To The FemmeMobile! Away!











{February 12, 2014}   Changes

Well, I’m getting married!

Q asked me to marry her just before Christmas, and I said yes. We tie the knot next February, on the anniversary of our first date (so I only have to remember one anniversary). After that, I’ll stay in my house and she’ll stay in her house and we’re good. πŸ˜€

Most people I’ve told this to have been like, “Coolio!” The people who don’t say “Coolio!” though, really freak out. It seems I’ve been freaking people out all my life, so that’s all normal. Suffice to say, we’ve got this covered. Β πŸ˜‰

It’s quite the jump to go from commitment phobic to getting married. It only took us 4 years. *grins* Five by the time we actually get married! What’s fun is that the law will even acknowledge it now. WOO HOO!

That’s not the only change going on, though. The other big change is that Q has started taking testosterone to look more masculine. She says she doesn’t feel like a man, but she doesn’t feel like a woman. Within about a month of T she started growing facial hair. I figure as muscle develops (she’s started hitting the gym) and hair grows in, and then when she gets top surgery, people will start calling her him, and I’ll switch over. I’ve already started referring to my boyfriend here and there.

She’s having her own things with all this, but I can’t speak for that. What I can speak of is my end of things, supporting my wonderful honey in the changes she needs to make, muddling through my own identity as, to the outside world, it starts to change, and what it’s like.

So far, I’m surprised at how okay everything has been. It’s helped that she didn’t say, “I am a man,” but rather, “I’m somewhere in between, so the pronouns don’t matter.” In fact, when she realized that for herself it lifted a HUGE weight off me. I was no longer looking at seeming straight to the rest of the world. I could continue to use whichever pronouns. Now, I’m getting eased into it, and that’s easier for me. In the end I’m sure effectively the world will see me as straight, but this way I can wade in slowly instead of diving into the deep end.

(I also have to take a moment to say that I REALLY appreciate her support of me, while I’m supporting her. She’s realized this will affect me, too, and has been very aware and we’ve had lots of conversations on it.)

Initially, when Q was thinking she was a man (before she realized that didn’t quite fit, either), Q was saying she wouldn’t ever wanted to be outed as trans. I was really struggling with that, because it was one way for me to continue to claim my own sexual identity. I was at war within myself: part of me wants to support Q and be a good ally, and knows that outing trans* people is, at best, indicative of transphobia in our society. I’m not sure where my outing someone would fall, given my reasons, but it doesn’t matter: it would be encouraging that attitude in society in general. The other part of me wanted to keep my sexual identity. It is as much a part of me as being a man is part of her.

In the end, as stated, Q decided that she was neither man nor woman but somewhere in between, so it became a moot point. (How we’ll maneuver going forward will be something that we have to see as we go.) Since then, there really hasn’t been anything that’s made me hesitate. I kind of am suspicious about how easy it’s been for me, in fact. I keep waiting for something to hit me like a ton of bricks.

Anyway. The allied femme’s intimate dealing with trans in an SO. I’ll attempt to keep you all updated more than once every six months. πŸ˜‰

JB



{October 25, 2013}   When research strikes

Hi, all!

This year has been something else. I’ve pretty much settled into my femme identity with no more trauma, which is nice. Things occasionally come up around gender or sexual inequality, but mostly little things that I post to Facebook or campaign about elsewhere.

And, a lot, I haven’t had time to write down anything that isn’t a burning desire.

