Hi. My name is Essin' Em, and I'm a Femme.
I've now identified as a "Femme" and as femme for a year and a half, maybe a little more. It's been a hard journey...first reconciling my ideas of feminine vs. femme, and then figuring out what it all meant. Being with different partners. Being on my own. It's hard to figure out your own identity when you're living it, as it morphs and changes, and you are trying to pin something down that is constantly moving and shifting, as your life moves and shifts. I have had some trouble being a femme.
This past spring, I was finally over J enough to start going out to the dyke bar in Philly, and to the month queer party. I'd go, I'd dance on my own, I'd eye cute women, and try to get their attention. I'd fail. And I'd go home alone and depressed. There were not many Femmes in the scene....self identifed lipstick lesbians and andro dykes seemed to rule, with a few exceptions. And I was a self-made Femme, not one wearing a jean skirt with boots, a bandana tied around my neck. I did not fit in.
Then I went to Dinah Shore. This was my second year, and I had high hopes. The first year, I had my first time really being fucked by someone queer, and they were the one that helped me to realize my Femme identity. I was looking forward to FINALLY having someone "get it."
But alas, I went to a different Dinah party at a different hotel. It was much trendier, much more LA, much more "skinny women in bikinis." Even the butchier looking women were wearing eye liner and high heels. The only fellow Femme I found (with her Butch partner) was in her 30s or 40s. I felt very alone, although still cute:
I came back disappointed and sunburned. I was finally figuring out MY identity, and no one wanted me.
I spoke a bit with Sinclair about it, who said that I needed to figure out my own way of hitting on people, of being me, and if people didn't like it, well then, fuck them (or not as the case might be). I tried to get up more courage, but it was hard. For all I am an outgoing person, I don't know how to flirt, and I certainly do not go up and approach people I think are cute. But I tried.
One night at the club, I went up to a woman and said "I've been trying to think of a reason to come over here and flirt with you, but I can't, so I'll just ask; would you like to dance?" She looked shocked, told me her name, shook my hand, and told me she'd love to, but was leaving. I said ok, went back to the dance floor. She was there at least another half hour - it would have been nicer for me if she'd just told me I wasn't her type.
I tried a few more times...in different (yet always slightly awkward, because that's who I am) ways to chat up people I liked. Nothing. I was beginning to feel like nothing would ever work, and I was destined to be a lonely Femme forever.
Then I met a woman after a derby bout - a friend of a former player. And I saw her again at the next after party, and we danced. And then we dykes from the team went to another club, and she came with, and we danced. And I saw her while dancing a few days later, and asked her to go for a walk with me. She did, and we chatted about the most random things. A few weeks later, I took her home from another derby after party, and she invited me up. Good things happened. And then 3 days later, I moved away from Philly.
Once in Colorado, I decided to start afresh. I'd just practice flirting with anyone I found remotely attractive. I mean, I wasn't established here yet - it didn't really matter what people thought of me. I had all the time in the world.
The third day here, I was getting a new license at the DMV. I'd been waiting about two hours, and then someone walked in, wearing headphones and a shirt that said "it must be my boyish charms." I wasn't sure how they identified, but said person sat down right in front of me. "Damn," I thought, "how am I supposed to try to make eye contact from BEHIND them?" I sat for a moment, and thought WWSD? (What Would Sinclair Do?) I had no idea. But I did now what Sinclair would tell ME to do; not to sit there doing nothing, but to do SOMETHING proactive. So I did. I got up, and sat next to said hot person. Who paid no attention, and was listening to music on the iPod. I was already halfway there, so I figured in for a penny, in for a pound. I tapped their shoulder. "I love your ink - I'm new here. Where did you get it done?" And so the conversation began. And then we wound up going on three dates, and became good friends.
There was the girl at the dyke bar. I was waiting for the Team Gina concert, and she was there, an Ace card tattooed on her forearm, playing with a deck of cards. I was killing time, and had nothing to lose. "So what significance do cards have in your life?" I asked because I wanted to know. By this point, I was done trying to figure out the "right way" to flirt. Since then, we've hooked up twice, and have become each other's therapy buddies.
I think my best "self made Femme" moment happened about two or three weeks ago. I was out dancing with my current friend-with-benefits' sister and her friend. And guess who showed up? The aforementioned woman from the DMV. (Welcome to Denver - you thought the NYC queer scene was incestuous?) I had decided to dress up all 80's for the hell of it (I do things like that):
Let's just put it out there; I looked ridiculous. And I really didn't care...something to do with having been a theatre person. Anyways, I was dancing, having fun, and then walked outside to cool off with the person from the DMV. I step outside, and see someone out there who I think is pretty damn hot. And what do I do (keeping in mind I am stone sober)? Do I try to think of a smooth pick up line? Do I try to finagle my way into her conversation? Oh no no no. I walk outside, look her up and down once, and say "well, damn. You're pretty hot, just so you know."
Oh no I didn't. Oh yes I did. I *am* ridiculous at times (also, keep in mind I was wearing the above, PLUS a giant faux fur cow coat). Anyways, turns out she'd been chatting with DVM person, so I let them go back at it. Eventually, I heard cute woman say "I'm from Albuquerque." I tell her that I'll be there in a few weeks for a feminist porn film festival, and hand her a card, telling her she should come with if interested. She kind of gave me a frightened deer in the headlights look. I stuck around with the group for a bit, being my usually feisty self, and then we parted ways. And then nothing.
Until last weekend; I received a text from an unknown number. It was that woman from the bar, wanting to know if I was presenting/teaching in New Mexico. I told her I wasn't right now, that I'd be back for that, but that I'd love to do dinner, or have her come with to the festival, dot dot dot, etc. She texted back that I should live life, and do both - dinner and the festival. A few more texts (she told me she had wheels, when I pointed out I was flying in), and boom. I have a date for this weekend apparently.
Crazy. For more than a year in Philly, I struggled with my identity, and trying to be myself as people ignored me. Yet I've been in Denver about four months, and in that time, I've gone on more dates than I have the entire last two years. I've hit on random people in random places, and gone out and/or had sex with five of them. There is a Butch who works the ladies night at a local club. I'd kind of hit on her a while back, and then didn't hear much, so put her out of mind. The other night, my friend-with-benefits and I went, and she was working. She told me she'd missed me, and that this was a pleasant surprise, and so on. I told her that I'd deleted her number, since she'd stopped texting and calling me, and that I'd leave the ball in her court. I was feeling pretty feisty, and didn't feel the need to flirt or suck up, or anything like that. Oddly enough, the next morning, she texted me, telling me how it'd been so nice to see me.
So maybe it's Denver. Or maybe I've stopped caring so much about what other people think, and I've finally come into Femme. I am being myself, my femme self, and it just so happens to be working for me. Either way, I'm finally accepting of and happy with my identity, my presentation, and my behavior. And so what if I'm awkward and have no filter? I'm also quite entertaining, intelligent, and a freaking saber tooth tiger in bed