identity politics

The care & feeding of a butch

  1. When I look handsome, tell me so. That look of appreciation in your eyes for my masculinity makes me melt.

  2. Let me open doors for you, hold your umbrella, carry your bags, pull our your chair, refill your drink. These are the ways I call you precious.

  3. When I am moody, let me have space. I will come back to you for help when I am ready.

  4. Take my left elbow while we are walking. It makes me feel like I am promenading you, and plus our bodies can be closer that way than with handholding.

  5. Don’t make a big deal out of it if I cook, clean, or cry. These may be “women’s things” (socialized or by nature, that’s a debate for another time) but I like to do them, I like my subversive gender, I was raised female too.

  6. Buy me boy presents like cuff links, ties, a flask, suspenders, a watch caddy, a shoe-shine kit. These are tokens that show how you celebrate my gender expression, just like when I buy you lingerie, flowers, perfume, jewelry.

  7. Watch (or read) porn with me sometimes. Then tell me how you’d do it better …

  8. Don’t assume I’m stone just cause I’m (a top, and) butch. I like sex – and getting off.

  9. Tell me when I fuck up, and let me fix it. I usually can. I’m handy that way.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

17 thoughts on “The care & feeding of a butch”

  1. Dylan says:

    This made me smile and nod in complete agreement. Do you mind if I hand it out to perspective femmes? Especially the first point, can we bold, italicize and underline that one to stress how wonderful it is.

  2. lady brett says:

    this made me smile (also).

  3. Joy says:

    Mm. This reminds me of all those things that make butches so potentially attractive to me – that masculinity on a female body, that ambivalence. It's easy for a straightish girl to be attracted to a butch – there's familiarity and an exotic newness. All the chivalry of the best men with the knowledge that this person *knows* what it is to be a woman. Yay.

  4. Viviane says:

    You looked so handsome in your grey vest on Sunday. Not to mention, skinnier.

  5. Ms. Avarice says:

    i grinned ear to ear reading this! you're all just so lovely and dear.

  6. sinclair says:

    thanks all … glad it resonates.and thanks Viv … makes me blush.

  7. Essin' Em says:

    Let me open doors for you, hold your umbrella, carry your bags, pull our your chair, refill your drink. These are the ways I call you precious.This is something I've always had a hard time with, not because I don't respect the gender identity of those I date, but because I spent so much time in college trying to become "the completely independent woman" – I can hold my own doors thank you every much, how dare you pay without asking, blah blah blah, because I was trying to escape the socialization of being put on a pedestal.Then I started seeing J…and when he opens my car door, I don't mind at all. In fact, I now wait for him to do so unless we're in a hurry. It's made me realize the "gentlemanly" traits do not equal "I'm better than you/you can't do this on your own" but rather, "I care about you, please let me show it"A great list…and good present ideas as well. Thanks!

  8. sinclair says:

    Essin' Em: totally hear you there. I spent a long time wrestling with that dynamic myself – and it is totally problematic, especially given the hierarchizing of gender pervasive in our culture. but if the hierarchy is removed, by some conscious gender players, for example, then it becomes something else, and I love that.

  9. Terroni says:

    I have recently discovered that "something else" and it is an amazingly beautiful. As is this list, Sinclair.

  10. Jake says:

    I couldn't agree with Joy more. I can't count the number of times I have heard, "If you'll date a masculine woman, you might as well date a man" and the number of times I've thought, Yes, but you're completely missing the point, the fact that it is still a woman. Not to mention, if that line of thinking made any sense, and if it was the same either way, then it would be equally acceptable for a straight girl attracted to men to date butch women.

  11. birdonthewirenyc says:

    ok, just to show you how illiterate and juvenile i am, i read it as "pull out your hair" not "pull out your chair" and i was like, "wow! hair pulling! hot! but ow! pull it don't pull it out…" and then i giggled at myself for saying "pull it out" in my, yeah. i'm sorry for you, it must be hard to be my friend.

  12. sinclair says:

    Terroni: thank you. :)Jake: good point – that "why don't you just date a man" argument. actually, and one that I've been working through (offline, in my paper journal) as related to this gender discussion. Bird: pull it out. heh.

  13. Bad Bad Girl says:

    You make me smile Sinclair. Your gender expression is very sexy.

  14. I know I found it late, but I wanted to chime in with my expression of appreciation. I loved this.

  15. Awww… this is sweet, and awesome. I'm working on my own blog post about this. Thank you for helping me understand my butch more clearly. You rock.

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