To The FemmeMobile! Away!











{September 22, 2010}   Ways of relating

I have some friends on my personal, everyday blog who will occasionally stop posting for months or sometimes a year at a time. It gets into a vicious cycle where you don’t want to post something because there’s so much to catch up on — or so they tell me.

I’m not very into cycles. I’m just going to start posting again. πŸ˜‰

So, I had a bit that I’d written out about sexual power and coming into my own and getting rid of some neurosis, and how it links into femme… but I wasn’t sure I liked it, and then Q called. We chatted for a while about general stuff, and I mentioned I was blogging. Q reads all my blogs — even my column, and my books, and I think she’s now surpassed my little sister as my best fan — and she said tonight that she can tell when I’m not writing, that my anxiety and stress levels rise and I get tired easier.

Now, I know that’s true about myself, but it was still surprising to hear someone else say it. There’s something very interesting about dating Q, and I don’t know if it’s Q, or that I’m dating another woman, or if I’ve just grown up and gotten better at picking partners. But whatever the reason, Q is much more aware of me and my boundaries and what’s going on than I’m used to. (This is a good thing. It’s a thing that sort of constantly surprises and tickles me.)

My friend Jane was here, visiting, and we had a lot of really good discussions. (Actually, she had a very clever way of explaining my struggle with butch as a gender, with the idea that I like butch, not female. It was that she can tell what type of guy she doesn’t like, but she can’t tell what type of guy she does like. That she’s attracted to guys, and within that category there are types she doesn’t like. Similarly, I’m attracted to butch, and within the category of butch there are types I’m not attracted to. It was just a really interesting way, I thought, to compare my preferred gender to something more usual to the average person. Sort of looking at what isn’t, rather than what is.

WOW, that was a tangent!)

One of the discussions Jane and I had was about dating women vs dating men. She was asking if it really was different, if we really do relate differently. I told her that in my (highly limited) experience, YES. It’s the little-but-big things, like the fact that when women stress out, they typically want to talk through a problem and preferred being held and reassured, whereas when men stress out, they typically want some time to themselves and pull away from touch (many many many relationships that fall apart due to outside forces — ex, money issues — do so for these reasons. Women need companionship under stress, men need alone time). While DK was likely to need alone time when she was stressed, it still wasn’t the same as when my boyfriends needed alone time. He wanted to be Left Alone and played video games. DK might have gone on a walk, but when she came back, even if she didn’t want to talk about it, we watched a movie together. Q processes a lot more like me; she talks, and mostly needs someone to listen so she can talk out loud and figure out the solution.

It’s interesting to me, that my life seems so much easier now that I’m dating women. It’s like — oh. I get this. This is good. πŸ™‚ The other day my mom told me she was tickled that I was dating women, that it was hilarious because she and my aunt had been talking years ago about how much easier it would be to live with other women, and too bad they weren’t attracted to them. The fact that I’m living what (I suspect) my mom wishes she could seems to amuse her to no end. *laughs* I’m glad she’s tickled by it.

In perfect female-dating-female form, last night I needed a night in and a night to snuggle. My stress levels weren’t skyrocketing, but they were definitely high, and I was dealing like a woman does. πŸ˜‰ Q came down and let me have my pick of what movies to watch, so I picked Enchanted. (I love that movie, though I haven’t bought it yet! She has a copy on her computer, though, which she grabbed from a friend when I squealed about it one day.) It was really awesome, to sit wrapped up on the couch watching a princess movie and not feeling awkward about it. Q, being the awesome butch she is, even waltzed me around to the princess music while I cracked up. πŸ˜‰ It’s things like that — I don’t think I would have been so comfortable with a guy, but I can’t say if that’s my issue or a guy/patriarchy issue.

BUT — regardless of which it is, it brings me to another point. (This is why I should blog more often. Otherwise, it builds up and I write posts like this, which aren’t one point but eighty zillion different ones!) In a study trying to define femme, one of the big things that came up was that in a relationship between a man and a woman, on average the man had more power. In a relatioship between a femme and a butch, though, on average the femme had more power. Now, I don’t know that I’d say I have more power than Q (and I think there’s an inherent flaw in that kind of statement, anyway; we’re so used to seeing women with less power, that I think equal power would seem like more power), but I certainly do feel equal. It’s things like the princess movie: if I had watched that with a boyfriend, I’d have been very aware that they were doing something nice for me. That they were ‘putting up with’ this movie for me, and I should be appreciative of that. Now, whether they would have actually liked that movie, or whether they would have secretly liked it but not said so because guys aren’t supposed to like it, or whether they honestly would have disliked it doesn’t matter. No matter which of those were true, I would have still felt like they’d done it for me, because of cultural pressure. I would have felt beholden.

Watching it with Q was different. I knew we were watching that movie because it was what I wanted to watch. I knew she was doing it for me. I wasn’t worried so much about whether or not she would like it and I had no sense that I’d be beholden to her for watching it. I appreciated her sitting with me and enjoying it with me, but I also expect that you do that for each other when you care. There’s an added burden when I think about watching it with a guy, like I’d have to somehow pay them back, that I don’t feel when I watch with Q. I don’t know if that has to do with the fact that Guys Don’t Watch Princess Movies, or if it’s because I feel that if a guy is snuggling with me, they’re taking care of me rather than just being with me. As another female, I knew that Q was taking care of me, but because she also gains comfort from touch I don’t feel like I’m wearing her out.

I think that’s it. It always felt like one or the other to me. Either I could give comfort to my boyfriend by leaving him alone, or I could get comfort by snuggling, but there was no sense that we got comfort from each other. I have that with Q (and DK before her), and it’s pretty awesome.

Okay, jeez, I could keep going but I need to get to bed soon, which means I need to turn my mind off. Hopefully, though, I’ll be back to semi-regular blogging, now. Woo hoo!

J

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Jolie says:

Goodness.

I’m just gonna go with “Welcome back!”

We’ll take it from there, mmmkay? πŸ˜‰



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