Break It Down, Butch.

December 23, 2010

[50] Whining.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 00:29
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I lost a client at work today.

I can’t go into much detail — confidentiality issues — but it was renal failure and an expected death and three fucking days before Christmas. I don’t want to whine, but Jesus, it’s my last week and this shit is not cool, universe.

He was a nice guy. He didn’t deserve to go out like that.

Everyone says that. And it sucks that most of what I’m focusing on is how I feel bad about things, but it has seriously been that kind of year. I have four more days at work (not including the three I get off in the middle), and I am sick of disasters and illness and fucking medication and people dying. I’m sick of being stressed out and screwed up and completely exhausted. I am really, really sick of sleeping on my mate’s sofa.

I’m heartsick and soul-sick and so not feeling butch right now.

This is just a bad moment, and I know things will look better when the sun comes up, but seriously, I need to get a job as a lumberjack or something.

August 27, 2010

[37] In the trenches.

I’m experiencing enforced femininity via work uniform.

Sort of.

I’m an in-house carer, which grants me three uniform options: a nurse’s tunic, a male nurse’s tunic, or a good old-fashioned polo shirt. With my former company I just wore jeans and a polo shirt and didn’t worry about it, but my new company doesn’t allow jeans. Too scruffy.

Women’s black work trousers, the only kind that look even halfway decent on me, what with my habit of wearing my waistband just above ‘completely indecent’ levels, have no pockets. You cannot do this job without pockets, so that’s the androgynous polo shirt gone.

The male nurse tunic was my next option. It’s smart, masculine, pocket-containing, and by a happy quirk of fate, the only uniform they had in my size when I needed a tunic. So they gave me one, no questions asked. (Have I mentioned I love my job?) But that high collar is hot, and the straight up-and-down fit is a little constricting, even when I’m shaped pretty straight up-and-down in a binder, which is problematic when you need to do a lot of bending. And the gender-confusion with clients was rife. (Not something I mind in regular life so much, but definitely an issue when I’ve shown up at 7am to assist poor frail Muriel — who’s, say, partially blind and somewhat deaf — to shower.)

So. The nurse’s tunic.

It’s, well, figure hugging is about the only way to describe it. Even strapped up in a binder, I still have breasts. And hips. And something resembling an ass. And the tunic flaunts them. With one shirt change I go from a strapping young fella with long eyelashes to a perfect hourglass with a slightly delicate face. I look pretty. And curvy. And feminine.

It’s bizarre.

I haven’t yet had a crushing moment of gender-dysphoria, thankfully. I’ve had moments of dropping entirely out of reality to stare at myself in reflective surfaces, and weird contemplations of how much easier my regular life is when I’m identifiable as ‘visibly female’ with one glance, and utterly unnerving instances of middle-aged men hitting on me. I’ve been able to use public bathrooms in peace. And gotten yanked into ‘girlie’ chats at work with the other carers. I’ve been told I’ve lost weight, that I have shape, that I should get my eyebrows done.

Yeek.

The weirdest moments, though, are when confrontations happen. I’m still myself: calm, polite, collected. But underneath I’m much more of a seething mass of vulnerabilities, anxieties, and easily-gouged places. Like all my armour has been yanked off and replaced with pale blue cotton. Nice to look at, useless otherwise. Even in my own ears, my voice sounds a little lighter. My hands gesture more. Today, absent-mindedly, I sat with my legs crossed at the knee.

Possibly, all this is just because I’ve been hanging out in the company of almost exclusively feminine women and I’m absorbing behaviours. Possibly I’m just having an unusally ‘female’ month. Possibly some survival mechanism has kicked in to ease my work transition, and I’m unconsciously trying to fit in more.

Much more likely, though, I think, is that all this female behaviour is programmed in so deeply that a constant visual, tactile, full-body reminder of my original DNA structure is doing things to my brain.

I’m almost considering that eyebrow thing.


(If anyone wants to suggest, by the way, that a butch identity does not mean the exclusion of all things feminine and I’m allowed to feel as girlie as I want while still being a hunky young stud, I’d like to warmly advise you cram it down your throat. It’s true for a lot of butches, I’m sure, but not me. Not right now.)

March 24, 2010

[15] Are you seeing red?

Irony is being attacked by your period when you think you’re in the free and clear — skipped one, thank god — and you have no tampons, and the lady in the clean public bathroom gives you a scorching look when you slink out of the cubical, blood on your thighs and sweat on your upper lip, and tells you you’re in the wrong place.

These are the moments in life when really all you can do is stand and stare, and resist the urge to put your head in your hands.

So, butch periods: now there’s a personal subject. So far, I’ve only seen Ivan E. Coyote anywhere near it, and I’ve never talked to another butch about it. I was talking to JB today, though, and she mentioned her new butch fella likes to call it “shark week”.

Blood and a high chance of getting bitten — sounds about right to me.

Actually, I’m pretty lucky: at most I’ll get the occasional killer cramp, or the mild urge to snap someone’s head off, or a bout of quick weepies if I watch anything sad*. But I don’t get absolutely floored with pain, or have my brain chemistry spiral wildly out of control. And I never feel genuinely homicidal, or glass-cracked with blues. Seriously, I’ve seen that; it gets ugly.

