3 min

Toronto’s butch shortage

Won't anyone light my cigarette?

NOT A LOOK. Carrie Grey gives some butch attitude. Credit: Joshua Meles

I came out in the land of afternoon coffee dates and leather jackets as protection in the brutal winter months, with cleavage, cigarettes and attitude in all the right places.

And as a new member of the “club,” the ladies and gentlemen of la belle province were good to me. Encouraged to be the lady that I was, I appreciated the boys of the female variety who would saddle up beside me at the bar to buy my drink, light my cigarette, and bestow compliments on my outfit.

I quickly became accustomed to the ways of the gentle, and sometimes not so, gentlemen of Montreal. Seats offered were met with a light touch on the shoulder, a “thanks so much sweetheart,” or a kiss on the cheek. Coats put on received a sweet smile, a calculated bend over to adjust my stockings, or – depending on the night, the mood, the attraction – a phone number.

Having had enough of blistering winters and unemployment, I packed and moved to the land of plenty known as Toronto. After two and a half years I have settled into a fabulous Hogtown life with my family, an unsurpassed group of friends, and a knowledge of where to get the good stuff cheap.

There is, however, a bit of a problem. I am oddly lost without my boys.

I must say that I don’t always know what others expect of a butch, or what they see when I speak of what I search. It is not all about a “look,” and much more about an attitude: chivalrous, attentive. And as far as I am concerned, polyester or plaid – it doesn’t matter.

Now don’t get me wrong, it is not a one sided deal, and I am not out for butches who will look after me and keep me in the way to which I have become accustomed. Although that doesn’t hurt.

Before my recent Vegas wedding to my wife, the gals in my life began to plan. A hen party was in the works. They asked what it was that I wanted to experience on my last night as a single woman. Without hesitation I answered, “A butch stripper. Otherwise forget the party.”

Needless to say, there was no party. They made other suggestions.

“Well, what about one of the drag kings? They’re butch. Aren’t they?”

I slowly shook my head and said that I think they call it drag for a reason, and you can never be certain that those hot young things are genuine gentlemen.

Now since I have been on the search for proper butch gentlemen, I have discovered that I am not on my own. And have endured the recounting of a great many horror stories.

There is the ever popular, “I was sitting at a table, six of us, and no one that I was with even attempted to light the cigarette I had in my mouth for more than the expected five seconds. I mean, can’t a lady get a fucking light?”

And then the increasingly present complaint, “It was like I don’t even exist. Chatting about how much ladies piss them off and aren’t good for anything, these two boys walked off arm in arm. I mean I understand if I am not your type, but show a woman some respect.”

With the arrival of Pussy Palace, I thought that things might be different. Had high hopes and anxiously awaited the night’s arrival. Maybe there would be a plethora of macho Casanovas ready to charm the panties off any lady.

That was not the case.

There were erotic massages, lap dancing and strip shows, all of which were stellar. And the women who provided the sexy services were quite delicious. But… there were no butches whose role that night was to hold my things: lipstick and cigarettes, a lighter and anything else I might need held. There was no one there whose job it was to be charming, make me laugh, and ask me if I needed anything. And the most disappointing was, no one was there for the job of assisting me in, or out of anything.

I am left with a void that I am trying desperately to fill, and perhaps I should just get over it, resign myself to the fact that that time might be over, and I am living in a dream world. But I will be sad to say good-bye to suave butches and the swaggers that make me swoon.