There’s still a few days left….

Allow me to introduce my FIRST guest writer, Kirsten!! Kir is one of my most favorite femmes in all the universe, and I’ve asked her to help me out with my femme gift giving guide.  I’ve asked her not only because she is a brilliant writer and has an incredible wealth of knowledge about many things girlie, but because, well,  I kind of burnt myself out on thoughts after finding the perfect sparkly item for *my* femme and needed a little help for you all.  So, I hope you’ll kindly welcome Kir into the SB fold!

First of all, I’d like to thank the Sartorial Butch for inviting me to share my femme gift-giving guide with her readers; this blog has been long overdue, and I’m honored to be a part of it.

Second of all, femmes are always late.* The SB would have liked this to go up a week ago, but I was busy being schmoopy with my butch on vacation, and then playing catch-up at work. So there ya have it.

Buying for femmes isn’t the scary prospect so many butches and others who date femmes tend to imagine; we’re really an easy bunch, and the items in this post will serve more as guidelines than rules, really (name the movie, get a cookie!). What’s always going to be most important, as with any gift-giving, is that it’s thoughtful, and shows that you’re considering her wants, and not only giving her what earns you prime bragging rights (unless that’s a negotiated thing – in which case, go big or go home).

So the first, and most powerful, item in your femme-gift arsenal: her best friend’s phone number. Not her sister, not her roommate (unless they happen to be one and the same). The BFF will have the inside scoop on everything from sizing to colors to what she’s already got and what she really needs and wants. Besides that, she’s got the ability to call your femme and say, “Hey, I can’t find my copy of The Persistent Desire, can I borrow yours? There’s a piece I wanted to re-read. Oh, you don’t have it? Okay, I’ll check with so-and-so.” Mission: accomplished. The best friend will also know when to be sneaky and when to come right out and say, “Your butch wants to get you a Stop Staring dress, which one do you want most?” Because sometimes the direct approach is best. Trust her to know when to use which.

The SB talked a little about gift cards and gift certificates in the butch gift-giving guide; I’d like to point out that femmes are a special breed in this case, because gift certificates for services are always a good bet, particularly if it’s something she does for herself like a mani/pedi. If you aren’t sure if she does her own nails because she wants to or because she doesn’t want to splurge on a professional, just ask sometime when she’s in the middle of the process. She’ll know why you’re asking, and she’ll give you the answer you need in order to decide if it’s something she’d appreciate. In order to make the gift something she remembers, and not just a certificate that gets used and forgotten, buy her the polish you want her to wear when she goes to the nail salon. Butches selecting nail and makeup colors is hot.

For the femme in your life who either isn’t electronically inclined, or who prefers to give you that chance to flex your butch muscles, we love gadgets, too! Just make sure you install, calibrate, configure, or otherwise set up the netbook, iPod, stereo, or blu-ray player, or else it’ll make a stunning paperweight, or centerpiece on the dining room table. Same goes for car stuff – does she apologize for how dirty it is every time you get in, or get nervous in inclement weather? Take her car for a complete inside-outside wash, vacuum, and detailing, or if you’re feeling really generous (and maybe a bit protective), have snow tires put on for her. It’s practical, but also shows that you care and pay attention. Having something fun and little wrapped and in the driver’s seat when you deliver the car after service is a nice touch – it can be a cute stuffed animal, a package of her favorite cookies, or a pretty travel coffee mug – just something to add a personal touch to the gift.

Is your femme the Betty Crocker type? Non-essential kitchen appliances can be great gifts, particularly if they’re items she’s wanted but just hasn’t gotten around to buying for herself. Again, along the lines of gadget installation, don’t just get her the appliance – if you’re buying a breadmaker, get a few mixes so she doesn’t have to wait until she thinks to buy one herself to use it. Open the box and slip in a cute apron; if you’re lucky, she’ll be using the breadmaker and wearing the apron – and nothing but the apron – within hours, if you’ve provided everything she needs to get right to it.

As everyone knows, jewelry is always a popular gift. It can be cute and inexpensive, or you can go all out if you’re that kind of butch, and she’s your kind of girl. This is one time I will always forgive a butch for snooping – if you want to make sure you’re getting a good length for a necklace or bracelet, or sizing a ring, sneak one she wears regularly out of her jewelry box when she’s in the shower one day and take it with you while you shop. You can get a ring sized at any jeweler, and most other jewelry comes in standard lengths. Pay attention to what she wears – if she doesn’t own any yellow gold, go white gold or silver. If she loves brightly colored plastic bangles and earrings, get her some in colors besides what she already owns. If you’re going with gemstones, choose something that will accent the colors she wears most frequently. And if you want it to be something she wears all the time, be sure to select a neutral combination of metal, setting, and stone.

