Monthly Archives: January 2012

Bring Your Dyke to Mass, Part III: How to Shine Your Shoes

Being an old man and a congenital know-it-all, I have decided to share the basics of shoe shining. Men’s websites have pretty good information on shining shoes, but ladysites are rather lacking in this category. And why shouldn’t our feet look shiny? Why shouldn’t they?

What You’ll Need

Pre-assembled shoe polishing kits are available at most grocery and drug stores, but you can just as easily put one together on your own. To quote the dad from That Thing You Do, “Shoe polisher kit. People can’t even get a brush and a rag out and shine their shoes anymore. They’ve gotta have a shoe polisher kit. Man oh man.”

It takes a little more than a brush and a rag–but not much more. The basics you’ll need are:


-Horsehair shine brush

-Polish that matches shoe color

-Rag (an old sock or t-shirt works very well). You can also use a toothbrush or a horsehair applicator brush.

-Chammy cloth


1. Spread newspaper on the floor. Shoe polish is not easy to get out of carpet (or clothing, for that matter).

2. Remove laces. This way, you’ll be able to apply polish to the whole shoe, including the tongue.

3. Using horse hair shine brush, brush dirt off of the shoes. Or, if that’s not doing it, wipe them down with a damp cloth and allow them to dry completely.

4. Open tin of shoe polish by twisting the small metal piece on the side. It’ll pop the top right off. Science!

5. Wrap sock/rag/old t-shirt around two fingers and get a good dab of polish on it.

6. Apply polish evenly to leather surface of the first shoe, using small circular motions. A toothbrush can help you get polish in harder-to-reach places (along seams, for example, or next to the sole). Pay extra attention to the toe and heel of the shoe.

7. Wait at least 15 minutes for the polish to dry. This lets the polish soak into the leather. While the first shoe is drying, apply polish to the second shoe.

8. Once the polish has dried, buff all over with the horsehair shine brush. The point is to remove excess polish. Do this a little longer than you think is necessary.

9. Finally, buff with a chammy cloth. This removes remaining polish from the surface of the shoe–which is important, because any excess polish is going to end up on the cuffs of your pants–and it makes shoes nice and shiny.

10. You can repeat the process as much as you want for extra shine. For a spit shine, spray a little water on the shoe (or, if you’re less squeamish than I am, put a little spit on your polishing rag) when you’re buffing, or when you apply a second coat of polish.


1. Make sure your polish and shoe color match. In particular, make sure your polish is not darker than your shoes. Try it on a small area first. In terms of brands, Kiwi shoe polish is good.

2. It’s better to use different brushes for different polish colors. Even though you can’t see the polish on the shine brush, it’s still there. Over time, using the same brush for different polishes can discolor your shoes.

3. A tin of polish lasts a long time, brushes last even longer, and good, regular care will prolong the life of your shoe. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a bad investment.

4. These instructions apply to shining leather shoes. I don’t know nothing about no vegan footwear.

5. It’s better to shine shoes in a well-ventilated place. It also better not to get shoe polish all over your skin. Basically, don’t huff it in a paper bag or smear it under your eyes for a flag football game.

For those of you who are hesitant to use artificial chemicals–shoe polish is toxic, after all–some folks on the internet claim you can shine your shoes with the inside of a banana peel. I think this sounds weird, so I haven’t tried it, and I can’t vouch for it. But it is, apparently, a thing.

6. For shoes you wear regularly, it’s recommended that you shine them weekly or every other week.

7. If you keep a tin of polish for a long time, you may find that it dries up. Some people recommend softening it with a hair dryer. Others suggest more extreme remedies. The best thing, I think, is to buy a new tin. The stuff is cheap, and you can find it anywhere. It’s not worth risking your health or safety just to save two bucks on shoe polish. Really it isn’t.

What do y’all think? Any additions, corrections, alternatives?


The Dykes Likes: Shit Queer Grrrls Say

I know this “shit (insert a group of people) say” is definitely over, but could I share this, please? I think it’s the best one about queer women that I’ve seen thus far. Feel free to share your favorite videos (or opinions on how these videos have been problematic) in the comments!

“Why are straight dudes so ugly?”


Update: Shout out to Pink Smoke Over the Vatican in this video:

i’ve definitely said at least 80% of the things in this video. guilty as charged.

The Dykes Likes: Alabama Shakes


I bet I know what you want today. I bet you want to impress that cute short-haired, tattooed chick who works at your local record store or maybe that adorable femme from your Bible study who has the Belle and Sebastian button on her backpack . Well, I have just the thing. Have you heard of the Alabama Shakes?

this could be you.

