ThreeWay: Shoes and Chivalry

KL: Are we gonna do this or what?

Prof C: You would make a good football player in a huddle.

KL: Are we gonna do this or what?

Prof C: You would make a good football player in a huddle.

KL:  So true. I love high-fiving people. Actually, that’s a total lie. I feel really uncomfortable when people make me high five them.

Prof C: I bet, that sounds really intense.

KL: I’m like, “I’m not nearly easy-going enough or celebratory to be doing this, now or ever.”

Prof C: Haha. Ok, so you proposed we discuss Shoes & Chivalry today, which, by the way, would make an excellent name for a lesbian bed & breakfast.

When the Prof ordered a Highball on their first

date, she had no idea what Cage had in store…

KL:  YES IT WOULD. It sounds kind of fetishy though.

Prof C: So, in other words, I think you’re onto something

KL: My roommate Tiq is repelled by a woman who doesn’t show up for a date in heels. Your thoughts?

Prof C: Yes, I would agree! Heels are a useful spark for chivalry, espesh on staircases and over subway grates.

KL: Because you can guide a lady away from them? I’ve basically never dated a girl who could pick me up because I’m eight feel tall.

Prof C: In fact, chivalry started in the middle ages with knights and troubadours adoring Queens and women in high places (i.e. on heels). (That should be said in a PBS voiceover.)

KL: So true. Wait, did you make that up?

Prof C: (No, oddly you chose to chat about one of the things I know most about: the history of chivalry and courtly love.) Do you date chivalrous people?

Chivalry’s not dead. It just REALLY likes taking naps.

KL: I do. (Then I’m gonna be a real drag, ‘cause all I know is that I like having things carried for me and I like wearing people’s coats when I’m cold.)

Prof C: It’s so hot!

KL: What is the word for a lady who can be the recipient of chivalrous acts in a ladylike way? 

Prof C: Oooh that’s a tough one.

KL: Maybe just that: a lady.

Prof C: Esp since it was long agreed that women can’t carry things due to delicate constitutions. But some of my favorite movie scenes are glamorous ladies with a trail of men carrying in their packages.

KL: The reason that’s funny is because I (and a lot of femmes I know, actually) outweigh their butches by around 100 pounds. Ha! The honor of carrying the package, like an extension of their penae. Is that the plural of penises?

Prof C: These are weighty concepts in the lesbian world. Butch honor is serious business. Has a butch ever crossed the line with chivalry for you?

KL: You do realize that by the end of this chat you will have 1,000 love notes in your mailbox. Malebox.

Prof C: When can it become uncomfortable?

KL: Well. Kind of like if I’m just a little bit cold, and she’s shivering in a t-shirt and insisting I wear her hoodie and jacket and wool scarf and ski mask. Then it gets weird, ‘cause I’m like, you look like you’re about to die of hypothermia.

Prof C: One of my favorites is holding umbrellas over femmes.


Finally came the moment where Denise

realized her boyfriend was a douche.

Prof C: ‘Cause then she can grab your arm too.

KL: Okay, here is a rundown of all the rules I’m aware of slash have been practiced on me, or I’ve seen in movies, TV, etc.  a) Opening cans.

Prof C: Slash getting drinks.

KL: b) Walking on the street side of the street. (If that makes any sense.) c) Carrying shit, d) Paying for everything, e) Offering clothing, f) Picking her up/dropping her off, even if she lives way out of the way of where you’re both going.

Prof C: Good one!

KL: (And even if she lives closer to wherever the destination is.) Ordering for her! I LOVE being ordered for.

Prof C: Ooo, I want to talk about that one. 

Why can’t you be more like Rex? He gets me.

KL: YES. I love it when they don’t even let me get a word in edgewise. When they order the wine, the food, everything. Here’s why: if they order the right things, they inherently get you. They’re confident that they’re familiar with your tastes.

Prof C: Totally, which is awesome. And there’s also an advanced level if they get you so much, they know what you want to eat in the moment.

KL: If they order the wrong things, then they don’t get it and just seem controlling, at which point you run for your life. (Or in my case, date them for another year or two.)

Prof C: HA. Yes, that’s the lesbian way, my sister.

KL: Do you order for ladies?

Prof C: Until they get it right one time, then you dump them. Not characteristically, but I like doing it. Diana has to be a really good mood to let that one fly, I think. Hahaha.

KL: I think she’d put up a fight but secretly love it.

Prof C: Yes, she loves it. So, all of these things make you feel taken care of? Or what?

KL: I find a butch ordering the entire meal to be so fiercely hot I can’t even stand it.

Prof C: And butches love demonstrating how lesbian chivalry is superior to male chivalry.

A primer, for the uninitiated.


Prof C: But we forgot: g) Opening car doors and pulling out chairs.

KL: Just like high femmes are always coiffed better.

Prof C: ABSOLUTELY h) Telling femmes they look beautiful after they get dressed.

KL: I always feel like it’s awkward with the chair pull. Do you know what I mean? The timing is always off.

Prof C: It’s awful, yes. I don’t usually go for that one.

