Hump Day: Mid-week Musings

April 7, 2010 at 9:11 pm (Hump Day: Mid-week Musings)

Yard Butch:  A Day in the Life

As many of you know, I left my profession some time ago and set out on the path of re-inventing myself in my mid-forties.  While I have been career shopping, I have also been eking out a meager living doing landscaping and lawn care.  It is not a bad gig, really.  I get peace and quiet…well, relative quiet in the white noise of weed-eaters and mowers…and, I get to work with a close friend, Ed, who is like another father to me.  I also get to do something that, overall, I like and enjoy.  It is preferrable to my old clinical profession.  

Generally speaking, grass and foliage do not talk out of turn, refuse to take their meds, try to elope, or make me have to get out of bed and go to work in the middle of the night to complete a transfer to a State hospital or have someone arrested for threatening my staff or another client.  I’m not on-call even when it is not my rotation.  I do not have to go in on the weekends to do second opinions on involuntary commitments.  And, I do not have to get up in the middle of the night to cover someone’s shift because she called off work at the last minute.  I get to be outside.  And, I get to do a lot of hard manual labor–this saves a fortune in gym fees.  The worst thing I have to deal with is a temperamental two-stroke weed-eater. 

Or, the stares, whispered remarks, and–sometimes–the confused, offended comments or scornful expressions of people who see me and become befuddled.

Picture this.  The local yard butch:  a too-thin, androgynous woman with moderately well-defined but kind of corded muscles, mowing the yard or laying the rock for a landscaped garden.  I am dressed in a tank-top, beat up work boots, torn up blue jeans and a ball cap or do-rag–depending on my mood.  All of this adorns a body that really has no hips to speak of…and, where most females have breasts, I have pectoral muscles and nipples.  Oh, and, I should mention the presence of the wrap around black shades.  [These protect my eyes from the crap the weed-eater throws out.  And, they look kind of hot.]  Often, the pattern of my boxers shows through the holes and tears in my jeans. There is no doubt it is a confusing sight.

There are several points in the average day when the confusion is obvious.  One of these  is the lunch experience.  The other yard grunts–who actually are male–give me the “hey-dyke, what-are-doing-on-our-turff” stare.  Or, on a good day, they give me the head nod of kinship.  I nod back.  Then, there is the restroom experience.  I can always tell when folks are watching to see which door I enter.  I swagger a little more just for fun.  The best fun is always when there are women my mother’s age in the restroom when I enter or when I come out of the stall to wash my hands.  They seem to get the most frustrated by me.

Today, I waited behind a woman who was at the sink washing her hands.  She developed a mildly aggravated expression and glared at me in the mirror as she washed.  I smiled at her.  As she was leaving, she stopped for a moment, and turned her head toward me as if she were going to speak.  Then, she looked down and left.  I guess she thought better of whatever she was going to say.   Even though I accept who I am and, overall, enjoy my ambiguous walk through the world I’ve been given, these times in the women’s room are the most uncomfortable.  This woman had the grace to not provide me with the customary clarification of which restroom I had entered.  When I sat down for lunch, I told Ed about my encounter in the restroom.  We laughed.  We ordered.  We laughed at the looks I had gotten from the family beside us who prayed together over their meal and watched us.  Ed reminded me that the waitress knew I was a woman.  Indeed, she did.

After lunch today, Ed and I went to the decorative rock lot to get another ton of river rock for a job.  We sort of know the old guy, Rick, who owns the place because we have bought from him a few times.  He is thin, clearly alcoholic, friendly and fairly competent.  He has a great sense of humor.  For some reason, he likes me.  So, he winked at me when he drove the fork lift up to the back of the trailer.  He usually winks at me at least once and jokes with me about Ed being a true foreman and making me do all the work.  [This is kind of true, but only because Ed can’t do at 62 years old what he could at my 46 years of age.  He is still a work horse of a man.] So, Rick dropped the load of rocks on the trailer and I walked over to get the metal gate for the trailer so we could put it back on.  Here comes scrawny old Rick to help me set the gate–the thing is about 8 feet wide and is not a light piece of trailer gate.  Ed was on his way, but there was Rick to help me.  He grinned at me and said, “you work too hard, girl.” 

I nodded.  “Well, I was raised to work hard…it’s in my blood,” I said laughing.  Rick advised me that once it is in your blood, work is all you know or all you need to feel good about yourself.  I smiled.  Inwardly and outwardly.  The three of us put the gate back and Ed and I headed for the truck.  Rick was waving.  We waved too.  In the truck, Ed observed that Rick treats me like a woman, but also like an equal–which means, really, he treats me like a person, a person who he respects as a hard worker and a decent person.  I acknowledged this little fact.  Ed said:  “pretty neat, huh, little girl?”

