Home > FtB > One of the girls.

One of the girls.

The girlfriend and I joined some friends at a lakehouse in Wisconsin this weekend.  It was a fun, spontaneous summer trip, replete with mosquito bites and sailing.  I’m a terrified sailor, to be frank, due to more than one traumatic sailing incidents:

  1. Repeatedly hit on by an older divorced man in Italy.  I was with my then girlfriend, and stated we were unavailable.  He insisted on touching my legs with his hairy legs at all times.  Gross.  Also, I was 18 and thus, more easily traumatized by such things.
  2. Sailed on a windy day across a mountain lake.  Very poorly.  The boat nearly tipped over.
  3. ACTUALLY capsized the boat, and couldn’t un-capsize it (I was 11!), and ended up swimming across the entire freezing lake with it, upside-down.
  4. And other such things.

I managed to keep myself calm, as it was a beautiful day and there was nothing to be worried about.  The girlfriend and I were with friends, one old, and the rest new.  One of them, henceforth known as Muscles, was a very chiseled young man in his 20s.  I was willing to give Muscles the benefit of the doubt – this slightly bisexual butch does enjoy a good six pack, Milwaukee-brewed or otherwise.  But he did two things that I can’t stand.  First, he said that it creeped him out when guys hit on him.  Well.  It IS annoying when PEOPLE you’re not interested in hit on you, male or otherwise.  I wish men would learn this lesson.  But still, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, since this is a sentiment many young men express without knowing better. But then, second, Muscles insisted on calling my girlfriend and I “the girls”.

I’m certain that the novelty of a homosexual relationship is quite exciting to many straight people: You can call them “the boys” or “the girls”!.  I’m not “one of the girls”, though.  Even many of my woman-identified friends don’t feel like they are “one of the girls”. The girlfriend tried to calm me down when I started getting scowly, by explaining that we are, indeed, in the awkward space between girlhood and womanhood.

Actually, I’m not. I’m pretty strongly WOMAN-identified, in addition to being very strongly BUTCH-identified.  AND masculine-identified. AND boi-identified.  But I’m not really girl-identified.  Sometimes I refer to myself as a girl, but it’s not my identity.  Calling me one of “the girls” makes me feel very erased and invisible, and I don’t like it.  Not one bit!

Categories: FtB
  1. kaitlin
    July 19, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    i’ve heard that same thing from other butches.
    way to stand your ground and defend your identity!

  2. G
    July 19, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Oh, that is a huge pet peeve for me. Sometimes I just want to look at people and say, “Do I LOOK like one of the girls?” But I know that’s not really fair, either. It just always makes me feel very awkward to be identified that way, especially when I don’t really even use that term. I just try to learn from it and make sure I don’t make the same mistake by lumping others into one category.

  3. JB
    July 19, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    I do identify as one of the girls, but if it’s being used derogatorily or pairing me up with someone butch, I usually smile and correct the person. If I’m with a butch I’ll give them something else to use, “No, I’m one of the gays,” and if I’m with a bunch of young women, I’ll say something like, “Does that mean you’re one of the widdle boys?” because it gets the point across that the term isn’t appreciated.

    It’s amazing what you can get away with when you smile… At least if you’re femme. ;)


  4. July 20, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Ugh, I think I’d find that insulting even though I DO identify very much as a “girl”! Coming from someone who wouldn’t have any idea about the subtleties of intentional identity, it would just sound incredibly patronizing. So if there’s an “ugh” from me, yours is rightfully a “double ugh”!!!

  5. July 30, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    While you might be stuck in that in-between age, I’m here to say it never goes away.

    My butch sweetheart takes particular umbrage at “ladies”… waiters who say “What can I get you ladies?” or “You ladies have a nice evening”. She points out that almost any phrase that includes “ladies” could stand alone without insulting anyone. For example, “What can I get you?” or “Have a nice evening”.

    I think people do this because we’re a novelty for heterosexuals (although gay men do it too) – and they can’t help themselves from expressing that they’ve noticed we’re different than other couples…

  6. July 30, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Also, I should point out that I’m guilty of using “girl” in conversation (but not directly to anyone). I’ve even been known to say “butch girl” when describing someone, as in “over there, standing next to the butch girl in the baseball cap”. I suppose this is a cardinal sin, and I know S. Bear Bergman says “butch” is a noun, but it still sounds like an adjective to me.

    If I know someone prefers to be identified differently, I’ll say “guy,” or “stud,” or whatever their preference is. I have a hard time with “boi,” not as an identity, but as a spoken word, since it sounds exactly like “boy” which also has a submissive connotation. One of my friends insists it should be pronounced “bwah” to rhyme with the French “moi,” but that makes me feel like Miss Piggy every time I try it.

    I attended a women’s college, and left school very militant about not using the word “girl”. The school’s unoffical motto was “Not a girl’s school without men, but a women’s college without boys”. (Truth be told, the place was filled with both grrls and bois!)

    However, over the years, “girl” has crept back into my vocabulary as a way of describing attractive women and women friends… never as a way of describing someone’s position or job (never, for example, “the girl at the front desk”). I’m not sure why I do this, but I think in some uses “woman” just feels too formal, and sounds too 1970s lesbian (think “womyn, wimmin”).

    • Kaitlin
      September 11, 2010 at 11:18 am

      “Woman” often feels too formal to me, too. I always struggle with that one. I’m selective when I use “girl”, but I definitely am guilty of it. I also don’t take offense to it; I think I prefer it to woman majority of the time. Again, time/place is appropriate.

  7. Faggot Boi
    September 5, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Hey, I have what might be an annoying question, and you’re welcome to ignore it if it is, but I’m really genuinely curious – Why do you identify as a woman? This is not to imply that you SHOULDN’T identify as a woman. Mainly, it’s a another way for me to get at the question I am always asking myself – Why do I NOT identify as a woman? I just can’t figure out why some people do and some don’t. So what does it mean to you to identify as a woman and what, in this statement, is implicit in the term “woman”?

    • September 9, 2010 at 7:12 am

      I don’t know why. I’m still thinking about this one. I will get back to you about it. Just wanted you to know that I didn’t think it was an annoying question.

  8. Faggot Boi
    September 11, 2010 at 10:32 am

    ok, take your time… and lemme know when you figure it out!

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