Letter to a LIGL
Originally performed for The Femme Show, 2011
Dear Life is Good Lesbian,
I simply adore you. We've been dating for a bit now, and I have finally worked up the courage to invite you to The Femme Show... So I thought I would write you a letter to sooth any hesitation you may have about my femme identity. Please note that the term "Life is Good Lesbian" (LIGL) is not an attempt to box you in, it's just a simple ode to your style and optimism. I have been inspired by this brand you covet so closely and your simplistic approach to life.
I love the way your short hair blows in the breeze and your life is good t-shirts wrinkle in all the right places. I adore your commitment to hiking, water sports, organic vegetables and golden retrievers. I adore it when you get excited about your bicycle and match the colors of your helmet to your bike's frame. I love that you wear chucks with dress pants and belts that match your eyes. You have the most beautiful eyes and green garden crocs a girl could ever wish for. When you talk about recycling and the 5k you're training for, I swoon. I especially adore your fierce commitment to a label-less life wherein you state strongly that you do not wish to be boxed-in or gender stereotyped.
Oh Life is Good Lesbian, I dream of camping underneath the stars with you. When I'm not with you, I long for a goodnight kiss from those lips, under the starry summer sky. Oh to be pressed up against your Subaru Forester! The moon would shine down on your Life is Good bumper sticker and my cute pink flats and bare ankles would nuzzle up against your sensible Keenes... our hips pressing up against each other...
When our eyes first locked under the brim of your messenger cap I know you weren't even sure if I was gay. I quickly affirmed I liked girls ...a lot... and then you flirted your way into my little heart. I know you were skeptical at first about my skirts and my girly shoes, my big dangly earrings, and my tinted Burt's Bees lip gloss. "Why tint a perfectly good Chapstick?" You asked as I opened my compact. I'm the first self-proclaimed femme you've dated so i watched as you got turned on when you saw me put on lipstick the other morning, I knew right then and there all your second-wave feminist values were brought into question.
Okay, now to be totally honest, when i first met you, I was a little skeptical about your Life is Good t-shirts because I'm kind of like: "Life is like just okay..?" right? I mean... Maybe I'm just a little jaded, but isn't it kind of like the racist colorblind argument where you ignore the oppression that’s happening in the world? Isn’t it a little classist to say.. Life is Good? But Despite our differences, it seems as though we like each other a lot - so much to the point that one day we might actually adopt cats one day, or even discuss alternative insemination techniques. And let's face it, we have some great scissoring sex.
But you worry because you're dating someone who identifies as Femme, people will think you're the boy. I saw it on your face last weekend when my friend automatically grouped you in with the butches when we were picking kickball teams. I felt you pull away from me. I know. I've heard this before. You're not butch, you're not the man. You're both feminine and masculine. And most importantly, you don't want to be boxed-in. I know. I see you.
I like you just the way you are. ...And you know, if you do happen to revel in your boyish charm on occasion or wear a tie out on our date night, or that cute Patagonia sweater vest with the wicked lining for extra warmth, I will still see you, all of you and your label-free gender. I promise to never call you almost-butch or soft-butch when describing you to my friends. and I promise to listen intently when you talk about the pressure to be trans-masculine. I promise to stick up for you when people say that you're butch or trans and just haven't realized it yet. If you ever do decide you want to get chest surgery or bind on a regular basis, I'll never say I told you so. Because.. I see you.
In return, I simply need you to see me. Thank you for not assuming that just because I’m femme I'm a pillow princess or a bottom or high maintenance. See, I don't want to be boxed in either.
Femme is just a word that helps me describe myself and my queer history. Femme is fluid and always evolving. Femme can be sexy, but its also strength, confidence, poise, and brilliance. Femme is never weak, never dumb; never impractical.
And so, when you say things like "Can you walk all that way in those shoes?" Or "I've never seen you wear jeans before because you always have to wear those skirts." That is NOT seeing me. PLUS, It hurt my feelings a little. PLUS, It's misogyny talking. No one ever asks if someone in chucks or boat shoes can walk all that way in those shoes; when we all know they too have sucky foot support! That’s sexism talking. What I’d rather you say is: "Wow. You look so sexy in those shoes." Or "Damn, you look so good tonight. Life is good when I'm with you."
It might seem like im trying to complicate life with all my labels and identities, but is quite simple to me. What I'm wearing might look ridiculous to you, or it might seem like I'm unnecessarily dressing up all the time, or making a political statement all the time, but I assure you, I'm not dressing up, I’m not acting hipster, it's just me. This is just who I am. Femme. All I ask is that you see me. And I promise to see you. And if we see each other, life will just be... so good.