The Joy Of Butch Underwear

Today, I’d like to discuss a topic that’s very close to my heart, and by “heart,” I mean “nether regions”: underwear for butches, studs, and other MOC people who have butts. You might be wondering how and why I decided to dedicate an entire post to something as seemingly mundane as skivvies, unmentionables, tightie whities, bloomers, or whatever cutesy nickname you prefer. Maybe you’re not aware of this, but speaking in general terms, butches love clothes. Some of us may even be a wee bit obsessed. My theory? After x number of years spent being forced into skirts, heels, bows, and other girly trappings, being able to finally dress the way you like and feel is a goddamn exhilarating moment. Some of us never come down from that high and will most likely spend the rest of our lives eagerly asking our oh-so-patient GFs whether Plaid Shirt A or Plaid Shirt B looks better with Tie C.

One of my favorite articles of clothing to buy (besides shirts, ties, hats, boots, sweaters, vests, sweater vests, and jackets) is underwear. I just can’t get enough, though the overflowing top drawer of my dresser might beg to differ. I love the variety of styles, patterns, colors, and fabrics; I own boxer, boxer briefs, and athletic trunks, but I’ve been favoring boxers as of late. Another thing I love? How downright studly I feel in a crisp new pair of boxers, with the waistband peeking out the top of low-slung jeans (pro tip: femmes love this, too). I feel like a champ.

For me – and, I would wager, for many butches – undies were the Last Frontier of masculine fashion to be explored on my pioneering journey of personal style (go West, young butch). Underwear shopping in person, far away from the safe, anonymous bosom of the internet, is a universally awkward experience. You’re basically forced to choose your most intimate items of clothing in a very public setting and then present them to some random cashier. “Hi *squints at name tag* Mackenzie! Thanks for ringing me up today. Here are some things that I’m going to put in my pants.” Now add in the nervousness/full-blown panic that comes with purchasing clothing from a section of the store that you supposedly don’t “belong” in. “Hi *squints at name tag* Steve! Thanks for ringing me up today. Here are some masculine-gendered things that I’m going to put in my pants, on top of my female sex organs. Can you break a $20?” So it’s no wonder that many of us make the switch to men’s underwear long after we already made the switch to, say, men’s pants or shirts.

I wish I had some really spectacularly wise advice to offer here, but all I can do is shrug and say, “You gotta get over it, buddy.” Or, I can also shrug and say, “The internet is your best friend; treat her well.” I buy a lot of undies online, but that’s because I’m lazy and buy a lot of things online. Don’t sweat over whether or not your new manly drawers will fit your womanly shape, because men’s underwear is sized the same way as men’s pants – by waist inches. If you know your jean size, you can figure out your boxer size. Most U.S. manufacturers use a conversion chart like this:

XS: 26-28

S: 29-31

M: 32-34

L: 36-38

XL: 40-42

…And so on. Now for the fun part – choosing your butch underwear style. I’ve outlined the pros and cons of each option below. Why? ‘Cause I love ya.

Boxers. These roomy bloomers are my personal favorite for a couple reasons: 1.) They provide ample leg room for my big ol’ thighs and 2.) the waistbands don’t roll down over my birthin’ hips. Basically, boxers are good for chubby (though I prefer “solid”) butches like me. Here are some of my recent picks (yes, they’re all from American Eagle, because I’m a brand snob, and yes, now you can more easily undress me in your mind). For those of you who don’t like the wide leg opening on traditional boxers or wear skinny jeans (I’m trying not to judge), there’s a new slim fit boxer style to consider.

Briefs. Full confession: I can’t look at briefs without thinking “Dad underwear.” This probably comes from growing up in a household where my father’s mountain of identical white Hanes briefs towered over each laundry day. I love him, but my Dad isn’t the most fashion-forward guy out there. While this style isn’t for me, there are plenty of butches who rock it and I’m sure look just as hot as Gina Gershon in Bound.

Boxer briefs. My informal Twitter poll (as opposed to all those very formal Twitter polls out there) found that this is the most popular style amongst MOC people who follow me and are therefore awesome. Boxer briefs pair the close fit of briefs with the leg opening of boxers. My favorite boxer briefs are from H&M and have superheroes on them (they currently only have Superman in stores, which is unfortunate, because Superman sucks). One of the best things about men’s underwear is, after all, the endless graphics possibilities. And the extra room for packing (link awesome, but NSFW).

