Break It Down, Butch.

February 14, 2011

[57] Valentine’s Day, 2011.

Happy Valentine’s day, guys!

I celebrated mine getting my American passport renewed. Dual nationality for the win. 😀

There was a very cool moment at the embassy, actually. I was the first guy in line, thanks to getting there bugfuck early, and the lady behind the bullet-proof glass was eat-your-heart-out gorgeous. A proper double-take beauty. Dark hair, dark eyes, killer smile, coffee-caramel skin, and I don’t mean to get all objectifying here, but I would have happily created a small diplomatic incident if she’d let me take her out of lunch.

But that’s not the cool part. The cool part was after she’d called me ‘sir’, like pretty much everyone else ever these past few months (that’s a post for another day), and then got a look at my old American passport. The one that has the photo of skinny little seven-year-old me in a dress.

I was expecting the double-take, and the embarrassment, and the flustered apology. What I wasn’t expecting was the carefully worded inquiry about whether I was changing my legal gender.

“Nope,” I said, with a wry kind of grin. “Still legally female, if you want to be technical.”

And this is the cool bit: she gave me a thoughtful once-over, embarrassment falling away, and then smiled beautifully. One of those light-up-the-room smiles. Then she called me ‘sir’ for the rest of the exchange, perfectly naturally, like it was just the thing to do. Like she’d seen a little piece of me, and understood it, and was happy to share it.

That made my whole day, pretty much.

January 2, 2011

[56] The week of rest so far continues on course.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 02:28
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Today, I have done almost absolutely nothing of use. It was wonderful.

In fact, the list of my achievements includes: making four sandwiches, eating cold spaghetti out of a can, laughing myself breathless when the cat attacked the christmas tree, watching lots of TV, and writing with a friend.

It’s almost three a.m on the first (well, technically second) day of the shiny new year, and I have done NOTHING OF NOTE.

I love holidays.

January 1, 2011

[55] New Year, 2010/2011.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 03:05
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Two a.m.

Flew home down the freeway, singing loudly along to Aerosmith and ABBA and Blue Oyster Cult, still happy-hot from midnight hugs and kisses. Parked up a mile from home and walked the last bit. Saw a guy being piggy-backed home by his mates, too drunk to stand. Wished them a happy new year. Saw a lady staggering around in the middle of the street, hair wild and heels gone, chased by half a dozen friends. Lots of laughing.

Thirty people in a queue outside a taxi rank, half of them sitting right on the sidewalk. Bloke with a black eye and a reel in his step called me a fucking asshole, apparently for existing. Wished him a Happy New Year, too.

Cat at home, leaping madly around the apartment. Dragged around a shiny thing on a bit of string for him, gave him a good ruffle. Put the heating on because it’s cold. Flicked the TV on for a minute.

Basked in the glow of a good time.

We had a costume party — Star Wars dude, Catwoman, Blackbeard, Poison Ivy, two members from Kiss, a golfer in Union Jack pants, Captain Kirk, girl in a Guinness costume, guy from The Hangover, and Cleopatra. I went in a shirt and jeans and stole Blackbeard’s pirate coat. There was cake and beer and nibbles, bad music, lots of cracking up. We watched the countdown live on TV and switched the lights out for the final thirty seconds. Popped poppers, had champagne, played limbo with the golfer’s putter (I fell over first), threw streamers, teased the hell out of each other, hugged and kissed and complained about 2010, took pictures.


Generally behaved like dorks.

Happy New Year, y’all! I hope yours was just as great as mine.

May 24, 2010

[25] Dissertations and blogging. Sing it proud, boy.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 16:56
Tags: , , ,

I smell of Old Spice and cigarette smoke today, like an authentic butch stereotype.

I’m not sure about the Old Spice, actually. It was an impulse buy from a chemists while I was getting bandages (I sprained my ankle this week by jogging on the spot, because I’m just that cool). I had no idea chemists carried Old Spice, but hey, why not? It’s an odd sort of scent, the original; a little bit sweet, kind of woodsy. I can’t decide if I like it. Though this advert makes me want to wear it anyway, just because.

This week has been so weird. Remember the dissertation I was talking about? The one about butch gender? (The official title was “(L)Earned Masculinity: A Literature Review on Butch Gender”.) Well I got the mark back. In the UK, a first is the grade you want; that’s like graduating summa cum laude. Basically it’s an ‘A’. And they start at 70%, which is bloody hard to get. I’ve been managing As so far this year, by dint of last-minute procrastination and a lot of bullshit, but I was nervous about the dissertation. It was rushed, non-conventional, and there’s not a whole lot of literature out there (I pulled a fair amount from blogs, actually, which was a lot of fun). Anyway, I was nervous. 40% of my grade is riding on it. Three years of university, £27,000 in student loans, all that time I could have spent slacking off from other things…

I got 92%.

