Today was the first day of my summer practicum — at a grassroots coalition of women prisoners. This summer so far (oh my god, I can’t believe it’s already almost halfway over) I’ve been devouring everything I can on prisons, the PIC, the military/police/penal state, race gender and prisons, the War on Drugs… The more books I read and documentaries I watch and conversations I have the more overwhelmed I feel and also eager and urgent about the problem of our prisons (particularly in California) and the havoc they wreak on those inside and on those of us outside. I feel stuck about how to write about those things on this blog but I do want update here more often than once a month, which is what I’ve been doing… I’m thinking maybe I’ll try to do once a day, just whatever’s on my mind.
What’s on my mind right now, other than women in prison? Well, I’ve got a 12-week-old kitten named Gilda batting at and chewing on my hair right now, which I read on the internetz means that she loves me; evidently she’s grooming me. She is a menace, a devil and an angel all at once. She is happy and loved, and also keeps us up half the night. We don’t have the heart to lock her out of the bedroom from the beginning of the night, but it inevitably means that we are up at some point in the night to her batting at our ankles and pawing at our faces and squirming in our bed, at which point we grumble and try to ignore it until we’re fully awake and finally get up and throw her out of the room. (Not literally.) Still, I am in love with her and when ML and I drove down the coast on Sunday to wander the salt marshes and go to the beach, we both missed her! A cat! I’ve never understood the pet bonds that people develop because I’ve never had a pet before, but I get it now. She’s a member of our family.
However, I promise I won’t bore you daily with tales of her mischief. Maybe weekly though :)
One of the more established interns at the prison coalition is queer, and I feel like I have a “be her” crush on her. Have you ever had that problem, where you can’t decide whether the gal you think is really hot is someone you want to “be” or someone you want to “do”? It took me a bit when I was younger to sort that out, and sometimes I think there’s still some gray area. Well, Ari is a “be her” crush, I’m pretty sure. Not that I know for sure that she identifies as femme, maybe she does maybe she doesn’t, but she is obviously queer, and not butch or masculine and I studied her trying to figure out what the cues were for me that she’s queer because it was so obvious to me. Other than my gaydar, I think it was a combination of a subtle energy and some visual cues: the slightly asymmetrical haircut with a tiny shaved part on the front of one side and bleached wingtips on one side; several small tattoos; skinny jeans with muscle tank + a few dangly necklaces… It’s interesting though, because despite the “be her” crush I think that I won’t really ever read that way. I’m too girly-feminine. I don’t mean pink and bows and hello kitty, I mean just a more conventionally feminine presentation. I don’t have tattoos and despite the fact that I know I mentioned here a while back that I was thinking of getting one, I’ve pretty much established now that I’m not. I feel torn between wanting to adopt a marker of something that is pretty ubiquitous among “my people” now (by which I mean my queer demographic, not all LBTQ folks in general) and wanting to also not just follow along in that regard. So until I feel more secure in my own queer presentation and don’t feel as concerned with whether I’m mark-able as queer, I think I will hold off. For me, being visibly mark-able isn’t really a good enough reason on its own to get a tattoo. In addition to not having tattoos, though, I tend to think that I otherwise lack some of the subtle identifiers that even I don’t quite know how to place. What is it that marks people? I know I’ve talked about this before; it still occupies me!
My hair is continuing to grow; I now have a platinum streak on a dark cherry angled bob. I’m continuing to try to get to the bottom of what I, personally, am drawn to in terms of style. Pin-up, yes, absolutely; I’d like to incorporate that into my daily get-up more. I know I feel happier and more together when I do, when I take the time to dress myself with care. It’s a matter of time, I guess. But I should do that.
What are the things you do, on an average, casual day, to articulate (visually) your gender? Whether femme or other?
First order of business: pin-up photos. Some of you might remember that for Christmas, ML gave me a pin-up photo shoot, and I finally did the shoot at the end of February and got the photos back last week. There were a bunch that I really liked, and I’ll post a few of them here. I’m a little excited about this because it’s the first time I’m exposing my FACE! on my BLOG! I feel pretty okay about that, and in some ways I think that it’ll enable me to feel freer posting here about whatever, because it’s just ME, it’s not me-posing-as-someone-cool-on-the-internet. Not that I pose or anything, but I do sometimes get anxiety when people figure out who I am in real life, then I’m all “OMG I’m so not as cool in real life as I lead people to think on my blog.” Which, intervention! That is not the way I want to be. So, yay, pictures!