They’re just the name you need to drop to impress the freckles off of your latest musically-inclined crush. If you haven’t heard of them before, then good! That means that the Shakes are your ticket to sounding like you go to SXSW every year and own a vintage turntable. They’re what’s hot and new in the realm of music. In fact, Paste Magazine recently named them the  2011 New Band of the Year.

check them out.

The Dykes are in favor of Alabama Shakes not only because they have a badass retro soul/rock sound, but because of their rockin’ lady on lead vocals. Her voice is fuckin’ dreamy, people. It will make your panties drop faster than you can say “hail holy queen”.

As Paste put it: “At some point, God decided to take the voices of Janis Joplin, Robert Plant and Tina Turner and roll them all up into the body of Brittany Howard.”

So what will be better than to introduce your ladylove to that? Seriously, she was compared to Janis Joplin.

enough said.

Yep, this is a win-win, babes.

Just an FYI: they have only put out a 4 song EP (check it out at their bandcamp site) so don’t go pretending like they have a bunch of albums out and you own each one of them – although the LP is well on its way (or so I hear).

And for the love of the Lady, watch this.

(hot, right?)

Finally, if your girl is a bona fide hipster make sure that you say something to the effect of, “yeah, I totally listened to them before they got big”. Oh and double points if she’s from the South or has some inexplicable affinity for Southern folk.

Go shake it up! Godspeed, gays.

Dear Dykes: Religious Role Play

Dear Dykes,

I keep trying to get my fairly conventional, Irish-Catholic girlfriend to dress as a nun in the bedroom, and she keeps telling me that it’s offensive. But it seems like it would have to be a thing. Right? Can you please tell me if this is normal, and also how to get the good Catholic dyke in my life to try some role play???


Pretty in Plaid

Dear PiP,

It’s hard to give a decisive answer to the question of whether or not this is normal based on what you’ve told us, so I’ll just say this: it really depends on whether you’ve known nuns primarily through movies, television, and Lady Gaga videos, or through actual firsthand experience.

If you are only really familiar with nuns as depicted in the media, then I would say the nun fetish is nothing to worry about. It probably means you have a repressed interest in mild to moderate BDSM activity and a strong love for Holy Mother Church–in short, you are a good Catholic dyke! Yay!

If, on the other hand, you have known, been taught by, or worked with any nuns personally, then–while I wish to be an affirming and sex-positive Catholic dyke–I am a tad concerned. The ladies at Good Catholic Dykes have known a lot of nuns. And we are here to tell you, they do wonderful work for the poor and marginalized, but they do not appear in our sexual fantasies. In our experience, nuns are, without exception, seventy-year-old women who feed stray cats, wear elastic waist pants, and wash and reuse plastic sandwich bags until they decompose. They are tough old broads; we love, respect, and fear them. But not in a hot way. Never in a hot way.

A third possibility, of course, is that you’ve known real nuns but only fantasize about TV nuns–in which case, that’s some impressive compartmentalization, and well done you! If you think about it, role play fantasies are just that–fantasies. They rarely have anything to do with anyone’s actual lived experiences of school principals, nurses, or ladycops. The heart wants what it wants. So I would suggest that you pass my words of wisdom along to your girlfriend–it may help her understand where you’re coming from or, at the very least, assuage some of her fears about your feelings toward her aunt. Her aunt is a nun, you know. So.

Get it girl,

The Dykes

Got a question for the dykes? Send us an email at

Pass the Sarajishvili: A Dyke’s Guide to Cognac and Brandy

Guess what I’m doing right now, dykes. Bet you can’t.

I’m wearing a fuzzy yellow bathrobe and drinking brandy, i.e. living the dream.

Once a gin drinker, now more of a bourbon drinker, I have only recently come to appreciate brandy. Two summers ago, Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide introduced me to brandy by way of the Sidecar, one of my favorite cocktails with easily my favorite name. Trader’s Vic’s recipe includes an ounce of brandy, half an ounce of triple sec (orange liqueur), and the juice of half a lime, stirred with ice cubes and strained into a cocktail glass. I mixed the drink a few times, borrowing Courvoisier and Cointreau from my father’s liquor cabinet, and the results were consistently delicious. But I didn’t give much thought to brandy after that, and I hadn’t had a sip of it since, until my recent visit to a cafe in Seattle, where I ordered a glass of brandy and became infatuated all over again.

What is Brandy?

