All Around the Town

When I went to the bank this morning, I realized that all the tellers were women and that they all had really fixed bosoms. I mean, the bras were just a hair away from the ol’ bullet bras of yore. I know there’s this thing now of nipple-hiding, but I didn’t realize breasts are also not supposed to move an iota, but it appears to be true. I could notice all of this because everybody’s shirts were really tight. This was not all I noticed. I would also like to let you know that the tellers (all women, all bullet-bra’d, all wearing tight shirts) all had a badge with a little paper flap hanging from it, perched precariously on or above one breast. The flap was an advertisement and said something like, “Ask me about how to get more bang for your buck!” or some other lie. I thought, how humiliating that they have to wear that thing on their titties. On the other hand, given how prominent and unmoving and proud their “girls” were, perhaps the tellers enjoyed the eye-catching advertisement flap directing attention to that area; one more reason for customers to look. The teller helping me was Indian and apart from her unmovable, on-display chest, she also sported very endearing, crooked teeth. I love seeing people who don’t look like they’ve come from the American Stepford dentist.

After going to the bank, I stopped in at the post office to take care of some tax mailings. Bosoms in the post office were much more subdued, and, in fact, barely noticeable below the blue-gray postal uniforms.

That’s all for now as I must sign off to go pick up Owen from school.

I remain, your Total Femme, reporting on boobies right here in town.

Published in: on April 15, 2009 at 6:03 AM  Leave a Comment  

My Husband, My Husband!

(As promised, here is a column I wrote in the hopes the Boston Globe would publish it in their “Coupling” section; they did not, and that column remains extremely straight.)

I envy married straight women. Not for their so-called normalcy – I am the world’s happiest queer — but for the security, the breezy insouciance, the endearing sense of entitlement with which they are able, at any moment and in any situation, to utter the words “my husband.” A day doesn’t go by where I don’t hear these two simple words, sometimes dozens of times. They crop up online, on the radio, in overheard exchanges at the grocery store, in conversations with other moms as we wait for our kids to get out of school. “My husband” is everywhere! Women go out to the movies with him, they plan vacations together, he tosses a football around with the kids on the weekend, he embarrasses them at parties with his exuberant laugh, he surprises them with flowers just because, he forgets their birthdays. What a cozy concept he is, “my husband!” And what’s more, everybody knows who he is.

I am a femme lesbian, engaged to be married to my butch lesbian Beau. My Beau and I refer to ourselves as an Old School butch/femme couple. She looks like a guy, I look straight; I love her camo and she loves that I throw like a girl. Please don’t think that we are a carbon copy of the married couple on some fifties family TV show, however – we are both female (and feminist), after all, and everything we do automatically queers the status quo – but we’re pretty happy allowing things to fall as they do, with her puttering in the yard and me doing the cooking. She and I go out to the movies, plan vacations together, and she tosses the football around with the kids on the weekend. Once in a while she brings me flowers, just because, and she has never forgotten my birthday.

But when she and I get married, what will I call her in casual conversation? “My wife?” Don’t make me laugh! In my heart, to each other, to our closest friends and other understanding queers, she will never be anything other than my husband.

But alas, “my husband” is so hopelessly gendered that I would just be shooting myself in the foot if I started using it out in public, selling both of us short as we would immediately be read as straight, and confusing even the most well-intentioned listener. (I have, from time to time, considered using “my lesbian husband,” which is the title of a memoir by Barrie Jean Borich, but somehow I don’t think that would go over very well, either.) I am forced to consider other options.

Much has been written about the inadequacy of “my partner.” What I hate, besides its business-like aroma, is that it’s just a catch-all: “my partner” can be the person I’ve been dating for a couple of weeks, or the woman I’ve spent my entire adult life loving. It has no weight. Oh, and now that straight people are referring to each other as “partners,” “my partner” isn’t even a queer marker anymore. “My girlfriend,” well, although I’ve used that one to out myself in situations where I really needed to be seen as queer, it left the taste of ashes in my mouth. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m the girl in this relationship! “My lover” is a bit too 70s for me, not to mention too sexual for casual conversation. “My spouse” is so blah. “My mate?” We aren’t pandas!
The bitter truth that I must swallow is that there are no words – no short hand – to adequately describe who she is to me. No simple phrase to let the world at large know that I am queer, that she and I are in it together, that we share our lives, our home, our hearts. That she is not just my friend, my roommate, my paramour, my children’s beloved step-parent (she is all that and more), but that she is, beyond a doubt, my husband. My husband.

Published in: on April 9, 2009 at 12:46 AM  Comments (3)  

The “My Partner/Rainbow Flag” Bait and Switch

My mother says all dermatologists are weird, and she should know, as she’s probably been through at least 10 of them. I’m only on about my third, but she’s pretty weird. Well, brusque. Very brusque. And yesterday, she referenced her partner. She wears a wedding ring and has previously referenced her children. I soon will wear a wedding ring, I have children, and I reference them often. I am a big fat 3 dollah queer. Is she?

I pondered this as I submitted to her rough handling of my body parts as she checked my skin for moles and other blemishes that need an eye kept on them. She pulled out the cup of my bra and hauled up my hefty bosom to check under there. She hoisted my legs up, one by one, and checked around the elastic of my undies. She was so focused that my attempts at small talk fell on deaf ears. When I realized this, I smiled into the examination table (being currently face down), because I secretly like this feeling of being some version of an inanimate object. It can happen at the dentist, too, when they get so into the crown or whatever it is that they use your chest as a tray to hold their instruments – I like feeling like a table. Ahem. Back to yesterday:

She said “My partner,” and I couldn’t figure out who she meant. She does have a business partner there at the practice who is female and who may or may not be her wife. Maybe she has a wife at home and they have kids together. I actually almost asked, but was too busy getting off on being an inanimate object to formulate the question. But it does bring me to the subject of groovy, supportive straight people. You know, the ones who think they’re with you in solidarity but who really are just being pains in the ass?

There’s a woman up at the elementary school who drives a car with a rainbow sticker on it, but she never comes to the gay-parent potluck. Is she stand-offish, or is she straight? I recently asked someone about her, (I can’t remember who) and this person said that she’s straight but groovy. “Maybe her sister is gay and she’s showing her support!” the person opined. Ok, I do not feel supported by a straight person driving a car with a rainbow sticker on it. I feel tricked, especially because if she were queer, she would probably be a femme.

I don’t think it’s helpful for straight people to say “my partner” when they mean their husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend of the opposite sex. It’s just confusing. I know they are trying to get with us queers somehow, but can’t they find their own word if they don’t want to use husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend? We worked hard for partner, and it’s hardly perfect. Now it doesn’t even mean what we wanted it to because straight people are using it to be friends with us. Perhaps this ship has sailed and this is the eighty-millionth rant about this particular subject, but it still chaps me and I still have to live with it.

Please, straight people, if you want to support us, drive a car with any number of other lovely bumper stickers on it — “Straight but not narrow” come to mind — but leave the rainbow alone. Please just say husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend when you’re talking about your mate. When you say “my partner” I get this false sense of hope that maybe I’ve run into another queer and that is not nice when it’s not true. It makes me grumpy and sad when it turns out you’re just another groovy “supportive” straight type, and I’m really much less inclined to be friends with you than I might have been, so your ploy actually backfired.

In fact, the bait and switch makes me so grumpy, that I’m going to repost one of my very first blog entries that I put somewhere else before I had this blog. Stay tuned and watch your damn p’s and q’s!!!

Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 2:20 AM  Comments (2)