Archive for the Always be prepared Category

If ya like it then you shoulda…

Posted in Always be prepared on October 8, 2010 by sartorialbutch

So…here it is…last post of singlehood. Well, not singlehood, but certainly of unmarriedhood, if that’s even a word. I don’t even think singlehood is a word. But anyway – Calvin Klein Suit. Brooks Brothers French cuff white button down. Blue bow tie and pocket square. Interrobang cufflinks. Kenneth Cole black shoes….

Whew.

I think I’m ready.

 

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But she swam too far against the tide

Posted in Always be prepared, Butch in the real world with tags , , , , on April 30, 2010 by sartorialbutch

Going swimming is absolutely one of my favorite things to do. And I know a lot of others who feel similarly -except for one horrible thing, which is putting on a bathing suit. Swimwear is one of those things that very few feel really comfy in, so if you’re not Michael Phelps, the odds are good that you feel exposed and uncomfortable in a bathing suit. For some butches, who already have issues with their bodies and how others see them, this is a horrible no good thing – and some of us skip the beach/pool/lake/river all together just because of the whole bathing suit issue.

As spring/summer swim weather is starting to roll in to most parts of North America, I thought I’d do a post on bathing suits so you could get a good swim outfit together and not be caught unprepared when your buds ask you to go jump in a river/lake/stream/pool….etc.

Over the years I’ve done the cut offs/tee shirt thing, which is ok, but um, kind of chaff-ey, and you end up with wet underwear and it’s not comfy to dry in. More recently, I’d wear a speedo one piece (which, of all the “girl” suits are the most…I don’t know, gender neutral, in my opinion) and then throw on a pair of guy’s board shorts. This is okay, but it takes a long time for the bottom part of a girls suit to dry, and even longer when under wet shorts – even if they dry fast. Not comfy either.

As I am about as pale as a white person gets (seriously, sometimes my legs glow kinda green) and because skin-cancer runs rampant in my family, and because I can be forgetful with the sunscreen, AND because I’ve spent a lot of money putting ink on my flesh, I think I’ve come up with the best and most comfy and fashionable swimwear solution for butches, gender-queers, transmen, etc….

I give you the Rash Guard/ Board Short combo.

I got this Cryp rashguard at their E-bay store and last time I checked they’re about $14-20 bucks. They offer incredible UV protection, so I only need to remember to put sunscreen on my face, ears, and forearms (unless I want to nap, then I have to do the backs of my knees) and my tattoos are fully protected all day long.  There are TONS of surf companies who make these, all at different prices, but this guard was the most cost effective and gets the job done.

Additionally, you can bind underneath the guard, or wear a tight sports bra – I usually wear a lightweight sportsbra under because the guard dries pretty fast, and I like my bra to as well.  I don’t have a large chest at all, but I live where the beaches are such that the ocean only gets up to like 60 degrees on really really hot days.  I’d rather not appear so visibly cold to all of the other beach dwellers. I thought I had a photo from last summer but I can’t find it so…you’ll just have to imagine how it looks on.

You can get good fitting board shorts almost anywhere, I think these are from Old Navy. I wear the shorts tight enough so that I can go commando if I wish (I usually do) and one more tip, it helps to cut out any “netting” that may be in the shorts – more comfy for us with girlparts.

Any other butch comfort hints for summer days and swimwear?

Sartorial Tip of the Day

Posted in Always be prepared, Tips and Hints on March 19, 2010 by sartorialbutch

As spring has just about sprung in many parts of the US, including mine, spring shopping is certainly on my to do list. One thing that makes shopping trips much less stressful and way more productive is knowing what size you wear!

I know that sounds kind of redundant, but for me, I wear different shirt sizes for different manufacturers and cuts of shirt. What I do to keep track  of all of these measurements is to keep a record on a card in my wallet at all times. I know that (and cough, the SB DOES have a birthday coming up) I generally wear shirts with a 16 1/2 neck, especially if they are fitted shirts, but I often wear a 16 for regular sized ones. I know that my sleeve length is always 32/33, and I know which manufacturers I wear a M,  L, or XL in size.

I know that I wear the same size in Gap, Lucky, and Levi brand clothes, and I know that if I’m buying at H&M, I wear one size if it’s their “LOGG” brand, and another if it’s the “European Cut” style. I know which major shoe brands that I’m a 6.5 or a 7, and I know which brands of socks fit me best as well.

I know all of this sounds somewhat anal-retentive and admittedly, it IS. However, having this information at my fingertips does a few things. First, it gives me less stuff to try on because I can narrow down the sizes much quicker, and also, if I’m not in the mood to deal with dressing rooms (and I know some of you are NEVER in the mood to do this) I can buy and go home and USUALLY have very good luck with everything fitting, thus negating a return trip to the store.  Additionally, if anyone asks me (whether directly or on the sly,) I’ve got an answer for them, so that if they’re trying to surprise me with something, they’re going to have very good odds of buying me something that fits – and that makes everyone feel good.