The photos are all courtesy of BombshellBetty.net. Betty is awesome, and the photo sesh was a LOT of fun!
So I’ll post a few here, and then you should go over to my Facebook profile to see some more!
UPDATE: The swimsuit is by Fables by Barrie and they have ridiculously adorable sailor swimsuits, plus other awesome pin-up type clothing. I seriously can’t wait to wear this to the beach this summer.
PS: You can click ‘em to make ‘em big! Eep! My face is so big! Also, I’ve already had a question re touch-ups: these photos are not touched up at all, the reason my skin looks so glowy is because of the fantastic photographer and the lighting!
Midterms, y’all. I forgot what it’s like. I’m coming up for air.
I’ve been thinking about a lot, lately. I’ve been thinking about queer as a politicized identity: what does it mean to me to identify as queer? In what ways is it more than just a sexual orientation and is, in fact, in many respects a way of life? What are ways that I resist heteronormativity in my queerness, other than just by “happening” to be partnered with a woman?
I’ve also been thinking about: femininity, specifically my femininity. (Are you surprised?) What I claim as feminine, what its history is, what it’s a resistance to. How so often the presumption is that femininity is something imposed on women, by men, as if men were actually creative enough to invent femininity from scratch, as if femininity weren’t something that many folks feel inside, and figure out ourselves or as community how to express.
In relation to femininity, I’ve also been thinking about ways that women are constructed consumers in our society, and how there are many ways in which femininities in the US are compulsorily consumerized. How that’s a class issue, because it renders working class/poor women who can’t afford all of femininity’s trappings less feminine, or even un-feminine. I’ve been thinking about the ways in which I participate in this (make-up, shoes, grooming, home-prettifying stuff, kitchen gadgets…) and about how I can be in resistance to this without relinquishing femininity itself, without even necessarily relinquishing make-up, shoes, grooming, etc.
I’ve been thinking about how much “visible” queerness is marked by class, whiteness, gender non-conformity, age, location. And how privileging visible queerness as the only way to be truly “radically” queer renders marginalizes so many folks who live queerness in many multi-faceted ways.
I’ve been thinking about how it’s necessary for transmasculine/masculine-of-center/butch/genderqueer folks and transmen to be allies to ally against misogyny, against the massive trivialization, sexualization, objectification, and derision of femininity. But how it’s also so, so important for cisgendered feminine women to be allies to our gender-”transgressive” partners-in-crime.
I’ve also been thinking about fun stuff: about sex, and ML’s and my forays into Master/sub-type dynamics, which I still really want to write about. About Thanksgiving, and how ML and I are, like last year, going up north a few hours to celebrate together and also to celebrate 2 YEARS together, this time to a little cabin in the woods with a hot tub (what else could we possibly need?). I’m counting down the days… I’m thinking about making pumpkin bread and mulled cider this weekend and having classmates come over for “study group.” I’m thinking about making butternut squash soup tonight for dinner… mmmmm…
So, you see? There’s quite a lot going on in my mind. I’ll be back in short order to turn some of it into something of substance. <3
I’m trying to grow out my hair. The reason I bring this up is because I got an email last week asking me if I had thoughts about femmes and hair, and I responded that “DO I EVER.” Well, that’s not exactly what I said, but something to that effect. I have thoughts about femmes and hair especially now because I’m in the middle of trying to grow mine out. I say “trying” because I am at the point right now where I’m on the verge of tearing it all out because it’s pissing me off so much. (Awkward in-between stage much?)
So, femmes and hair. The best angle I can really appropriately come at this from is that of my own experience and relationship to my hair, obviously, so I’ll start there. I used to have long hair. And now my hair is short. I had straight, long, light brown hair that went halfway down my back. Someone told me once that he didn’t think he’d ever seen me wear my hair the same way twice, and though that is definitely NOT true, I was able to do a lot of different things with it. I wore ponytails, obviously, when I was feeling particularly casual. “Princess ponytails” (as my mother dubbed “half ponytails”) were for when I was feeling particularly feminine or girlish. I would also wear braids, or half-ponytail braids, or pigtail braids, or French braids, or messy buns, or what’s that thing called where you turn your ponytail inside out? Yeah, that. Often I would just wear my hair completely down, blow-dry it… I had a habit of twirling a strand of hair around my finger when I was bored.
