Was That a Compliment?


Taken at BarCamp London 7

Taken at BarCamp London 7 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone paid me a compliment.  At least she said it was a compliment but I’m not totally convinced that it was.  A straight woman, who is a friend of a friend and we’ve hung out a couple of times, referred to me as a “geek” in her conversation with the other two women sitting at the table.  All I could do was look at her in disbelief.  She tried to quickly laugh it off but I didn’t laugh.  That is when she  went on to say that it was okay, a compliment even, because I am a “cute geek.”  I still didn’t smile.

I will admit, I am not the most butchy of the butch.  I don’t wear ties, I’m not that mechanical and I pray that one of our cats will take care of any creepy crawly thing with more than 4 legs that has the audacity to enter our home. . . not that I regularly adhere to stereotypes or labels.  I’ve always viewed myself as falling under the butch umbrella, somewhere between soft and sporty.  However, the older I get the less actively sporty I am.  But darn it, none of that is what I would call geek-like.   

Actually, the “compliment” wasn’t insulting, it’s what it did to my ego and self-esteem that annoys me.  Once I knew how that woman viewed me, I was right back to my early twenties when I came out; to myself and others.  At that point, for the first time in my life, I cared how other people viewed me, well at least a certain part of the population.  Up until that point I didn’t know what made me different and I hadn’t gotten around to worrying about not having a love life.  But once I figured it out, hello!  My hair, clothes and shoes all needed to be just so.  And now thanks to her opinion I was conscious of how others may view me: my hair, the cargo shorts I had on or my new glasses. 

For the rest of that night all I kept trying to figure out was what it was about me, was it just one thing in particular or the ensemble that made someone view me as a geek.  I thought it was because I wasn’t butch enough.  So then I started mentally going through my closet, checking out the clothes and shoes.  The following morning I had a mental list of things I thought I needed to buy to get back to the butch I knew myself to be.  That explains why I bought a more masculine cologne, nothing gender neutral, and a new belt while at a store yesterday. 

Today, after SK noticed my new cologne and gave it a positive review, I realized what that “compliment” did to me, how it made me feel, how it led me to question my reputation and worry I wasn’t butch enough.   I invented myself over 15 years ago and yes, it’s evolving as I grow older, but I do not need nor want to re-invent who I am.   So now I understand it’s not important that the woman viewed me as a geek, no, what’s important is that she thought I am cute, ah, just kidding.

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5 thoughts on “Was That a Compliment?

  1. I don’t think she knows me well enough to make that call but that would have saved me a lot on contemplation. Thank you for your feedback! RM

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  2. Pingback: My Top Ten | The Little Butch That Could

  3. A long time I read or heard this statement and since then it has (obviously) allowed me innumerable freedoms. “When you cease to worry what others think, you become free to sing in stores”, something which I frequently take advantage of. I think of butch as an attitude. I don’t consider my GF butch at all (I did make that reference once jokingly and she was mad for hours). Having said that, she is a puzzle. Makeup, hair, perfume, feminine stuff I don’t understand yet she can fix almost anything and has potential to become a bully if she were to have free reign. I live under the rule of “if you allow others to have full control, ultimately you are the one in control.” Clever, huh? Oh yeah. You big ol’ butch you.

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  4. Yep, that’s me, a “big ol’ butch” as I sit here in my carpenter jeans circa 1995 and white undershirt.
    I rarely give two shits what other people think when they see me but for some reason this time was different. I don’t know why and thankfully it hasn’t happened since.
    FYI, don’t make your GF mad, she’s over 6′! 🙂
    Thank you again, madaboutyoulady, for your continue reading of my list and of course, your comments are welcome and entertaining! Cheers.

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