Trunks. To complicate things further, there’s something between briefs and boxer briefs: the trunk. There are low rise and athletic styles, all of which fit snugly. I don’t recommend these for butches with big thighs, as the short leg openings will roll up awkwardly when you’re sitting. They’re great for playing sports or working out, though, and have the smallest “banana pocket” (gross) of all your options. Keep in mind that trunks don’t have front openings, so if you wanna pack and play on the go, these might not be your best bet.

A brief (heh) note: Wearing men’s underwear, much like wearing anything, is not a prerequisite for being butch. If you wanna sport a lacy G-string under your cargo shorts, then you do you, and don’t let anybody tell you you’re “not butch enough”. Gender policing isn’t cool, people. </after school special>

Because I’m a social media addict, I just had to ask my Twitter followers lots of inappropriate underwear-themed questions. A couple of these were, “Do you like wearing men’s underwear? Why or why not?” Here are some of the fantastic responses I got:

“Wear them every day. Love it. Makes me feel more in tune with my body.”

“Men’s underwear is all I wear. I prefer boxer briefs and athletic trunks. They fit your body better than boxers.”

“Boxer briefs. I wear all men’s clothes. Can you imagine taking off my clothes and seeing a thong? Have to wear men’s underwear. Plus way mire comfortable. Boxer briefs better than boxers don’t like #freeballing.”

“Yes I know I do. They’re more comfortable than women’s underwear and aren’t pink with hearts and shit.”

“LOVE it. They make me feel sexy and confident. Unlike women’s underwear, they make me feel more like myself. Just the right amount of masculinity.”

“I haven’t worn women’s underpants in years. Men’s [are] more comfortable in so many ways. Also, they last longer. #thriftybutch”

“Yes, because it’s comfortable and makes me feel hot.”

Would you too like to wax poetic about your intimates? Share a sonnet on your skivvies? Go wild and crazy in the comments! And if you really wanna improve my Google Image Search results, pics are welcome and encouraged. Stay sexxxy, my friends.

Ask Your BFFs: Where My Butches At?

Where do the boyish girls like to hang out? Where do they shop? What kind of stores would I want to pretend I need to buy something in?

I’m pretty sure they are not out shopping at the shopping districts or malls. I guess butch girls are not into shopping unless they are being forced to hold bags by their femme?

If a girl wants to meet butch girls just in everyday life, where does she go? Are you all sitting at home on the couch playing Xbox?

Obviously there are the clubs and bars which are fine, but I am not talking places like that, where the intention is to meet someone under the influence of alcohol. I want to know where I might meet a cool chick just doing what she likes to do – which is…?

Bren: You’ve made a couple of false assumptions here – which is totally fine and understandable! Nobody is perfect, not even queer bloggers. First off, you’re assuming that all butches are interested in the same stuff and all hang out together in some tree house that they built with their own work-worn hands and filled with beer and footballs and flannel. Sadly, such is not the case. I’m afraid there’s no Butch Elks Lodge or Butch Skull and Bones (if there actually is and I haven’t been invited, I’ll be very hurt). We butches are unique and special snowflakes, each with our own hopes, dreams, and favorite place to buy khakis.

Speaking of buying khakis, let’s discuss your second false assumption: that butches hate to shop. I’m always surprised when people think that my femme has dragged me, kicking and screaming, to the mall just because I’m masculine-presenting (it’s actually quite the opposite; my GF has very limited patience for shopping). I imagine that this assumption comes from the whole “men hate shop, like kill buffalo, eat meat, grunt grunt” stereotype that you see in hetero entertainment. Whether we like to admit it or not, we queers internalize many of the gender roles that we see in the mainstream media; one result of this is the idea that masculine people and feminine people all act a certain way (femmes be shoppin’, butches be, uh, holdin’ bags).

The truth of the matter is that the majority of the butches I know fucking love shopping – clothes shopping, specifically. Think about it this way: if you spent much of your life being forced to wear things that you hated and made you feel so incredibly not yourself (in this case, feminine clothing), wouldn’t you be stoked to get out there and finally build a kickass wardrobe that reflected who you really are? The answer, for me at least, has been a resounding “hell yes.”

