Thursday, June 12, 2008

Butch/Femme

I've noticed something about gay couples.

With lesbian couples, there seems to be a high concentration of a butch/femme mix. Many of the lesbian pairings I see are made up of one somewhat feminine woman (layered clothes, cute hairstyle, handbag, talking on the phone) and one rather masculine one (ball cap, wallet in back jeans pocket, no makeup). This isn't true of all lesbian couples, mind you, but these kinds of pairings do seem to be more frequent than with gay men.

I rarely, if ever, see the same kind of contrast with gay male couples; differences in age, perhaps, but not much difference in age and almost never a difference in level of masculinity. Taking The BF and I into exception, gay male couples seem to be almost cookie cutter images of each other. The BF and I are very physically different from each other (he's 4 inches taller, I'm 70 pounds heavier, he's 12 years younger - go me!). I used to know one couple back in DC where one was extremely masculine and the other was just a flamer. But that was back in the 80's just as gay men were making the shift from the 70's bathhouse clones to the health-conscious, gym-crazed bunnies of the 90's.

I can't speak on behalf of women, but there are many gay men who consider their partners to be a reflection of themselves. It's a holdover from the importance of being "straight-acting" - we don't want our partner to "give us away" in public if we can pull off looking straight. I'm actually glad this idea is slowly going out of the window. As men and women begin coming out at earlier ages, and thus become more socially acceptable, the need to fit in with what is considered "the norm" is not so prevalent. And then, hopefully, more men will be willing to allow themselves to really look at another man for who he is and what he stands for, instead of just how he stands.

Anyway, it's just something I noticed.