The Amazon Trail: Butches Night Out

By Lee Lynch
© 2012 Lee Lynch and Diversity Rules Magazine.  All rights reserved.

lynchLee Lynch wrote the classic novels The Swashbuckler and Toothpick House. The most recent of her 14 books, Sweet Creek and Beggar of Love, were published by Bold Strokes Books. She lives in rural Florida with her wife and their furry ruffians.

When I first moved to the coast I was so excited to be 1) away from the queer-bashing country where we used to live 2) living on the edge of the great Pacific Ocean and 3) among lesbians who had a tradition of welcoming newcomers with open arms that I had boundless energy and enthusiam. [Four] years later reality has taken its toll. My new county hasn’t bared any ugly anti-gay fangs, the Pacific continues to be its glorious self and the lesbian community is still warm and buoying. It’s just me who’s pooped out.

There is so much writing I want to do and I’ve done so little of it; there are so many women I want to spend time with and I can’t be in two places at once; there are so many trails and towns  I want to explore and so little energy left over after earning a living , keeping up the household, getting a few hours sleep at night. Sometimes I despair of successfully writing fiction: my theme has always unwittingly been finding “a place for us.” It seems that I’ve found it — now what do I do?

Enjoy. In between being an armchair activist fighting the current anti-life, anti-civil  liberties administration and performing my other endless responsibilities (sorting the recycling, keeping the car clean of sea salt,  going to work)  I do manage to grab some time down at the beach.  I refuse to become one of those coasties who sees the ocean only on the way to the grocery store.

I also make sure I go to our  potlucks, even though I’ve gotten embarassed about taking the same rice and veggie dish every month due to a dearth of originality,  food allergies and  time constraints. The potluck is where new dykes get connected and old dykes keep our connections. It’s been described as a bunch of short women with white hair and that is largely accurate, but what women! We even have our own short haircutter newly moved to the county and introduced at a potluck.

The other tradition I am hanging onto  is Butches’ Night Out, affectionately known as BNO. When The Hotelier and I came up with it we had great plans. We’d do this at least monthly. We’d include other women who admitted to and revelled in being butch. We’d find a convivial restaurant, have an evening’s outing so to speak, and perhaps add other activities.

It’s still just the two of us. Good restaurants are scarce as hens’ teeth in this resort area. We are lucky to fit BNO into our schedules once a quarter.

It’s a darn shame.  Lover and I have friends as a couple and I have friends who are single butches or  that I hang with in group gatherings and friends who are flagrant femmes and friends who don’t know what the heck they are and don’t particularly care, but going wihtout seeing my “married” butch buddy would be like living in an exclusively straight world.

It’s not that we talk about our girlfriends except perhaps to report on health and activities. We don’t talk women’s basketball  or cruise straight girls. Nor do we compare notes about being harassed for the way we walk and dress.  As a matter of fact, we don’t have intense discussions of anything. We eat. We might check in on  new recipes that have arrived for The Butch Cookbook we’re planning to publlish together. I suppose if we were big drinkers, could tolerate the smoke and I had enough hand-eye coordination to hit a ball with a narrow stick, we’d go to a bar, lift a few, maybe shoot some pool or toss darts.

And maybe not. Last night, shivering in my jacket but pretty tight-lipped about the chill,  I wandered the small port with The Hotelier. We watched a seagull convention and the odd Great blue heron or Commorant. We wandered over to the beach to check for Godwits and Wimbrels (one has a bill that curves down, the other is straight-nosed, don’t ask me which is which). We ate in a small dining room where a passel of seniors was playing cards so enthusiastically we had to yell current events at each other.

The highlight of the evening was that little stroll. The Hotelier said, “Let’s go on the dock!” I’d hesitated to suggest this, afraid she’d think me a silly and immature. This is a tiny port. more like a small marina without even permanent tie-ups for boats., but it has floatting docks. The spring twilight seemed everlasting.  I felt like I could tell her anything and she’d understand. At the same time I felt like I didn’t have to tell her a thing because she already not only understood, but knew and accepted it all.

We walked to the tippy end op the dock and The Hotelier said, “We’re on a boat.” We leaned from side to side to make the float heave over deep sea swells. Old salts, we found our sea legs quickly and talked about boat trips we would take, or maybe never have time to take. The sky took on the pink cast of sunset. The birds wheeled and dove around us.   We’d soon be with our girlfriends, but right now, it was Butches Night out.

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