Wedding Regrets

Recently I started working as a photographer’s assistant to learn how to do wedding photography. It was late in summer when I started, so the wedding season was almost finished. Nonetheless, I went to and photographed five weddings in the span of about two months. For someone who hasn’t been to a lot of weddings, it was a bit overwhelming.

I thought it would be weird to go to strangers’ weddings. And it was, a bit. But it was also lovely. A wedding is still a beautiful event meant to celebrate a couple’s love, whether the bride is your best friend or someone you met for the first time as they hustled into their wedding dress.

A lot of care, and planning, and love went into the weddings I attended. Two of them were Disney themed. One had a general geek theme. All were painstakingly decorated with handmade decorations and beautiful flowers.

I love weddings. They are fun for me, as a guest and also as a photographer. So going to five weddings after my own just over a year ago brought back some wonderful memories, but also stirred up some regrets. Continue reading “Wedding Regrets”

A Woman Works

(Originally written on March 9, 2014.)

I am a bisexual woman engaged to a woman. A wonderful woman who has made me happier than I’ve ever been before. There is that saying that, someday, someone will walk into your life and make you realize why it never worked out with anyone else. This is what I have, and it’s phenomenal. I feel like I’m the luckiest person alive! But of course, all my exes are men, and my fiancée is a woman. So the question always comes:

“Do you think it’s working out so well because of who she is, or because she’s a woman?” Continue reading “A Woman Works”

Book Review: Huntress

Warning: This review may contain small spoilers!

Categories: Lesbian, Queer, Women, Fantasy, YA

I have to admit, I’ve never read queer fantasy before. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but Malinda Lo’s Huntress sure didn’t disappoint!

The basic story is this: The Kingdom is in trouble. Weather patterns have changed, and crops are failing. Food is scarce, people are starving, and things aren’t looking good. Our hero, Kaede, is fruitlessly studying at a magical school, realizing she has little skill. (Think of a Squib trying to study at Hogwarts.) Our other hero, Taisin, is super magical. They go on a quest together to save The Kingdom.

The story is told in third person, but takes on varying perspectives, sometimes changing very quickly. There were a couple spots where that got a little confusing, but otherwise, I prefer third person narratives, so I enjoyed the narration. (Some people on Goodreads were really not okay with it.) Continue reading “Book Review: Huntress”

Opening Up

Kate and I have noticed a discouraging trend over the last several years. All of our city’s queer establishments seem to be vanishing. First it was The Roost, the first gay bar I ever visited. A few years ago it was Junction, and then Roast. The most recent loss was Buddy’s, a queer night club that had been around for 21 years. It closed last November.

New queer bars and clubs have popped up over the years and disappeared almost as fast. Watching places like Flash and Play and UpStares UltraLounge come and go, we’ve had to ask ourselves whether there’s still a need in our city for an exclusively queer spot. All signs point to “not really.”

Times are changing, and we queers are no longer limited to a short list of safe spaces. Teens, preteens, and even children are coming out younger and younger. By the time they hit clubbing age, they’ve had years to get comfortable with their orientations and identities. When I was 20, things were very different. My sexuality was always at the forefront of my mind as I questioned and agonized and worried. It engulfed me, and as such, it distracted me from other types of growth. For years, I felt like I could never just be Mo, I had to be Gay Mo.

Kate and I created Butch Please to be a website for queer women. This seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do at the time, but fifteen weeks in, we’re feeling stuck. We don’t have the readership we want. We don’t have the variety of writers we want (though we love and appreciate our existing writers). We’re feeling really limited when it comes to the writing. Kate is bisexual and I’m a lesbian, but that’s not all that we are. We’re both complex, well-rounded people with lots to say about our lives and the world. And, for the moment, we’ve run out of ways to talk about how queer we are.

In light of this, we’ve decided to extend our reach. Instead of being a queer women’s site, Butch Please will now be simply a women’s site. We’ll remain, as always, queer friendly and feminist (because obviously), but we won’t limit ourselves as far as talking points. Gone will be the daily categories. After all, personal journeys don’t just happen on Mondays.

What’s it like to be a woman working in a predominantly male field? What’s it like to navigate the intimidating world of online dating? What’s it like to take the plunge and start a new business? What’s it like to be a feminist man? We want to bring you these stories. We want you to see yourselves in them. We want to invite everyone to our table; not just queer chicks.

The door’s open.


Author

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So…Threesome?

In January of 2012, I was coming to terms with my sexual orientation. The process was more difficult than I had thought it would be. In truth, I didn’t even take my attraction to women seriously. I always brushed it off. It didn’t mean anything.

But the thoughts didn’t go away just because I brushed them off. It was becoming almost an obsession, to the point where if I was dating a man and things were going well, I’d have sinking thoughts like, “but what if it could be better with a woman?”

With the support of a friend, I explored my feelings, and they took me to a party hosted by one of their gay friends. I was entranced by the wide variety of women present. Butches, lipstick lesbians, and chicks who styled in the middle; a casual mix of feminine and masculine. I had an instant crush on one woman in particular, and in my heart, I knew.

