The bio for this website promises many things, not least of which is some content about my best friend here. In fact, Julia sent me an email requesting that I follow through with some puppy photos already. In most cases, any photo you try to take just ends up being a fuzzy blur with a slobbery tennis ball being shoved at the camera lens. Bitch likes to exercise. Today I think the humidity did her in.
I think I mentioned that I’ve been trying to spend as much time as possible outside… this makes a huge difference to be but especially to this lady. Any time she’s home alone she sits in front of our living room window watching the world go by. When I open my curtains in the morning I tell Geraldine that I am turning her tv on. Being able to actually be out on the porch pretty much blows Geraldine’s mind – I’m pretty sure she thinks she is inside the television. Everything is in 3D!
What a coy little bitch. This dog is absolutely as bossy and vain as I am. She is growing out those dreadlocks between her toes & won’t let me get anywhere near them.
I often find myself talking about my dog as if she’s a person… and sometimes don’t notice until halfway through a story about her that whoever I am talking to doesn’t know that she is a puppy rather than a human roommate. Geraldine has a heart as big as her appetite, which is to say – enormous.
There’s absolutely something reassuring and healing about having her around – it’s a little bit tactile & a lot about having some extra company. I couldn’t get through these months-long boyfriend absences without this cuddle buddy, even if she does get her fur on all my clothes.
Please link me to photos of your pets too – I wanna see!
I joked that last weekend was basically a “Bossy Femme Conference” – I was so excited to see all my recently-departed Toronto friends, but being able to put two of my closest, smartest, brightest femme inspirations & collaborators in the same place at the same time was a true delight. Julia and Claire didn’t really live in Ptbo at the same time so their budding love affair (uh, maybe that’s my wishful thinking) happened mostly on tumblr. UNTIL NOW.
We basically shopped our faces off. Julia and I scored huge at this new-ish store on Queen W. called “Kind Exchange” which had Sympathy-style pricing in the city. Then we probably looked at every single dress in Kensington market. Twice.
We spent an evening at our friend James’ wedding. Floral dress code? No problem.
I felt really, really lucky to be able to stay at such a welcoming TO home base. I want to visit every single weekend. Somehow in a little over a month, my pals have created the coziest place to be. I got to watch Kate and Agata garden and eat enormous super-deluxe vegan meals. Their apartment is bright and beautiful and spacious – I didn’t know you could have this kind of lifestyle in the city, but I’m so glad to know it’s out there.
PS: If you wanna be internet friends with my friends, check their links on my blog roll, too.
I’ve been getting messages from you asking for even more femme resources & my first instinct is always to introduce you to my best friends. They’re pretty much my everything, and I would be far less confident, critical, sparkly without them.
But, since most of you aren’t coming over for coffee, I made up a bit of a blog roll for you to check out (& please do comment with your own blogs or other suggestions!)
Today though, I have someone in particular that I think it would be good for you to say hello to: Kate! E! MacNeill!
She is beautiful, this goes without saying. People fall in love with her; they expect it to happen, and are glad it does. Because Kate is a ballerina, and a writer, and a theorist, and a poet, and a sharp dresser, and because she is very likely to fall in love with you, too. Because she wears her big heart… not on her sleeve, but inside her super-tall high heeled boots, which she can dance in, and does. Because Kate will go right to the edge of the toughest, scariest parts of your life with you, and help you stick it out & make sense of it & then turn it into a party, a poem.
I asked her if there is anything I should include in this “Best of Kate” post and she said, seriously, “a photo of my cat.” She also joked, “my OkCupid profile?”
I love Kate’s “Survival Strategies” posts:
#7: clean the sheets, then eat cookies in bed.
Kate writes often about the importance of creating loving friendships:
my close friends aka my adopted family are some of the most straight-up hardcore romantic people i’ve ever met in my life, and we shower each other with romantic gestures every single day. …
break down the myth that we can only be romantic with our partners.
THIS IS JUST A FRIENDLY REMINDER TO WOO YOUR FRIENDS. CONSTANTLY. THEY DESERVE IT.
