Lea DeLaria makes my butch soul grin and my, yes, fat belly sing. In her interview with for Style Like U‘s What’s Underneath Project she definitely captures what I’ve felt for way too many years.
Years that started on Sunday mornings, counting down the hours as I sat frocked up in Sunday school till I could get back home and admire the uniformed heroes that were John Mills, David Niven, Jack Hawkins, Trevor Howard, Kenneth Moore and Denholm Elliott. Fantasies that became a kind of reality at Frinton’s rather posh jumble sales (a must-do for us poor kids on the wrong side of the Avenue), happy in the knowledge that the old lady working the gentlemen’s clothing section would save all the best bits, tuxedos and ties, suits and sartorial must-wears that I scurried home with each weekend. At first they were destined for the dressing up box; fearful as I was that although they fitted me I never would in this particular choice of clothing. Too butch, too boyish and ultimately not how I was supposed to look. But as the years went by and the frocks were discarded and my confidence grew in my sexuality (and The Smiths made it okay to wear men’s pyjama tops in public), I began my public dress up. Using clothes to project the baby butch inside of me, the person inside of me.
The person who got a kick outta being suited and booted. The person who’s first crushes were Dietrich, Hepburn and Streisand – not because the flowing locks but those suits – oh those suits. A person who adores decent tailoring and lusts after the bespoke (one day, one day!) The person happier in brogues than heels, waistcoats than wedding gown, button-down shirts than bikinis.
Ah yes bikinis. One of the many challenges my 38DD’s have thrown my way as a butch lass who prefers the lace-up to the leggings. The shirts never quite right, my chest to buxom to ensure the neck does up just so, my legs too short to find a trouser suit to fit. But I give it a go. Certain in the knowledge that not everything in Topdyke or Urban Lesfitters will do it, the hunt is always on for the other kind of butcher on the high street.
Since those early jumble days I’ve craved the authentic from uniforms to my neck attire (no fancy dress polyester hell will ever, ever work regardless how light-hearted the theme). And yet in the contradiction that is me (that’ll be the BPD) I find myself just a butch on the streets. The voice too camp at times, the loves in my life not that femme (although the missus does rock a bikini!), the sexual attractions too random to ever make me the butch my attire may occasional suggest. Which is why today I salute Lea DeLaria. She’s on point. Parading in her boxers, taking on the world and celebrating her glorious body. I’ll be thinking of her next time the looks come my way as I rifle through the men’s undies section after the perfect fitting boxer, next time I fiddle with my bowtie as I prepare to face the world, next time I pay tribute to Fatboy in a suitably floral shirt as I show the world I’m a butch (albeit one happy to embrace my more feminine side). Yes my hairdresser may wish I embrace a world without clippers and my doctor may suggest less pints and pies but I’m proud to be a big butch, even if I am a pussycat at heart.