Handmade gifts are one of my favorite categories, because the time and effort put into them goes above and beyond what it takes to walk into a store and make a selection. My butch is into woodworking, and I’ve requested some custom storage and organization for my vanity – something like a knife block for my makeup brushes, a cabinet with tilted shelves and slots for all of my pigments so I can see them all at a glance, maybe a magnet board for my palettes… The possibilities are endless when you’re starting from scratch, and I know that every piece will be crafted to perfection because it’ll be one of a kind, made just for me. Does your femme have an area where she just can’t get things to fit the way she wants them to? A closet that doesn’t accommodate her shoes in such a way that she can get to all of them? Wasted wall space in the kitchen and nowhere to keep frequently used utensils? Get creative and get thee to Home Depot – there’s nothing as sexy as a butch hard at work making something for her very appreciative femme.

I hope this has been helpful, informative, and inspiring – come back and let us know what you did for the special femme in your life this holiday season!

* Disclaimer: all “femmes always,” “femmes never,” and other blanket statements are utter bullshit; I just figured it might go over better than “I’m always late.” Ya know, strength in numbers and all that.

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14 Responses to “There’s still a few days left….”

  1. Kirsten,
    Thanks for a great post. I’m single right now, but bookmarking it in the event I might be able to use it next year, or for a birthday in the future. I’ll tell you what though– I can’t stop looking at the Stop Staring! site– if I ever win the lottery, I’m going to buy dresses from them for all of my amazing femme friends. I told the Sartorial Butch that I’d eat ramen for a month to be able to buy this dress for someone.
    http://www.stopstaringclothing.com/sunshop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=200

    Great first guest post! 🙂

  2. Wow! If a butch ever bought me a dress from Stop Staring! I would be in heaven! I would love her!
    : )

  3. Great post. I got my girlfriend a very pretty & contemporary tea set for Hanukkah, which she loves. I can only claim partial credit, though, since all did was pick up on her hints and then pick out a nice pattern. 🙂

  4. Thanks, everyone; this was a lot of fun to write 🙂 Isn’t Stop Staring a great site??? Love the dresses so much, and that she goes up to a size 18. Yay!
    And Bond, that’s the way to go – we may not always admit to it, but those hints are dropped for a reason… Nice job picking up on them 😉

  5. femmeinboston Says:

    Wow–as a Femme identified strong independent woman, I couldn’t possibly be less impressed by this post. I’m first offended that another Femme would make statements like “we love gadgets, too! Just make sure you install, calibrate, configure, or otherwise set up the netbook, iPod, stereo, or blu-ray player, or else it’ll make a stunning paperweight, or centerpiece on the dining room table” which is so presumptuous that I can’t even begin to address it, or that a self-identified butch would post such a thing, as someone who supposedly loves and respects Femmes.

    What a blow to the face. Happy Holidays.

    • Femmeinboston –

      Thanks for your comment – however, Kir has already addressed statements like that within the post, at the end has the

      “Disclaimer: all “femmes always,” “femmes never,” and other blanket statements are utter bullshit; I just figured it might go over better than “I’m always late.” Ya know, strength in numbers and all that.”

      This is just Kir’s perspective – and as someone who knows her, could probably read into that a bit more to also say that she LIKES watching butches play with electronics. And as someone who sucks at putting electronics together? I’d still try, just to let her watch me. Even though I’d need to ask for help about 5 minutes in. Patience isn’t my strong suit.

      I do have the utmost respect and love for Femmes, and know they can do anything they want to do – and I also know that sometimes they just like to watch us do stuff – mine likes watching me bake, topless, but I’ll save that for another post.

      Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll continue giving feedback!

      • femmeinboston Says:

        I appreciate that you allowed the comment to post. While I did see the disclaimer (and read the whole post)…it’s important to note that this entire (almost 1200 word) post makes huge generalizations, saying “we like this” and “femmes always do that”, so putting a two line disclaimer at the end saying “oh, I don’t mean to perpetuate sterotypes, teehee” doesn’t really count, now does it? the same post could easily have said things like “I do this” and “I like this” or “I and a lot of femmes I know like and do this” and would have had the same impact, without the bitter aftertaste.

        I know that there are a whole variety of femmes out there, some more in line with typical femme stereotypes than others. I am a little less typical, but I’m not interested in judging other people’s femme or otherwise gender presentation. I get judged on mine plenty. I’m just saying that if you’re going to make statements purportedly about what YOU like, then say it’s what you like, not what all people of your gender presentation like.

        It’s misogyny even if other female bodied or queer people are doing it. try and keep that in mind. wouldn’t you be offended if someone posted something about “well as a woman obviously all I am interested in is listening to what my husband has to say about politics” etc, for 1200 words, nd then at the end be like “oh, not everyone may agree. smiley face”. wouldn’t really do the trick, would it?

    • I’ll admit– I was a little taken aback when I read the post when it was published because I thought “wow, what a messed up stereotype”, and then I read the entire thing, including the author’s disclaimer about blanket statements being bullshit.

      I spend a lot of my time asserting that butch is many things, and know many awesome femmes who spend a lot of time asserting that femme means an infinite number of things to different people, so why can’t the author want a butch to put that stuff together (even though she can do it herself, as evidenced by her follow up comment)?