KL: Like you push it in a little too soon or two late, so the femme is just squatting awkwardly.

Forget the chair, let’s just do it against the wall again.

Prof C: I like opening doors way more.

KL: Yes. Here’s what’s annoying.

Prof C: Maybe the chair pull is outdated.

KL: I think it is.

Prof C: That was one of our objectives: to discern appropriateness/relevance.

KL: GOOD CALL. We’re making progress.

Prof C: Hopefully. Butches should just sit down last instead of dealing with a chair. Taking coats however, and putting them back on, is totally fun!

KL: I think that earnestly asking your femme date a lot of questions about herself, as a means of seeming interested in who she is as a person (as opposed to just being on the hunt for a quality BJ) is really dated. Yes, I love the coat put-on and pull-off.

Prof C: Yeah, just staring at someone’s cleavage and making them feel powerful and sexy is enough.

KL: It’s like a preview for sex later. EXACTLY.

Prof C: Totally. And the longer the coat the better. Winter is good for that.

KL: Like, let a conversation progress. I’m not concerned that you’re only on a date with me for sex.

Prof C: See, the chair pull is supposed to be smooth, but the coat check is smoothest.

KL: Taking it off is always easier than putting it on.

Prof C: Right? Because everything we’re talking about is about sex!! Oh, I disagree.

Okay, but it works better when wanting to bang is a two way street…

KL: Yup. Well, maybe you’re just extra good at it. I find that I’m always waiting impatiently for the coat to be adjusted so I can put my other arm in.

Prof C: From our perspective, when the lady gets the coat back on you get to see her all fresh and warm and wrapped up. Ok, when I get to Brooklyn, I’ll teach you how to put a coat on. 

KL: Hey! No interest.

Prof C: Hahaha.

KL: What do you have to say about femme feminists who are like, “Fuck you! I can open the door for MYSELF!”

Prof C: Case in point though, this is another line: when chivalry becomes condescending. DANGER DANGER.

KL: (I am really annoyed by them, btw. Like, no you can’t. You’re far too dainty.) Chivalry, if you are confident in your femininity and self-worth, is NEVER condescending. It’s old timey Hollywood roleplay, pure and simple.

Prof C: Well, it’s that and about sexual pageantry.

Ann-Marie knew by the way Timmy held her wrap

for her that that little man’d be a beast in the sack!

KL: What does that mean? I only have a Master’s.

Prof C: Shut up.

KL: Break it down for us laywomen.

Prof C: Like we were saying a lot of these gestures have a sexual vibe.

KL: Plebians. Right. Oh, I see. Like, “This is how I’ll take care of you in the bedroom.”

Prof C: So it’s not just mimicry. It’s like a public performance of queerness and queer gender.

KL: Right. The irony of it all is that most people are thinking, “How did that young man score that fierce older lady?!”

Prof C: HA. And: “Her son is so debonair!”

KL: Most of my butch-femme friends who are couples are roughly the same age, and the femme always looks at least ten years older. HA! Yes.

Prof C: Two of my lesbian friends here bought a house last year and have been working mercilessly to fix it up.

KL: Like, “How nice! An aunt and her nephew on a dinner date!”

Aww. LiLo’s nephew shows us butch chivalry is alive and well!

Prof C: And eventually one of their neighbors came over and was like “Your son is so good with the yard.”

KL: HA! At what point, for you, did it stop being a conscious thing? Like, “Ok I’m gonna offer my coat or open the door because that’s what I’m SUPPOSED to do?”

Prof C: Hmmm. That’s hard.

KL: Or is it still not a knee-jerk reaction kind of a thing.

Prof C: No, it’s very natural, but I might twist the question around and say that I like when the things I do are appreciated instead of demanded. If that makes sense, which I’m not sure it does.

KL: Of course it does. But have you EVER encountered a woman who was like, “Open this door for me you bastard.” ?

Prof C: No.

KL: So what do you mean by “demand”? p.s. how has Diana trained you in this department? I know there was some grooming, don’t deny it.

Your training is complete, young squire.

I dub thee ‘Sir Worthy of Banging Me.

Prof C: Well, I think there’s a rhythm to these sorts of things. I remember when we had our first discussion early on. It was hilarious. She was going to work with me at like 7 am one day when she was visiting Atlanta, so she could have my car. And I had all these bags and coffees in my hand and was simultaneously planning my classes and I got in the car without thinking. And when I sat down, I looked over and she was standing outside.

KL: I know where this is going…

Prof C: Right?!!

KL: I fucking love your girlfriend. She’s such an endearing, sexy brat.

Prof C: I was totally embarrassed but also I was like: sometimes it might be faster if you open the door. She is. I love her! Every interaction with her is so hilarious.

KL: And she was like, “Nice try.”

Prof C: The funny part was that I think I was holding her coffee mug too! So I guess that was a “training moment” (if there is such a thing) where I realized you go all in or just don’t bother.

KL: And all her bags, I’m sure. Have you ever been with a woman who was offended your chivalry?