Kate believes in people:
i would wish for all of the people i love to be able to see themselves as i see them for even just a second.
i wouldn’t want them to know it was me.
i would want it to come simply, like they catch a glimpse of themselves in a night bus window, and for just a moment, they are able to see their limitless beauty & grace & magic & potential & strength.
then maybe when they are sad or lonely or afraid, they would remember that moment & believe in themselves like i do.
Kate’s creative nonfiction is some of the best I’ve ever read, creating perfect love and deconstructing it simultaneously. Here’s some of her most recent piece, Tidal:
tonight, like most nights, i brushed crumbs and dust off the sheet before climbing into bed.
my last long term partner called this ‘nesting,’ and would poke fun at me, (princess & the pea) for doing it every night. he would know to wait until i’d swept off the bed first before tackling me, or running his hand along my neck in a slow kiss to dreams. sometimes, if i was really lucky, i would lie down, and he’d parachute the blanket overtop of me, and rush under meeting me in a dark blue haze of new warmth and naked laughter.
… i can’t even count how many times in the past two years i have retold this one to myself, brushing the crumbs off my sheets before crawling into bed to sleep alone. …
it’s less about us, and more about impermanence. about the fragments left behind, and how to contend with them. about brushing away the crumbs in the bed which always return, though you never remember eating.
Also, tonight is the last night that I’ll be able to say that I live in the same city as some very dear friends. I’m sad but “Best Femmes Stick Together”! I’m looking forward to visiting their new home.
Important info first: Baby Eagle’s “Bone Soldiers” is streaming in full on Exclaim.ca right now.
If you wanna buy this record, you can pre-order for a discount right from You’ve Changed. It’s out everywhere next week. March 6!
Okay, let me lay it out for you here. Straight up:
The lineup on “Bone Soldiers” is basically a supergroup of rock and roll hotties. Best, nicest dudes. Some of the most charming and hilarious people to have ever slept on my couch. I regularly wish that they’d all just up & move to Peterborough so we can hang out until last call every weekend. The afterparty’s at my house.
For real. Everything they do is magic. You probably remember Steve Lambke & Will Kidman from the Constantines. But also, Spencer Burton’s project, Grey Kingdom, is fucking killer. Ian Kehoe’s band, Marine Dreams, is totally badass. Oh and then there’s the hottest bass player I’ve ever boned – Nick Ferrio (and his feelings). Uh, the feelings are Nick’s bandmates, and I have not boned any of them, though they are also nice dudes. Anyway…
Way back in the mid-2000s, I took my mom to see Julie Doiron at the Drake. I had just seen her play in Peterborough and her set was really lovely, & quiet & full of lots of anecdotes about how she loved her kids. I figured that moms love mom-musicians, right? This time, Julie was so nervous & talked about how she wanted to quit drinking and quit music and go back to school. It was…uncomfortable. My mom wasn’t so into it.
But! Baby Eagle opened the show, and we both loved that. She had a massive mom-crush on Steve Lambke. At the time he played a bunch of stuff that would be on “No Blues”. It was awesome.
& now years later, my partner-in-crime, who has been in so many bands, is playing in my favourite band. This summer when Nick was away for many months, Steve would email Nick some rough demos of these songs, & Nick would email them to me (secret’s out!) like the best long-distance gift.
In my opinion, every record that Steve puts out is better than the last, which means that this is the absolute best Baby Eagle record (just like all the other ones!) I might at some point be embarrassed to have said this on the internet because I will definitely run into these dudes soon. I try to play it cool in front of the famous music-types that Nick knows, but I’m gonna say it anyway:
Steve Lambke is I think the smartest, best, most poetic lyricist making music in Canada right now. You know how John K. Samson wrote all those lovely, narrative-heavy, thoughtful and poetic songs for The Weakerthans and now there’s going to be a book? Hopefully there will one day be a Steve Lambke book. I thought about quoting some lyrics here for you but then thought better of it because when you buy the record they’re typed right on the back, and you should buy the record.