Brandy is a spirit made by distilling wine. It is usually made from grapes, but can also be distilled from other fruits, and it tends to be about 35-60% alcohol by volume. Traditionally, it is consumed as a digestif, or after-dinner drink. Once the drink of choice of old British men, more recently the much sung about drink of hip hop artists, brandy is strong, classy, and delicious. The most famous type of brandy is cognac.

What is Cognac?

All cognacs are brandies, but not all brandies are cognacs–much in the same way that all champagnes are sparkling wines, but not all sparkling wines are champagnes, or that all dykes are women, but not all women, unfortunately, are dykes.

A cognac is a brandy that is produced in the region of France surrounding the town of Cognac, it must be distilled at least twice in copper pot stills, it must be made from certain types of grapes, and it must have been aged in oak casks for at least two years. Courvoisier and Hennessy, for example, are two well-known cognacs.

V.S., V.S.O.P., and X.O.

Brandies from different regions, of different ages, are blended together to make one cognac or brandy. This gives the brandy complexity. Most cognacs are blended, but a few are not.

The V.S., V.S.O.P., or X.O. you find on the label of the bottle refers to how long the youngest spirit in the blend has been aged.

V.S. Stands for Very Special. The youngest spirit in the bottle has been aged for at least two years.

V.S.O.P. Stands for Very Superior Old Pale. The youngest spirit in the bottle has been aged for at least four years.

X.O. Stands for Extra Old. The youngest spirit in the bottle has been aged for at least six years.

Price varies according to how long the brandy has aged in oak casks. Once it is bottled, brandy does not age anymore.


-Courvoisier is a good and popular cognac, rumored to have been the favorite cognac of Napoleon Bonaparte. This is what my parents keep in the liquor cabinet. Because it’s well known, you should be able to find a bottle of it in any liquor store, but it’s also on the pricey side. At my local liquor store, a 750 mL bottle was priced at around $40-50.

-Chalfonte is my favorite cognac, and it’s the cognac that rekindled my interest in brandy. I ordered a glass of Chalfonte Cognac at a small cafe in Seattle because it was the cheapest cognac on the menu, and I loved it. The only problem is that, because it’s a small batch cognac, I’ve had trouble finding a bottle of it on the East Coast. If you find it, you should be able to pick up a bottle for $20-30.

-Sarajishvili V.S.O.P. is a grape brandy produced in Georgia (the European country, not the U.S. state) using French techniques. I bought a bottle of it on the recommendation of a dude at my local wine shop, and I’ve enjoyed it. It’s a little feistier than Courvoisier and Chalfonte, in my opinion, but it’s good. I picked up a 750 mL bottle for $30.

How Do You Drink Brandy?

Traditionally, you drink brandy neat (no ice) from a brandy snifter as a digestif. The wide bottom and narrow rim of the glass help contain the aromas of the liquor and allow you to warm the brandy in the palm of your hand as you hold the glass. I don’t have a brandy snifter, so I’ve been drinking it out of a wine glass. Bear in mind, though, that the alcohol content of brandy is usually around 40%, so you should pour yourself a shot of it, not a whole wine glass of it, lest you become very drunk indeed.


Some people also drink brandy on the rocks or in cocktails. I rely on good ole Trader Vic for my cocktail recipes.

1. Sidecar

This is the classic brandy-based cocktail. It’s delicious, and it doesn’t call for any obscure ingredients.

1 oz brandy

1/2 oz triple sec

Juice of 1/2 lime

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Most other recipes I’ve come across call for lemon, rather than lime. It’s good either way. Also, if you’re feeling show-offy, you can, instead of stirring it with ice, shake it with ice in a cocktail shaker.

2. Brandy Alexander

Another classic drink, though you’re less likely to have a bottle of creme de cacao than a bottle of triple sec lying around the house, I guess.

1 oz brandy

1/2 oz white or dark creme de cacao

1 oz fresh cream

Shake with ice cubes and strain into chilled champagne glass. Dust with grated nutmeg.

Though Trader Vic calls for cream, not all recipes do. I think this is the drink that turns Lee Remick’s character into an alcoholic in The Days of Wine and Roses, but let’s not focus on that, dykes, that’s not why I’m recommending it.

3. Brandy Old-Fashioned

Apparently, the Brandy Old-Fashioned is a thing. In Wisconsin. It’s pretty good. It’s what it sounds like: an Old Fashioned in which brandy is substituted for bourbon.

