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Hats off to beautiful femmes

Hats off to beautiful femmes

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Thank you for looking at me the way you do
To all the beautiful, kick ass, fierce and full-bodied femmes out there, I would like to extend my thanks to you.

It is for you that I press my shirts and carefully iron my ties. It is for you that I make sure my underwear and socks match. It is to you that I tip my cowboy hat. It is for you that I polish my big black boots.

I know that sometimes you feel like nobody truly sees you. I want you to know that I see you. I see you on the street, on the bus, in the gym, in the park.

I don’t know why I can tell that you are not straight, but I can. Maybe it is the way you look at me. Please don’t stop looking at me the way you do.

All of my life I have been told that I am ugly, I am less than, I am not a man, I am unwanted. Until you came along, I believed them. Please do not ever stop looking at me the way you do.

I would never say that the world is harder on me than it is you. Sometimes you are invisible. I have no idea what this must feel like, to pass right by your people and not be recognized. To not be seen. I cannot hide, unless I am seen as something I am not. This is not more difficult, it is just different.

I know those shoes are fucking killing your feet. I want you to know how much I appreciate that you are still wearing them. You look hot. I love you in them. They look great with that dress.

If it makes you feel any better at all, the boots I have on right now weigh approximately 12 pounds apiece and they make the soles of my feet burn like diaper rash in a heat wave and it feels like I’m wearing ski boots when I have to walk up stairs. But I wear them for you.

Even still, my new boots are velvet slippers compared to your knee-high five-inch heels. I notice, and I salute you.

I promise, I am not just staring at your tits. I am trying to look you directly in the eyes, but you are almost eight inches taller than me, please see above note regarding your five-inch heels. At the same time, I would like to mention that while I was trying to look you in the eyes, I couldn’t help but notice your lovely new pendant. I am sure it really brings out the colour of your eyes, if I could see them.

I want to thank you for coming out of the closet. Again and again, over and over, for the rest of your life. At school, at work, at your kid’s daycare, at your brother’s wedding, at the doctor’s office. Thank you for sideswiping their stereotypes.

I never get the chance to come out of the closet, because my closet was always made of glass. But you do it for me. You fight homophobia in a way that I never could. Some of them think I am queer because I am undesirable. You prove to them that being queer is your desire.

Thank you for loving me because of who I am and what I look like, not in spite of who I am and what I look like.

Thank you for smelling so good.

Thank you for holding my hand on the sidewalk during the hockey playoffs. I know it is probably small-minded of me to smile wicked at all the drunken dudes in jerseys smoking outside the sports bar in between periods because you are so fucking hot, and you are with me and not them, but I can’t help it. That’s right fellas. You want her but she wants me. How do you like them apples?

Thank you for wearing matching bra and panties. I don’t know why this makes my life seem so perfect, but it really does.

Thank you for being the daughter my mother always wanted. You are so smart and successful and you dress so fine that you almost make up for her having me and my sister for her real children.

Thank you for reaching out in the dark at the movie theatre to grab my hand in the scary parts. It makes me feel like I am strong, that I can take care of you. Even if there is no such thing as vampires, and you do so much yoga that you could probably easily kick my ass.

I want you to know I love your crooked tooth, your stretch marks, the missing part of your finger, your short leg, your third nipple, your lazy eye, your cowlick, your birthmark shaped like Texas. I love it all.

I want you to know that I know it is not always easy to love me. That sometimes my chest is a field full of landmines and where you went last night you can’t go tomorrow. There is no manual, no roadmap, no helpline you can call. My body does not come with instructions, and sometimes even I don’t know what to do with it. This cannot be easy, but still, you touch me anyway.

Thank you for escorting me into the women’s washroom because the floor of the men’s was covered in something unmentionable. Thank you for asking me if I had a tampon in my purse really loud so the lady in the turquoise sweatshirt did a double take before gathering up her daughter and hitting me with a pool noodle. I can’t say for sure whether that is what actually would have happened, but thanks to you I didn’t have to find out.