Anyway. I do now. New issues! Ones that aren’t really femme or lesbian, but definitely sexual identity. So I might as well unpack those, right? Dust off the FemmeMobile, folks… πŸ˜‰

I wrote a book! (Uh, that is, another book!) I don’t know how popular it is yet, as royalties won’t come in for another month, but it’s getting ace reviews from both reviewers and readers. You can check it out here, on Amazon, where it has some fabulous reviews. πŸ˜‰

I need to talk about some of it for this all to make sense, so in short, it’s about someone getting into BDSM (mostly the BD part) with some friends of his. (Also in small part, it’s my response to how horrible “50 Shades of Gray” was. I mean, really, that book was about how to be in an abusive relationship, and how, if you’re interested in kink, you must be broken. Fuck that shit.) I did research. I wrote the book. It was beautiful. My butch (the same one I started dating over three years ago!) read it and was like, “So… honey… this is some fun stuff. :D” Ahem. Yes. >.> *grins*

Now I’m working on the sequel, which I’ve had a harder time with. A character in the book, London, who was just kind of bossy has decided that she wants to Dom. I’m not a Dom. I did some ‘net research, started writing, stalled out, started again, etc. Not sure what was wrong, I finally stopped, re-read “A Little Weird,” realized in part what was wrong, complained to a friend that I hadn’t found a book on BDSM that really helped me, and was loaned copies of “The New Topping Book” and “The New Bottoming Book.”

I’ve now read “The New Topping Book” (which was AWESOME, btw, and I highly recommend it for anyone who’s curious) and started “The New Bottoming Book,” (less important for my novel, as really I need to shape a top, not a bottom). It answered a lot of the “Ehhhhs,” I had in writing the second book, so with a much clearer idea of what I need to be shaping, I’m all set.

Allllllll of that is to say that I did this research because I was idly curious and thought it was a fun take on a story (also, I like empowering underdogs, and after “Shades” I think of healthy kink as an underdog) , and now I’m like, “Gosh, I have a lot to think about.”

Today is the first day of my period, so I’m a little low energy. I’m also coming down from a big weekend. I decided to finish “The New Topping Book” today, and pretty much just bulled through it. (It’s an easy and entertaining read, so that helps!)

Hm. I’m not sure how to continue here, so I’m going to back up and turn sideways.

I think I learned, growing up, that weakness was bad. My mom was a caretaker, but for all the wrong reasons. She’d fix things or arrange things or organize things for someone, help them with their life, but she’d be angry and resentful about it and never tell them. It left me with this mindset:

I never want to ask for help, because it is never freely given. I never want to show weakness, because then I’ll have to fend off those who would help and be angry with me for it, and do so in a way that won’t hurt them. People who care take of others can’t be trusted: they secretly hate it.

Also this:

If you ever have some time for self-care or downtime, do not use it. Find something “productive” to do.

I’ve realized aspects of these things before, but never quite as full blown as I’m realizing it now. I think I have the Topping Book to thank for that. One of the sections that really hit me was the idea of a top’s limits; that part of their job is to know their OWN limits. That it’s not just the bottom that sets limits, but that the top needs to know what they can and can’t do. You may or may not have noticed, but a lot of what a top (or a Dom) does is care taking. Be in charge, including comfort and aftercare and cuddles if that’s what your sub needs. This is exactly the kind of thing I avoid needing, but I’m definitely subby. (I don’t know how subby; I haven’t experimented enough. Luckily Q seems eager to experiment with me! Anyway, there’s definitely that inclination, though.)

In reading about tops being responsible for knowing what they can and can’t do, I had a realization: I might not understand why they would WANT to take care of anyone, but I can accept that it’s their job to say, “No, I don’t want to do a scene where I push you hard and you need aftercare, because I don’t have it in me for aftercare right now.” That it’s NOT my responsibility to feel guilty for needing help. That it’s okay to have downtime.

What a concept!

In reading the topping book, it also suddenly occurred to me that it’s okay for me to know my own limits in every day life, and to take care of myself. Gasp! You mean, today, when it’s the first day of my period, I’m tired and crampy and a little emo, it’s okay to stay in my PJs and take a hot bath and even go back to bed for 30 minutes?! I like the fantasy of letting a top (that I trust to know their own limits) pamper me like that. So why couldn’t I pamper myself like that? Why isn’t it okay to practice some self care?