Ninety-two per cent.

Ninety! Two! Per! Cent!

Honestly, I thought there’d been a glitch. You can’t get 92%. The highest mark I’ve ever gotten ever at uni was 85%, and I thought that was a glitch. 92% is ballistic. Unbelievable! Brilliant! My lecturers want me to do a Master’s degree in research. They suggested I get my dissertation published, in journals. My second favourite lecturer called it “superlative”.

My favourite lecturer mocked me at length, but that’s because he’s an arse and I love him.

Two days after this, I sprained the aforementioned ankle and had an argument with my brother, because the universe likes to keep my ego in check. Probably a good thing, but still. Ninety! Two! Per! Cent! The ankle’s still sore and the brother’s not speaking to me, but life goes on. I’d forgotten how impressive my brother is when he sulks, actually — we’re over a week already and nada, not a whisker of communication. (I’m maintaining the moral high ground because our argument was over the treatment of his last girlfriend/fuckbuddy. He was an arse, I told him so, he disagreed. If I’ve learned anything from three waves of feminism, I win this argument on account of possessing ovaries*.)


On butch gender.

That’s my favourite part. That I got the highest grade on my most important paper, and that paper was about butch. I got to splash around in my own identity for 8000 words, read my most favourite authors, cite my favourite arguments, pick holes in the definitions of academia — it was beautiful. I got to defend blogging as an academic source. Blogging! Because we are the experts, by definition of experience and knowledge, and we peer-review each other. Because you can graft a whole lot of truth out of eighteen different people all saying different-yet-related weirdness. We’re the primary sources. The front-runners, and the poor bastards in the trenches. We matter. And I said that, and it was glorious, and it won me a first.

Old Spice and cigarette smoke and oh, this week is brilliant.

*Kidding, kidding!

Okay, mostly kidding.

May 10, 2010

[22] Playing catch-up.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 22:50
Tags: , , , ,

*whistles softly*

Man, have I been out of the loop. It’s been almost a month since my last post, and, after reading around, it looks like half the internet blew up and put itself back together. Particularly the gender-blogging side of things — I’m seeing good news and bad news and tough conversations and awesome make-overs and happy anniversaries and one-step-forward-two-steps-back changes, and the ever-present, always appreciated, brilliantly written navel-gazing. Oh, yes.

Kind of makes me want to go around with party balloons and hugs and maybe a straight jacket or two. (Or three. Why does gender-blogging always bring out the extra crazy?)

So. After a couple minutes of thought and a scrapped picture or two, it turns out there’s no way to transition smoothly from ‘THE INTERNET IS BUSY AND ALSO CRAZY’ to ‘HERE’S WHAT I’VE BEEN DOING’.

Actually, that worked pretty well.

First off, I GOT MY DISSERTATION FINISHED. My dissertation written about butch gender, in fact (though, if I’m totally honest, it was a literature review and mostly I was reviewing butch authors, but that still counts). I wrote it in about a week, lost two nights of sleep, and wrote the word “gender” so much it might literally be seared onto the backs of my retinas. BUT DESPITE THAT, I got to rhapsodize at length about the validity of butch blogs (or hell, any kind of gender blog) being included as an academic source. Because seriously, if the criteria are only “must be written by an expert”, “must be published”, and “must be peer-reviewed”, THEN ALLOW ME TO REDEFINE YOUR TERMS.

(Also, note to self: writing all in caps is extremely entertaining. Must remember to inflect it on people do it more often.)

I also had a good friend, Ki, come stay with me for two weeks, which involved a lot of touristing, a lot of travelling, and much general walking-up-and-down-the-country-and-taking-lots-of-photos. I’m footsore, noticeably reduced around the waistline, slightly sunburned, and very de-stressed. It was brilliant. Also, she made me curry.

Funny thing, actually: seeing as Ki is cissexual, straight, and Mormon, conventional odds would tilt our spending much time together in the same room towards the side of catastrophe. Epic catastrophe, even. And I wish that was just bigoted, narrow-minded thinking on my part, because I know religion and Teh Gay are not mutually exclusive (just ask Nezu, who attends an awesome gay church down in San Francisco, or JB, who attends another gay-friendly house of religiosity in the same region), but man, as peaceful coexistence goes, Mormon and queer are not what you’d traditionally think of as on speaking terms. Just look at all that Mormon funding for Prop 8.

