4 min

Je suis femme

Less than butch leanings and French bathrooms checks

I used to have two dogs; Deja, a big hairy old husky mix, and the little guy, a Pekinese-Pomeranian cross with a foreskin abnormality named Goliath.

I gave him a tough name not only because he would go on to weigh eight pounds when full-grown, but also because his penis can’t descend like the penises of other, less special dogs do. When he gets an erection, which is often, instead of a little lipstick appearing he gets a lump in his tummy.

Three months ago Deja, my old lady dog, passed away after 15 years of friendship and shedding. So now it’s just me and the little guy.

Goliath and I had a hard time adjusting at first, him wandering around the house looking for his friend and me trying not to cry every time I swept the floor, but slowly we are getting used to life without the old dog.

I have taken a bit of flak in the past for being a butch with a fluffy little dog on a leash, but then the big dog would run up with a giant stick in her mouth and whoever was hassling me would back down, their masculine image of me somehow repaired and intact again.

Having one big dog and one little one was kind of like those guys driving a minivan with two car seats in the back and a bumper sticker that says, “My other car is a Harley.” Deja was my Harley, but she’s gone now.

The other day a butch friend of mine met Goliath for the first time, and she laughed out loud, right in his fluffy face, which was right beside my face, because I was holding him under my arm.

“I never pictured you with a lap dog,” she smirked.

“I am a multifaceted and complex individual,” I told her.

She snorted.

“My truck is bigger than yours,” I retorted, which shut her up.

Later that night, in a bar in Ottawa, she offered to buy me a beer.

“I can’t drink beer, I am gluten intolerant,” I explained, hating the way this sounded before it even left my mouth.

She raised an eyebrow. “How about a white wine then?”

“How about I kick your ass?”

She bought me a vodka and cranberry juice, which came with a thin straw and smiled smugly at me for the rest of the night from behind a butch-looking pint of dark beer.

My girlfriend was in town last weekend, and we ran into an old coworker of hers on the street, a professional lesbian in a smart two-piece pantsuit. Small talk was exchanged, and then we parted ways.

“Have you ever met her partner?” I asked my sweetheart.

“Once, at a wine and cheese type thing. Her and her girlfriend were both wearing skirts. It kind of freaked me out.”

I shuddered. “What do you think they do in bed?”

My girlfriend shrugged, and then we laughed.

We both know already that we are a little old school when it comes to things like all-femme action or butch-on-butch love.

It’s not that I don’t completely support the rights of others to do what they wish how they want with whomever is consenting; it’s just that it’s not how I am wired.

The landscape my libido responds to is curvy and wears lipstick, and is attracted to biceps and big black boots.

I took my curvy and lipsticked lady friend to Montreal last weekend for a romantic getaway. We walked and shopped and fucked and ate and walked some more. My new big black boots were killing my feet, but I tried to keep this to myself.

My sweetheart went to French immersion school when she was a kid, whereas I was a lucky participant in a pilot project where I learned Tlingit, a First Nations language spoken mostly in the Southern Yukon. Learning Tlingit was cool, but not so handy later in life when ordering cappuccinos in Montreal.

I did study some French in high school and I have had a few Québécoise girlfriends over the years, so I mostly understand the gist of a conversation, but I often freeze up a little when it comes to actually speaking, especially when nervous or overly sober.

I’ m more of a listener en français, which I like to think of as a welcome change of pace from my English self.

Our last morning in Montreal I managed to mumble my way through ordering two medium coffees, one orange juice and a bottle of water in French, and then I ducked into the women’s washroom.

There were two middle-aged ladies washing their hands, which they immediately began to wave in my face as they cursed me in what I can only guess was most likely French, pushing me with their words backwards towards the bathroom door as they advanced.

I panicked, forgetting even how to speak much English for a minute. I fumbled frantically around in my head for the right words in French. The only words

I could find were simple, a baby sentence, lacking in grammar or style, I blurted them out crudely, my last defence: “Je suis femme.”

What I meant to say was I’m sorry, and I don’t mean to frighten or alarm you, but contrary to what you seem to think I am a predominately estrogen-based organism and I wish to avail myself of the facilities. What I actually said was “I am woman.”

They both stopped for a millisecond, looked at each other and then back at me, and continued to scold me out the door. I turned and bolted for the men’s room, which seemed to have been hosed down with stale urine and was out of toilet paper. Someone had also borrowed the stall door and toilet seat and forgot to return them.

Next time I need to use the salle de bain I will have to remember to bring a pink cocktail and my little dog.