Is it just me, or do all butches, soft
or otherwise, carry alotta stuff in their pockets? My sweetheart has
chronically empty pockets. I don’t understand how anyone can live
that way. I guess I’m one of many dykes who took our Girl Scout
motto to heart: I’m always prepared.
Here’s today’s (and every day’s)
inventory. In my right front pocket: a Sante Fe Stoneworks pen knife
with a superb Camillus blade. My sweetheart gave it to me to replace
a similar lost knife. Next: a Fisher Space pen that opens to full
size. It’s my everyday pen. My sweetheart gave me the same pen, in
rainbow colors, for book signings. Next: spare keys. When I was
single, I always carried an extra car and house key in case the Handy
Dyke or the Pianist weren’t nearby when I locked myself out. Now
that I’m married, they come in handy to rescue the femme of the
house. On the key ring: a Cruiser flash drive for my
works-in-progress and an intense, teensy flashlight. But most
important is the handful of treats to reward our pup and make friends
with every other dog I’m introduced to.
In this butch’s left front pocket: a
blue pillbox for headaches, allergy attacks, and the agita I get when
I’m missing any piece of my pocket arsenal. Also: a melon-flavored
organic, vegan, GMO-free, cruelty-free lip balm for braving the
elements. And last: my pocket rock, a blue agate from a west coast
beach. Carrying it is my guarantee I will always get back home, but
it’s slow-acting—we’ve been stuck in Florida for four years
Back right pocket: a smart phone for
e-mails at long traffic lights, finding the next iced tea stop, and
texting with my cool young niece. Left back pocket: bandana; black
paisley today. Color is of no significance whatsoever, so don’t try
to make me out a hippie necrophiliac or something.
As a young dyke, I wouldn’t be caught
without a cigarette lighter. Women, not all of them lesbians, tended
to be completely wowed when that handy lighter proved I was at their
service. If there were two or more of us little butches around, there
would always be an unspoken contest to see who offered her lighter
fastest. Now the penknife has replaced the lighter. If a woman needs
a cutting edge, there’s a communal butch rush to provide one:
penknife, jackknife, multi-tool. When I was in retail food, I went
everywhere with a box cutter in my back pocket. Air travel prohibits
this now, so I keep an inexpensive penknife in my checked luggage.
Though the travel knife pales next to my prized Camillus, I’d feel
sissified without something.
Aging is not kind to pocket-geeks.
Middle-aged spread makes me bulky enough without bulging pockets. I
used to carry my wallet where my thin phone is now, but that threw my
back out. We had lunch with a friend last weekend and she took out
her phone. It had an extended battery like a little hunch on its
back. I was wild with envy, but how would I carry it? My suavely slim
phone slides in and out of a back pocket easily, but a more powerful
battery would make for unpleasant sitting. Our friend didn’t have
that problem. Proudly femme, she carries a purse.
So for these kinds of conundrums I have
a pocket annex. It’s an “Uncle Milty’s Travel Vest” and it
came with 17 pockets. It’s kind of hot for wearing in Florida, but
the pocket rock will get us home soon. Besides, nobody, except one
British firm, the Butch
Clothing Company, designs clothing or accessories for butches.
Yes, rainbow t-shirts and key fobs are readily available, but they’re
uni-gender and uni-style and, while I’m proud of their message,
they don’t solve any problems exclusive to butches. We get
hand-me-down styles from men. Or tailored looks rejected by high
It’s such a narrow line we butches
walk. I do not in any way shape or form want to pass as a man. But if
I want to wear a full tuxedo, I’ll be wearing one made for guys.
When I wear Uncle Milty’s vest, passersby question my gender with
their disapproving eyes. If I want to carry an adjunct pocket over my
shoulder, I can choose between a ladies’ purse or one of those
heavy, oversized carryalls with the unattractive name of man bags. As
a matter of fact, I just looked for bandanas on Amazon because I want
to get a few as a gift for a friend. What did I find? Bandanas
modeled as hair scarves for women. And on Etsy, women, little girls
and dogs are the models.
But my pockets? I claim pockets as
[Editor's Note: Lee Lynch is the author
of over 13 books. Her latest, Rafferty
Street, concludes her epic
Morton River Valley trilogy. You can reach Lynch at
Copyright 2012 Lee Lynch