Sometimes I have “sick days.” When I’m tired and stressed and I can’t take it any more, I cancel everything and watch movies. I’ve been getting better, too, about taking time off. (I’m self employed, so this takes real determination.) I’ve been doing much, much better at it. But there’s almost always a level of agitation or guilt or “shoulds” that go along with it.

Today, in reading the topping book, it was like hearing permission to be weak and vulnerable and have down time. It was this amazing idea that someone else could do that for me, could insist on it, without feeling burned out or resentful. That they might GET something from it, in fact. And if they can do it for me, and it’s not only okay but expected and praised… then why can’t I do it for myself?

In sex instead of life, there’s another aspect to this. I really don’t understand the urge to dom/top. I can accept that others have that urge, even if I don’t at all get it, and be glad for that. But between the aforementioned aversion to care taking, and the lack of understanding, I have personal concerns. Like, what if Q wants me to try topping so she can try bottoming? What if she gets angry and resentful at topping because I’m… I don’t know, too subby? (When I think about this rationally, I realize we have EXCELLENT communication. I don’t really believe this would happen, because she’d tell me something was going wrong first.)

Anyway, these are things I’ll have to think about and discuss with Q. Some part of me feels like I SHOULD at least try topping if she wants, and the gut part of me knots up at even thinking about it. (This is hilarious, as I’m rather a leader type in everyday life.) I don’t know if it’s a holdover from my gazillions of other sexual issues, or if it’s because I associate bottoming with girly genders (which Q is not, and it kind of a alarms me to think she suddenly would be — though I don’t think that’s how it works…) (also, I realize I’m totally gendering here, and that’s not a good thing. Believe me, you don’t have to point out the negative use of stereotypes, I’m aware of them.). All stuff to start processing.

Oh yeah, and did I mention we got engaged? πŸ™‚ More stuff to process! And some other stuff, too, that isn’t mine to talk about just yet… ayup, life is changing. I’m definitely going through… something. The planets are aligned or somesuch!

J



{October 5, 2011}   Too tired for sex.

I just have a little bit of time (which is to say I should have gone to bed already), but I had something on my mind. It’s been on my mind for a while, and I don’t think it’s anything important, really, but writing stuff down helps me look at it differently.

Anyway, it’s about my sex life! When Q and I first started dating, we humped like bunnies. All the time! For large blocks of time! A part of me was a little distressed at the large blocks of time, actually, because it was ALWAYS a large block of time and sometimes I didn’t have two and a half hours to dedicate, you know? But anyway, I’m digressing.

A while back — maybe 8 months ago? — Q was talking about her distress because we weren’t humping like bunnies so often anymore. I actually tracked it for a few weeks, just in my head, and came to the conclusion that we weren’t really having sex much less than before, and that we’d each realized the other wasn’t going to bail soon, so we didn’t have to have lots of sex out of fear it’d go away. (At least that was the case on my end!)

Since then Q stopped worrying about it, but I’ve started thinking about it. I think the big thing is that we’re both busier and more tired these days (which in turn makes me wonder — IS that the case? If so, why? What are we doing different? …I’m working a lot more, actually…), and we’re not doing crazy drives to see each other even if it’s only for an hour; we’re subconsciously hitting aΒ maintenanceΒ schedule that we can keep up indefinitely. Which is a good thing! But I do miss having sex more often. Or… I think I SHOULD miss it, or I miss wanting it so badly. The thing is, I really am too tired most of the time to start something myself. And I don’t feel unsatisfied, I feel more like, in a perfect world, we’d be rested enough to have it more often. But I’m not rested, and my desire for it is more like a desire to have a desire for it, if that makes sense.

