Thursday, July 07, 2011

Queen, Princess, or Butch?

sparkly meI joined a friend for her monthly Ladies' Night Out, and enjoyed getting to know some great people.  There were some stories of dating, and how the single ladies could meet people.  The experiences that rose to my mind from my past were too risque for me to share on a first meeting. The stories began as one lady shared her recent experience of getting too many phone calls from an irate wife over a man she'd met who'd claimed to be divorced.  These are the hazards women must face when dating people they don't know.  We spent much time talking about how we married types could play matchmaker for our single friends.

Near the end my friend referred back to her calling herself a princess, but really, she thinks of herself as a queen, joking.  (I'd be happy to treat her as a queen.)  As I picked up my Red Tango purse with cat logo, I said "You wouldn't think so considering my purse and all my rhinestones, but I think of myself as butch, so not a princess."  Expressions of disbelief, of course.  I found myself reflecting on this.  Internally, I really don't see myself as feminine, and I had to think more about why that is.

Externally, I do sport some feminine things: rhinestone eyeglasses and pins; a small pink purse; skirts, never pants; long hair. It was even more difficult to defend my butch feeling last night, as the skirt I wore was not my usual plain denim, and my long hair was held up with a hair clip showcasing more rhinestones. There are other aspects about myself that are more butch, though, and while I think of the rhinestones as fun accessories, I think of my other more butch tendencies as more fundamental to me.

I am not much of a clothes fashionista.  I pretty much take what I can get, so this may be accidental karma. As a fat woman, I don't have much choice...though these days I have much more available than decades past.  I've never liked frilly, and it's pretty rare that I will choose a print over a solid color.  I think of my plain denim skirt as my "jeans."  I find it more comfortable and a better look for my body type than actual jeans, so I still think of my skirt as butch...that and my normal footwear are Ecco boots.  These were not in evidence last night, as my friend had invited us to "dress up" if we wished.  Instead, I wore my closest to dress up shoes, my trip-hazardly Danskos.  Oh, and I never wear makeup, nor a bra.

Those are the externals, but I find myself intrigued by what I think of as my internal feeling of being butch, despite my crow-like attraction to sparklies.  Aside from fashion, this is a larger question, of gender identity.  The men I like have high emotional intelligence, can keep up a meandering conversation, are around my height, no taller, are about as smart as me.  My sweetie is a bear type, of the dark-haired variety, certainly what I find attractive, but I also often find the androgynous look very attractive.  Among women, I find the feminine look attractive, but for me to admire, not to be. I communicate directly, don't do well with hints, or hint much myself.  I've never been interested in being supported, but to make my own way.  I could be wrong, but I think of these things as more butch than femme.

Some of my internal feeling cannot be separated from how I am responded to by others.  As a lifelong fat person,  I am rarely flirted with.  When there is sexual tension, or that rare flirting, I tend to be forward and direct.  Rather than getting or expecting to get the admiration, I am free with the compliments.  I'll let the queen know just how beauteous she is.

Maybe what it comes down to is at heart I find gender identity a construct.  When I unfold the layers, when I find me at the core, I just am.  Not feminine, not masculine.  And what is the default?  Masculine.  Which gender historically has choice, drive, independence, objectivity?  Masculine.  That's not really what makes one masculine or feminine, but that is what we inherit, and after digging, and finding my core identity to be about equal footing, I begin to see this is why I'd tip my identity more to the masculine side, and I begin to see how silly it is to try to pin down a true gender identity.  Maybe it's better to keep it a joke.  Of course I am a queen too! Do my bidding, good subjects.

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