The Amazon Trail


Butch Pockets

Is it just me, or do all butches, soft or otherwise, carry alotta stuff in their pockets? My sweetheart has chronically empty pockets. I don’t understand how anyone can live that way. I guess I’m one of many dykes who took our Girl Scout motto to heart: I’m always prepared.

Here’s today’s (and every day’s) inventory. In my right front pocket: a Sante Fe Stoneworks pen knife with a superb Camillus blade. My sweetheart gave it to me to replace a similar lost knife. Next: a Fisher Space pen that opens to full size. It’s my everyday pen. My sweetheart gave me the same pen, in rainbow colors, for book signings. Next: spare keys. When I was single, I always carried an extra car and house key in case the Handy Dyke or the Pianist weren’t nearby when I locked myself out. Now that I’m married, they come in handy to rescue the femme of the house. On the key ring: a Cruiser flash drive for my works-in-progress and an intense, teensy flashlight. But most important is the handful of treats to reward our pup and make friends with every other dog I’m introduced to.

In this butch’s left front pocket: a blue pillbox for headaches, allergy attacks, and the

agita I get when I’m missing any piece of my pocket arsenal. Also: a melon-flavored organic, vegan, GMO-free, cruelty-free lip balm for braving the elements. And last: my pocket rock, a blue agate from a west coast beach. Carrying it is my guarantee I will always get back home, but it’s slow-acting—we’ve been stuck in Florida for four years now.

Back right pocket: a smart phone for e-mails at long traffic lights, finding the next iced tea stop, and texting with my cool young niece. Left back pocket: bandana; black paisley today. Color is of no significance whatsoever, so don’t try to make me out a hippie necrophiliac or something.

As a young dyke, I wouldn’t be caught without a cigarette lighter. Women, not all of them lesbians, tended to be completely wowed when that handy lighter proved I was at their service. If there were two or more of us little butches around, there would always be an unspoken contest to see who offered her lighter fastest. Now the penknife has replaced the lighter. If a woman needs a cutting edge, there’s a communal butch rush to provide one: penknife, jackknife, multi-tool. When I was in retail food, I went everywhere with a box cutter in my back pocket. Air travel prohibits this now, so I keep an inexpensive penknife in my checked luggage. Though the travel knife pales next to my prized Camillus, I’d feel sissified without something.

Aging is not kind to pocket-geeks. Middle-aged spread makes me bulky enough without bulging pockets. I used to carry my wallet where my thin phone is now, but that threw my back out. We had lunch with a friend last weekend and she took out her phone. It had an extended battery like a little hunch on its back. I was wild with envy, but how would I carry it? My suavely slim phone slides in and out of a back pocket easily, but a more powerful battery would make for unpleasant sitting.  Our friend didn’t have that problem. Proudly femme, she carries a purse.

So for these kinds of conundrums I have a pocket annex. It’s an “Uncle Milty’s Travel Vest” and it came with 17 pockets. It’s kind of hot for wearing in Florida, but the pocket rock will get us home soon. Besides, nobody, except one British firm,, designs clothing or accessories for butches. Yes, rainbow t-shirts and key fobs are readily available, but they’re uni-gender and uni-style and, while I’m proud of their message, they don’t solve any problems exclusive to butches. We get hand-me-down styles from men. Or tailored looks rejected by high femmes.

It’s such a narrow line we butches walk. I do not in any way shape or form want to pass as a man. But if I want to wear a full tuxedo, I’ll be wearing one made for guys. When I wear Uncle Milty’s vest, passersby question my gender with their disapproving eyes. If I want to carry an adjunct pocket over my shoulder, I can choose between a ladies’ purse or one of those heavy, oversized carryalls with the unattractive name of man bags. As a matter of fact, I just looked for bandanas on Amazon because I want to get a few as a gift for a friend. What did I find? Bandanas modeled as hair scarves for women. And on Etsy, women, little girls and dogs are the models.

But my pockets? I claim pockets as butch territory.

Copyright Lee Lynch 2012


21 Responses to “The Amazon Trail”

  1. 1 Laydin August 28, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    Thanks for a fun blog to go with my coffee! I really enjoyed your pockets!


  2. 2 freckles3 (Irish_Eyes) August 28, 2012 at 8:18 AM

    Thanks Lee, that was great. I have a similar list that goes into my pockets every day. Being without the use of one of my hands really puts a hamper on the necessities, worse is the fact that until my hand heals, i can only wear sweat pants…impossible to get all the important things into one pocket!


    • 3 lynchly August 28, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      I saw your poor hand. I hope it heals quickly. You may identify with a character in The Raid (coming out in October) and what she says about lesbian hands… :- )


  3. 4 Devlyn Sixtyseven August 28, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    Lee, thanks for sharing, you continue to be the butch bench-mark I like to live by. I too carry a whole pile of really useful (essential really) stuff in my pockets. I dont carry a pocket knife as here in the surrounding suburbs it would probably get me stabbed. Even though they may now be out of fashion over there, they are still in here so I wear cargo pants everyday. My side pocket is never without my eBook reader unless I am reading it.


  4. 6 MJ Lowe August 28, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    YES EXACTLY! Thank you! I have suggested that Amelia Earhart’s wreckage might be somewhere in my pockets. I also have a coin purse to help corral the change. I don’t own pants without pockets. Really, what is the point? Last week I covered a ref desk for the first time since I moved to our contact center and when I came home that evening I also had little slips of paper with call numbers on them. Pockets might just be the key to our secret powers.


    • 7 lynchly August 28, 2012 at 1:34 PM

      Ah, another detail to add to my MJ character. So far she’s only used her hoodie pocket. But you don’t mean you’re carrying around human remains!


      • 8 MJ Lowe August 28, 2012 at 3:53 PM

        LOL! Well, it was a joke adapted from a y-type friend who wears a bushy beard and used to say, while removing crumbs post meal that the “Lindberg baby could be hiding in it. I agree about cargo pants/shorts and especially wear them hiking.


      • 9 lynchly August 28, 2012 at 6:39 PM

        I like your joke much better, MJ.


  5. 10 Connie August 28, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    LOL, so very true Lee. You always nail it perfectly. Invent something, please.


  6. 12 Kim August 28, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Oh, the conundrum of butches!


  7. 14 Joan August 28, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    I’m right there w/ you, Lee. I don’t have quite as many items in my pockets but I agree w/ MJ–I don’t buy pants without pockets.


  8. 16 Allison Mugnier August 28, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    That’s why I carry a purse. When I was a hotel manager, I wouldn’t buy a jacket without pockets, but I didn’t carry quite the same things as you while running around the hotel — my essentials were cell phone, pen, small notebook, lipstick, cigs, lighter in the pocket. Key ring in my hand because it ruins the lines of the jacket.


  1. 1 The Lesbrary Trackback on September 4, 2012 at 11:50 AM

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