Prof C: No, that’s boring to me. But she really gets it. I remember some people would be like “Oh, how cute of you to open my door.” And that’s not really the point. I’m not trying to be “cute.”

“Opening the door” for a lady, and other sexual euphemisms…

KL: I just politely remind people that it’s nice to open a door for a lady. If I like someone, I won’t write someone off for not being chivalrous initially. I’ll just quietly judge them.

Prof C: Right, right — OH! And femmes do all sorts of magical things in return.

KL: Like what?

Prof C: Like have pretty hair.

KL: And our hair always smells good.

Prof C: And get squeamish in scary movies.

KL: Yup. I pretend to be shy sometimes to be cute. That generally works pretty well.

Prof C: I love how femmes are always such badasses. Oh, do you?? I’d love to see that performance. Tell me a story about you grooming someone!!!!

KL: Ok. The art of the groom. I’ve had to tell people before that their date (a.k.a. me) spends 45 minutes putting on eyelashes alone, that it’s unacceptable, when I’m all ready and fancy, to tell me that I look “cute”or “sexy.” No.

Prof C: Eyelashes sound way hard.

KL: Try stunning, try dazzling, try fierce, gorgeous, etc. Any number of words generally reserved for use by fags.

Prof C: Yeah, imagine Stevie Nicks getting ready for a show and multiply that by 20. And then divide it by five fag adjectives. “Fagjectives.”

KL: Butches tend to dress like they’re going to their own bar mitvahs when it’s time for black tie. Weird pastel jersey shore dress shirt, misfitting grey or black dress pants with pleats.

Prof C: Yikes.

KL: And then some dykey tie with little anchors all over it or something.

Prof C: HAHA. Ok fine, but imagine my weight lifting routine.

KL: I don’t get it.

Prof C: There must be something analogous to eyelash application!! I work hard for my money too! Why do butches always seem so lazy in comparison?

KL: They don’t!

Prof C: btw I’m wearing mesh shorts and Vans right now…

KL: Hot. I’m wearing a huge Knicks t-shirt and track pants cuz I just went running. Don’t tell anyone.


KL: Yup.

Prof C: Outside???

KL: Love it. Yes.


KL: Across the Williamsburg Bridge, generally as the sun sets. It’s very romantic of me. And femmes don’t run outside.

Prof C: How many miles?

KL: Every femme has some dirty little butch-habit secret. Four or five miles.

Or something.

Prof C: Oh, that’s too far for me right now.

KL: The bridge itself is only three.

Prof C: Oh, I love that sentiment.

KL: You could walk there, jog there and back. And walk home.

Prof C: I wanted to do that all last summer but never did.

KL: But back to the dirty butch secret habit. For physical fitness, here is what it’s acceptable for femmes to do: a) ballet, b) belly dancing, c) yoga/pilates, d) 80s calisthenics videos. That’s it. Oh, and tennis.

Prof C: Aerobics.

KL: Yes.

Prof C: Your lists are carrying this chat.

KL: Spin class is not femme. Neither is one-on-one work with personal trainers.

Prof C: Good to know.

KL: btw Whenever a butch tells me she’s an avid yogi I wanna puke. But I run on cement in a sports bra and baggy, non-femmy workout clothes. You take this to the grave. 

Prof C: Oops, I just converted to Bikram.


Prof C: There are tons of butches who do Bikram!

KL: That sounds like a workshop/support group at Michigan. Wait. So you have femme secret habits? Besides yoga?

Prof C: Yeah, yoga, writing sonnets, hair products, and cleaning.

KL: Ok, that’s the best thing I’ve ever heard. Here are mine: slathering everything I eat in hot sauce and ketchup, rarely washing my hair, loving the WNBA, and biting the bejesus out of my nails.

Prof C: Nice!

KL: Basically, we’re both futches. Closet futches.

Prof C: Also: butches should always be on time, and femmes should always be late.

KL: So, so, so so true. A femme’s room should always be at least kind of messy.

Prof C: Yeah, right? It’s not even like, “It should be,” it’s that it always inevitably IS.

KL: But messy in a sexy way, like sexy messy hair. Not in a gross or unsanitary way.

Proper femme running attire. Note strategic placement of feather.

Prof C: The femme equivalent for butches ordering at dinner for her is to buy clothes for the butch.

KL: Yes.

Prof C: When a girl buys me something I like to wear, I die.

KL: It’s so 50s housewife. Like the guy never goes shopping, just comes home to find new things laid out for him on the bed, that his wife bought for him while he was at work.

Prof C: Hahaha. Yeah, but it has to be a really choice present. And I love watching femmes homemake. It blows my mind how good you are at it!

KL: Anytime a butch has tried to buy me clothing — which has been rare — I’ve been like, “Ok, not my style. p.s. You’re gay.”

Prof C: So I guess butch-femme rules basically, but it’s way cute when we have quirky breaks from the script?

KL: Yes. And that was your diplomatic way of being like, “I’m done here.”

Prof C: I have a date! With a hot femme, so you know I have to be on time.

KL: Go on it. I’m gonna eat quinoa and put on a face mask.

Prof C: And watch a little WNBA.