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get back to your original quandary: where can you meet butches? Here’s my maddeningly vague answer: everywhere. No, seriously, we’re all over the place. We are legion. The trick really is just paying attention when you’re out and about. As Mad-Eye Moody would say, “Constant vigilance!” I’m always spotting other butches, but that’s because I’m always looking for other butches. Here’s a list of just a few of the places where I frequently have sightings:

  • The grocery store – There are tons of queers at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods (not surprising), and, for some reason, Stop ‘n Shop
  • Independent bookstores – If it’s a used bookstore or, even better, a queer and/or feminist bookstore, your chances of a spotting a butch skyrocket. Cafes – There are just as many butch caffeine addicts out there as there are femme.
  • Thrift stores/consignment stores – Maybe we’re all broke, or maybe we just like vintage clothing, but you’ll often find us MOC peeps poking around the racks at Buffalo Exchange or Goodwill.
  • Open mic nights/indie rock shows – Everybody likes music and slam poetry and cheap crappy booze, right?

Those are a few places to start your Butch Hunt 2012, but remember: butches are just people, and people are everywhere. Keep your eyes peeled and your lashes reading for batting, and I’m sure you’ll spot one of us before you know it. Good luck!

Maddie: I really couldn’t agree more with Bren, here. Well, except on one item: I perhaps have a wee bit more sympathy for our dear questioner’s BUT WHERE ARE THEY ALL THEY MUST BE HIDING feeling. Not that Bren is incorrect that butchies are plentiful, just that sometimes you go longer than you would like without crossing paths with such a person. And then when you finally do, it’s while you’re hurtling down a lane of traffic on your bike and you can’t even put your well-honed eye-contact technique to use without endangering lives and then she’s gone and probably didn’t even see your cute alternative lifestyle haircut under your helmet. ARGH.

But, well, that brings me to an important point: dear questioner, I have some bad news. Running into someone cute does not, with reliable frequency, turn into meeting someone cute. Even if you find the perfect retail establishment that 90% of area MOCs frequent (already impossible for Bren’s our-demography-is-not-a-monolith reasons given above!) and lurk around hopefully, your odds of having prolonged conversations with the cuties you encounter are still just so much lower than if you were to encounter the same people in a specifically social setting.

SO. With that in mind, let’s consider where people who want to meet people go to meet people! You say the reason you’re looking for something other than bars and clubs is you aren’t interested in places where “the intention is to meet people under the influence of alcohol.” Well, plenty of people in bars aren’t there with that intent, exactly, but it’s true: somewhere in between the dim lights, the conversation-drowning/lust- generating dance music, and, yes, the availability of alcohol, perceptions can get altered. If that’s not what you’re into, that is quite fair.

Bars/clubs come with two big advantages, though, which are important in your search: 1. people who want to meet people go there to meet people, and 2. they can get a bunch of gays into the same place at the same time. IF YOU WANT TO FIND AND MEET COOL GIRLS OF YOUR TYPE, START WITH THESE TWO THINGS! I suggest getting social, but gaily so. Look for activities and meetups with a gay/queer focus. There are gay/queer sports leagues, book clubs, language groups, bike gangs, hiking clubs, knitting circles, vegan locavore picnic societies… you get the idea. You’ve read this blog, so I can safely assume you’re already past Step 1, which is: Find the Internet. Step 2 is Use it to Find and Attend Awesome Local Shit. There’s another advanced step that you should know about, for when you’re ready: Use the Internet to Start and Hype Awesome Local Shit. You can always add to your local queer offerings, don’t forget.

But for now – go google where the gays go and get thyself to some nice gatherings. Find the gays, then find the cute gays, then find the cute gays who think you’re cute. It can be a long process, since only persistence over time will make up for the factors beyond your control… but luckily, the process is a lot of fun, too. Good luck!

The Beaver Whisperer and the Dyke Bar Blues

Q: What’s the best way to approach a lady in a bar setting? I’m lucky enough to live in a town with an awesome dyke bar (The Lexington in San Francisco), but don’t have the nerve/courage/confidence to make the first move. What are some techniques?

A: Truth be told, I have never been approached in a bar setting. I’m not that sure that it actually happens with any regularity in reality. Most people tend to go to the bar with their friends, and not as much intermingling happens as you might think. However, I do know what I’d like, so here you go.

When it comes to nerve, courage, and confidence, you have to take a deep breath and suck it up, buttercup.