When I was 20, I cut my hair short. Pixie short. Largely, this was part of my coming-out process. It was a signal that I wanted to be taken seriously by the queer community at my women’s college, that I wasn’t a LUG. (That is a whole sociological can of worms right there.) As I’ve written before, I understood that being taken seriously as gay necessitated toning down femininity and taking on androgyny or masculinity. (What I didn’t understand was that having a pixie haircut did NOT automatically make me androgynous or masculine!) It turned out that I *loved* the short hair. It framed my face better, made my eyes more prominent (I already have pretty prominent eyes as it is), was super easy to take care of, and looked flirty and fun. Once I passed safely to the other side of my masculandrogynous stage, I totally embraced my pixie hair as femme. Not in an “I’m femme… but I have short hair” way, but in a “hell YEAH I’m femme and I have short hair!” way. No “buts.”
And, yeah, I definitely think that’s put more of a burden of proof on me, in a way. In a community that has so much protection around labels (another whole sociological can of worms that I’m not going to open right now), there have been plenty of occasions I’ve felt weird about my short hair, have felt that I can’t actually be femme with short hair, and that I’m co-opting someone else’s identity by claiming I’m a femme with short hair. (White) femininity and long hair are closely linked in a biconditional relationship in our culture — if you’re a white woman with long hair, you’re perceived to be feminine, and if you’re going to be perceived as feminine, you need to have long hair. It’s a closed loop. But of course, there are so many exceptions to this. Winona Ryder, Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, and now Emma Watson are all white female celebrities who totally pull off the short hair but still feminine thing.
And yet. Female celebrities cutting off their hair is generally perceived by society-at-large (and forgive the sweeping generalizations) as a bold step away from docile girlishness and toward the re-defining of the self as a “strong woman.” When I Googled “emma watson cuts her hair,” the underlying themes in news articles and blog posts linked in the search results seemed to me to be shock and trepidation: words like edgy, boyish (though I think she looks *far* from boyish), and drastic, and questions posed to the audience like “what do YOU think about Emma’s new look?” underline the notion that white women cutting their hair short is “making a statement” that people can agree or disagree with. Comments to those blog posts and news articles tend to go in one of two directions: either people support the “bold move” and take a “rock on, girl” pro-girl-power stance, OR they think it looks horrible and wax nostalgic about her long hair, regretting the move away from traditional femininity. Long hair, then, can be read as a symbol of traditional white , while short hair is a symbolic move towards liberation. (Emma even calls it “liberating” and “incredible” herself.)
Obviously, Emma is straight (or at least, she has a boyfriend and has never made any statements to the contrary), as are the other celebrities I mentioned. So how do femmes fit into this? I think white femmes who typically pass as straight (which is probably most of us) probably are perceived similarly to straight white women in terms of our hair: long hair is more traditionally feminine, while short hair is a distancing from traditional femininity. Since gayness is also a distancing from traditional femininity, at least in terms of dominant definitions of femininity (which define it in oppositional and exclusive relation to man/masculinity), it makes sense that cutting one’s hair short is a move many women make when trying to find a place in the queer realm. On the other hand, many femmes participate in actively re-defining femininity as un-relative to men and masculinity, partly just by virtue of not being sexual partners of men, and partly by their intentionality in regards to their gender presentation. In that sense, a white femme having long hair, I think, uses a traditional marker of white femininity in a non-traditional way, thus also “queering” the discourse around traditional white femininity. (I think I’m talking in circles now.) A white femme having short hair is still probably read most often as being non-traditionally feminine (if read as feminine at all by hetero-dominance — I think there are many folks in my life, for example, who take ONLY my hair as being signifying of my gender presentation, and assume that just by virtue of having short hair I *can’t* be feminine) and, because even queers are typically socialized by hetero-dominance until a certain point in their young/adult lives, white femmes with short hair might not be taken seriously as feminine by fellow queers, either.