      Many of the most awesome femmes I know have to continuously assert that their femme identity stands on its own, needing nothing to reflect off of (such as butch)– and if that’s true, why does one femmes opinion or feelings have to stand for every femmes opinion or experience?

      Just thinking out loud,
      bee

      • Sometimes I feel the pressure to defend the stereotypes I embody. Other times I feel comfortable embracing them. Regardless of the audience, however, the point is, they *are* who I am – so stereotype or not, why should I be ashamed? And if it makes my butch happy to have a femme for whom she can perform stereotypically masculine tasks, why is that something we should sweep under the rug? People can hate on me for perpetuating a stereotype if they want to, but the upshot of it is, I am not blindly following an archetype, I am not doing what my parents did, I am not being something because it’s cool – the label and the dynamic fit *me*, not the other way ’round.

  6. Thanks, SB. After showing greatest appreciation for those five minutes
    of determined fail, I’d help in a very non-emasculating way, if that
    makes you feel any better 😉

    femmeinboston, first, I am truly sorry you were so offended. As the SB
    stated, and as I had hoped to convey in my disclaimer, this is all
    from one (old school, submissive, swoons over butches doing things for
    me not because I can’t but because they want to) femme’s point of
    view.
    For a bit more about me that might help the tongue-in-cheek tone and
    the true intent of these recommendations be known, a few points:

    * For my holiday weekend, I rented a u-haul truck, loaded it three
    times over three days, traversing over 50 stairs up and down each trip
    out of my old apartment, entirely alone. I have a thousand books
    (well, 983 at last count, but I’ve got a few I haven’t cataloged yet),
    many many sets of shelves, not to mention the basics of clothes,
    shoes, linens, etc. I’m a little sore, and pretty effing wiped, but I
    did it, with a lot of emotional support from those who couldn’t be
    here to help. And I’m back to work today.

    * Last night, I rebuilt my desk, loaned the two boys I moved in with
    my toolbox because neither of them have one, and configured our
    wireless network. Tonight, I’m setting up our household network for
    file and printer sharing, and will be reconstructing my entertainment
    center (complete with video gaming consoles) as well as rebuilding my
    wall-mounted 6’x5′ customizable shelving unit.

    * The reason I have left electronics and similar items out and on
    display has been to “remind” some butch in my past that she needed to
    set them up, because that’s part of the butch-femme dynamic I want.
    I’ve found that it’s typically what butches tell *me* they want, and
    then they realize it doesn’t mean they just get catered to morning,
    noon, and (especially) night. Chances are though, with my girlfriend,
    I’d hardly have the wrapping paper off before she had the box open,
    the instructions discarded, and was headed for the nearest outlet
    while excitedly telling me all the specs of whatever it was she had
    just given me, and we would both be thrilled. 🙂

    I am not helpless, I am not spoiled, I do not expect things from my
    butch because they are “butch things to do.” I know she enjoys doing
    them for me, as I enjoy poring over my cookbooks to find things she
    can eat with all of her dietary restrictions. I am not apologetic for
    our traditional ways, though I perhaps should have identified myself
    as “old school” at the beginning of the guest post.

    femmeinboston, thank you for speaking your mind and not just writing
    this blog off – I’m grateful for the reminder that, just because the
    SB and I have many overlapping and complementary dynamic and
    personality traits, her readership is going to be widely varied, and I
    should bear in mind that not every reader knows who I am as was the
    case in the first few weeks of the blog. Please accept my apologies
    for this oversight on my part.

    ~Kirsten

  7. @ femmeinboston:

    really? SB and Kir are probably a bit more eloquent than I feel right now and certainly more patient for this kind of comment. that fact that you missed the whimsy of Kir’s piece and went to the proverbial feminist place of political correctness and generalization yourself speaks volumes, doesn’t it? what is feminism if not the place to be who we are and be comfortable and secure in that identity? i, for one, am quite capable of doing pretty much anything i set my mind to do. does it mean i wanna put shit together? hell no. will i make you something tasty to eat and fuck you good AFTER you put my something together? yes. yes, i will and we’ll all be the happier for it.

    so really, miss uptight in boston, get a grip. keep things in context and be happy there are nicer people out there (sartorial butch and kir, for example) than Ms Lisita right here.

    (hitting send without re-reading because i don’t have patience either, SB…)

    • femmeinboston Says:

      it is in the spirit of kindness I wrote that comment. I believe that kind spirits do not perpetuate stereotypes against those they claim to love, because that causes undue judgment upon their loved ones.

      I think it’s important that if this blog or others are going to make statements that, at least on some level, aim to show others “what a butch is like” or “what a femme is like” there is a duty to show that there is a whole spectrum there, that this post just didn’t do. Some of the readers I’m sure are new to the butch/femme idea, so I think there is a responsibility to do justice to all of the people that fall within those identities.

      I think it’s safe to say that part of the journey to reaching an identity like femme or butch is about rejecting others definitions of who you are and embracing your own, is it not? I just want to make sure that those other voices are also heard, which I’m sure everyone here can agree on.

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