Some were emotionally powerful (first lesbian wedding). Some were random and sort of weird (first time in a port-o-potty). Some were just awesome (first road trip with friends, first step into the Pacific Ocean, first smartphone). Some pushed me to the absolute limits of who I knew myself to be (first lesbian stagette).
Next month will introduce another: I’m about to move into my very first studio apartment.
I’ve lived by myself several times over the last ten years, but always in one-bedroom apartments. The place I am moving into is a no-bedroom; about 600 square feet total. It will definitely be the smallest place I’ve ever lived.
When I started the preliminary sorting process in anticipation of this move, I was struck by how much crap I owned that I had no use for anymore. I’ve moved enough times in the past ten years that I’ve developed a burning desire to make the process as short and sweet as possible. I was unwilling to pack a single box more than was absolutely necessary.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the LGBTQ+ acronym, and the reasons why I think expanding the acronym serves to blur differences amongst identities that are actually quite vital and important. Since then, I’ve been thinking about a story I wish I’d told when I wrote that piece.
You may have noticed, if you read me regularly, that I talk an awful lot about dating men. I have written about at least a couple of ex-boyfriends, and I possess quite a few more than that. And yet, when I identify myself in these pages (and out in the world), I always call myself a “lesbian.” I rarely say “queer,” I occasionally say “gay.” I have never identified as bisexual. Even in the days when I’d begun tentatively dating women, I never once uttered the word “bi”. And the reasons were conscious and important. So I’ve realized that when I talked about identities and acronyms, I failed to address a crucial point – that identities are vital precisely because of what they say about our lives and our histories – and I’m living proof of that.
My early dating years were spent dating men exclusively – because that’s what you did as a girl in my home town. It’s what was available. It’s what the model was. Our lives and stories and televisions were filled with young women dating young men. Our houses were filled with mothers and grandmothers and cousins and aunts who had married men. Our churches and sex ed classes both spoke in exclusively straight terms. I called myself “straight” if I called myself anything at all, because “straight” was literally all I knew. Continue reading “What The Hell Am I?”→
A couple of months ago, the lovely Kate and I decided to start a website. We jumped into this endeavor with both feet because we have a passion for writing, and also because we wanted to present the world with an alternative to the obnoxious, ad-laden, content-deprived websites we seem to encounter in all directions these days.
It’s certainly been a learning experience. Butch Please is bigger than a simple blog. We want it to be bigger, but that also means it’s a lot more work. To keep things running, we’re each wearing more than one hat. And this past week has taught me that the requisite “mad computer skillz” hat is a bit too big for me.
I moved our site to a different hosting platform. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it brought us nothing but drama and heartache and a website no one could access, so yesterday, I switched us back. Your Butch Please experience should resume working as it did before. If you encounter any further weirdness, please let us know.
We’ve been running content as usual, but in case you missed it, allow me to point you to all the articles we posted during the switch:
I recently got back from vacationing with my wife. Among our many adventures in Nova Scotia, we stayed at the inn where she proposed to me, as is usual with our trips out east. The little inn shall remain unnamed, but they offer a small glass-door cupboard of books for guests to borrow, with a request to return for others to enjoy.
There were three or four shelves in a cupboard about two feet wide, so there weren’t a whole lot of books. It’s quite an eclectic mix, I must say. There were a few titles by L. Ron Hubbard, and several books in other languages. There was a 2006 – 2007 copy of Sunday Missal: Living with Christ and a small Lizzie McGuire chapter book.
But this immediately caught my eye: The New Illustrated Medical Encyclopedia For Home Use.
This beauty had four volumes, and looked old. I thought for sure it would be an entertaining read.
I brought it back to our room and delved in. It was published in 1959, back when having a medical encyclopedia for home use was a good idea and wouldn’t lead to chronic hypochondria.
Not long ago, I got into an argument on the internet.
Revolutionary, I know. But for me, it’s fairly unusual these days. As much as I love to use my words, and as much as my debate team history would imply I love arguing, I’ve never been good at comment wars. Maybe it’s something about the unending nature of arguing on the internet – the constant “ping” to let you know it’s still happening, and may continue in perpetuity. Or maybe it’s the stories from this election cycle of women being harassed for their political opinions on Twitter. Whatever the reason, when I start replying to a “hot topic,” I usually stop myself and backspace the hell out.
So when I found myself engaging in this particular debate, I surprised myself – especially given that the issue was one I’d never considered one of my “pet” topics.
The discourse centered around the LGBTQIA acronym, and whether it should be expanded. The discussion had been started by some straight allies who were genuinely concerned that they were using it incorrectly, that they hadn’t added enough letters, and that they’d be called out on it. Their concern was genuine, and palpable. They had the best of intentions, and were debating with one another what the current consensus might be among the gay community – and whether they were being bad allies if they weren’t sure what all the letters stood for.
