To The FemmeMobile! Away!











I used to watch Doris Day’s Calamity Jane obsessively when I was young. Especially every time I got sick. I was in love with her, in a “I want to be her” sort of way. Here’s a snippet:

It was full of gayness, including accidental cross-dressing. (You can rent it for $2 from Youtube, apparently. It would be a $2 well spent, I’m just sayin’.)

When I moved to Canada at 20, long before I figured out my own sexual and gender identity, I had to leave it home. I didn’t see it again until years later — probably ten years later, when my sister bought it for me for Christmas. By that time I’d figured out both the lesbian/butch attraction and the femme bit.

Watching the movie again nearly made my jaw drop. Calamity Jane both was me, and was who I wanted to be. She’s got a temper that drives her into doing stupid things (though mine’s under control now), she sticks up for the underdog even when it puts her at great risk, she’s got this super rough, tomboy, cowgirl exterior, and she really wants someone to see that she’s beautiful under it all. She wants love and doesn’t know how to go about getting it, because so many people saw the tomboy and not the girl (this is less me: people generally saw the girl, but I had a hard time realizing that). She’s strong, she’s a hero, and she still wants rescuing. She’s rough and practical on the outside, but she cleans up and wants to be a girl.

She’s me, as a femme.

It’s funny: for all her tomboyishness, she never came across as butch to me, either. I think it’s Doris Day’s feminine energy under all that faux-rawhide!

When I saw it again after so many years, I watched in absolute fascination. Here were the answers I’d been looking for just a few years earlier, when I started this blog, trying to figure out how I could be femme and yet not be a high femme or wear dresses all the time. In short, be femme and still be a tomboy. Here it was, the answer I’d watched over and over as kid, wishing I were her.

It makes me think that even as a kid, I identified with her. Maybe my subconscious was trying to help me out. 😉 Now, if only she’d been attracted to butches… I might have figured it out that much faster! ;-D

JB

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Hi! I’ve been busy. CRAZY busy.

Anyway, among the busy things I’ve been doing lately is going two-stepping with Q. Gay two-stepping, to be precise. (Q is very butch, and one of the things that cracks me up to no end is when the gay boys hit on her. I can’t help it. It slays me. Besides, I agree with them, sort of: she makes an awfully cute boi, as well as an incredibly handsome butch, and a really hot Q. Heh.)

Gay two-stepping occurs at several bars in the San Fran/East Bay area, most of which I haven’t gone to. Now, I have something to confess, here: I’d never been to a gay bar before we went two-stepping. I know! I’m sorry. Don’t take away my gay card! I’m making up for it now! 😉

A few weeks back, Q joined me and my friends for K’s birthday. We went wine tasting and then pub hopping, but there aren’t really any pubs in my area, so really it was bar hopping. And we got tuckered out, so it wasn’t hopping so much as just bar. 😉 Anyway, while we were in this (straight) bar, or as we came out of it, or maybe just various times, Q mentioned that it felt very predatory.

It felt normal, to me.

Then I went with her to the gay bar, and it was strange. I didn’t feel like I had to watch my drink against all comers (though I still kept a close eye on it), or like I needed to go to the bathroom with a small, private army of fellow females, or keep an eye on what was going on around me at all times.

YOU GUYS, I’VE NEVER FELT THAT WAY BEFORE.

It was more like being at a backyard BBQ than a bar. It was awesome! I could relax! People were friendly without me feeling like they had an agenda (which was doubtless to get in my pants)! It was craaaazy.

Something else happened, too, that was also crazy! I totally had my legs cut out from under me. “That sounds painful,” I hear you cry. It was certainly disconcerting! More than a few times I glanced around and thought, “No one is looking at me. How the heck am I supposed to act when I’m not acting for the people who are watching?!”

Tell you what, there’s a lesson in the male gaze and how women are trained to respond to it, right there. WOW. It left me a bit adrift at times, but luckily I’m never one to stay adrift for long, and whenever I had that uncertain feeling it was a reminder to just check in with myself, and do whatever I wanted to do for me rather than to engage the people who (weren’t) watching.  More crazy!