There was lots of band practice happening in my living room during the Baby Eagle October tour and I spent a lot of time making vats of mediocre soup & reading surly feminist Can-lit and secretly feeling very, very, very excited. I think I saw 3 or 4 shows on that tour & every time I caught myself thinking about how I should buy a record and then remembering that it didn’t exist (hadn’t even begun to be recorded yet!) I’ve been looking forward to sharing these songs with allllll my friends for so long now.
As well, touring generally seems like a long draining trek involving sleeping on floors, balancing many strong personalities, spending hours in the car, eating shitty food, and wearing the same underwear for many days in a row. Part of my band girlfriend duties involve sympathetically listening to reports home about all these things. However, in my second-hand observation, touring with Baby Eagle is a really supportive, fun time involving lots of record shopping & games of pool. You should see them if you can! If you live in Ptbo, Baby Eagle is playing March 28 at the Garnet and I’ll see you there.
Before that though, if you live in Ptbo you can see Grey Kingdom with Nick Ferrio and his Feelings this Sunday at the Spill. The show is $5, or $15 including a chicken dinner. I can’t make that shit up. Here’s the fbook event page.
There’s some graffiti on the side of a building near my work that says, “Work Hard, Die Young.” Personally, I think I’d rather do the opposite in both cases. I bought these super long-with-knots gold earrings on a visit to Quebec to see Julia.
I wear this oversized black tunic with gold metal sequins approximately everywhere. It’s fancy but also machine washable, which is perfect for my lifestyle, because the likelihood that I will spill beer on my clothes is pretty high. Don’t judge me – I work at a brewery.
Today’s outfit is super black & gold to coordinate with my new watch (remember watches?) courtesy of Blood of the Young, the indie publishing company that my brother runs with his BFF Dimitri.
Like any big sister I’m really proud of the work that Reilly gets up to. His distro specializes in photographers who shoot film & their super-selective curation really pays off. Their branded products are so rad, like – film! T-shirts that I’d *cough* be happy to receive as a gift! Reilly says that one of his big goals is to blow up enough to get a cease & desist from Matt Groening. He’s the cool sibling.
You should also check out the company he runs by his lonesome, No Fun Press.
Get your watch in the BOTY Shop.
Objectifying, exotifying, sexist catcallers can just fuck off.
“Nice guys” who want you to smile and well-meaning relatives who think you should change your hair can fuck off too.
Shitty, fat shaming fashion mags can fuck off. Extreme makeover shows can fuck off.
People who associate queerness or political cred primarily with butchness can fuck off.
People who ask, “Can you still be a feminist if you wear lipstick?” can fuck off.
Femme is about being a babe inside of your own brain.
It’s about feeling like you are taking care of you.
It’s about knowing that you have assembled a team of experts – friends, partners, chosen family, lovers, mentors – to go through your life with. People who will see you the way you see you, and who aren’t afraid to set you to rights when you need a talking to.
Femme is about trusting your own conceptions of beauty, power, pleasure, and generosity.
If “femininity” is defined according to (sexist!) social expectations and separated entirely from “masculinity,” then Femme is looking over its shoulder and laughing at all those rules.
Of course, of course, of course, we all have influences, we all face pressures, and stereotypes, and social ideals. We all get inspired.
But femme isn’t those things.
I think that femme is subversive and radical because it asserts that I dress for me.
Femme is about knowing that we’re not dressing up solely to be checked out by men, approached by men, approved of by men. Many of us don’t have a man, and aren’t looking for one, either.
Femme is about knowing that no matter what you have on, you’re only asking for it when you actually, you know, ask for it. So you wear your clothes loud, and when you wanna fuck, you say so, loud.
Femme is about feelings. It’s about the way you feel when you look in the mirror, when you catch a glimpse of your strut in a store window, the way it feels to be dressed up wandering around the world. Femme is about how style can feel from the inside out. Femme is about the knowledge that you nailed your look your way.
