On Butch Etiquette…

So, I was shooting the breeze with a wonderful butch friend of mine who often helps me get my thoughts together when I’m trying to put down what’s in my head, and so we’ve come up with a few items to put on this list of how to be a poised and classy butch, especially when entertaining a date.  Feel free to add yours in the comments!

1) Be polite.  Utilize your best manners in all situations. But don’t overdo it, or try to be something you aren’t. Hold doors and pull out chairs and walk on the outside because it’s something you’re driven to do – not because you think it’s expected. Doing those things tells people a lot about who you are – and if you’re not doing it out of a genuine desire to make things easier for your companion they are going to know this and just think you’re fake.

2) Don’t show up empty handed for a date– but don’t be afraid to bring something that isn’t flowers – cupcakes, a bottle of wine,  a book or magazine, a mix cd – know your audience.  Doing little things like this shows your date that you pay attention, and if you don’t know them that well, shows that you’ve done a bit of research about what makes them happy!

3) Some driving etiquette – Open the door for her. Often times you’ll find that (if you don’t have remote entry) many dates will reach across to return the favor for you! If it’s nasty nasty out and your date has dressed up? Drop them off in front of the restaurant or date location so they don’t have to trudge through rain or snow.

4) I’ve said this before but I can NOT say it enough. Stay the eff off of your cell phone.  Unless it’s an absolute emergency, all calls and texts should be addressed when you’re alone – even if that’s just when she’s in the bathroom. If someone has been kind enough to take the time to enjoy your company, you should be kind enough to give them your full attention.

5) Do not take it upon yourself to be financially responsible for every person you’re dating, unless that is some arrangement you have. Just because you’re butch doesn’t mean that you should pay all the time. ESPECIALLY if you really CAN’T afford it!! Yes, the occasional “I’ve got this!” is fine, but if someone expects that you’re going to foot the bill every time you go out? That’s not dating, it’s using.  Really.

Generally, money is a pretty personal subject, and touchy for some. If you’re independently wealthy or considerably more financially flush than your date, well, you know, you do what you’re comfortable with.  I’m really thankful that I a have a good amount of expendable income and can afford to take my girl (or sometimes, just friends) out, but they ALWAYS show care for me by getting things they CAN handle. Movies. Breakfast. Bubble Tea. Whatever.  It’s the small things people do that show they are not taking advantage of you.

By the same token, if you KNOW that your date really can’t afford certain things, don’t put them in the position of telling you that they can’t afford to do something with you.  Make it clear from the start that you’re taking care of the evening, and if you can’t cover it? Don’t do it. Pick something else. Making a date feel uncomfortable about money is well, just not cool.

6) Make sure your house is equipped for company – also another topic I can’t talk about enough. Making sure the sheets are clean and your room is tidy, and that you have fresh towels for your guests shows that you are genuinely interested in their comfort while in your care. Also? You’ll score extra points for offering washcloths to overnight guests.  The bathroom should be impeccably spotless.  Also – having coffee/tea for them in the morning? Priceless.

7) Don’t advertise what you do in bed.  Really.  Perspective partners will find out what you do/don’t do,  like/don’t like on their own. Even if you think it’s funny or cool being braggadocios about it makes them think that you’re going to talk about them in the same manor.  And usually? They’re right.

8 ) Continuing on #7, don’t discuss your sexcapades with exes with current partners with anything but the highest regard and respect for someone who liked you enough to share a bed/closet/corner/etc with you.  As in #7, when you trash talk about your experiences with ex partners it just makes the prospective/current one think you’re going to repeat that behavior, except next time, it will be about them.

So, that’s a pretty loaded handful…..your thoughts, additions, or disagreements?


25 Responses to “On Butch Etiquette…”

  1. Regarding #2: I always say “don’t be a cliche”. In fact, it’s Lesbian Life Lesson #8. (There are also LLLs on how to properly shower and myriad other things!) For me, the best thing to bring on a date is Peeps! I love them. I love them unreasonably, but there you are.

    Great post, by the way!

    • OMG. I LOOOOVE PEEPS. Seriously. I even have a pin that says so that I wear in the spring time. Also, have you ever tried roasting them over a fire? They are the most amazing thing ever because the sugar carmalizes and hardens and it tastes so good, kind of like cotton candy!

  2. I love this!! I agree with most/all of it and have to say especially number 1 I can smell fake chivalry a mile away and frankly, I prefer good home training or someone who cares enough to have good manners than someone who is trying to make a big show of acting like something they’re not.

    Money is a super interesting topic. I find that things that can be equitable over time is good. Sometimes when I go out with someone and they suggest something expensive I find it TOTALLY stressful to have the “I can’t afford it” convo. I also always appreciate when someone else pays and make sure to say thank you.