Just a few weeks ago I noticed that Q has been very wonderful and listened to me very well, so unless I’m totally frisky she doesn’t pounce me so often (as opposed to gently seducing me or anything else that doesn’t involve physically hauling me around). Which made me laugh, when I realized that her pouncing me is a total turn on, so even if I’m not frisky I’ll often become frisky. Pretty funny, how good communication worked against me, there! (Also, she’s extra tired too, lately, so she’s not in much of a pouncing mood. I can’t blame her — I wouldn’t be, either!)

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m actually quite happy with our sex life, even at its slightly diminished state. We’re still like “normal” people, impressive since we live an hour apart. I think I worry sometimes that it’ll keep diminishing, though, even though when I stop and think about it I don’t believe that’s the case. Still, the concern lurks in my head. And because Q was worried about it months ago, I worry that she’s still worried! Ah, the inner life of a secret co-dependent-trying-not-to-be-co-dependent…

Anyway. These thoughts and feelings have been buzzing inside me. I would like more sex in an abstract way, but when I think about having more sex I’m like, “Whoa, no, way too tired to put forth that effort.” I’d really like more sleep. Then I could have more sex.

The good news is that we’ve finally gotten pretty good at having half hour sex, so we can have it when neither of us have energy for hour-and-more sessions. That makes me happy. πŸ™‚ Also, then we can have more of it, because I have more free half hours in my day than hour and a halves… Semi-quickies are a good thing!

In other news, my baby sister got married! And my uncle, my favorite uncle who’s been fighting his homophobia for me, says he looooooves Q because anyone who makes me that happy is awesome, and he’s pushing me to marry her. I never thought I’d be happy to get marriage pressure from my family, but there you have it. It’s like his subconscious has realized it’s okay, so now he’s adding pressure. A funny sort of won battle, hmm? πŸ˜‰

J



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{July 19, 2011}   Trans stuff

(Written over several days, starting Monday morning…)

I had a minor breakdown yesterday (okay, probably not so minor from the point of Q, who did the hug-and-rock thing for close to an hour). It’s not that there’s anything big going on in my life (little sister getting married, trying to shift from training to writing, finding an agent, business suddenly DYING — which was finally explained and rectified — trying to send business Q’s way and training her to take over when I’m ready to shift to full-time writing, concerns over alcoholic tendencies… no, nothing big…), but there’s a lot of little things (busy times, little to no down time, struggling with finding time to blog, two friends transitioning and trying to remember new pronouns, a friend having a baby, lots of traveling, new website, lots of deadlines to be met, trouble sleeping).

I have this blog for All Things Queer And Especially Femme, and a general life-stuff blog, and I haven’t had a chance to write in either of them in too long. It crowds my head.

I have two friends, DK and Nezu, who are recently FTM. It’s been interesting, from my perspective. All sorts of strange little cultural-sexism stuff has been cropping up for me. Nothing painful, but bits that make me go, “…fascinating.” (I just need pointy ears, now. I’ve got the “live long and prosper” fingers down pat.)

For instance, I was talking clothes the other day — I’d gotten who knows what that I was tickled about — with Nezu, who has never been anything but interested and supportive. And yet suddenly, I found myself cutting the topic short, and doing something that wasn’t quite a thank-you-for-listening or a self-dismissal, but it was awfully close. Close enough to stick in my mind as a combination of the two.

Now, lest you think Nezu had somehow triggered that, he didn’t. At all. In fact, when I heard myself saying whatever I was saying, I stopped and re-took up the topic, and Nezu went along with that, too. But it made me start noticing the way I talk to men vs women, and I noticed that even with my male friends I generally edit. Part of that is politeness; I don’t want to bore people with things they don’t care about. But a bigger part of it is definitely a clear-cut idea of what aren’t “men’s” topics, and a tendency to defer to what a guy would rather talk about — even if it doesn’t particularly interest me. (Note that I don’t want to bore someone with things that don’t interest them, but it’s okay to bore myself with things that don’t interest me. Hmmm.)