All of this a round-about way of saying: I have short hair. I’m femme. Even if you don’t perceive me as femme (especially when I’m wearing jeans and chucks and no make-up), I’m still femme. Short-haired femmes and long-haired femmes alike are re-defining femininity in our own images, distancing ourselves from a male-defined and male-owned femininity. [Aside: this isn't to say straight women can't participate or aren't participating in re-defining femininity in their own image too. Of course they can and are. I do think, though, that it's probably gotta be a more intentional thing for straight women.] AND, my growing out my hair right now has nothing to do with changing my orientation towards or relationship with my femme-ininity. The reason that I am growing out my hair is that I no longer have an income, and so I can’t afford haircuts. That’s it. The end! Though I think it will be very interesting to see how my understanding of my queer identity and my position in queerness and in community changes, both internally and in terms of external perceptions, as a result of growing longer hair.
In other news, our date on Sunday evening was perfect. We went for a walk up to Corona Heights, got winded, sat on a bench overlooking the entire east side of the city and felt appropriately invigorated. We ended up deciding to eat out (graduate student budget notwithstanding) and that was an excellent decision because it was so nice not to have to wash up dishes and whatnot. Plus, we got cocktails and fondue — you can’t argue with that! And then, just as planned, we camped out on the living room floor with our featherbed and lots of pillows and blankets and watched old movies on our projector. And then we fucked. It was awesome. It also really subdued my rising anxiety about not having time for and with each other. I feel a whole lot better. This week has been very busy, too, and not without its moments of frustration and anxiety and stress between us, but my anxiety is no longer consuming me in quite the same way it was before.
[9/20/10 Edit: I was thinking some more about this this weekend and realized that I needed to clarify that I'm talking about white femininity and its queering so I went back through and added "white" where necessary. As a white woman, that's the world I have the most thorough understanding of, and I don't feel comfortable making sweeping statements about discourses around femininity in WOC and POC communities. That's actually a topic I'm interested in delving into in graduate school -- but that's another post...]
So, my burlesque classes are a few weeks underway. We’ve started having to “perform” what we’re learning to each other, and it is NERVEWRACKING. Have I ever mentioned that I get very afraid of being the center of attention of a large group of people? Well, I get very afraid of being the center of attention of a large group of people. So as soon as all eyes are on me, *poof* I’m out of my body. This means that instead of feeling what my body feels like, I’m feeling what it LOOKS like to other people. It’s a very weird disconnect, and I think it’s pretty connected to the way I was raised to prioritize other people’s needs ahead of my own. Though I’ve been getting better about that in my daily life, it’s still pretty hard for me to just relax and enjoy the feeling of being in my body when I know other people are looking at me. Suddenly I become all, “are they enjoying looking at me? am I boring them? what if they hate what I’m doing? AHHHHH!” and want to run away. And because I’m not thinking about what my body is doing, but instead am thinking about what it looks like to them over there, my body (obviously) suddenly can’t do anymore what my brain wants it to do.
So, burlesque is a bit of a challenge. But this is why I started it, isn’t it? I think I’m doing okay. Maybe I’m even getting better, bit by bit. I do think, though, that I need to practice on my own if I’m going to start feeling rapid increases in confidence in class. (Class is only held once a week, after all.) And let me reiterate: my lack of confidence is not in my body’s appearance. I’m perfectly happy with my body’s shape and size and what it generally looks like. The problem is maybe even some sort of opposite of that — rather than being hyper-aware of my body and what it looks like from in my mind, I’m all sorts of clueless about it. As I watch myself move in the mirror, I can see my body as if from an external perspective, can see that it looks good at what it’s doing. But I can’t tell what it FEELS like. So when you take me away from the mirror and put me in front of 14 pairs of eyes, my body has no fucking clue what it’s doing anymore.
So I’ve got to take it on myself to do some work on this. I’m starting by getting the book and DVD by my instructor, Bombshell Betty. She’s the bomb. Ha. Seriously, though, she’s adorable and very kind and encouraging and really good at what she does. Here’s her book:
And she has a DVD too which I’m going to buy from her next week in class. The book is great, although it doesn’t have color photos. It’s basically a guide to posing for a photo! And goes into stuff like pin-up poses, “personality projection” (“it’s all in the eyes”), using props in photos, best poses to flatter your body… So even if you’re NOT doing burlesque, you can learn a lot from it. For me, I’m hoping I can practice in front of my mirror and then close my eyes and memorize what it FEELS like. Instead of what it looks like. And having camera confidence and stage confidence are, I think, closely related.
But I’m looking for other ideas too, that I don’t have to stand in front of my mirror to practice. Has anyone else had this problem, this inability to connect with your own body? What have you done to help fix that? Anything you got I’m willing to try!
