Rumore, rumore!


I’m having a Raffaella Carra moment, that is, singing to the top of my lungs ma ritornare, ritornare perché, quando ho deciso che facevo da meeeeeeee! and about to lose a limb as I dance in front of my living room’s wall mirror. In case you don’t know it, the right way to listen to Raffaella is drinking some wine (or diet Pepsi), blasting her on the iPod, pretending you speak Italian like a native, and dancing as if you were having seizures. The song itself has nothing to do with the rumors that go around the butch femme community but my brain made the rumorerumoresrumors connection and now I have to write a post about them.

Whether in New York, San Francisco or Philadelphia, butches and femmes agree on that we do not like gossip (we are too good for that) but we do love a good story. Also, regardless of our location, we all have selective memories. No one knows who said what about a third person not present in the room when the story was being told and we all have also conveniently forgotten how these rumors got started.

Usually:

– Someone is a bitch. A femme ripped a butch’s heart out when she cheated on her or doesn’t want to stay friends after they break up or gunpointed the butch to move to another state, leaving her family, friends, and work behind only to dump that loving butch in 2 weeks.

– Someone is a slut. This one is obviously a half rumor, half cautionary tale about a single femme who will steal your butch if you don’t watch her closely. What you looking at me for?

– Someone has a drug or drinking problem. It’s usually a butch who always has 5 drinks more than s/he should have, gets aggressive, fights other butches, and falls asleep at the token hip lesbian bar.

– Someone is a stalking psycho. This one is either about a butch waiting for a femme outside of her workplace without the femme knowing s/he was going to be there or about a femme who constantly emails, calls or text messages a butch (or another femme).

– Someone lies about her job. No one believes that X butch works as a loan officer and is doing so well, s/he surely is dealing drugs. A femme who says works as an executive assistant is really a professional escort who tells everyone her monthly trips to California are work related but she flies to a town 20 minutes outside of Hollywood to sleep with closeted lesbian celebrities.

– Someone has an eating disorder. If you are a femme, God forbid you lose your extra weight the ol’ way (diet + exercise): no one will buy it. You must be anorexic and in denial. Butches can be pretty mean too, talking behind each other’s backs and accusing someone of being bulimic or a compulsive eater. Not exactly a rumor but in the same line: there are butches and femmes counting the days till someone who got a gastric bypass starts putting the pounds back on.

– Someone is a sadist which, in fact, can be a turn on for some people hearing the rumor and a source of disappointment when said rumor turns out to be faker than a $2 bill.

– Someone is an asshole. Normally a butch who allegedly invites herself to femmes houses with the sole intention of belittling them, making fun of how they live, and asking what’s wrong with them. S/he can also be the one who disappears when her femme gets a breast cancer scare and comes back only when s/he finds out the biopsy was negative.

– Someone owes money to someone. It’s always around $1,000. A butch asks a friend to pay for her new transmission, a femme borrows money to pay off her credit cards or a butch/femme needs rent money.

– Someone owes money to her ex. By the time you hear about it, $200 have turned into almost $20,000 or that’s the impression you get by the seriousness with which the subject is treated. This is a pet peeve for me. While times are rough and $200 could still buy a lot of things, I’d rather die than ask an ex for money s/he owes me and, of course, I wouldn’t walk around talking about it for years.

– Someone is getting out of control because of his T treatment. A butch that is transitioning has had all the testosterone gone to his brain and he has become super aggressive. He fights people online, fistfights other butches in real life, broke some femme’s door and she had to change the locks on him and kick him to the street, he almost hit someone at the Pride march last year…

While of course some rumors I’m going to take very seriously – that a butch is a femme batterer, for instance – others I’m going to take with a grain of salt. Often, the person who is fueling the rumor has a hidden agenda or is simply full of shit. For example:

(a) how does a femme expect me to believe that another femme is a pothead and pathological liar who can’t be trusted when two days later she’s telling me she’s going to have lunch with her? What’s the point of giving me a heads up about the pothead when she’s having one-on-one lunch with her?! Does it make sense to you? Because it doesn’t make any sense to me.

(b) how do you explain that a femme who was allegedly stalked by X butch sees that butch whenever she is in town? I’m not talking about running into your stalker somewhere or about a social setting where you can’t avoid the stalker without causing a scene (remember, deep down, we are wired to be good girls). I’m talking about going out of the way to have one-on-one brunches or dinners, going to Broadway shows, taking pictures together and putting them up on Facebook. Funny way to treat your “stalker” unless that person didn’t stalk you at all and the stalking rumors came from someone who wanted the femme or the butch for themselves.

Obviously, the not-so-fun side of these stories is when someone says some crazy shit about you and the rumor spreads. Do you defend yourself knowing you will sound guilty and get an even crazier reputation? Do you swallow your pride and let it go? There are rumors than hurt more than others; for instance, being called a slut is not the same than having someone telling people that you go around stabbing cancer patients in their backs. What to do then? Honestly? I work really hard at leaving my ego aside and let people believe what they want to believe. My friends know me. Those who don’t know me and choose to believe the worst about me can take turns with those spreading any rumors. “Take turns for what?” you may wonder. To suck my dick, my dear, to suck my dick!

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