Labels

For my Love and me, urbandictionary is lesbian special education.

It’s fun to troll through the lesbian labels: top, bottom, switch, femme, butch, soft butch, boi, tomboy, sporty, andro, lipstick, chapstick, diesel, bull, dominant, submissive …

Is this really a thing? Do lesbians really label themselves (and each other) this way? Neither of us has the experience to know.

(I just found the entry for “rogue lesbian“. It describes us. That appears to be its only appearance in the Internet. Is it a thing?)

Unless you are, or have loved, a mathematician, you don’t understand obsession. Mathematicians define every term with rigorous precision and prove every proposition with rigorous logic.


Permit me a digression.

My Love’s family raises cattle. Lots of cattle.

Everyone in her family eats steak and chops rare. Her brother says, “If somebody lit a cigarette as the steer went up the chute at the slaughterhouse, it’s overcooked.”

Whenever my Love’s family gets together, they grill steaks. A quarter of the steak gets eaten before the charcoal is even lit. There’s a sharp knife and a salt grinder next to the raw steak platter. One cuts off a bite-sized chunk of raw meat, salts it and pops it in one’s mouth.

My Love likes her steak a bit more done than that. She likes a nice char on the outside, room temperature in the middle and otherwise just warm enough to turn the marbling into its ambrosial state. In her family (and to every cattleman or cattlewoman I’ve ever met) that’s medium rare.

Unfortunately, if you leave the range and order a medium-rare steak in an urban steakhouse, you will get what my Love would call a medium-well steak. It will be cooked through. Compensate by ordering rare, and it won’t have the proper char and (not having properly been brought to room temperature before grilling) the marbling will still be just fat.

Here in New York, it’s not a problem. She eats her steak at Keens. Her steak specification is as well known at Keens as Lily Langtry’s taste in champagne was known a century ago. They get it right.

(Digression to the digression: A sister explains why Keens is the best bar in New York.)

(Further digression to the digression: If Miss Keens is to be believed, pubic hair removal is not a new phenomenon.)

But elsewhere, my Love needs to get very specific. She tried, “rare medium rare”, but that either got overcooked or undercooked, and didn’t have the char she craves. She tried, “rare side of medium rare”. Same problem.

To get the right char, she asks for “Pittsburgh”. That requires explanation some places. In others the steak gets burned to a cinder.

So she’s given up on steakhouse labels. She carries a pack of little cards that describe exactly how she wants her steak. She hands one to the waiter. If the steak doesn’t come exactly as described, she sends it back and demands that they start over from scratch. She keeps sending it back until they get it right.

Here endeth the digression.


That’s how we feel about lesbian labels.

Both of us are traditionally feminine. Different from each other, but traditionally feminine.

Femmes? Lipstick lesbians? I think not, if the connotations in urbandictionary are correct.

We’re strong women who stand up for ourselves. We’re both highly successful in male-dominated professions.

We’re equals in every way. We both like to give as much as we like to receive. Neither of us dominates or submits.

Top? Bottom? Dominant? Submissive? No, no, no, no.

Neither of us is a pillow princess, that’s damn sure.

When we’re out West, we wear Pendleton plaid shirts and blue jeans. It’s not lesbian code. It’s what everybody wears.

My Love rides horses, can give a truck engine a valve-and-ring job and knows the right way to handle any hand tool or power tool.

Does that make her butch? I think not; every ranch girl knows those things.

I build things. Not do-it-yourself dog houses; billion-dollar construction projects. I fix things. Not cars; broken pipelines.

Does that make me butch? I think not; it’s my job.

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One thought on “Labels

  1. Labels are definitely difficult to figure out. For me, I choose labels for my own benefit. I have a very analytical brain that needs lists and compartments to fully function well. I don’t feel I need labels to define myself to others though because no label can quite get me. But I use them to understand myself. Good for you to break those labels and stereotypes.

    Liked by 1 person

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