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!

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6 thoughts on “Ask Your BFFs: Where My Butches At?

  1. to the LW: i appreciate your desire for a non-alcohol-focused place to meet queers, & i agree that there’s really no substitute. bars are nice, but they are loud & filled with drunk obnoxious people. it can be hard to sort out the good ones — even people you might really like can be off-putting when they’re drinking beer with their posse.

    there used to be a queer open mic that was awesome — gendercrash & it’s successor transcriptions — but that’s not happening any more. see if you can find info on the queer-focused open mic that toni amato was starting up through his writing org ‘write here write now’.

    putting my thinking cap on…one alcohol-free (and all ages!) space is the JP traditional dances — they do Gender-free contra dancing on the second saturday of the month & gender-free English country dancing on the second & fourth tuesdays of the month, at the JP UU church. it’s super welcoming, non-judgmental, and i’ve seen some cute queers there! and the more that go, the better chance of meeting one to date!

    and another group that does all-ages, non-alcohol-focused events is MadFemmePride. don’t be fooled, it’s not just for femmes…queers of every age and gender presentation socialize together, and they have events that are not exclusively bar/club nights. lots of sober queers for the chatting! here’s the link: http://www.meetup.com/madfemmepride/ MFP hosts events at bars & clubs sometimes, but even those are less about getting drunk & more about playing games, meeting new people, & having fun.

    finally, check out socializing for justice (not exclusively queer focused, but they do events of all types where you can wear a name tag & talk to people) and if you’re looking for some activism with your socializing, check out MTPC (www.masstpc.org), our local trans-organization-that-could. they host events for the trans community & allies, often in bars but again, the focus is on socializing, not partying, so there’s more opportunities to meet people & fewer drunken messes.

    ok, my last piece of advice to people looking to meet others outside of the influence of alcohol is to get involved — volunteer somewhere, start doing something regularly that puts you in the position of meeting people. i guarantee you would meet people if you volunteered to be a greeter at some big event this winter — all the major LGBT orgs have events that need volunteers: BAGLY, GLAD, MassEquality, etc…

    i hope that helps, good luck with your quest!

    • This is all really awesome info – thanks for sharing it! I don’t think our question poser (askee? inquirer?) is based in Boston, but any single Boston-area queer out there: take note of all these great resources!

  2. this is super funny cause ive been wondering this myself but somewhat knew the answer right now would be a cool new queer resto im dying to check out. not JUST because it sounds like great butch hunting queer fun, but the food sounds amazing:):)
    my town is as redneck as it gets for a decent sized city in southern ontario, so ugh, i think alot of ppl are keepin it low.
    since im 37, and(yes mother) sexually fluid as it were, ive found the older i get the more i miss the queer community in my hometown of toronto. the longer i stay here in oshawa the more i get to thinking where are the queers in general. i mean reallly, its almost like they dont exist. our city is typically pretty homophobic&ESPECIALLY transphobic, and since i’m pan well that leaves alot to be desired.
    there was a cute autralian butch who worked at a coffee shop no less i had on a crush on, and now shes gone:( so it got me thinking, cause visually, i dont see em much out here, like where the eff are all the butches chillin? that ARENT taken that is.
    I’m on POF(dating site) and there are tons of hotties, but ive typically hated dating sites as most encounters end up in disaster.
    Honestly, I think I’m gonna start queer speed dating, no joke!

  3. “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).”

    Damn! There goes my spring break plans!

    I am a femme who does not enjoy shopping. I find the whole experience overwhelming and a kick to my self-esteem. However, about 90% of the butches I have dated love shopping…minus the whole trying to find masculine clothing to fit properly on their curves.

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