  3. RedDirtFemme Says:

    This makes my heart happy. My butch must have read this before. The only critique of mine is about #7. I find when sleeping with butches, there are certain things that need to be talked about before anything happens. Sure, no one should “advertise” what they do in bed, but there are dynamics about butch/femme sex that vary and can be complicated. I want my butch to tell me what’s okay and what’s not. I’d rather be up front then cross boundaries or make my butch feel uncomfortable.

    • I’m not suggesting NOT talking about these things, in a private, the two (however many) of you setting – I’m just saying that I’ve witnessed butches talking in “conquest” mode and it isn’t pretty, at all.

      Of course your butch should be able and willing (as should you) to express that there are do/don’t things, and hard boundaries and soft boundaries and and and….

  4. ok, one thing I have NEVER understood is the whole walk on the outside thing. What is that about? I’ve noticed both men and butches doing it with me and it mystifies me.

  5. My new gf identifies as butch, and I was unused to the chivalry. Made me very uncomfortable at first, but now I’m relaxing into it and enjoying the treatment. The only remaining hitch for me is that she ALWAYS wants to pay the bill. Seriously, I occasionally have to arm wrestle her for it. We make around the same salary, and we’re both supporting kids, but she has other responsibilities I don’t have and I don’t always want her paying. Plus it makes me feel like a grown up to pay and I have control issues left-over from past relationships. How would you suggest approaching this?

    • You talk to her about it. Let her know how much you appreciate her chivalry, but that occasionally you’d like to take care of things, it makes you feel secure and empowered in the relationship. If she’s listening to you and cares, she’ll adjust!

  6. ironpenjournal Says:

    If both people on the date are butch, how does the chivalry part work?

    • both people do what’s comfortable for them! Just because both identify as butch doesn’t mean that they both are the same! This kind of behavior doesn’t necessarily have to be embraced by both parties. And if it is? Maybe it will lead to some hot wrestling later. Just sayin’.

      • ironpenjournal Says:

        Ha. 🙂

        I find w/my partner that we divide things up by what we’re good at and like to do. We found out through experience that I’m the one who is comfortable chasing bats out of the living room… Luckily, we don’t have that problem often.

    • i’ve been in more than one butch/butch relationship/dating situation, and sometimes it feels like a contest. You just work it out 🙂

  7. […] 24, 2010 Last time I posted a link, people seemed down… so here I am.  I helped brainstorm this awesome post from the Sartorial Butch, so I figured it wouldn’t be too cheap (or self-promotive) to post a […]

  8. Date presents make me giddy.

    I really really really really really love it when M brings me obscure, heavy, gorgeous fashion magazines printed in languages I cannot read at all.

    People do #7 and actually *make* it into bed with a woman? Bless it.

    On Peeps, we once had a really debauched Easter party where poor, innocent peeps were forced to smoke clove cigarettes. Cruel.

    I would just like to add, as a femme, that once in awhile y’all should allow – nay, even REVEL in – the occasional times we feel like being all chivalrous or whatnot. One of M’s favorite dates with me was when I drove her to a pretty little lake and got us a rowboat, which I rowed! (In an all-white, extremely short dress and high, strappy woven heels, but still.) She just leaned back and enjoyed the ride, and it wouldn’t have been the same if she insisted, you know?

    PS. SB, I still have to sometimes scold M for walking on the inside! Tsk! Shame on her.

  9. Love this post. I have a couple to add:

    In regards to #3, the other thing I suggest is if you’re driving? Clean your car. Wash it, vacuum it, make sure it looks and smells nice. Nobody wants to spend time getting ready for a date and then be afraid of getting into a funky vehicle.

    AMEN to #4. Talking on the phone and texting is like inviting all of those people out on the date with you.

    Re: #6: An idea I stole from a friend was to keep extra toothbrushes, too. It’s the smallest touch, but if it impresses my drunk friends who have to crash here after a night on the town? Think of what it would do for a date.

    And with the money & sex thing, I think it’s important to have candid conversations about them when the time is right. I personally feel more stress from the not knowing than from the actual issue. Once the other person and I know where the other stands, it’s much easier to have an enjoyable time.

    (And as a rule of thumb, at least when first dating, I consider it my responsibility to pay if I’m doing the asking out.)

  10. ladyfemme Says:

    These are my additional thoughts:
    #2- if she is a nail or toe painter, how about a gift certificate for mani or pedi? Sure, it may be pricier than some options, but comparable to the cliche roses, depending on your town!

    #6 I’d be THRILLED if butches i went home with had a thing saline solution for contact lenses in their house. It never happens, and it makes a huge difference to me when i’m trying to get myself together in the morning….

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