For instance: during the above conversation with Nezu, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t boring him. Nezu has a keen eye for color and design; he’s very much the artist, and will point clothes or things out to me that he thinks I’d like. If only from an artist standpoint, he seems to enjoy clothes and fashion. (From a human standpoint, he likes those clothes on people, too! ;-D) My sudden desire, then, to switch the topic, had nothing to do with whether or not Nezu was interested in it, because he was, which means it had to do with cultural sexism and my assumptions about what a guy would be interested in and deferring to that.

Fascinating.

There’s other things that have cropped up, too. An acquaintance of mine, D, is also transitioning FTM. He’s recently started hormones, though when the below happened I didn’t know that — I didn’t even know he was FTM. The last I’d seen him, he was butch but not — to my knowledge — trans. So Q and I were at Sundance, and I saw him out of the corner of my eye. It was clearly D, and yet something in my head went, “Ah, male.”

Know what it was? Pockmarks. D had started testosterone and his skin had broken out, healing with faint (not unattractive) pockmarks, like guys in their late teens and early twenties get. I’m guessing D is early to mid twenties, so it definitely fit. When we walked up and Q said, “Hey, S!” D said, “It’s D now.” We had a quickie conversation to sort out new pronouns and butch or trans, and then that was done. So it wasn’t until after I’d mentally categorized him as male that I learned he was FTM. I thought it was kind of funny that, in my head, apparently acne scars are a gender marker.

I’m also constantly flubbing pronouns with DK and Nezu (this is making my little perfectionist self CRAZY), which I figure is normal, but at the same time I’m treating them more like I treat guys. This leads me to two thoughts:

1. Oh, hey, cultural sexism! Fascinating.

2. At least, despite the word-flubs of my conscious mind, I’m subconsciously categorizing them as male?

Another funny thing. DK is my ex; I think I’ve mentioned that. When we started dating, DK was identifying as lesbian (or bi; now I can’t quite remember. It was too long ago!), then about a year into dating she discovered butch and was identifying as that, and then after we stopped dating she started identifying as he. (Note how I use ‘she’ while I’m talking about the past, and then suddenly it’s ‘he’. Later when I’m talking about doing this, you’ll understand what the heck I’m talking about!)

Here is an issue I didn’t really expect: while I would totally date a trans person, because DK was the first woman I dated, she — as she — was an important part of my coming-out identity and process. Now, perhaps I’m kidding myself and anyone I had previously dated transitioning would bother me; it’s only happened this once, so I really don’t know. But I don’t THINK so. This wasn’t just someone I’d dated, this was my first female, the person who made me realize I was more bi than not, and then more lesbian than bi (the jury is still out on whether I identify as bi or lesbian. I identify as femme and queer and leave it at that!), and for my first eye-opening girlfriend to suddenly be just another boyfriend… well, that was a challenge, I have to admit. So, he and I had the following conversation on Sunday:

Me: I need to ask you something.
DK: Okay! Shoot!
Nezu: *comes wandering up*
Me: …uh… privately… (because I was pretty sure about DK’s reaction, but it seems most polite to ask without an audience, y’know?)
Nezu: *Wanders off, poor thing*
DK: *now looking extremely curious and kinda bemused*
Me: Well, I guess it doesn’t need to be that private… we are in the middle of a crowd… anyway. *thinks* When we were dating, you were a girl.
DK: *who, luckily, speaks JB and realizes that kind of is the question and starts to chuckle* You can out me. It’s okay.
Me: OH PHEW.

So then, this morning, I was on the phone with Q talking about something to do with when DK and I were dating, and I realized mid-conversation that I was swapping between he and she pronouns, depending on the… er, timestamp on the memory. I mean, if I was talking about DK when we were dating, I was saying she (and sometimes using the name DK was using then), and in the very next breath I’d say something about, for instance, seeing DK Sunday and I was back to male pronouns.