I got this question through formspring.me (see that little red box over on the right? if you put a question in there and submit it, I’ll answer it), and figured I’d publish it here as well. I imagine it’s a follow-up to my post a while back on being a femme in a relationship that’s not butch/femme. I don’t say anything hugely new and different here, but it’s certainly relevant to the blog.
Can you tell me more about being a femme sans butch? How does the lady feel about your femme identity? And how do you feel about her gender identity?
Gender identity stuff, I love it!
So, really, this is three separate questions. So I’ll start with the first one:
Can I say more about being a femme sans butch?
I guess the first thing I’ll say about it is that for the longest time, I hesitated to identify as femme because I’ve never had a relationship with a woman who identifies as butch (crushes, on the other hand? definitely). Intellectually, I know that to say that a femme can only be with a butch is like saying a woman can only be with a man. But it was sort of like trying to come out to myself all over again. When I started coming out to myself, I was just like “no way, this can’t be possible! I’m a girl! I’m s’posed to like boys! what is this craziness? I must be delusional!” It just didn’t seem possible to me that I was gay, and that gay was real. Coming out as femme was sort of similar, like “no way, I can’t be femme, femmes are supposed to be with butches! I can’t *really* be a femme!” But, for whatever reason, femme is just *right* for me, in the way that coming out as gay/queer in the first place just felt right. So, for whatever reason (biological? theological? coincidental?), I’m a femme and I don’t have a butch, and I don’t feel lacking in any regard. The identity itself is complete. I do think that femme and butch have a lot of traits that are very compatible with each other, and mi’lady has a lot of those traits anyway, plus a lot of other traits that I’m very much in love with ;)
How does she feel about my gender identity?
She’s totally supportive, and she tends to be attracted to femininity/femme-ininity herself anyway. I would even hazard a guess** and say that she’s found my blossoming into femme almost as exciting as I have — she certainly reaps many of the benefits (I’m stabler, more confident, sexier I think). She loves it when I wear heels, she has a deep appreciation for my domesticity (while making it always, always clear that she doesn’t expect anything of me in the way of cooking/cleaning/that sort of thing), she finds the girliness a turn-on. So she’s totally gung-ho about it.
And lastly, how do I feel about her gender identity?
I am totally and completely in love with it. We have talked a bit about what gender identity label she feels most comfortable with, and she keeps coming back to “dyke” as what works for her. And really, I can’t think of any better way to describe her. She’s kind of a rocker chick, with a definite masculine edge (so. hot. – the way she leans back in a chair, for example, legs apart, chest open and relaxed, shoulders back… swoon) but also with a feminine underside, if you will. She’s got shoulder-length angled side-parted dark hair (longer than mine) which frames her face so perfectly, and she has gorgeous eyes with long lashes. And, erm, she’s got a great rack, which she’s rightfully proud of as one of her great assets. She loves to be fucked. But she also loves to have the cock herself. So, she’s definitely queer, definitely a dyke, definitely NOT femme, I wouldn’t even really use the word feminine to describe her if pressed. Just, dyke. Think, I dunno, Tegan & Sara?
And she’s funny and boyish and she calls me “baby” and “sweetie” which makes me melt, she’s protective and gracious. She lets me do my puttering and my little grooming and she’s mystified by a lot of my feminine ways but she loves them, too. So, really, we’re perfectly matched :)
**After reading my answer, mi’lady said (in her own words) “your hazardous guess is correct!” :) :)
I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately. What makes me femme specifically, as opposed to just feminine, more generally. I guess another way of posing this question would be: what makes Queer Femme different from Straight? This has been inspired, partly, by some discussion on other blogs (see, for example, Sinclair’s four-part series on masculinity, Dear Diaspora’s post on “butches are not men,” and Packing Vocals on being a gentleman) regarding female butch masculinity and the transmasculinity “spectrum” (I use the word spectrum largely because I’m not sure what other word to use, though I’m not really comfortable with calling anything queer or gender-related a spectrum), and, among other things, what sets it apart from cismale masculinity. These kinds of discussions naturally led me to pondering what sets queer femininity apart from straight cis femininity.
This has also been inspired, though, by my own gradual “coming out” as femme, a process which has been unfolding for the past year and a half or so; with burgeoning self-awareness comes the revealing of a whole realm of possibility regarding what femme can mean, and I’m still (maybe always will be) trying to figuratively pick through and identify what works for me and what doesn’t.
