Early Memories of Female Masculinity
One summer I stood outside of a highway rest area with my siblings. A big 18-wheeler rolled into the lot and parked. The driver hopped down and after securing his truck he headed toward the entrance where we stood. There was nothing distinct about his walk. Nothing special. He wore a pair of blue jeans, a plaid shirt and some work boots. His head was shaved into a buzz cut.
To this day, I distinctly remember saying, “Is that a man?” out loud. I was peering closely at him as he walked by. I noticed soft, barely noticeable, but clearly womanly features against rough skin that looked like he worked in the sun a lot. Before I realized what I said out loud she turned around and said, “I’m a woman.” She was serious. I could tell by the tone in her voice that she was very much so a woman despite her masculine attire and appearance. She was also sure of herself and not afraid to let anyone know. I had to have been about 10 years old at the time. That memory has stuck with me through the years.
She kept walking and we kept quiet until she walked through the door. I was old enough to be embarassed at allowing my private thoughts to escape my mind, rather audibly in fact. I didn’t know it then, but that moment would become poignant later in my life because every time I think back, it’s the first memory I associate with understanding that gender, sexuality, and physical appearance were not in sync for most people, nor was it required to be in sync with anyone else or any set thing no matter what. Although we are all individuals, there exist tons of attributes and characteristics that make us who we are. Each comes with its own complicated system and process.
There are plenty of studs and butches who have that certain stereotypical look associated with masculine lesbians, but the fact is, whether it’s natural or adopted, that alone is not an accurate indicator of any single pertinent thing without knowing a person for more than what meets the eye. I begin to adopt a self-awareness that comes into play for most, if not all studs and butches at some point during their growth and transition, the process that takes many from fem to butch or tomboy to stud, etc.
Incidents like this were passing episodes, filed away to remember when the time was right. I have no idea if the female trucker was gay, but I do know that my perception of her swagger and confidence, coupled with a masculine hair style that probably got her mistaken for a man more often than anything, she was a woman. While my siblings busted my chops, I thought about how interesting her life must be. How cool for any woman to have the power to do whatever a man could. I didn’t know why I thought it at the time, but years later I began to understand.
Whatever her sexuality, she was one tough butch. If I had to gauge my gay-dar, I’d say she was a proud one. For me, having never been exposed to gay culture, being engulfed by women was a liberating feeling to grab hold of. Only then was I able to start shaping and molding the kind of stud I am today. When I began to enjoy the sense of freedom that came with being open about myself, I felt just like that trucker. When you know exactly who you are, who among you can tell you otherwise?