I can’t decide if this is good or bad (DK may well read this and have his own opinion, in which case I’m sure he’ll let me know), if it’s going to confuse me more or make me start thinking of DK-my-ex and DK-my-girlfriend as two different people or just clarify things in my own head… but there you have it, it’s weirdly automatic.

Given it’s all pretty new, I figure it’s very much in a state of flux for a while — for both me and DK, as we start to feel differently about things. In a year, DK may not want to be outed anymore! I dunno. We’ll sort it out.

Wow. All right, that’s it for now. I have lots more to say, but I need to write the third short story in my gay fantasy series. (The first is out, the second comes out on Aug 17, and the third is in progress! πŸ˜€ Check out my fancy cover for the first and second ones! …The first one is linked to the short story, if you’re interested, and it’s only $2.99. >.>)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Off I go!

JB



So, first I was crazy busy, starting the editing process on my new book and trying to remember how to schedule time when training dogs and editing, and then I got a sniffle, and then I got the flu, and then I got pneumonia.

Healthy, fit 30-year-olds are not supposed to get pneumonia.

Anyway, I’m on antibiotics now, and after almost two weeks flat on my back wishing for death, I’m getting better. Woot! (I still have a cough that sounds like a death rattle. No, really. It’s starting to ease off.)

I haven’t seen my Q in quite a while. We both agreed it was in her best interests NOT to get the flu or to pass it on to her 7-year-old twins. Them’s not fun times (and I don’t think their mom would EVER forgive me). (Q is not their mom. Q is their butch-parent, and they also have a mom-mom.)

During our forever separation (it totally felt that way!), she sent me a lovely email about the first time I wore lingere for her. I remember that day, because I was scared shitless! I was so nervous. I mean, this was back last fall, when I was still a bundle of nerves when it came to doing anything a little bit assertive. I’m still not the most assertive person in the world, and I get flustered and embarrassed easily, but when I remember how I was even last fall I realize how far I’ve come!

Anyway, all this to say — last fall I pulled out my red negligee for Quin for the first time, and surprised her. And even knowing that she was going to love it, man, I just about had a panic attack doing it! So last week, when we hadn’t seen each other in so long, I got this fabulous email out of the blue. This is part of it:

I was just thinking this morning about when you asked me if I wanted to see your new shoes. When you finally walked out to show them to me, I looked up from cooking in the kitchen to see you wearing, much to my surprise, red negligee and red high heels. I about fell over in the kitchen. When you saw the enraptured look on my face, you released a belly laugh full of amusement …. and relief. You were so nervous that you were literally shaking in your shoes. Even after I came to you and had you sitting on my lap, caressing and enjoying the wonderful present of you in gift wrap — my approval and enthusiasm totally obvious — you continued to tremble. I showered you with praise about how gorgeous and sexy you were, and what a treat you were giving me. You threw your arms around my neck, while still straddling my lap, and gave me a big hug and buried your face in my neck — still trembling a little, still nervous, but so relieved to see how much pleasure it brought me. […]

That was right after my first trip to Colorado — early May 2010. I know because you sent me a picture text message showing off the new high heels you’d just purchased while I was still in CO (I still have that picture). You were very excited about them. And I’m writing all this to say that even now, ten months after the fact, I’m still so very proud of you for having the gumption to walk into the living room like that: defenseless and exposed, shaking like a leaf, and terrified that I might have a negative response. It was a brave and gutsy move that took a lot of courage on your part. It wasn’t just a big step for you…it was a *giant* leap of faith; faith that I wouldn’t let you down or be disappointed (and how could I be?); faith that you were sexy.

It was fantastic. YOU were fantastic. And I am proud of you and so honored that you trust me with so much of who you are and who you are becoming.

I can’t tell you how much this letter makes me puff up and feel good. It was probably one of the biggest leaps forward I took all in one night, and it was really hard. So to get something like this so long after the fact, that makes me grin and feel proud of myself, is pretty awesome.