But adding butch into the mix just seems like you’re asking for trouble, really. For starters, I can’t think if a group of people I’d want feeling on edge and out-of-control less. We’re fixers; we don’t do well broken. And I don’t know about everyone else, but I waver back and forth on how well I deal with things. Sometimes it’s fine: I get on with shit, deal with what my body’s doing, and bitch to a good friend (as is Right and Proper). Other times I’m torn between incredible irony (short hair, hard muscles, broad shoulders, and blood between my legs), and a subtle sense of body-betrayal. Forced femaleness, demanding acknowledgement whether I like it or not.

I’m sure a lot of women in the world enjoy this Beautiful Confirmation Of Their Ability To Create Life, but I was never really one to Ya Ya with the Sisterhood. And whilst I appreciate that my body’s in good health and happily percolating the possibility of little miracles, it’s also a major pain in the ass — and a little frightening — to find yourself stuck in the mens’ bathroom due to a lack of options (i.e. some lady screamed) and having to deal with something so intimately female. Fortunately, this has only happened to me once, but it’s not an experience I plan to repeat.

And then there are product issues. Say what you like, these will never be manly. Or these (unless you are a soldier in Iraq using them to stop up bleeding wounds, which is something I’ve just found out about and find horrifying and damned sensible all at once). Sanitary pads are messy, often uncomfortable, and bulky to carry around if you need a spare, which you will; tampons come with a penetration issue I reckon a lot of butches (and women in general) would get twitchy over, not to mention a few major heath risks (Toxic Shock, anyone?). And neither one of them is cheap, environmentally friendly, or especially promoting of good-feelings.

These are better, though they still come with that penetration issue, if that’s a problem for you. I’ve used a Moon Cup for the past year or so, now, and weirdly it does help with balancing butch and abrupt femaleness. This is going to gross some people out, but getting up close and personal with your own blood is a strangely cathartic experience, and I don’t mean in an ‘ooh, BLOOD OF LIFE’ kind of way, or an ’embrace your glorious womanhood!’ way**. It’s more of an ‘I’m bleeding; I’m dealing with it’ thing, direct and honest and upfront with your own body, without any of the frilly packaging or flowery crud. It’s just earthy and straightforward — and admittedly not for the squeamish — but that feels butch to me.

Or maybe I’m just rationalizing.

But what the hell; I bleed without dying every 28 days. I’m hardcore, man.

What’re your thoughts?


*This is not greatly indicative, though; I am a sap when it comes to sad films.
** Though if either one of those work for you, more power to you.

January 23, 2010

[5] Femmes, sex, knowing what you want.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 14:03
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Oof, busy week.

I met another pretty femme on Wednesday. As it turns out, going out with other gay people is fairly fruitful — and, y’know, fruity.

(You can groan at that joke. I just did.)

So, this femme. She’s from the Czech Republic, gorgeously accented, engaging as all hell, funny, sweet, athletic — she teaches break-dancing, and snowboards, for Christ’s sake. Even her name is exotic. It’s ‘Sharka’, but spelled ‘Sarka’ with a few accented letters. She’s blond, too, with that kind of urban-messy hair you just want to pull your fingers through. And she gave me her number.

But I just fell out of one big relationship, and I’m only planning to be in the UK for nine more months.

Argh.

Where were all these women three years ago? When I actually wanted to date.

Okay, yes, I know: wah-wah, poor guy who has all these attractive people dropping in his lap. So sad. So painful. But, see, there’s this other element to it…

*drags hands through hair*

I’ve had one long-term relationship — which was also long-distance, and not precisely action-heavy — and one very short relationship with a friend closer to home. We’re talking one-week short. Other than that, I’ve dated a little bit; gotten drunk and kissed a fair bunch of people; and drop-kicked a guy for shoving his hands down my pants when I was sixteen. But that’s about it.

So, not really a whole lot of experience over here. Which tends to make me a little nervous with new folks when things get past the exciting flirt-sizzle stage and look like they might be heading anywhere… more.

Now, obviously, the thing to do to get over this is to get out there and meet people. Engage, bite a few bullets, and sleep around. Or hell, just sleep with someone. But — but — well, just but.

Sometimes I feel like it’s a little extra awkward for me. Because if you’re butch, talk a good game, strut like a champion, and come off like you know what you’re doing — well, obviously people expect you to know what you’re doing. Especially when you’re twenty-two. And in my (admittedly limited) experience, the average girl that looks at me twice also likes it when I take charge.

Which is great and all for the ego, but not exactly nerve-soothing when I don’t know what I’m doing.

If I could get a late Christmas wish, it’d be to run into someone who’d be willing to show me the ropes — maybe a few times over, because hot damn — and then I’d never have to see them again. I think that last bit is a pride-thing. Or a desire for privacy. Or anonymity. Something.

Also, if I’m completely honest, I don’t think I’m looking for someone who likes to go the slow-and-gentle route. I like a challenge. Like being challenged. Which puts my mind in more of a wrestling, grab-and-tussle place.

*amused* Clearly, I need another butch.

And yow, this post got a touch more personal than I intended. I guess that’s blogging for you.

On a sideways note: I’m still intending to get out there and comment. You bet. Any day now.

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