Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh Boi.

I'm not generally all that attracted to women. I mean, I know a sexy woman when I see one, and I certainly wouldn't mind having sex with a woman, but I don't really go for women as strongly as men, I'm a lot pickier and don't have quite the visceral reaction and the obsessions that I get with men.

(Complete digression: have you noticed how sometimes "sexy woman" really means "sexy packaging?" I was watching a movie with generic sexy-girls-as-backdrop, and I really looked at them, and no insult, but they were ordinary women. They were young and thin of course, but otherwise basically like anyone you'd see on the street. They were just ordinary women with ridiculous makeup and ridiculously skimpy little dresses, which work so well as visual shorthand for "sexy" that their actual faces and bodies barely read.)

The exception is butch lesbians and drag kings. Oh. My. God. A handsome woman with a boyish haircut and well-fit men's clothes can make me into a stammering, melting wreck in a way that not that many men can do. (Sometimes it's so bad that I worry that it comes off as homophobia. I need a card to hand out that says "Don't worry, I'm only being awkward because you're so hot.")

(Second digression: man, it's freakin' impossible to find flattering photos of manly women online. Am I the only person on earth with this attraction? There aren't any straight guys out there with a fetish for them? Millions of pictures of women popping balloons or stepping on gas pedals or whatever the fuck, and no one on Earth but me likes a lady in flannel?)

This probably makes me fundamentally straight. I'm just attracted to masculinity regardless of the gender underneath, and in a way, deliberately-masculine women do it far better than most men who just coast on their chromosomes. Whether through ironic flamboyance or just thinking it through more than a biological male has to, masculine women often seem hyper-masculine. In the best way.

And this may also have something to do with what I talked about in this post: what we call masculine often has less to do with being male than with being awesome. I like women who are awesome. Can you blame me?

Man, there's not much of a slot in the gender spectrum for being butch, female, and straight. Maybe in San Francisco? If it were a viable, non-social-life-killing option I'd take it. I used to be a lot manlier, used to have super-short hair and dress like a dude, and it just didn't work out. I loved how it felt, but people's reactions sucked: strangers would be jerks about it and guys told me they really weren't attracted. Now that I've got long lovely red hair and wear skirts and push-up bras and shit, life is better. I still love my flannel and my steel-toe boots and my power tools, but I don't have the patience or drive (or the she'd-be-hot-in-anything bone structure) to swim against the current on this. Part of attracting boys is wearing the "I'm attracted to boys" uniform, and, well, I know it's weak but I'd rather have the boys than be a Gender Revolutionary.


  1. Oh me too (except I am casually attracted to women in general) but I really, really need me some of those cards. I'm not much for traditional skimpy-sexy either. Other than butch lesbians I tend to like women that look ordinary, bookish, and curvy.

    I just noticed the picture links. Oh my god! *dies happy*

    I find that kind of intentional gender so hot. It's probably growing up with a culture of masculinity as active, sexual that does it. It is something about that hypermasculinity, isn't it? I sometimes call myself androphillic for this reason, but I don't think it fits into straight any more than it does bisexual; it's a queerness thing in itself. And I go more femme for butches, which is another thing.

    Online photos - try eye candy at Sugarbutch: http://www.sugarbutch.net/tag/eye-candy/

    I know butch female straight people, although they may not see it as that they do present that way and are consciously "not girly". Often fantasised over by sub men that I know!

    Luckily I feel most my sexual self as a femme in any case.

  2. Your point about the "shorthand" is right on. In fact, if you notice, there's been an explosion of porn and "erotica" that features fairly ordinary-looking people. Maybe at first that was because it was cheap, but there's a real audience for it. I believe it's a reaction to just what you talked about--the huge hair, giant fake nails, balloon implants . . . they're kind of porn-star shorthand, and at some point they're off-putting.

    Now, your point about the butch women, and Mab's "intentional gender" remark, are ironic to me because I've long said that's what keeps most drag queens from being all that attractive. The myth is that straight guys constantly fall for male transvestites without knowing it and are thus chagrined deeply . . . but does it really happen? In my experience, drag queens aren't actually acting like women, but like a caricature of what they think women are or should be like. It's like they think women are wasting their daily opportunity to be flamboyantly effeminate to the point of being completely abnormal, so when they dress up they seize the day and take it to 11. I don't know women who do that.

    That's what "intentional gender" has always meant to me, and I found it the opposite of hot. It seemed so deliberately false and over-the-top. . . so are women generally just better at cross-dressing? Or are these differences in my head and it's all a matter of taste?

    I do have to say the photos you provide aren't doing anything for me over here. The last one in particular, with the folks on the porch, looks more like a group of underage boys than a group of women, and I'm not saying that to be snarky--they look like male jailbait. If those are adults, it makes me wonder how they find adults who are into women. Do they ever misstep and end up having coffee with a pedophile?
    Probably not; there's probably an elaborate signaling ritual I just don't get.

  3. You're not the only one.
    For the most part, I consider myself straight, but... Wow. Yes please.

    Back in middle school, I remember looking at drag king sites a lot and realizing my attraction. Good times. Good times...

    And not that long ago, I was discussing this topic with a couple other girls from class... They felt the same way that I do on the matter. Kind of interesting.

    (I've been exhausted from being sick so I hope this comment is coherent.)