I think one of the things that, a year after we first started dating, makes Q and I continue to have such fun is this constant love, praise, and appreciation we shower on each other. We’ve both been really careful not to just get used to things, to start to expect things. We make it a point to notice when one or the other is going out of their way and mention it, from simple things like getting a glass of water to big things, like Q coming down and surprising me this last week.

Oh yeah, she came down and surprised me this last week. I was napping on the couch, still sick, when I heard a knock at the door. I stumbled up and opened it, and for a moment could only look at the nice young man and wonder how he’d known to go through the gate, and gee, wasn’t he attractive… and then I realized it was Q! *laughs* What a gift to open the door and see her there, when I hadn’t seen her in so long and wasn’t expecting her at all. It made me feel really warm and fuzzy. πŸ˜€

Things are going spectacularly. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

J



{December 1, 2010}   Sexual growth — slowly, slowly

Hi, everyone!

I’m not sure where to start. Talking about my sex life is still difficult, even in a situation like this where I’m not talking about sex, specifically, but my attitudes toward it and the dynamic between Q and I.

I’m pleased to say that things are going well. I’m talking and expressing myself even in the moment, and I while I’ve been embarrassed a time or two, I can’t remember the last time I panicked and froze up. πŸ˜€ Q is awesome, thanking me when I express myself to say I don’t want to do something, because then she knows that when I do do something, it’s because I want to. πŸ™‚ The hardest things are still for me to say I’m not in the mood without feeling guilt (ha, most of the time we’re agreed on that, though!) and suggesting something new-for-the-moment (ie, shifting positions, whether or not we’ve done that position before).Β  BUT! I’m getting better. Much, much better. πŸ™‚

What I find is really awesome, though, and the reason I started writing this, is that Q and I seem to be at about the same levels. I’m not saying this well, but bear with me.

When we first started making out and I was struggling with girl bodies, she was just learning to trust me and didn’t want me playing with her girl body. By the time I was relaxing and becoming more confident (or at least curious!), she was starting to trust me. We moved into that space at about the same time, really.

It’s happened throughout our NMDS (that would be our Non-Monogamous Dating Situation *laughs*), up to and including the other day, when I woke up ready to play and she was still sleepy. I woke her and took charge, and had the confidence to do so, and she trusts me now enough to stay lazy and sleepy and let me be in charge.

I did have one moment where I wavered, but Q realized it and made little encouraging noises, so I knew she was interested. πŸ™‚ (I have had way too many people be uninterested or interested but not show it, so now I’m a little gunshy.) (Ha, who am I kidding? I started out gunshy; it’s amazing I try at all! And probably says something about the strength of my libido!)

There’s a new snag for me, which is that I can’t quite bring myself to suggest any other forms of sex. Um. I’m totally going to cut this now, to give myself the illusion that people who don’t care won’t read it…

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One of the things Kate said in her book, Gender Outlaw, was that one of the gender constructs for femmes was that they look (typically a butch) in the eye, look away, and then look back and hold the gaze.

I almost fell out of my bed, folks, because I do that all the time. (And actually, another reason I think sometimes the social construct theory is wrong; because until I decided femme fit, I didn’t know any other femmes. How could I have learned this pattern if there was no one to teach me? Suggests it’s inborn, rather than created.) Of course, some part of me goes, “Do you really do it all the time? Or are you just remembering the times you’ve done it and forgetting the majority when you haven’t?” But the more I think about it, the more I think I’m right.

Interestingly, I only do it to people I’m personally interested in, whether it’s interest in how they look, in friendship, or in something else. If it’s a business transaction? I’m far more likely just to look and hold the gaze, no looking away needed.

Fascinating. πŸ˜€

It also tells me that somewhere out there someone has studied the social construct of femme, and oh my god I want to read that. We have social constructs? I had no idea!