I’ve been feeling like maybe I should talk about how femme feels (for me at least.) I’ve no doubt that the way I relate to being femme will be forever changing, & I’m positive that other femmes would describe this term differently, but that’s just fine, too.
- Femme is intentionality. When you compliment my outfit, you are appreciating my taste, my resourcefulness, my creativity, my sense of adventure, my liberal application of glitter, my choice to wear sequins with sequins.
- Femme is sharing. When my friends text me to tell me where there is a sale on cute underwear. When you show me how to shorten a hemline. Our conversations in front of a bathroom mirror when you borrow my lipgloss. All the things we have time to discuss when we get ready for a party together & show up three hours late, with the tallest hair and the most eyeliner.
- Femme is defiance. Femme ignores the male gaze & tells patriarchy to fuck off. Femme is a refusal of the pressure to be thinner, whiter, pimple-free, wrinkle-free, smaller, quieter. Femme says that we’ll take the short skirts but you can keep the catcalls to yourself.
- Femme is certainly queer, but it doesn’t tell you who you should love or who you should make out with.
- Femme is not the opposite of butch.
- Femme is open to everyone of all genders and sexes. Not all women are femmes, and not all femmes are women.
- Femme is about style, not about “flattering.”
- Femme is about pleasure, not about suffering. Femme is about healing.
- Femme is about taking the time to be present with the body, to make time to care for your self. Femme is about quiet moments waiting for your nail polish to dry, the hair dye to develop, the moisturiser to soak in.
- Femme is not needing to apologize.
- Femme is about subjecthood, not objectification. Femme is about self-making, about magic. Femme is a little bit of a mess. Femmes don’t give a shit if you can tell they didn’t wake up looking like that, if their hair colour isn’t natural, if they have a run in their stockings.
- Femme is about politics, about power, about play.
FEMME SHARKS RECOGNIZE THAT FEMMES COME IN ALL KINDS OF SIZES AND EACH KIND IS LUSCIOUS. WE WORK TOWARDS LOVING OUR CURVY, FAT, SKINNY, SUPERSIZE, THICK, DISABLED, BLACK AND BROWN FINE-ASS BODIES EVERY DAY. WE REALIZE THAT LOVING OURSELVES IN A RACIST/SEXIST/HOMO/TRANSPHOBIC/ABLIST/CLASSIST SYSTEM IS AN EVERY DAY ACT OF WAR AGAINST THAT SYSTEM.
IT’S ACTUALLY A RADICAL POLITICAL STATEMENT THAT I WAKE UP EVERY FUCKING DAY IN THIS GODFORSAKEN, PATRIARCHAL, WHITE-SUPREMEST WORLD AND DECIDE TO PUT ON LASHBLAST WATERPROOF MASCARA AND A PUSHUP BRA. NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES WHITE CIS-MEN SEXUALLY HARASS ME FROM THEIR CARS, NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES WHAT I WEAR MAKES ME INVISIBLE TO THE QUEER COMMUNITY, NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES I FEEL OBJECTIFIED BY A STRANGER, I STILL WEAR ALL THE LINGERIE I WANT AND TAKE ALL THE TIME I NEED WITH MY HAIR STRAIGHTENER. ALL OF THESE THINGS MAKE ME EXTREMELY BADASS, AND ALL OF THESE DECISIONS ARE NOT ACCIDENTS. IT IS A RECLAMATION AND IT IS NOT EASY.
STOP UNDERESTIMATING ME.
Eventually people realize that there’s a brain under this hair, and a heart under these boobs, but I also like being a character that they can enjoy. It makes it kind of fun when I do get out on stage and tell my real story, and they get to see the real me. I’m a very artificial-looking person, but I’m a very real person.
Femme Cowboy Rae Spoon’s “Be The Light”
Every morning, getting dressed is a process of quantifying an apathy to violence, potential, mediated, or openly hostile, for the day.
It’s impossible to exhaust this topic in one post – and if so, what would I blog about? I’d love to hear yr femme definitions, too.