Also, a lot of fun. I might have to get some people together and go check out the gay bar near me. Maybe it has pool tables! It’s a lot less threatening to go with just one other person when the atmosphere isn’t, well, threatening. Which is funny to say, because while I was always on guard at a bar, I didn’t feel threatened. (Oh, Neeezzzuuuu… You mentioned wanting to go to a bar… :D) So, the difference between gay bars and straight bars? I’m not so worried about lesbians following me out the door and attacking me on the street.

…That’s an overstatement. Sort of.

(I wonder if men still feel like it’s a meat market for other gay men? Hmmm.)

Oh yeah, and Q went bull riding again! I have to brag about her. She stayed on much longer this time! Check it out! 😀 That would be my extremely awesome narration, btw. But if you just want to see the ride, skip to the minute-twenty mark. 😉

The good news is, she was MUCH less sore this time so we were still able to have sex. (Okay, to be fair, we had sex last time, too. There were fewer ‘ouch!’ moments this time, though. *grins*).

Back to the subject at hand, though, I do find it interesting that the atmosphere is so different at a straight bar than a gay bar. Tell me, ye who have more experience with this, is that true of all gay bars? Do they just tend to be more relaxed, less predatory areas? Or did I just find the awesome cowboy gay two stepping bar?

It also makes me wonder what it is I’m sensing at the straight bar, if it has to do with sexism and a male gaze, or if it’s just that society has deemed bars dangerous/sexual/pick-up places. But then, wouldn’t that hold true for gay bars, too?

I guess I have more questions than answers after this, and therefore it’s more of an observation of what I’m feeling than any true analysis. Sometimes, writing things down gives me a clearer idea, but right this moment I still don’t know why I react that way. I hesitate to say, “It’s straight men,” because while that might be true, that gets blamed for a lot of things, so I would prefer to be sure before I think that. Maybe it’s a combination of factors: sex appeal, alcohol, the male gaze, packs of predators, knowing there’s danger… Most of these factors happen at a gay bar, too, though.

I think I need to run an experiment. I think I need to go to more gay bars, and see if more club-like ones have the same danger vibe! That will give me more information. Yes. I like this. I’ll visit bars in the name of science.

…I love my life. ;-D

J



{May 1, 2010}   Post of topic-leaping

Okay, so a friend of mine posted this video, and because I think it is the funniest shit ever, I’m posting it everywhere. You can get more information on it, or you can just know that a troop in Afganistan got bored and made a video for Lady Gaga’s song, Telephone (that’s the work safe version, btw).

People! I get it now! This is why gays aren’t allowed in the military. If straight men turn this fabulous, gay men would tear the place apart. (This should totally be a recruitment video, btw. Join the Army! It’s like Glee, but far more entertaining!)

I was also thinking about the movie, Kissing Jessica Stein, (why didn’t any of you warn me it was terrible? I’m so disappointed in you. Don’t try and tell me you didn’t say anything because it came out almost a decade ago. That’s no excuse.) and I decided that it’s really even more insulting to straight women than lesbians. You know the biggest thing I remembered from the movie? The very last bit, when they have lesbian bed death, Jessica goes back to the boy, and the other girl gets to roll around having hot sex in red satin sheets. What do I learn from that?

1. Lesbians get to have decadent hot sex in red satin sheets. YAY! GO, US!

2. Straight girls shouldn’t try to be gay. They also cause lesbian bed death. Oh yeah, and apparently have no sex drive.

Right.

Now, onto a Very Important Topic: FLOWERS! As in, I had a PSMy day, and I bought myself some flowers. They’re bright and cheerful, and they’re now sitting in a vase. Yay!

Butches, take note: flowers are always good. Actually, maybe everyone should take note. You know what flowers say, when your loved one is having a bad day? They say one of two things:

1. I know you’re having a bad day, and I want you to feel better, and I know you enjoy bright cheerful flowers so I went and got you some!

or,

2. I know you’re having a bad day, and I want you to feel better, but I couldn’t afford the Harley that would really make you feel better, and you have so many colonges already that I wasn’t sure if I could find a decent one, so I got you flowers! I hope you understand the intent. Let’s go have sex. (That last part should only be applied if you are actually in a sexual relationship with the person.)