And Ki is really Mormon. (And also possibly not speaking to me, after this introduction. *laughs* I’ll have to post up an anecdote about myself falling down a flight of stairs, or something, to make up for it. Or send her a fruit basket.)

But, but, but — here is where it’s awesome. Because not only is Ki really Mormon, she’s also really cool, and amazingly unfussed about either Teh Gay or Teh Butch. Two key examples: she invited me to Sunday church with her and didn’t bat an eye when I threw on a suit and tie, instead she got all aw-shucks-pleased when I pointed out that my tie matched her very pretty new dress, and then complimented my new dress shoes. (Also, Mormon church is bizarrely enjoyable. There’s a very warm-and-friendly atmosphere, much like a village bakesale and gossip, rather than the high grandeur and severe sense of You Are Doing It Wrong that the Catholic church nails you with.) Second example: I’ve spent the last few weeks using gender-neutral disabled bathrooms instead of doing the awkward knees-clenched dance between male/female, and lemme tell you, disabled bathrooms rock; there’s space to stretch your legs, set your rucksack down, adjust your binder if necessary, and do your business in absolute peace, all without the tension of worrying about what’s waiting on the other side of the stall door*. Totally flaw-proof system, right up until you hit a place without an easily accessible disabled bathroom, such as the Imperial War Museum in London (y’know, hypothetically), and really have to pee. Particularly if the Museum is about two hours away from your safe and gender-free hotel room, and you can’t think of any other more appealing bathrooms in-between, what with it being London and you suddenly being a severe coward.

Seriously, it’s amazing how out of practice you can get with gendered public bathrooms in a few weeks. It’s like all that armour just melts back into your skin, and you are soft and quivery and easily-stabbed all over again.

So, there’s me, hovering awkwardly by the door to the ladies (which is about a mile away from the mens’ room, and two floors below the disabled) and trying to decide whether I really need to piss that badly, or if I can just hold it — and there goes Ki, striding past without a word, to check out the whole bathroom and then flash me a grin and an “All clear!” with a reassuring thumbs up, like someone gave her a manual entitled How To Make Your Gender-Bizarre Friends Go Wobbly At The Knees With Gratitude.

I can’t actually remember if I told her thank you at the time; I was too busy sprinting for the stall. But oh, I meant to, possibly in poetry.

It’s a funny thing, really, I’ve known Ki for… jeez, two years online? More than that? We’re writing partners and moderaters on a community over on Insanejournal (great site, awful base coding), and spend waaaaay too much time meddling about in the lives and loves of fictional gay ninja (seriously, and it is awesome. Also, have I mentioned that I’m a ginormous geek?), but I still expected her to be a little dicey with everything when she came over. Not much, but just a little, in a background, slightly-awkward sort of way. Because there’s a difference in knowing someone is weird/different/liberal/gender-bizarre/insert-adjective-here abstractly, and knowing it because you’ve just met them face to face and now you have to spend two weeks sharing a room together, eep.

Of course, seeing as half our family and friends expected one of us to seduce the other, I reckon we managed to hit the middle ground pretty well.

Man, this is a rambly post. So, yeah, internet asplody, dissertation finished, Mormon friend awesome, what else?

– I have amazing Wolverine hair today. It’s kind of accidentally awesome, all slicked down on the sides and whoosh on top, like my hair gel has a world-saving agenda and just neglected to tell me.

– I’ve rediscovered my love for boxers recently, specifically the really cheap kind you can buy at the supermarket. Y’know, the £3 for a set of three kind, which sit comfortably on your hips and loosely everywhere else, and go great with a plain t-shirt if you just need to laze around the house for a day.

– Bear S. Bergman has a livejournal blog, and it is just as fantabulous as you’d expect. (Also, Bear and his husband had a son recently, and there is just not enough aww in the world, folks. In the world.)

There’s a whole lot more to write about (when is there not?) but this post is becoming ridiculous-sized, so I’ll call it quits for tonight. Or, y’know, the next thirty seconds. But hey, baby Bearlets is a pretty excellent place to finish, don’t you reckon?

*Though occasionally you do catch a funny look from people trying to parse out how, exactly, you’re disabled. I’m often tempted to walk out and collapse dramatically on my face, just so they can have an ‘… ah’ moment.

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