So, for example. Jewelry is not really my thing. It’s not that I dislike it, but rather more that I don’t have strong feelings for it. I don’t get excited by sparkles and shiny things, really, and while I can certainly appreciate a pretty pair of earrings (and do wear them from time to time), I’ve decided that accessorizing with gems’n'things is an aspect of femininity that I’m fine with setting aside (for now, anyway).
Shoes, on the other hand, are a comPLETEly different story. I. LOVE. SHOES. It is an unfortunate love affair, because shoes are not cheap, even if one does one’s best to only buy them when they’re marked down. I’m sorry, but when I pass a gazillion shoe stores every week in my wanderings, how can I not get giddy? In fact, you should be congratulating me that I only own about three dozen pairs. I could easily own hundreds. And the kind of shoes I love are decidedly feminine. Heels, bows, colors, peep-toes, sex-on-stilettos. So there is a characteristic of femininity that I unabashedly own.
There are others, obviously, but there are also many more, I’m know, that I’m still working through. There are a few right off the top of my head that I can think of, and maybe these are even little femme-goals of mine for the near future. Some of them frivolous, others less so:
1) find *my color* of lipstick (you know what I mean, right?)
2) get a tattoo (I’ve got several ideas but need to settle on one and on where) (maybe this will be a separate post soon, because I have oh-so-much to say about tattoos and queer femininity)
3) learn better how to shop thrift stores, because about half my wardrobe is out-dated and I want more skirts, dammit! I now have like three that I wear on a rotating basis.
4) invent a signature cocktail! It will be called The Alphafemme, duh. And it will be fizzy and fruity. That much I can guarantee.
5) get into a regular exercise routine. I want to get back into yoga, which I really miss, and I’m also considering a hip hop dance class.
Those are just five, and there are more, but you see? All of those things, to me, in their different ways, mean femme. What I love is that femme means something totally different for everyone who identifies that way, and femininity can be performed, intentionally or unintentionally, in infinite ways. But I guess what I’m curious about, to bring this back around to my initial question, is: any girl could write the same list I just wrote, and out of the context of this blog, where HI I’M GAY, you wouldn’t know if she were queer. So, are there things that belong specifically to queer femininity? Or at least, do they mean something different as an aspect of queer femininity than they do as an aspect of non-queer femininity?
What is it about femmes that distinguishes our femininity from that of straight women? Whether you think it’s a je ne sais quoi or something very specific, I’d love to hear what you think.
So, the title of this post is misleading, I know. It makes it look like I’m going to NAME what I think are markers of queer femme. But instead, I’m copping out and asking you, because the truth is I don’t know.
Mi’lady isn’t butch. (If she were, there’s no way in hell I would call her mi’lady.)
She’s not femme, either. Not particularly. Not the way I am. She doesn’t really fit into any sort of butch<–>femme spectrum at all. Maybe she’s androgynous, though somehow I’m uncomfortable with that word too to describe her. We talked about it a bit on Sunday, and didn’t really come up with a label that fit her precisely. But what she definitely is is a dyke.
I guess her gender energy is somewhat akin to Shane from The L Word. (Though I know Shane was commonly referred to as butch, I really don’t think she was, or at least not in the way that I understand butch.) Mi’lady isn’t quite the same sort of aloof player that Shane was portrayed as, and she’s much more outgoing and free with her emotions. Allows herself to be more vulnerable than Shane’s character. But she has a similar posture, a similar sort of slightly disheveled look, a similar style. Another stylistic reference would be Tegan & Sara — she’s got a sort of punkish female androgyny–tattoo, skinny jeans, chucks, indie t-shirts, black eyeliner.
And I wouldn’t say our relationship feels particularly butch-femme, either. It’s not that clearly defined. In some ways it does feel very butch-femme. I’m very much a nurturer, in that I’m constantly doing little domestic things. Cooking, tidying, grooming, both for me and for her. I’m a multi-tasker and I’m very attentive to detail. I like things just so. In that regard I can be a care-taker of her. Because she’s disorganized and rumpled and a bit chaotic and kind of messy. Not at all detail-oriented. She’s fantastically creative, and I help keep her grounded. In a femme way.
