I just turned fifty this January. I quit my bartending job of eight years that I liked, two weeks before the whole world shut down and everyone else got unemployment benefits. Sometimes I make very dumb decisions. But somehow, they usually lead to unforeseen magic. I’m hoping my luck hasn’t run out just when things are getting interesting.
I’m a good writer and a good talker. I tell great stories. People fascinate me. I love a good, hot mess. I also love being in my big, colorful, disorganized, tippy-down house. I love South Minneapolis. I love the queers, the weirdos, and especially the underdogs. I live joyfully with my amazing, talented wife, Katrina. We got a new puppy, Wally. We have two grumpy girl cats, Kevin and Miami. I have a charmed and messy life for which I am so grateful.
Up until relatively recently, my life has felt like an endless, tragic training montage in an underdog sports movie…and not the part where the character is ‘getting stronger’, becoming the best version of himself, ready for the big fight, just the part where he can’t make it to the top of the steps yet -over and over again. My whole life journey had been driven by the compulsion to embody an ever-elusive masculine identity that is an impossible amalgamation of pretty much every masculine trait I ever thought looked good on a dude I thought was cool. This is the most harmful thing about a philosophy of identity that is premised upon an achievable identity.
The up-side of decades of self-hatred has turned out to be the life I’ve had. That sort of fearless, blind soul-flinging, just trying to feel right by doing some other thing, or some other person, has led to some sweet adventures, a very diverse, butch skill set, and a well-informed perspective on lots of different crazy and perversion.
I drove trucks and limos and forklifts. I had lots of sex with lots of kinds. I did drugs and much creepier things. I opened a queer bar in Minneapolis, because weirdos who fight the good fight need a sanctuary. I even wound up at Harvard Divinity School, which is where I started taking testosterone. I never figured out how to get a grown-up job, even with my super fancy Hogwarts credentials. I think that’s mostly due to my inability to visualize somebody like myself in a position of respect. There were too few role models. I am acquiring confidence late in life. I started this as a blog after grad school as an intellectual outlet. Then I wanted to tell the story of the bar I opened. Then I wrote a book about my adventure. It’s a damn good story. I hope it will open a door to endless, myriad conversations about gender, sex, religion, and psychology. I hope I get to build community with my book. I don’t know if there’s a living to be had from that, but it’s what I’ve always enjoyed doing. I also want to be on Ellen and have her surprise introduce me to Cher. It would make me happiest to find out that my writing feels real to you.
3 thoughts on “About”
Wow, it’s great to read your blog and I love your honesty about gender and sex. I feel moved to tell you about one of my first experiences of desire. I was visiting my parents, I think I was about 23. I’d only ever had sex with men at that point, although I knew I wanted to be with a woman but it was a kind of vague, fuzzy thought that seemed very outlandish.
My parents told me they were getting this American visitor from California who was the daughter of a friend of dad’s cousin. Whatever. I made some joke about oh, Californian? Does she have long blonde hair and cowboy boots? (as you can see I had a very realistic idea of what an American would look like). My dad scoffed and made some comment along the lines of pah, she’s nothing to look at.
Then you walked in and I was like, ohmyfuckinggod. I’d never had such a reaction. I had never seen or met a butch woman before. I felt really embarrassed and mortified because my parents were there and I thought they’d be able to see from my face that I was in a state of lust. Then I thought would be able to tell too so it was just layer upon layer of embarrassment.
Since then I eventually chilled out about it and learned to be open to my sexuality. Living in Western Massachusetts in 1998/99 helped, surrounded by out lesbians and loads of butch women. For the first time in my life I got attention and lots of butch women flirted with me. God I loved it!
Since then I’ve had relationships and liaisons with butch women, punk women, camp men and a lot in between. I am attracted to women who behave like alpha males and men who are really effeminate. I don’t really care any more how the person identifies and what they’re got between their legs or whether I call myself bisexual or queer or any other label. Since I lost a lot of weight I’m able to dress and express myself more freely and really enjoy femme-ing it up and wearing dresses and heels and being a big flirt. Part of me however wishes I’d had the balls to do all this earlier but there’s no point in regrets.
I went to see this film ‘Valencia’ about the dyke scene in 90s San Francisco. I kept thinking I would see you in the archive footage! How I would have LOVED to have whored around then and shagged every butch woman on the west coast! Instead I went back to Scotland and hit the bottle and went back into the closet. Scotland in 1999 was the anti-San Francisco. By the time I moved to London the moment seemed to have passed and all the butch women had gone away and lesbians were being all androgynous and really dismissive of anything butch/femme. I was gutted.
Anyway, now I have a lover who is 20 years older than me, a bisexual camp man with loads of tattoos and piercings and a gorgeous big moustache. He appreciates my femininity and hasn’t got a problem with my random and varied sexuality. It’s good fun.
Good to connect with you this way and you look great. Lots of love xxxx
OMG, lovely! I totally would have fooled around with you on the floor of your dorm room drinking gin and lemonade. So glad you’re happy and finding your own little specialized situation that is your kind of fun. Next time I’m in town, let’s have tea. love – xoxo
harvard grad I decided to start taking testosterone because it was exhausting to be a butch. It’s been three years and for some reason, it did calm me down. This actually still confuses me, and I look forward to hearing from others on the subject.
this is what I would like to talk with you about.