Home > Introduction > “Maybe you should wear heels!”

“Maybe you should wear heels!”

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I was talking with a co-worker yesterday, who I only know semi-well.  I more or less like the way that she dresses, so I often give her a smile and an “I like your ____”.  Usually it’s just something like her headband; other times my reasons for asking are a little more devious.  For example, she was wearing a blue striped shirt with a contrast collar, and I thought, “Ah, something I can wear to work!” So I asked her where it was from, and we ended up chatting about the shirt for a while.  Apparently, she hadn’t worn it for a while because some idiot boy told her that it was a “style for men” and it made her look too masculine.  Of course, that was the reason why I asked about it – that it looked rather masculine – so I had to end up backtracking so that I didn’t accidentally offend her or insult the boys with which she kept company.  Couldn’t say “Oh, that’s actually why I asked about it! I’m looking for butcher clothes for work…” or “It’s too bad that that young man was so insecure in his masculinity that he took his own fear of gender variance out on you.” I ended up saying something about it being how you wear them, not how the clothes wear you.  How relevant to this blog.

At my office, there is a bathroom for the entire floor of the building, so I often end up in there with my female co-workers.  I know a lot of gender-variant people have funny feelings about the bathroom.  I’ve never had a problem.  Once I was in a Burger King with a security guard, and when I went in, the guard followed me in until I turned around, and said, “Oh, excuse me, miss.” and just to kind of rub it in, I singsonged, “Oh, nooooo problem!” at him.  I find that my attitude towards bathrooms, locker rooms, and other women only spaces is one of “Get in and get out.” When I was 3, I used to invite my parents into the bathroom when I was pooping because I loved the “plop”.  So that’s different at least.  I actually think that as I get older and start becoming more confident being butch, I might get more “shit in the bathroom”, if you’ll pardon the pun.  I was in one recently, and noticed an older butch and I had pretty much the same technique upon leaving the stall.  Keep your head down, and don’t look up.  Run out the fucking door.

So the fact that my coworkers like to chit chat in the bathroom is kind of weird for me.  The fact that they like to chit chat WHILE WE ALL PEE is even fucking weirder.  Like, hey guys. This is my alone time.  So not only did the coworker mention above start a conversation with me while we were peeing, she said something totally baffling to me.  We were talking about heels and height differentials.  Full disclosure: I’m 5’5″. My girlfriend is 5’6″.  Not fair!  So I mentioned that when the gf puts on heels, the height difference gets even more pronounced and it makes me pouty. Not fair!  The coworker laughed, and then said, in complete seriousness: “Well, that’s when it’s time for you to put on heels too!”

There’s two things to deconstruct about my reaction to this statement.  The first is that it utterly flabbergasted me that she would suggest this.  Isn’t it obvious from the way that I discussed it that I am a sneaker/loafer/oxford wearing half of this particular partnership?  I liked that I was so perplexed that she didn’t see my butchness, rather than being resigned to it.  That, to me, says that something is afoot in the way that I am starting to see myself.  The second is that it further flabbergasted me, because she works with me.  In a lot of ways, my coworkers might see me as more innately butch than everyone except the rugby team.  That’s because I’m insistent on the ways that I am gender-variant outside of work. I describe outfits. I wear butch clothes when I’m with them outside of the office.  Other people who have known me for longer pretty much saw the feminine clothes and stopped there. As one friend recently said, “I had no idea. I just had no idea.” (On the other hand, many friends from even longer had many ideas, repeatedly.)  So it’s interesting to me that I think most of my coworkers have a better finger on my butchness. Unexpected, in a good way.

Categories: Introduction
  1. February 25, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I suppose there are a number of ways to respond. My wish is that this person sees you for who you are, and maybe she wasn’t suggesting women’s high heels…I have cowboy boots that give me almost an extra inch of height (hey, i’m 5’5 also!) I also have a couple of pairs of loafters/oxfords from the mens dept that give me a little height as well.

    I think that you can educate people in kind ways. I would have probably laughed and said “yea, when is Calvin going to make an acceptable heel for men!?” and made it clearer that you purposefully and intentionally shop for your clothes/shoes/accessories within a certain aesthetic.

    Um, unrelated? The automatic “possibly related posts” are hilarious today.