But I had doubts. I didn’t trust myself. I thought, how do I know I’m actually attracted to women, if I’ve never been with a woman? The refrain echoed by many outside the community when someone comes out before they have any “experience.” I worried that I would come out, date my first woman, and be horribly embarrassed when I realized that I was only into boobs aesthetically, and not sexually. I had to know. I needed to reassure myself that my attraction to women was not just a phase.

I had talked about my concerns with a male poly friend of mine, whom I had dated briefly for a while (but polyamory had been a huge stumbling block for me). He offered himself and his main partner for an experiment. He pitched it as a service to me: I could explore his lady as I desired to either confirm or rule out my attraction to women, with the safety of a nearby penis if it proved to be the latter. A threesome.

Continue reading “So…Threesome?”

Out of Touch

(Originally posted on March 2, 2013 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

I’ve been a lesbian my entire life. I know this now. I’ve spoken to other lesbians who can pinpoint the exact moment they realized they were gay. I can’t. I’ve always figured that, as a youngster, I was just too sheltered to recognize what was right in front of me.  I’ve always assumed that I was simply a latecomer to the right vocabulary.

I did not know I was gay growing up. Or, at least, I don’t remember knowing it.

I’ve been looking at some old diaries of mine – we’re talking early nineties, teeny-bopper diaries. Within those pages I found an anxious girl; sensitive, insecure, and yeah, I’ll say it: frequently obnoxious. I had incredibly strong feelings for my friends; feelings that made me possessive and paranoid and easily hurt.

Amid these waves of naive and needy words, I came across some fairly compelling foreshadowing. In the middle of an entry about first periods and friendship hierarchies, I had paused to write a description of one of my best gal pals:

She’s really pretty. People say she lost weight. I said, “Yeah, but I didn’t know she’d had much to lose.” Anyway, she had a tank top over her bathing suit and shorts, and she has a figure! I guess she always did, I just never really noticed it. And her hair is really nice. When all of us grow up, I honestly think she will be the prettiest. (Do I sound gay? Because I’m pretty sure I’m straight. But, you never can tell. Sometimes it worries me.)

I was thirteen when I wrote those words. I knew the terminology. I knew that the idea of being gay was cause for alarm. And I also recognized it as a legitimate possibility, however non-committal I was with my word choice. Back then, my young mind was still open enough that I could momentarily entertain the thought. So I wrote those secret words down in a book that only I would ever read. I wrote them, and then I forgot them. Continue reading “Out of Touch”

Our Progress Since 1959

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.

The index was quite entertaining by itself.

themenopause
Not just any Menopause; THE Menopause.

Some of the information I encountered was progressive, and some of it was dated in that it was sexist, offensive, or incorrect. Or all of the above. Continue reading “Our Progress Since 1959”

Independent Woman is Dating a Woman

(Originally posted on January 9, 2014 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

Several weeks ago, I went to my first appointment with my therapist. I’ve done therapy before, but I had a new, pressing topic to discuss. Since coming out, I’ve been feeling guilty about my outward expression; how I dress, how I wear my hair, whether or not I choose to wear make up.

Growing up, I idolized my older brother. I wanted to be as good as he was at everything, wanted to eat my cereal as fast as he did, wanted to grow to be as tall as he was. After we both grew to our close-to adult sizes, I started wearing a lot of his hand-me-downs. I continue to favour baggier clothes than many women do, and continue to purchase men’s pants to this day. When I was fourteen, I stopped dance classes after almost ten years. I was tired of having my hair styled tightly into buns cemented in place with gel and hairspray, and I was tired of the thick stage make up. I withdrew from make up and had no terrible interest in putting great effort into my hair.

When I was about fifteen, a year after I stopped dancing, I started Taekwon-do and archery classes. I wore more men’s clothing, and I enjoyed being good at things that were predominantly ‘guy’ things, like martial arts and science. I actively avoided anything pink, as I didn’t want to be associated with anything that girly. It got more and more intense as I got older. I only wore men’s pants and refused to carry a purse, opting for a man wallet. I took a bow-hunting course and was one of only three or four women in a class of around twenty. I was proud just to be there as a woman, and when I turned out to have more natural talent at certain things, you couldn’t wipe the grin off my face for days. I learned to drive a stick shift. I took welding classes. I was running my life under the motto of anything you can do, I can do better.

My dad has influenced me in this regard, as well. He has always been adamant that I should never need a man for anything – not to pay my bills, not to fix my car. I have done a lot of my own car maintenance, with my dad and brother showing me how to do it for next time. I’ve replaced my own brakes, done all my own oil changes, and I’ve changed a flat tire in a rainstorm. I see my financial and personal independence as a huge part of who I am, and will frequently deny help from others, especially men, with the phrase, ‘I’m an independent woman!’

Continue reading “Independent Woman is Dating a Woman”

Boxed In

When I ended my last relationship, I decided that from then on, I was only going to date people who identified as women. Although I’d been emotionally attached to plenty of my female peers over the years, the closest I had ever come to actually dating a girl was when I was thirteen. Knowing that preteen relationships are hardly a paragon of stability and understanding, I was determined to try again.

Unfortunately, this decision also coincided with a return to the dating apps which had led me to the not-so-great relationship I had recently left. Some of you may find this shocking (none of you will find this shocking), but people tend to make really big assumptions about who you are as a person when they look at your online dating profile, and they tend not to change those opinions once they’re formed. Continue reading “Boxed In”