High-Maintenance Butch?

I came out about three and a half years ago, and not much later realized that I was butch and probably always had been, even and possibly especially during the two years or so when I tried to grow my hair out and meet more guys and yeah, that. I’ve read about quite a few butches who went through that stage.

And then there was this Facebook quiz that showed up on my feed about two years ago and made me laugh, because, before I came out, I would have scored a perfect zero.

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Nowadays, I am clearly much, much more high maintenance. Now, I score a grand total of four points. Yeah, not the hair extensions four points, or hair is dyed+nails are painted four points. Nope. Owns 20+ pairs of shoes.

Given that there was a time in the 1990s when I owned one pair of shoes for work, a pair of sneakers, a pair of snowboots and a pair of either flats or low heels for emergencies such as weddings, it still boggles my mind that I might own more than twenty pairs of shoes.

And I thought I owned only twenty pairs of shoes, including sneakers and boots. Nope. The other day I pulled all of my non-sneaker, non-boot shoes out into the living room to get a good look at what I had.

Pretty much, it came down to short boots,

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Oxfords (bucks, brogues, wingtips and monkstraps), in black

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Brown

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And other exciting colors

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And girly shoes.

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The total came to thirty pairs. Who the hell owns thirty pairs of shoes? And when I think that most of them are made of leather, and I do know the problems with the leather industry, how did I manage to accumulate all of these? Or, to put it differently, how did I manage to eat this particular dinosaur? Sigh. One piece at a time. Okay, maybe a pair of pieces at a time. And that means, I suppose, that I can also reduce the excess one pair at a time, right?

To be fair, there is a real reason that I ended up with this many pairs of shoes, and if I look at the shoes I’ve got, the answer is pretty clear. Once I recognized and embraced myself as more of a masculine kinda girl, I wanted to express that through my clothes: blazers, cufflinks, vests, shoes.

Two years ago, I did a purge of all of my clothes. I got rid of 117 items of clothing, including shoes, socks, shirts, skirts, dresses. Things that were worn out but I was still wearing, I threw out. Things that no longer fit me physically, I donated. Things that no longer felt authentic, and probably hadn’t even when I thought I should be more feminine, I donated.

117 things. Gone. But we know that nature abhors a vacuum. (I know my cat does.) Apparently I filled it. With, among other things, shoes.

So this week, as part of a new purge, I tried on all thirty pairs of shoes and managed to winnow it down by one-sixth. One pair, the black oxfords, were simply too small. I was able to give them to a smaller friend who has been pulling together a working wardrobe for her post-graduate degree present. The others, all bought online even though I know that I have narrow heels and usually can’t wear shoes that don’t tie in some way but I was trying to have better girl shoes… Yeah, that didn’t work.

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So now, I am 58 pieces of clothing down (including five pairs of shoes), in part because I just ordered two vests and yeah, another pair of shoes. I never meant to be a horrible consumeristic person, or as my sister called me a while back, God forbid, “a clothes horse.”

Life leads us in really strange directions.

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