Thank you for wearing that dress just because you knew it would match my shirt. Together, we are unstoppable. When seen through your eyes, I am beautiful. Turns out I was a swan the whole time.
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Comments

thank you
another beautiful and tender story, ivan. thank you for being so vulnerable as to pour your ideas out in such graceful ways. they always warm my heart.

oh and by the way, you are beautiful. i've had a crush on you for years :)
So glad I found it here!
My copy of XWest got recycled and I've been looking for this to post on my fridge. I loved reading it and will enjoy reading it again and again. Thank you! It spoke to that part of me that feels she is not taken seriously when flirting with women who don't know I'm gay.
Cheers sir!
Ivan, yet again a piece of your writing has reinforced my hope in the human spirit(sorry to make you blush). You've been an inspiration since a friend pointed me in the direction of "closer to spider man)and since them I read and reread everyone of those most amazing stories of small town life, so rich with detail and often brimming with humour and joy. This ode to the beauty of femmes is also a true gem.
You've made me proud to be queer, so deeply have I identified with your tales of growing up as a Tomboi. You even make me homesick for the Yukon, and I've never even been to Canada! haha
I'd love to see one of your book readings some day. Until then man I'll raise a glass to you!
Thank You
Thank you Ivan, your words lush so and beautiful. You show a keen understanding of what makes many of us femmes femme. A few tears welled in my eyes whilst reading this, a rarity for me. Keep writing, you have a stalwart fan now!
Tip o'the hat!
It isn't simple-minded to be straightforwardly appreciative and to represent one's own experience directly. A piece of writing doesn't have to address all of life's bedeviling complexity to be worthwhile.

We all know that things are confusing and hard, but a witty, warm, gentle and revealing love letter makes the day go easier.

Ivan, you put your feelings out there, and with style. That's what writers do, and it's well worth the risk. Hats off to you!
A frustrated artist?
Julia,

You can't be serious. Her name can't carry her any further? As if that's all she's ever produced.

Let's see now Coyote's FOUR published story collections are Close to Spider Man, One Man's Trash, Loose End and The Slow Fix. There was also Boys Like Her with the Taste This collective.

What else? Coyote's novel Bow Grip won the 2007 ReLit Award and was named the Stonewall Honor Book of the year by the American Library Association.

Coyote has also won the Danuta Gleed Short Fiction Prize, been twice short-listed for the Ferro-Grumley Women's Fiction Award and in 2008, Loose End was a finalist for VPL's One Book, One Vancouver program.

What have YOU done lately?
So sweet!
Thank you so much for this post Ivan. It was beautiful and sweet. And the luckiest Femme in the world is the one who has you beside her.

You are a true romantic, chivalrous, gentlemanly Butch - a rare thing these days.
what would Woodie say?
Every time I read a (usually) anonymous nasty note after a column comes out, I read this quote by Woodie Guthrie. It helps me remember why I keep writing a monthly column here, after nearly ten years.

"I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling.
I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work. And the songs that I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you. I could hire out to the other side, the big money side, and get several dollars every week just to quit singing my own kind of songs and to sing the kind that knock you down still farther and the ones that poke fun at you even more and the ones that make you think you've not got any sense at all. But I decided a long time ago that I'd starve to death before I'd sing any such songs as that. The radio waves and your movies and your jukeboxes and your songbooks are already loaded down and running over with such no good songs as that anyhow."

Remembering these words by Woodie Guthrie usually works for me.
Substance from Xtra
One of the most inspirational articles Xtra has ever published. Thank you Ivan. Hopefully there will be more from you. To the other writers on Xtra - take a lesson.
Oh Julia!
Wow, what a blatant display of bitterness. All I want to say is that if you do not see the amazing talent that Ivan has I feel sorry for you. That said maybe his writing is just not for you. You can see by the multiple previous posts that her column this month touched many people. I don't think this piece was meant to over simplify life at all but instead thank those who face it day after day. Remember your not reading news here your reading a column that can be interpreted many ways and may not be applicable to you. I sincerely hope that is the reason and not that your just overly bitter and jealous of the love and respect that was written into every line.

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