One of the other interesting things she said was that butch tended to be stepping outside the male gaze. Wait, I’m not sure I’m saying this well. So, in our patriarchal society the male gaze is the one that gets to be active and assertive by looking, and women are to be passive and submissive/vulnerable by being looked at. So butch is stepping outside that; females who are essentially taking that gaze back, taking that power of the male gaze for themselves and refusing to be the looked-at ones. They tend not to expose skin or sexualized themselves in every day life (at least, not in a culturally common way, but let me just tell you how hot Q was when I saw her in scrubs one day, omg. …I’m really looking forward to her coming home tomorrow.), and tend not to attracted sexual male attention. Femme, on the other hand, is typically purposefully stepping into a more vulnerable space, attracting the male gaze and attracting attention, more likely than not showing skin. I don’t mean dressing slutty; if I get dressed up, I will likely wear a dress that bares my shoulders, or a shirt that has a V-neck, or a skirt that bares my legs. Q, on the other hand, is going to wear a suit — that covers a hell of a lot more skin!

This wasn’t interesting because it was a novel concept, though I hadn’t consciously thought of it before, but rather because of the way Q and I interact. Q is a pacifist, despite dressing in a way that tells people she is not to be trifled with. Q has had… well, I think she’s had some major betrayals in her life, but she doesn’t seem to count them the way I do. ;-D (She would agree that she’s had a few, whereas I’m like, “Just let me at almost everyone in your history, I’ll tear them to bits…”) Q’s dated mostly other butches, with the occasional femme thrown in — though lately, as butch/butch has become more acceptable, she’s dated predominantly other masculine-centered andros or butches. I’m far more femmey than any of her recent flirtations. Now, I’ve talked before (at least, I thought I had, but I can’t find that post anywhere. Possibly it was on my personal blog. This is the problem with multiple blogs.) about the clothing deal: I like clothes that put me in that vulnerable space, though I never feel vulnerable. Q prefers other clothes, in large part because when I look vulnerable she feels like it is then her job to watch out for me (though she knows I can take care of myself; it’s still what society says, right? Masculine watches out for vulnerable feminine.). Plus, she’s far more aware of possible harm because she’s experienced it; her trend is to see where things can go wrong. I haven’t experienced that level of harm, and in fact have experienced the opposite; that if I treat people like I expect them to treat me nicely, and even place some slight trust in figures seen as untrustworthy, they are pleased at being treated decently and so they return it. Therefore, I expect things to go well.

(I also have a ruthless streak. I read end-of-the-world books and go, “…I’d survive that.” In general I curb that tendency, due to a violent episode I had when I was younger. But this also means that if I were attacked, while I don’t know if I’d escape, I’d sure as hell do some damage before I was taken down. Most attackers back off when they realize you’ll do damage.)

Now, here is where things started to link together in my mind. Q is pacifistic, feels like she needs to protect me when I put myself in a vulnerable, looked-at position, but her hands are tied; she can’t really protect me if things go wrong because she’s a pacifist. She hasn’t been dating femme women, and I do wonder if this might be a large part of why not; other butches aren’t putting themselves in that vulnerable position, and therefore putting her in a cognitively dissonant position. Which in turn makes me wonder if she was able to take up dating me, despite my perceived vulnerability, because of my underlying warrior. I don’t act like I expect her to protect me, like I can’t take care of myself, like I’m vulnerable or weak, or like I need protecting. Maybe it makes it easier to deal with my small clothes when I break them out, then? I know men treat me differently than other women who wear the same thing; I always assume they’re picking up on my inner warrior (or inner steel, if you prefer). Maybe that’s also what makes it a bit easier for Q to date someone in a more vulnerable state? (Or maybe I’m totally off the mark here.)

Hmm. Hey! Q! Does this sound like a plausible subconscious motivation? I mean, I know you really date me for my hot body, but… ;-D

(It’s much more fun when I can apply things I read to myself and dynamics between me and the people I’m around. :D)

J



{September 30, 2010}   Protected: Relationship stuff

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{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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