I was at a party recently and met a woman who had the most fascinating stories. She was extremely well-traveled, had seen so many things, and met really interesting people. She told her stories with a sense of importance and urgency. Listening to her was truly an experience. But if you would have asked who made the greatest impression on me that night, I would not have said her. There was someone else there, someone who listened to me with a sense of importance and urgency, who asked me questions, and made me feel like the most interesting person in the room. This was truly a master NB.
Most of the time I consider myself the top, the Mona Lisa, the top, the Tower of Pisa…. You get the point. But once in a blue moon, there’s someone who out-maneuvers me, who places me in her sights, and treats me the way I make great effort to treat others. Without even realizing, I find myself at the mercy of another NB, and I do my best to enjoy the ride. When the charm is performed well, it’s disarming and incredibly enjoyable. I take it as an opportunity to enjoy the view from the other side of the bridge. Of course there’s a small part of me taking notes and stealing moves, but I try to do my best to play the part of the “lady” and accept the attention of another adoring butch. Once I have my bearings, I fall back into my natural manner of NB courtesy and we race around the city, both reaching for door-handles at the same time, fighting over dinner-checks (and eventually wrestling our way around the bedroom). Inevitably, we come to some impasse and both get our backs up about something completely inarguable–but in the beginning, it’s always grand.
I don’t particularly care for the notion of strict gender-roles, especially in the context of a lesbian relationship; and I’d like to think that if the hearts are matched, the details will work themselves out. But I will admit that the longest running relationships I’ve experienced or born witness to have been of a somewhat symbiotic nature wherein the strengths of one (i.e. some kind of stability, preparation, and/or positivity) compensate for the needs of the other–and these things often go hand-in-hand with the stereotypical male/female motif. So the question remains: if one NB enters the harbor at 6am traveling at a speed 30 knots, and another steps out onto the dock at 8am with a soy late and a copy of The Island Packet–is it possible they’ll notice each other’s madras shorts by the lighthouse and fall in love? Hopeless romantic that I am, methinks yes.
I’ll be the first to admit when I’m wrong, but I think that if two NB’s fall in love, the potential for passion is prodigious–to say the least. A lifetime of courtesy and consideration becomes enormously appealing at a certain point in one’s lesbian career. After you’ve had the bad girls, been kicked around by the tom-boys, and drowned in someone’s puddle of mixed (yet shallow) emotions, even the sturdiest of butches can see the benefits of meeting someone of like-mind. It’s the opinion of this NB that as long as the physical connection is strong, and the emotional one is of equal weight, the rest can be sorted with relative ease. And as we expand our search, open our eyes to all opportunities, and listen to the quiet ones–we may find that when similarities are superficial but the connections are deep, the possibility for compatibility is extraordinary indeed. Fortunately, our generation of Gay has blown the doors off of the boring boxes of BUTCH/FEMME–at least the all-caps kinds…. The beauty of the Nouveau Butch is that she knows the performance of gender to be just that: a performance. We acknowledge that all the world is a stage, and we play whatever part pleases us. Granted, playing the butch is preferable to me (most of the time), but not to the exclusion of any other beneficial behaviors–and certainly not for the purpose of exerting power to prove predominance. The NB is flexible, not rigid. Compromise is key–not for the sake of the sacrifice (martyrdom is terribly tiresome), but for the greater good, the pleasure of all parties involved. And that is the the intention of every move in the NB handbook.