Then, someone (who happened to be a straight man) popped into the conversation and said “Hey! I just heard about this great new version of the acronym! QUILTBAG! Isn’t it amazing! I like it a lot because the ‘quilt’ image evokes things like the AIDS quilt, and also it’s easy to remember. I think we should all start using it!” Continue reading “A is for Acronym”→
Both of my parents are artists. My dad is an illustrator and my mom a photographer, and they were married for the entirety of my childhood. Growing up I visited my fair share of museums. I loved them. They were so quiet and serene. The modern art exhibits were by far my favorites. I loved how different they all were; the styles were easy to differentiate and every one was beautiful. But it was the classical art that fascinated me. How open they were with their bodies, how the naked body was equated with innocence and purity. I had never seen the human form celebrated until I discovered them. Showing skin was at the time, and still is, thought of as sexual and vulgar.
I remember staring up at The Birth of Venus at six or seven years old and noticing how different she was compared to images of beauty of the day. Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez couldn’t hold a candle to Venus in my mind.
They say hindsight is 20/20 right? Maybe someone could have pieced together the clues and realized I was of the queer variety long ago, but probably not. Most of my queer cues happened when I was alone, doing things and not knowing why. Take, for instance, the time when I got new Barbie dolls and immediately stripped them of their clothes. I was entranced by the curves and smoothness of them. Innocent child curiosity. Continue reading “Evolution of an Orientation”→
I was brought up Catholic in a small, white hamlet in mainland Nova Scotia. This was pretty much the norm for kids raised in small, white hamlets in mainland Nova Scotia.
I was a very obedient child right up until I was a very obedient adolescent. I went to church every Saturday night until I joined the youth choir and started going every Sunday morning instead. Week to week, I was there in both body and spirit.
My elementary school was not a Catholic school, but it was situated in an overwhelmingly Catholic community. As such, we had religion classes during school hours.
Whenever religion class was about to start, the one girl in my grade who wasn’t Catholic would be ushered to another classroom. I think she spent the time colouring in a colouring book or something. I was never really sure. The fact that she would get sent to another room always felt strange to me. I wondered how it made her feel to be sent away for not belonging.
I’ve noticed something since coming out, and I’m not sure if I should be bothered by it or not. I can’t say it’s a trend – can two people be a trend? – but coupled with other bisexual experiences I’ve read about, it seems to be a thing I can’t escape by the very nature of my sexual orientation.
I have officially dated two people since coming out, both of them have been men. Both of them knew I am bisexual, both of them knew my experience with women is limited, and both of them kept insisting I should explore my sexuality by dating women on the side.
I suppose now is a good time to clarify that I am very much a monogamous person. I can’t even casually go on a date with one person one week and a different person the next, unless I’ve completely ruled out the first person. I think I make this clear, as a general rule, to those I get beyond the point of casual dating with. I can’t focus on more than one person at a time to that degree; trying to maintain and further intimate relationships with multiple people would exhaust me.
Yet since coming out, the men I’ve dated have insisted I should carry on with what are essentially – in my mind – affairs! There have been arguments about it, like these straight men know what’s best for me as a bisexual woman and I’m obviously deluded about how bisexuality works. Neither of them wanted a free pass to also date women on the side, and neither seemed bothered by the idea of me forming intimate physical and emotional relationships with women. Continue reading “Bisexual Monogamy”→
Before Kate, I used to have an idea in my mind of what it would be like to be in a relationship. I was right about some of it, and wrong about some of it. I knew that being in love would be amazing, but I also worried that, as an introvert, I would struggle with not having enough time to myself.
Fast forward to now. It’s Saturday morning, and Kate has been out of town since Thursday. She isn’t due back until tomorrow evening. Old Mo would have relished this opportunity for quality alone time. Present Mo, on the other hand, started missing her before she even left, and cannot wait for tomorrow to get here.
I spent my single years imagining what it would be like to have a girlfriend. I pondered, and dreamed, and developed a myriad of assumptions that I would eventually be wrong about. There was one detail in particular that I had taken for granted. I had always figured that, when I finally did find a girlfriend, she would be a lesbian.
Coming out of the closet. Almost universally part of the LGBTQ+ experience. Whether it’s your entire collection of Facebook friends, your immediate family, or just one trusted confidant, most of us have had that experience of finally opening up to someone about an important part of our identity. And it’s usually a rather harrowing experience, at that. Even if those you are confiding in react well, building up the nerve to reveal something about yourself that is still often looked down on, even hated, and for many of us, not even considered to be a “real” orientation or identity, can be a nigh-on Herculean task. Continue reading “Reloading the Label Gun”→