  2. kalisisrising
    February 25, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Ok, first, I am in love with your blog. I think you are a very talented writer indeed and I love how open and honest you are.

    The one thing I want to ask is, why do you care what she thinks about you? I mean, I get the drive to be read right (as a formerly married, formerly confused het-identifying person who has two kids, the dog and the house with the white picket fence, I am misread as straight all the time…) and I know how important it can be. Especially at first. But to come to terms and peace with myself, I had to let go of any thought about what others were thinking of me. Abraham-Hicks says “it is none of your business what anyone else thinks of you” and it’s true. If I’m living my life with intention, then I know I’m doing the best I can.

    And you are definitely mindful of so many things you’re doing that there’s not that much need to be caught up with how people are perceiving you.

    On a lighter note, the absolute best lover I have ever had in my entire life is about 5 inches shorter than me. ;)

    • March 15, 2010 at 9:10 am

      I have been turning this question over in my head now for weeks. Why is it important for me to be seen as butch? Expect a longer response than just this comment. It’s way too interesting to try to cram into this one space.

      Thank you so much for saying you are “in love” with my blog. It makes me feel nice! Plus I imagine you and my blog listening to indie music and staring into the sunshine, smiling and holding hands. How good does that sound!

  3. March 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Gross. I’m really sorry she said that to you. On the bright side:

    Full disclosure: I’m 5′5″. My girlfriend is 5′6″.

    It could be so much worse. I’m 5’5″. My girlfriend is 5’9″. 5’9″!

    • March 15, 2010 at 9:08 am

      Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry for you. But sometimes it’s nice. Like when you are trying to reach a pot and she just gently leans over your head and grabs it without any difficulty at all. For some reason just the inch seems to give her a reaching advantage. I can’t imagine what four inches would do to her.

  4. G
    March 2, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    First of all, I HATE Stall Talkers. The bathroom is my alone time, too. These are people I see all day, every day, and they decide to chat in the bathroom. Honestly.

    I’m with Bee, in a sense. I used to (and sometimes still do, let’s be honest) take it personally when I didn’t think someone saw what I considered to be the obvious about me. But I’ve learned that people speak in terms of what they know. I don’t think the majority of straight women would say, “Then hey, pick up some butch shoes!” They may just think in terms of their experience, which is heels! They’re the solution to any height-related issue!

    I like the idea of educating in kind ways. Most people respond best to kindness. I like Bee’s line, or a simple “Heels are the more the gf’s gig than mine.” They’ll get it sooner or later.

    • March 15, 2010 at 9:05 am

      I hadn’t though of that, that they were just speaking in terms of their experience. Eye opening!

      The comments on this blog have given me a whole arsenal of diplomatic quips for explaining myself to straight people!

  5. haruhi
    May 28, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    firstly the idea men need to wear more masculine clothes than feminine is SOOO outdated and obsolete that i think it is time those people who hate gays and will call a person gay because of the clothes he wears to get a life and show diversity because all thats going through your little head is nothing but a bunch of lies.

    why you say? well it’s obvious it’s childish, ignorant and downright SEXIST yet another social “norm” to degrade women such as it’s ok for a girl to wear pants but when a man wears a skirt even for a pony tail ohh no it’s taboo.

    that is the part that is mentally dead! c’mon you expect one sex to be free when people are constantly and frantic about masculinity dying out for crying out loud gender is NOT a boundary for the both genders and religion has condemned homosexuals (some in particular) these days hatred has became so brain dead that people are starting to pick on people because of their freedom and faces.

    this world is emotionally dying as is peoples intellect and some people are just “a rebel without a cause” those who oppose are mostly those who care nothing but their drugs and chrome and live on the streets. those who resort to suicide are worse off away from this commercialized world. oh and i ‘m not promoting suicide as the be all and end all only drawing a comparison of death compared to this torture our bodies endure.

    i say this world needs to change or we will all crash in the end in my perspective i don’t care or worry what you wear, because it is pointless to be cautious of what other people are thinking. clearly this world needs life and harmony again.

    forget the end of the world god’s judgement and social rules
    these things are not the general issue here the issue is that social norms are changing for the better a couple of years down the track men will be wearing dresses and high heels and make-up and masculinity still lives i assure you it will happen down the track well men are wearing high heels now and head bands soon skirts and dresses

    it will happen some day…

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