Dressing The Same

In a house with two wives, “What are you wearing?” means something else.

All I have to do is look at my profile photo on my blog spot on Curve – and the topic of Lesbian Dress flares into mind.

Sure, this photo wasn’t about showing we got game—we’re on vacation in Mexico with our eldest son, and a brand new baby who just got great health news. We’re beyond ecstatic in the biggest #YOLO mode of our lives. (Plus two of our favorite friends from Melbourne met us there and gave us the great gift of date time…)

So on a limited wardrobe of summer clothes hauled out in the middle of winter, we’ve fallen into a lesbian stereotype as widely known as U-Hauling—we’re looking a lot alike. Capris, Flip-Flops, and purple (not normally my color, but I was a newly breast-feeding mom wearing hand-me-downs). Looking back on it today, part of me is like, “really?”

I probably could have hidden this photo from you – but let’s face it I bet you’ve been there. Like all of you probably feel, in my mind, Vicky and I are individual enough that I didn’t even catch this wardrobe mash-up when I submitted this photo for my blog spot.

But to challenge this thought, for the first five years of our marriage we lived in Australia and frequented Gay and Lesbian business events (GLOBE, Fruits’N’Suits, BLEND). Nearly all our gay guy friends confused our names. At the time, Vicky had short hair, mine was long. We were both wearing suits (so was everyone—so do all men). It is true, we both have Canadian accents…tricky, very tricky.

However, as in all little hurts there may have been some truth to it. We’re of similar height, we’d both identify as sporty dykes and unfortunately or fortunately we both love and look good in practically the exact same style of clothes.

In Season 3 of The Fosters, Stef comes home to her wife with dramatically short hair. She says she’s always wanted short hair, but was afraid of being called “Butch.”

For years I’ve heard people talk about “the dyke cut:” the very short haircut a lot of women seek after they discover a lesbian side to their sexuality. (A heterosexual friend once had to introduce and explain the term to me. I never thought it was a “dyke” cut when I or my friends cut their hair, I just thought it was really hot hair.)

It’s true cutting your hair short is one way many women declare “out and proud” to the world—and I think it’s doubly meaningful, that even if the haircut doesn’t “look good” to others, you are doing it anyway.

When my wife cut her hair short—I was like Sherri Saum on Teri Polo: “I just kept running my hands through it.”

Curve and Autostraddle recently articulated that Lesbian Bed Death is nonsense (bed death does not only happen to “lesbians”!)

Just like LBD, I wonder if the “lesbian couples should never dress the same or have short hair” is another sad story lesbians get told about their sexuality—as if to make them feel bad about it.

Maybe you agree with me that there is an unspoken rule about how lesbians display their sexuality—and good job, many of you choose to ignore it already. But to not acknowledge this cultural normative may be to let it have unnecessary power over us as a community. I’m talking about that little voice in your head saying, “Femme lesbians are still ‘hot’ in the eyes of mass heterosexual culture so we’ll tolerate you. Butches: expect to be ostracized.” Ultimately, what this means is a lack of acceptance towards all lesbians.And if we don’t talk about it, we let it perpetuate.

TV show character Stef Adams Foster’s treatment of acceptable lesbian dress code has been often quoted since the episode aired. I think it’s popularity has to do with the fact that we’ve all wondered at some point about how to create a unique sense of style.

Who really cares if my wife and I dress similarly, or either of us has short hair. I’m the one who gets to take her home at the end of the night and I think she’s dead sexy. #ShesMyTeriPolo.