I laughed.  He does his best to understand and be supportive.  It is good. “Yea, pop…pretty neat.”  And, you read correctly; Ed calls me “little girl.”  He is the only person alive who can do that and still be alive afterward.  It is all right with me.  This is why:  one, he is well over 6 feet tall and weighs over 250 lbs–I am little compared to him; and, two, he knows me and accepts me…and, finally, he loves me like I am his daughter.  I love him as if he is my other father.  He looks at me and sees only the person he loves, respects and, often, admires.  I see the same when I look at him.  And, in the grand scheme of my daily experiences in the world, his way of supporting me may be telling of his generation and enculturation, but it helps.  At the end of the day, I am the yard butch who–like anyone else–is much more than what is seen.

I am Li the yard butch.  I am daughter to Carolyn and David.  Sister to Shawn.  Lover of Scin.  I am her sweet baby boi.  I am her lesbian lover.  I am friend to quite a few; acquaintance to many.  Keeper of my own sense of self.  I am a sometime artist and writer.  I am alpha master to my dog, Big Girl.  I am a lover of good food, good music and the writings of Thomas Merton.  I am a kind of Eastern-thinking, gnostic-pagan-Christian.  Cousin and niece to a large family.  I am Scin’s anam cara and she is mine.  I am babe to my mother.  I am Ed’s little girl.  I am Li the…many things, all one.

NOTE:  This work is published here as proprietary and may not be reproduced, distributed, sold, or otherwise utilized outside the posting on this site without the express permission of the author; these works are the sole property of the author writing as Androgynonamous or DreadPirateRobert.


  1. lescook said,

    You sound like a renaissance person for all ages. Very nice to meet you Li. 🙂

    • Lady Di said,

      Oh, she is! She SO is! (Of course she neglected to mention her multitude of talents in other very important areas as well…but then it takes a lot to keep this girl happy so i imagine folks would just naturally assume that my baby boi’s got it goin’ on. ;))

      • androgynonamous said,

        Sugar, you are so kind…I love the way you see me and hope I actually am all the things you see and love in me. Of course, I did not mention the other things. [Bragging is bad form, you know.] In addition, those other things are a product of the “us” and what we are together. Then, there are the other “other” things I did not mention like dish washing and laundry folding, etc. which don’t seem to exciting to carry on about…BTW: I don’t find that it takes a lot to keep you happy. And, my sweet scin, you most assuredly have got it going on!! I find this thing between us rather easy, and rhythmic, and exciting, and healthy, and hot and…we…perhaps I have moved into topics for another time. Thanks for the comment, sweetheart.

    • androgynonamous said,

      Likewise. I am not sure how renaissance I really am, but I appreciate the thought. I am enjoying reading you too. And, I am glad you keep stopping by to say hello. Thanks. And, take good care…

  2. Blazer said,

    I am sorry you have to go through all of the staring and other crap ignorant people dole out. But I am really glad you have someone like Ed around to remind you that they don’t represent everyone’s attitudes. While I am mistaken for male frequently I have the advantage of boobs that will sometimes clear things up for people who are paying attention (though sometimes it seems to confuse them even more, sigh). I do have the added disadvantage of a very low voice, so I go through the same confusion over the phone and can tell people are confused when I am asked to spell my first name (a common female name) multiple times.

    You are many things in addition to the Yard Butch and those who take the time to get to know your many facets are very lucky.

    • androgynonamous said,

      I, too, hate that you go through this crap as well. However, I must say it is wonderful to share this kinship with you…I feel I am in excellent company! I so appreciate that you feel people are lucky to take the time to know me. I, as you know [I hope], feel the same regarding you; I am lucky indeed. On a lighter note, while I really have no desire to have larger breasts–glands that might actually rank as boobs–I am sometimes envious of those of us who have them; it does make the call a bit easier to make. I almost had tits of a sort before I lost weight and I found they only got in the way most of the time..HA!! Now, I have none to speak of…and its OK. You would think that my voice would give things away, but I am surprised at how often it only adds to the confusion…much like your boobs [*sigh* for both of us]. Of course, at times like the restroom, who is talking?!? Ed is great. All of my actual friends are really supportive, as understanding as they can be, and are like Ed in that they just see “me.” I am a lucky woman for sure. I am grateful to have you in my corner and hope you know I’m in yours as well.

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