She is a nurturer too, in a different sense, maybe in more of a (dare I say?) butch sense. She’s always “big spoon,” and we almost always fall asleep that way, with her enfolding me in her arms. She’s very affirmative with words, telling me often how sexy or beautiful I am or how much she likes what I cook or how hot those heels look, in a way that affirms and strengthens my femininity. She was the one who pursued me from the get-go, bold and a risk-taker to my subtle flirting.
But in otherways, we’re not very butch-femme. Sexually, for example, we have great sex in which she’s more dominant and I’m submissive, and great sex in which I’m more dominant and she’s submissive, and great sex that doesn’t have bottom/top roles at all. I love strapping on and fucking her with a cock (she loves it too), and don’t particularly care for the reverse (she’s open to it if I want it but isn’t insistent on it). And aside from the ways I articulated above, there isn’t really any other way that our relationship feels gendered. We’re both women.
I wonder, in a way, whether I’m most suited to a butch, considering the extent to which I think I’m really femme. For example, mi’lady doesn’t really have (or at least hasn’t at any point articulated, to me or to herself) a matching and inverted fantasy of being a “protector” and having a “wife,” the way I’ve got this fantasy of having a protector and being a wife. But… I love her. She makes me laugh, she helps me move beyond details and be flexible, she motivates me to break out of my comfort zone a little bit and then gives me room to go back in, she challenges me. And really, I don’t think it’s necessary for our fantasies to match up. I think as long as we’re willing and able to work out the kinks and figure out our dynamics and make sure we’re both giving what we’re able to getting what we need, then we should be ok.
And, you know, she really does love it when I cook for her :)
It was the best welcome home she’s ever had, she said.
After all my thinking and processing last week about my femmeyness, I allowed myself to just revel in it. I spent all day Sunday preparing for her to come home. I booked a Zipcar to pick her up at the airport when her flight came in at 6. (Typically we would just take BART, and I had told her I would meet her to help her carry her stuff home… the car was a surprise!) I got my nails done in the morning (fingers and toes!)–short, a little bit squared, bright red polish. Paraffin wax, so my skin was silky smooth. I’d gotten a fresh legs and bikini wax on Saturday, so that I’d be ready and smooth for her. I planned out Sunday evening’s meal, bought the necessary ingredients on Saturday, and brought them over to her place on Sunday afternoon to begin prep before her flight came in. AND, on Sunday morning after the manicure and pedicure, I went to my favorite lingerie boutique in San Francisco, Dollhouse Bettie (they specialize in vintage and pinup lingerie), to make sure her welcome home would be *extra* special. (Dollhouse Bettie’s website doesn’t have a link to the piece I bought, so I found a link to it elsewhere instead. It’s got gorgeous detailing, and I got nude seamed nylons instead of black ones because I really wanted the basque to speak for itself. With these shoes and my full-sleeve black leather gloves from Doncaster, this is a stunning get-up.)
And it was such a wonderful day, from start to finish. Waking up and knowing that I was going to be getting my nails done, going lingerie shopping, cooking, and seeing/fucking mi’lady for the first time in a week was such an amazing feeling. I don’t think there’s anything I’d have rather done on a gorgeous Sunday. Seriously. And it all went off without a hitch.
The only thing I think could have gone smoother was cutting the pumpkin. Pumpkin soup was one of my menu items (and as SOON as she saw it she was really, really excited… she loves pureed vegetable soups), but I’d forgotten how ridiculously hard it is to cube and peel a raw pumpkin. SO HARD. I wrestled with it for a good hour. But it was so ridiculously worth it. It was really, really good, if I do say so myself. And the recipe is really simple — really all that’s in it is pumpkin, onion, a tiny bit of garlic, bay leaves, a bit of orange rind, butter, vegetable stock, and a tiny bit of milk. I garnished it with fresh chives. And that’s it. The best part though? Was mi’lady telling me that the pumpkin soup she’d had earlier that week at an upscale restaurant in Boston with a client “wasn’t even half as good as yours. Well okay, maybe half. But seriously, only half!”
The other menu item was risotto with leeks, spinach, white wine, and a little bit of plain yoghurt. I love cooking.
The best part of everything was that she just felt adored. I love that. Love it. It turns me on and makes me stand up straight. I’m doing what I do best, what I love to do. Fuck yeah. From getting picked up by me at the airport in a car, to having dinner planned and prepared to the AMAZING fucking hot sex we had, it was the best welcome home she’d ever had. And I’m responsible for it :)