If you see a girl who strikes your fancy, just walk up to her. Say “hi.” Ask her to dance (if it’s a club and not just a bar). Feel free to tell her what it was that attracted you to her – just be wary of saying anything that resembles a cheesy pick up line. It is OK to ask her if you can buy her a drink, but just don’t let that be the first thing out of your mouth. Let her finish the one she has first, or if you’re dancing, ask if you can buy her a drink after dancing and then find a quieter spot to actually talk to her. Pay attention to her, focus your attention on her. Make her feel happy that you’re there. Spend the rest of the night hanging out with her (do not focus on several girls at once!). If you leave first, ask for her number. If she leaves first, offer to wait for her cab with her or walk her to her car (make sure she’s sober!) or public transit stop. Be a gentlebutch! If you get her number, do call her the next day. Do ask her out to dinner. Do at least attempt to pay for dinner.

Good luck and happy hunting!

The Beaver Whisperer and the Down South Dilemma

Q: I’ve never gone down on a girl. I want to. How can I get my partner to open up to the idea of it? I’d start heading south, and she’d make me detour north. I tried talking to her about it, and she just said she didn’t want to. I, of course, respected her wishes because consent is sexy…but I feel like I’m missing out.

Lori

A: Dear Lori,

Going down on a girl is a joy that no dyke should be left out of. However, there is the rare girl that doesn’t want it for one reason or another. In truth, you kind of have to respect your girl’s wishes. That said, there are alternative tactics depending on your situation.

  • Is your girl as inexperienced as you are? She may just be nervous and need more time before she’s ready to try that particular activity. Does she go down on you? If not, she might be nervous or scared about what will be expected of her if she lets you go down on her. She may not be ready to reciprocate, or she may be afraid that she won’t know what to do once she’s presented with your cunt in front of her face.
  • Is your girl a victim of sexual abuse or assault? This may be a triggering activity for her and not something that she’ll ever allow you to do.
  • Does your girl allow you to touch her cunt with your fingers? If not, she may be stone or mostly stone and simply not want contact there at all.
  • Some girls far prefer “giving” over “receiving.” I put those words in quotes because really, giving is receiving in this case. It’s what you want! Sometimes, a little twist on words in that way can be all someone needs in order to allow you to do what you want. If she’s the type that just wants to make you happy, she might feel like she’s being selfish by having you go down on her. Explain that it’s your desire and this type of girl might let you go for it. She needs to know that by spreading her legs, she’s doing what you want and actively doing something to make you happy.
  • She may have negative associations. During the course of my research, I discovered a girl who feels that “a big wet thing down there messing around” feels like a cat’s tongue licking her finger. Since she’s not into bestiality, she’s also not into cunnilingus. She feels it is some sort of phobia*. I agree.
  • She might feel dirty. If she’s had a hard day at work and it’s been 16 hours since her last shower, she might be embarrassed to have you down there. Try asking her to take a shower with you, and then try it either in the shower or just after.
  • Shocking, I know, but some girls just don’t like it. My theory is that such girls have only ever had it done badly and thus just think that they don’t like it, but they’d probably disagree. There are also some girls who have even had the best (moi, of course) and still don’t like it. Sensations feel different to different bodies, and some of us are wired a little funny.
  • Does your girl have body issues? She might think that she doesn’t look good “down there” or that her thighs are fat or some other such nonsense. Lots of “You’re so hot, you make me so wet. I want you to come all over my face.” dirty talk might solve this problem.
  • There exists the notion, amongst some lesbians, that cunnilingus is a particularly intimate activity and should thus be reserved for after really getting to know someone or falling in love, as opposed to, you know, fucking on the first date (which apparently doesn’t always include oral sex). If your girl is one of these, you just have to wait it out until she feels the feelings that she needs to feel (and maybe until you’ve expressed the endearments that she needs to hear) to allow you to go down on her.

My best advice, however, is to keep talking. You won’t have to do so much guessing if you can get her to tell you what’s up. If all else fails, in vino veritas. Get her tipsy and then talk about it. She might open up a bit more than she otherwise would. You don’t need to remind her of the things that she’s said later. She may have just been too embarrassed to talk about it the whole time, but at least you’ll know what’s going on and what tactics, if any, will work for your situation.

Good luck and best wishes for your journey south!

The Beaver Whisperer

* a phobia being an irrational aversion or fear