Friday, November 16, 2012

Genuinity, gender roles, and biscuits & bacon

I needed some inspiration, so here I am at my favorite place in the world: Oddfellows. It's my favorite people watching spot in the city. There are a hundred different conversations going on in very close proximity, and some very interesting people. There's a job interview for a start up business going on to my left, a man who looks like gay Mitt Romney to my right, and a man who has taken his elderly mother and sister out to lunch to my front. They also serve biscuits with eggs and bacon, which is doing my soul well today. I love it here.

It is also almost entirely run by adorable young hipsters.

It's been awhile since I've written in my poor little blog. These days my writing has been centered around academia, so I'm left with very little mental wherewithal to produce a witty, fun to read column. That being said, I find that when I don't write, I feel brain slugs creep in and suck out my creative...uhh...brain stuff. See? That last sentence was terrible! Damn brain slugs...

They look kind of like this...

In order to shake up these brain slugs, I need to discuss something that has been on my mind for quite some time. I want to talk about gender roles. Some time ago I went out for drinks with a friend, who is a fellow lesbi-lady. I love getting dolled up and meeting friends for happy hour. Curling my hair and putting on make-up is one of those things I have loved doing since I was a little girl and I would sit next to my mother and watch her do her do her own. My mother taught me to embrace femininity, but she never really defined it. All she taught me was that it wasn't shallow to want to look nice, because we don't look nice for other people: we do it for ourselves.

This leads into my conversation with my friend over drinks. She was expressing to me the type of woman she was attracted to, which in the lesbian community is known as butch. Butch, for the uneducated, is a woman who tends to dress and style themselves on the masculine side, or rather who avoid the overtly feminine style. This includes no make-up, dresses or frills. This is the type of woman my friend is attracted to, and God bless. I inquired, just out of curiosity, what is it about butch women that my friend is attracted to? In her words: "Butch women are just real, you know? They're not fake. Femmes spend all their time trying to look like something they're not; they just so fake!"

Fake? I paused a moment to think about the amount of time I took to get ready for our happy hour: 20 minutes curling my hair, 15 minutes on my makeup, 10 minutes thoughtfully picking out an outfit (that includes time struggling into my Spanx; my mother raised me right). Did that make me fake? In my mind, while spending time getting ready, I was trying to make myself look nice by my own standards. Why? Well, because I feel nice when I look nice. Again, does that mean I am presenting a false version of myself. I would like to think that if I venture out into public, with or without makeup, that I am presenting the same version of myself.
...After! See? So not fake.
You may have seen this coming, dear reader, that I take issue with her hypothesis. The fact that butch women are more "real" than femme is not only inherently untrue, but it's rather insulting. Are there "fake" femme's? Sure! Are there "fake" butch women? You can bet your sweet ass there is, and I've met them. What one wears does not an identity make. It's how we present our personality, whether it comes from behind a buzzcut or a weave. So I would like to express to my friend to take that hypothesis and shove it firmly up her nasal cavity. Never assume to know a person by their outer shell; you'd be surprised what you learn.

I may like to wear pearls, red lipstick and bows in my hair, but I can lift steel beams, put together furniture, and do intermediate plumbing.

On a final note, to all you butches out there who look at me and see a "cupcake": I am a bad ass with a Sephora card, and don't you f*cking forget it.

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