  4. Mab - Oh, Sugarbutch is awesome, thank you.

    Don Gwinn - Drag queens aren't usually attractive to me, but I'm not really attracted to femininity so it's hard for me to judge. Drag in general is usually more about comedy than sex, so you're not necessarily supposed to find a dude with a beehive wig and a rainbow feather boa hot-as-fuck. I'm pretty sure some people do anyway.

    I don't think the "signaling ritual" on whether someone is a lesbian or a teenage boy is really that difficult at all. I'm pretty dense about these things but I have never made that mistake and I think if I did I'd be corrected with force. I really can't picture the situation where someone's at coffee with a grown woman, no matter her appearance and presentation, and goes "aw dammit, I thought you were a fifteen-year-old boy!"

    Also, does that comment mean that femme women look like fifteen-year-old boys in dresses? Because now there's a disturbing possibility.

  5. don - Drag isn't someone trying to be a woman ,its about being a queen. Thus the flamboyant, glitter high femmedom. Drag is gender expression, it just tends to be more fun than normative, straight looking femmes in the street.

    I think the word you are looking for is transgender woman and not transvestite.

    Also, the 'men unknowingly into transwomen' myth, is more often than not a lie straight men tell to justify their homophobic, transphobic reactions to their attraction to a beautiful woman (with something extra). At

  6. Were it possible to "go gay," I would "go gay" for Rachel Maddow in a hot minute. Sexy, Rhodes Scholar, geek, butch... rawr.




  7. Have you ever read the pop culture lesbian blog Dorothy Surrenders? Basically, she posts a lot of pictures of very different, very pretty ladies. One of my favorite features of hers are the Gender Fuck pictures. Mayhap they would be up your alley? The link for her blog is: http://dorothysurrenders.blogspot.com/

  8. You mean something like this?

    Link in no way safe for work.

  9. Oh, totally agree. I'm much more middle-of-the-road bi, so I can certainly appreciate an attractive woman in femme clothing, but an attractive woman in butch clothing is just *guh*.

    Drag kings don't specifically do much for me, so I suspect it's less the gender presentation than it is the fact that someone who's wearing jeans and boots looks like a lot more fun to me than someone who presents as hyper-feminine.

    I pretty much shopped in the men's sections throughout high school just because the clothes tended to fit better (I was tall, skinny, and big-boned, they don't make girl clothes that fit that kind of frame). Nobody ever gave me shit about it until I was in college and the asshole I was dating started going on about how I should start dressing like 'a real woman'. Call me sheltered, but the whole concept was just baffling to me; I always figured that I was dressing like a real woman based on the fact that I am, you know, a real woman.

  10. I'm a straight male and I find butch women totally hot, so you're definitely not alone there...

  11. OK, I will betray my ignorance. I thought transgender was the same thing as transsexual, i.e. somebody who has changed or wants to change his or her actual, physical sex. Thus a "transgender" woman would be the old cliche "man trapped in a woman's body."

    Whereas a transvestite enjoys dressing as the other sex, but isn't necessarily even gay, much less actually believing herself to be a man. Lord knows I may just have the jargon wrong.

    Holly, I wasn't talking about going all the way through a date and accidentally having sex, I just meant . . . OK, you're a woman, you like women, but you like them butch. I get that. Then you're in the bookstore and you bump into one of those women on that porch, dressed like that. If she starts a conversation, maybe you pick it up from her voice. If she's reading Transgendered Womanhood for Dummies, you might catch a clue. But if you're walking past someone who looks like they're the wrong sex and ten years too young for you, you walk right past someone without even realizing you might have been attracted to her.

    I'm not criticizing their appearances, I just found the thought intriguing.

  12. DG - The terminology here is kind of insanely thorny, because anything I'm going to say is going to be a reductive generalization. But as a sort of awkward primer:

    Someone who's transgendered is someone whose personality is a different gender from their body. Transsexual is an adjective for the same situation--not "he's a transsexual" but "he's a transsexual man." (A man "trapped in a woman's body" is a transsexual man).

    A transvestite is someone of either gender who dresses as the other, without necessarily being gay. Generally if someone is a "transvestite" they're doing it more for private reasons whereas if they're a "drag king/queen" they're doing it as a public performance.

    Butch women aren't really transvestites (and they're not transgendered, they still identify as female--although some go by "he," so... complicated) so much as women with masculine presentations.

    And yeah, it's possible I have mistaken some butch women for men or boys if I wasn't paying attention, I guess? But I have no doubt that if I talked to them at all I would learn right quick.

  13. Oh, Don, here there be Tigers.

    Trans* folks have a whole fucking errata book for the dictionary to deal with all the different flavors of being in a certain body and liking the people you like, or not liking anyone at all, even.

    And woe betide you if you should accidently step on the toes of someone by not using the right word of the week.

  14. "Man, there's not much of a slot in the gender spectrum for being butch, female, and straight."

    Man, you hit the nail on the head! I have such a complex over my sexuality. I'd like to call myself a...well, I am a straight female, but overall, it's sort of a Victor/Victoria thing - a woman who acts like a man who acts like a woman. I have very short hair and I'm in the military, so I don't get a ton of opportunity to put on makeup and look pretty. Not to mention I'm one of the very few women in my particular career field, so in working with men, you tend to develop a very male attitude (which I already had to begin with). The girl in the second picture reminds me of me. :) And yes, I did used to be a drag-king in my high-school days (but binding my rather unfortunate chest became too difficult and painful, so I stopped).

    Those girls are lovely, though. I have to agree with you on that.