So, yes, flowers. Good for all occasions! And they don’t even have to be expensive! That’s what grocery stores and Trader Joe’s are for! Sure, they’ll probably wilt by morning, but they were pretty that night. YAY!

In still other news, my friend DoctorLady stopped seeing a guy who was a homophobe (you can read about that discussion in her blog — I nearly burst something laughing) and I have an evil sort of “mwahahaha” feeling at being the person she referred to. See, she asked me several days ago if I would mind if she mentioned me and Q to see how he reacted, and I said, “Go for it! :DDD” (Yes, with that amount of smiling. What can I say? I kind of like being a shit disturber.), so she did, and he had a bad reaction, and they’re no longer dating. I’m sorry she didn’t find an awesome guy, but I have a bizarre sort of pride at being the tool to find out about his unawesomeness. Go figure.

In still OTHER news, DK sent me this kick ass study on femme as a gender! I swear, that study could have been written about me! I have so much to say about it that I’ve been trying to figure out the best way of starting. I think I might just have to go through the study bit by bit, and have a lot of blog posts about all the things they talk about. 😀 Anyway, suffice to say my femme experience is very common, and I’ll tell you all more later. 😀

In the final bit of vaguely-femme news, I was talking to my mom today about all the blogging I’ve been doing, and how it’s been helping me work through some issues. She asked what issues? So I kind of went, “Well, stress, sex, identity stuff — like whether I’m bi or lesbian — that sort of thing.” To which she made one of those “labels don’t matter,” comments. Our discussion went something like this:

Mom: Why does it matter? Whatever label you choose, you’re still you on the inside.

Me: Yeah, but it matters. It changes perceptions–

Mom: Ah, so you’re worried about how other people see you.

(Note: This is A Bad Thing in our household. You should be strong enough it doesn’t matter what other people think about you! While I do agree to a certain extent, I’m trying not to kill myself over it.)

Me: …yeeeaaah, and it changes my perception of myself.

Mom: So you’re letting other people dictate your perception of yourself? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change you.

At this point I began ranting about community and the way you get treated and the pros and cons of bi vs lesbian and so on and so forth, and throughout the whole thing I could hear her voice in my head going, “You’re letting other people dictate your actions. This is weak. It shouldn’t matter. Everything you’ve said is a co-dependent action, trying to curry favor from society.” None of which is true, but I kept hearing it because that’s my mom’s kick. By the end of my rant she sort of made agreement noises, but they sounded more like, “I’ll agree with you to get you to stop ranting, geez,” than, “I understand, even if all I understand is that this matters to you.” *sighs* So that hasn’t helped with the bugged, PMSy feeling all day. 😦 (Though I did have a BRILLIANT moment, imo, when I compared identity stuff with her favorite thing, archetypes. Archetypes are patterns in our life, and if you know what pattern you have you know how to stop it from happening. I talk about how some butches — the ones I’m attracted to — have a knight archetype, for instance. I compared changing an identity label to getting the wrong archetype pattern. This is the point at which she was like, “Okay, okay,” so I’m hoping I’m wrong about the tone and she actually did get it.)

I love my mom, I really do, she’s an amazing person and she’s taught me a lot, but every so often I talk to her and all the old perfectionist, drive-yourself-to-death, do self-improvement all right, all the time tendencies resurface. Humph. I’m going home next weekend. Should be interesting.

In the same vein, she says Q sounds fascinating. *amused* I’m a little afraid. ;-D (They both have an in-charge, occasionally OCD streak. I can’t decide if they’d get along famously or kill each other flat. As Q and I aren’t so serious that a trip to the in-laws is in order, it’s not something I really have to worry about atm.)

Now! I’m off to watch TV and attempt to turn my brain off. Woo hoo!

J



et cetera