What information about yourself do you keep at your fingertips?

Comet….it makes your mouth turn green

Posted in Always be prepared with tags , , , , , on December 8, 2009 by sartorialbutch

I’ve got a BUNCH of guests coming through town this week, some from far far away, and some from not so far away, and some from down the street. Point is, I want to be a good host.  I’ve spent the last couple of days spending a few minutes here and there straightening up – as I am somewhat anal-retentive about cleanliness, my house actually doesn’t need much work. I will admit that the real “deep cleaning” doesn’t happen as often as I’d like it too, but having a bunch of guests always kick starts me into motion.

You already know how I feel about kitchens and bathrooms, and since acquiring the “sartorial doggie” I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping floors and the couch vacuumed at least weekly, if not more. Actually, her arrival made me have to go and actually buy a vacuum, as I have hardwood floors and up until that point relied on my broom. I will admit, I’m a sucker for technology, and as I’m not such a dirty person rely on a swiffer mop to go over the floors after vacuuming happens. If you have pets, like I do, it’s really nice to get up as much pet hair as possible, not only to damper down allergens (though do this a day before, not the day of guests especially if you know they are allergic – the vacuum will just stir it all up the day of) but so that pet hair doesn’t get all over guests clothes.

Make sure you’ve got clean towels and sheets on hand. I’ve got two extra sets that I usually use as my bedding but as I am in an apartment and don’t have a TON of room, I don’t have sheets that are “guests only” quite yet. I do have some guest only pillows, and it’s always good to have those on hand.  Same goes for towels – make sure they are on hand and clean.

Just like as if you were planning on having a guest of the….overnight shared sheets type, have some basic necessities handy in case something has been forgotten at home. Toothbrushes, especially are easily forgotten.  I also have a few different kinds of shampoos and soaps in the shower so that there is an assortment. Assortment is nice and isn’t relegated to the bathroom alone. Have some beverages on hand, juice, beer, wine and water are a good start. I also keep a few sodas in the fridge for guests – though admittedly I’m becoming a very big fan of Diet Pepsi. Really, I love regular Coke, it’s my fave, but it’s wickedly bad for me and DP tastes more like Coke than Diet Coke does.  Swear.

Clean the house well. I always kind of think that a bathroom that smells faintly of bleach is super clean. This is not always true but usually it is. I’m not saying burn out your nasal passages or anything, and if you have sensitivities, well use natural cleaners, but make sure the shower/tub is really spotless, the sink is devoid of dried on toothpaste, and the mirror doesn’t have splashes of hair gel or um….more toothpaste splatter on it either. Make sure the toilet sparkles. This isn’t rocket science, but knowing that your house is really clean will take the edge off wondering if that’s the case when guests arrive. It also lets them know that you care enough about their presence to go the extra mile for them. Remember, if you go the extra mile, there’s usually no traffic. Cheesy, but true. Preparing in advance means you’re generally not going to have surprises, like running out of toilet paper.

Make sure that the room your guests are staying in is especially clean. Even if it’s just the couch in your living room (which in my case, it mostly is) make sure the room is clean, and there are some empty surfaces so that your guests have places to put their stuff.  One thing that I do that makes my guests know I care is that I’ve got a bunch of nightlights strategically placed around my house. They’re fairly non-offensive, but it makes life pretty easy when they have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and can just follow the path of lightly glowing least resistance.

Have some plans! You all know how I feel about plans! If you can, have some menu’s from local restaurants and pubs at your avail so that you have suggestions. You can even go the extra mile and email some websites of places you like so that when your guests come they are excited and have an idea of what they might like to eat. If you KNOW what they like to eat – as in one of my guests is gluten-free and I’ve made sure we’ve got plenty of fruits and veggies and protein and rice products on hand – we’ll be able to make a meal together without much issue. I also know that I’m having a very much looked forward to John Waters movie sleepover and I’ve got the makings of midnight snacks as well.

Take an extra few minutes to find out if there are any special happenings going on in your town/nearby cities while your guests are in your home. Heck, you might even find something that you’d really like to do as well!

As I’ve said repeatedly, it really is the little things that you do for people that shows them how much you appreciate and care for them – and when guests stay at your home this is even more evident. A little bit of planning and a little bit of cleaning and a little bit of common sense pretty much ensures that both you and your guests are going to really enjoy the stay.

What do you do to make guests feel at home?

