Citizens, the truth has been kept from you for too long. The time has come for me to reveal to you some information that may very well change the way you view the world and our place in it. You might want to sit down (though, really, who reads blogs standing up?). Here it is:
I, your Friendly Neighborhood Butch, have a superpower. I possess the power of Butchdar.
What exactly is Butchdar, you ask? Well, it may not be as flashy as teleportation or super strength or laser eyes, but it’s still pretty damn impressive. I have the ability to always sense when there is another butch nearby. It doesn’t matter where I am, as butchdar is not restricted by the paltry laws of time and space. I can find butches on the street, on the subway, in the mall, in a movie theatre, at a sporting event (this one may be cheating), in Home Depot (this one is definitely cheating), wherever. Maybe it’s advanced peripheral vision, or maybe it’s some sort of natural butch scent (Old Spice Swagger, probably); I don’t know. Whatever the cause, my GF is constantly in awe of my ability to say, within 10 seconds of entering a room, “Did you see that other butch over there?” or, even more exciting, “Did you see that other butch-femme couple over there?” And by “in awe of,” I mean she says, “No, and stop staring.”
This seems to happen most often while we’re grocery shopping. Every Stop & Shop and Trader Joe’s I walk into seems to have a dyke hiding behind every cantaloupe, frozen clam, and taco shell.* Supermarkets are also where I see the most butch-femme couples. This makes perfect sense, because we love domestic shit and there’s nothing more domestic than wandering the aisles together, poking at bread and checking milk expiration dates and saying boring adult things like, “This is a great deal on Charmin Ultra” or “Oh, honey, soup is buy-one-get-one; let’s stock up for the winter.”
The other day, the GF and I were being typical boring grocery-buying adults. We didn’t even make it into the store before I said, “There’s another butch-femme couple here.” I had spotted them from across the parking lot. Or, rather, I had spotted the butch – who was clad in the appropriate T-shirt and baggy plaid shorts butch summer uniform – and then her femme. This is how it always works. I could locate another butch while blindfolded, stuffed in a trunk, and submerged in molasses; femmes, however, have to be directly in front of me before I notice them and then immediately proceed to stare at the floor like an embarrassed 13-year-old. For a butch who is only attracted to femmes, this is a serious evolutionary flaw.
The GF didn’t see them until I literally pointed them out, because she was there to buy food, not to stalk other dykes. As the gay fates would have it, we kept running into them again and again throughout the course of our trip. At one point, the butch locked eyes with me and stared hard as we were passing each other; her femme didn’t even glance in our direction, much like my GF didn’t glance in theirs.
When they were (I think) out of hearing range, I said to my GF, “Did you see? The other butch just stared right at me, like she was sizing me up!”
“Yup,” my GF said, “She was checking out what you’ve got.”
I was confused. “What I’ve got? Well, I mean, my plaid shorts are way nicer than hers…”
“No, I mean what you’ve got,” she explained, pointing at herself.
“Oooh.” Then it clicked. That hard stare wasn’t meant as an I-see-you-there-being-butch bit of camaraderie; it was a I’m-seeing-how-hard-you-are-and-if-I’m-harder-assessment. Then I realized that, in all honesty, I probably was giving her the same stare, whether I meant to or not. As much as I try to maintain a pseudo-intellectual liberal feminist worldview, I sometimes slip into a more, shall we say, primitive state. A chest-puffing, muscle-flexing, don’t-look-at-my-femme machismo that springs up in certain scenarios where I feel in some way threatened. (It should be noted that this reaction only seems to occur around butches that are roughly the same age as I am; when there are older butches around, I get positively giddy with excitement.)
I’m the first one to admit how stupid this is. Besides being pointless and a little immature (like most of my hobbies), it’s counterproductive to basically everything I want to see happen in the queer community. I want to create connections between masculine-of-center queers, feminine-of-center queers, and everyone in between. I want us all to share our stories, to offer our advice, and to support each other. This can’t happen while we’re engaging in Alpha butch my-strap-is-bigger-than-yours contests.
Next time my Butchdar lights up, I’m going to practice my friendly head nod on my butch brother. Maybe I’ll even smile. Crazier things have happened.
*These are all foods that resemble female private parts. I make funny jokes.