I am working on a compendium of sorts, a listing of all things butch. Guidance for me and my beloved Butches. My hope is that we will build a primer that can be used for generations to come. [Cue dramatic music.] If you send me thoughts you have for good verses, I will include them in updates. What do you think? I will name each chapter after a famous and historical lesbian suiting the topic. Here are my first 5 entries, of a foundational nature, and so,of course, they can be named after no one but Sappho.
Note well: the Butch Bible is tongue-in-cheek. Remember that there are no real rules. In this butch’s opinion, though, if you get it right, your cheek isn’t the only place your tongue will be.
Also, note well: this butch is a confirmed atheist. I mean no disrespect to any of you who are religious and follow the better known bible (there are others). Remember, tongue-in-cheek, good fun, and all that!
Sappho, Chapter 1
In the beginning (of western civilization anyway, and by that, I mean Manhattan), there were pretty much only Butches and Femmes. Being in the closet forced many lesbians to identify this way, and any other lesbians were invisible. Obviously, this has changed, but it was very common in the 1900s. It turns out, by the way, that some of us choose to identify like this. These women were the mothers of our movement, along with their drag queen brothers. These are the people who were subjected to police raids and enforcement of laws that required them to wear three pieces of clothing belonging to their gender. Yikes. Three? I’ve got, let’s see… One. Ok, so Google Stonewall Inn Riots if you want to know more. On to the verses.
1:1 Butches are more masculine than Femmes, and are often mistaken for men by people who are not paying attention. Butches are defined (variously) as lesbians that tend toward the masculine or who are notably manly or masculine in appearance. Exception: It’s a generalization, so of course there are plenty of exceptions.
1:2 Femmes are more feminine than Butches and other lesbians. Femmes tend towards make up and dresses, but not always. Femmes are defined as being lesbians that are attracted to Butches. Exception: See above. [I note that it feels troubling that a femme is defined by her attraction to a butch; that seems unfair. Perhaps I will tackle that another time.]
1:3 Butches shall have some amount of swagger. This is key to being a butch. Plus, it makes Femmes swoon. Exception: Beware of too much swagger. This makes you an asshole. So, good luck figuring out the balance.
1:4 Butches are presumed to be tough, and most of us like that presumption – play into it as it were, but this doesn’t mean we have to be tough. Butches shall let their Femmes see their softer side.
1:5 Butches shall take care of Femmes, protect them and make them feel safe. This is our butch privilege. Exception: If your particular Femme doesn’t like this, then don’t act this way.
That’s it for the first chapter – the foundational one. More to come as you share with me or I divine them from the Butch Femme Gods. It’s butch to use a how-to guide to become a proper butch. Be Butch.