I’m not braggin’ babe so don’t put me down

Posted in Always be prepared with tags , on November 23, 2009 by sartorialbutch

Ok, well maybe not the fastest car in town, but I DO love driving my car fast and listening to the Beach Boys sing about fast cars at the same time. Anyway, I digress. I’m taking Garrett’s suggestion and  am going to write a bit about my need for speed.

I haven’t really been a stick driver for a long time, for one major reason. My dad. There were lots of things my dad did really well, but teaching things and having patience were two things he was not so great at. So when he tried to teach me how to drive his beat up pick up truck well…things didn’t go well. I couldn’t get IN to first gear. At all. I kept stalling all over the place. The worst part about this experience was that my little brother who is 2 years younger and at the time, about a foot shorter than me, was sitting in the jump seat and laughing the whole time.

After about 20 minutes of this nightmare my dad turned around to my brother and said, “OK smartass – lets see you do it.” So we switch spots and my brother got into the car and I swear it was like his body was possessed by Mario Andretti and he just…took off. His biggest problem was seeing over the wheel. Damn.

So I stayed away from stick shifts for a long time. I mean, there were lots of times when it would have been practical for me to drive stick – Without giving away too much of “me,” I do work in the automotive industry and uh, it would be helpful to know how to drive all of the cars that I encounter daily. I’d had about 4 guys I work with try and teach me to no avail. I’d panic when having to drive a stick, even if it was just the distance of around the block. Finally, one of my co-workers had enough, took a HUGE car that had a stick and said to me, “you’re going to learn to drive today.”  So I went out and went to get in the passenger side and he was all, “nope. You’re driving.”  And he took me out into rush hour traffic at 5pm on a summer Friday. Yeah. I stalled. A lot. And I wasn’t the slickest. BUT I got it.

From then on it was a mission. I would drive a stick whenever I got the chance. I’d badger one of my (at the time) partners to let me drive her stick shift car. I’d make it so I had to drive as many standards as possible during the course of a day.  I was still not great at it, but at least I was moving. Any practice was good practice.

And then over the summer I just hit a point where I was single, I didn’t have kids, I didn’t have pets, and my only responsibilities were to myself. And as much as I really did love the car I was driving, there was too much “old life” attached to it. And so I went out and bought the most bad-ass stick shift car that was just slightly practical – but not too much so:)

265hp, 4cyl turbo 0-60 in 4.8. But that’s all just numbers and lets be honest, I’m never going to be good enough to drive it that fast. Still. I love my freaking car. It took 2 months to figure out how to drive it, and another 3 to really figure out how to make the power work, and now it’s second nature. I feel powerful and strong, and I love, love, love, driving fast. Love.

And like I said in the prior post, there’s something about being able to handle the stick that just makes me feel confident. Strong.

But you know? I think that even if I drove my dad’s beat up truck I’d still feel the same way. It’s about driving and feeling connected to the car and…and…well. I’m just sorry that it took me so long to figure out this lesson.

That too long explanation aside, there are some things you can have in your car to be prepared for most situations. Jump cables are a big help if you have the room. If you drive a later model car, the odds are slim that you’ll actually use them, but if you do have tons of space or an older car? Go for it. Personally, in addition to the umbrella, I generally have the following things in my car for emergencies.

-Bottled water. I keep two bottles under the “floor” in my hatch. Just in case.

-Granola bars: Again, just in case.

-A blanket and small first aid kit…you get the drill.

-Tampons in the glove box. Yup, you know it.

-A map. I don’t have GPS nor do I really have interest in getting one, but I DO have a map of the state I live in, and small but detailed maps of the nearby cities that I visit most.

-Extra shoes and clothes. I try to keep a knapsack with a pair of extra shoes, shirt and jeans. This has come in handy more than once.

-Baby wipes – help out with little clean ups, mostly on the sartorial dog after an over-zealous park outing, but these have come in handy for other situations as well. I’m guessing they’d come in pretty handy for food or coffee spills, but I don’t  know that as well, um. Yeah. That doesn’t really happen in my car:)

-Winter stuff. If you have a tendency to get stuck, some sand or litter or a small shovel to help yourself from getting really stranded.

-AAA membership or similar auto rescue. Seriously. I’ve never spent a day of my life getting paid to turn a wrench on a car and unless you have done this well then – let the professionals do it. For reals. I know I know how to change my tire, but I’m not going to do it on the interstate – as with everything else, safety first.

A final word about being a gentlemanly butch driver. Open the door for your date. Maybe you’ll get lucky and she’ll reach over and open your door for you once she’s inside. But even if your date is doing the driving? Open the door for her. Let her get in the car first. Prove that chivalry is not dead.

What are your favorite driving stories? Do you have any additions to the list of stuff to keep in the car?