Some of them can’t fathom the idea of a person knowing me and not knowing that I’m a big lez. To them, my gayness is a blinding rainbow beacon, unwavering and undeniable. “Have they not seen you walk?” they ask.

It’s a fair question.

Until recently, I wasn’t prone to oversharing. I took a passive approach to conversations, not volunteering any information I wasn’t directly asked for. This was a defense mechanism; a way to avoid being judged. And it carried over to small, stupid things, like not mentioning a TV show or band that I liked, for fear of being disagreed with or thought less of. One of the biggest driving forces in my life has always been my need to be liked. And a great way to do that is to sit back, observe, and mirror what people want to hear.

I’ve never liked being conspicuous. I’ve spent most of my life feeling completely different from everyone around me. And this feeling of alienation – of unbelonging – has often driven me to focus all of my energy on being unnoticed. On blending in.

I’m friends with a lesbian who, like me, isn’t out at work. I was surprised when she told me this, because she has a long-term girlfriend. But on reflection, I can believe it. She’s not someone who would have pinged my gaydar; at least not right away. She can certainly pass for straight. And since a lot of ordinary people consider “straight” to be the unquestioned default setting for everyone they meet, it’s possible that she doesn’t have to work very hard to keep this information to herself.

I’ve been out at other workplaces, but never right away, and certainly not with any big declarations. I’ve come out to co-workers gradually, one-on-one, and usually after having formed friendships first. I tell people I’m gay when they ask, and then I assure them that it’s not a secret.

It’s not, really. It’s just not something I lead with. I prefer for people to get to know me first. That way, “lesbian” is a label they’re applying to a person they already know. Once they know me, they like me. Once they like me, it’s less easy for them to dislike all lesbians on principle.

Right? Continue reading “In / Out”

Going Home Again (Again)

I was 22 the first time I moved across the country. I had lived with my parents while attending university and it was finally time for me to leave the nest. People were surprised when I announced my plan. I was pretty quiet and meek back then. I had never lived anywhere other than with my parents, and to some, it seemed like a big first move.

I distinctly remember my grandmother assuring me that there would be no shame in changing my mind if I decided I wasn’t ready for this. Mom told me the same thing. But I was determined. I was also gay and looking to create some distance between the claustrophobic motherland and me.

That day at the airport, my parents hugged me and handed me some cash while I gushed over a cute puppy to distract myself from crying. We said our goodbyes and I headed through security with my cousin, Melissa, who was on her way back to Calgary after a holiday in NS. It was nice to have family with me during this time of huge change.

Our flight included a stopover in Hamilton, Ontario. The first leg of the journey went off without a hitch, and we made it to our next gate in plenty of time. We boarded Plane #2, found our seats, and waited. We waited a while. I don’t remember how long it was; maybe an hour, maybe two. But eventually, we were all asked to get off the plane. Continue reading “Going Home Again (Again)”

Soft Skills and Baby Steps

(Originally posted on July 5, 2012 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

I am the youngest child of three in my family. And though I stand at least six inches taller than my mother, I am still frequently referred to as “the baby.” This is how my parents see me. I suspect my older siblings probably see me this way as well. I’m younger and less prepared for things. I’m someone to teach; someone to take care of. They might always see me this way. The real question is: will I ever stop seeing myself this way?

Not long ago, I watched a Ted Talk by Jeffrey Kluger about siblings and birth order and the impact both can have on the people we become. (The pertinent part of the discussion begins at the 12-minute mark.) What I heard stuck with me, because it felt like an eerily accurate picture of my own experience. Just like I am a textbook lesbian in a lot of ways, I am also (apparently) a textbook youngest child.

The portrait of the oldest sibling didn’t come as a big surprise to me. They tend to be extremely independent. They are doers, and problem-solvers, and they are usually more professionally successful than their younger siblings. They are intelligent, and confident, and self-assured. They know how to take care of themselves.

So, you might be wondering, where does this leave the youngest child?

I’m glad you asked!

The youngest child in the family tends to be funny; tends to be charming. She has strong communication skills and she knows how to read others. She is a natural people pleaser. The oldest sibling knows how to take care of herself, but the youngest sibling knows how to persuade others to take care of her.

Compared against my own personal experience, this description rings ridiculously true. And so, here I am at age 31, wondering how much more I might have accomplished if I had been the oldest child in my family. Wondering how I may have benefited from some mad independence skillz.

I have had a string of unsatisfying and poor-paying jobs. I have underachieved and disappointed myself. I should have been and done more but I was ill-equipped and distracted. Life had thrown me a curve ball; an obstacle my family couldn’t help me with. Life had made me gay. And that was a road trodden by neither sibling nor parent.

Being gay has pushed me in ways that nothing else has in life. It’s challenged my comfort level at every turn, and I think that’s actually been good for me. I have had an agonizingly slow go of it all, and even now I am only inching forward in baby steps. But it’s a lifelong journey, and at least I am moving in the right direction. As they say, it’s better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb than halfway up one you don’t.

The thing that has held me back the most in life, and what still holds me back in little and big ways as we speak, is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of making mistakes. A lack of trust in myself. I’m afraid to take on a career that challenges me, because I’m afraid to fail. I’m afraid to drive a car in the city. I’m afraid to travel outside of the country by myself. I’m afraid to ask a woman out on a date. It took me until the age of 31 just to join a lesbian social group, and even when I finally struck up the nerve to go to one, I spent several minutes out in the parking lot, afraid to walk in the door.

That was almost three months ago. And now, with every new meeting or event I go to, I struggle to remember what the hell I was so afraid of. Was I afraid of lesbians? Have I been afraid of myself this whole time?

Now there are new things to be afraid of. If I’m too friendly with a girl, will it come across as flirting? On the flip side, if I’m actually attempting to flirt, will she be able to tell? I spent my twenties mastering the art of falling in love with heterosexual friends. I knew the boundaries then. I knew where I stood.

Liking someone who might actually like me back sounds completely terrifying. But I guess that’s how I know it’s worth doing. Part of being an adult is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

So line up, ladies! I’m prepared to be terrified, if you’re prepared to be charmed.


Author

small mo


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