I did not, however, find this one in Trader Vic’s book. I found it online here. Personally, I like my Old Fashioneds better without club soda, and so I made mine without it. My Old Fashioned recipe, adapted from good old Trader Vic’s and with brandy substituted for bourbon, is:

1/4 tsp of sugar

2 or 3 dashes of Angostura bitters (enough to soak the sugar)

1/4 oz of water

Stir to dissolve sugar

Fill the glass with ice cubes (usually 3 will do it, as the Old Fashioned is served in a short tumbler glass)

Pour 1 and 1/2 oz. (a jigger) of brandy over the ice

Add twist of lemon, thin slice of orange, and a maraschino cherry

I usually rinse the cherry before I put it in the drink, as the juice is a little too sweet for my taste. I also tend to run the lemon twist and the orange slice around the rim of the glass before dropping them in the cocktail.

Sounds like the perfect treat to top off a day at the Call to Action conference, amirite?

Anybody have recommendations for brandies or cognacs? Any cocktail ideas?

New Year 2012: Confessions

‘Tis the new year, which means, among other things, that it’s time for 2011 confessions.

In the past year, I have judged vegans because they don’t eat delicious things like cheese and bacon. I have entertained inappropriate thoughts about the hot moms of some of my friends. When asked to choose between getting out in my community to volunteer at something potentially unpleasant, or sitting at home with a bottle of beer and my beloved Netflix instant queue, I have almost always chosen the latter course of action.

I made a joke about harelips. I bought a copy of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang at the airport instead of reading the Mary Daly book in my backpack. For lunch, I ate an entire tub of hummus on hint of lime chips. Twice.

I told my friends I was converting to Scientology.

At a boring, day-long spiritual retreat, I waited till the free lunch was over before making an excuse to leave early.

I felt a surge of acute, internalized sexism on the night my car wouldn’t start, and neither I nor the two middle aged women with me knew for sure how to jump a car battery. (I secretly expected the man in the group to know. He didn’t.)

I tried to do a breast self-exam a couple of times, but it made me squeamish, so I decided I’d just hope for the best.

I gave up on trying to like Tegan and Sara.

How about y’all? Any confessions as you begin the new year?

So You’re Dating A Protestant


Kidding. We think it’s great. Shine on you crazy diamond. But there are a few things you should know about your Presbylutheran potential or current ladyfriend from the outset, and the Dykes are here to help. Having been raised Protestant, I’d like to help the cradle Catholics among you navigate this charming community.

1. Know Your Protestants

Oh, they take many forms, these Protestants. To keep it simple, I have categorized them according to the convenient definitions and sweeping generalizations below.

a. Liberal Protestants

As with many things, you, as a dyke, are generally safe amongst liberals. You may proceed confidentally if your ladyfriend:

Avoids gendered pronouns for God even, or perhaps especially, when doing so results in painfully awkward and contorted syntactical constructions.

Is pursuing ordination. Oh, irony of ironies! If she is openly queer and a lady and yet her options are such that she has the option of pursuing ordination, then y’all are good to go. Plus, you might get to be, like, the preacher’s wife, and bake gluten-free brownies for liberal church bake sales. Church bake sales! In a queer way! Think about it.

Volunteers at interfaith things, or gay things, or Planned Parenthood.

Exhibits such dykeisms as: veganism, facial piercings, tattoos, socialism, asymmetrical haircuts.

Liberal Protestants are often found in mainline denominations, including the Episcopal Church USA, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the United Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church USA.

b. Hipster and Touchy-Feely Protestants

via stuffchristianculturelikes

There are Protestants whose combination of exuberance and fashion-consciousness, while it gives us pause, does not necessarily indicate deep-seated psychological issues. These Protestants are not quite threatening but will probably make you uncomfortable. They are found in greater concentrations in more touchy-feely and hip forms of Protestantism, in churches that cater effusively to the youths. Proceed with caution if she:

-Refers to Jesus as “J.C.”

Claps above her head at church (the Megachurch clap).

-Listens to Christian rock or talks about “Praise music.”

-Reads books by Shane Claiborne or subscribes to Sojourners (also popular amongst liberal Protestants).

Exhibits such dykeisms as: acoustic guitar playing, tattoos, dreadlocks, facial piercings, NPR.

Hipster and Touchy-Feely Protestants are often found in evangelical churches, especially Megachurches full of bright shiny technology. Especially churches that have Starbucks inside–I shit you not.

c. Fundamentalist Protestants


If you find yourself pursuing, or semi-involved with, a dyke in this category, you best turn back, ma’am, because it’s only a matter of time before she has a religious crisis, attends an ex-gay wilderness adventure program, and goes AWOL with your car/beagle/adopted child.

Go with your gut on this. To help, here are a few concrete cues to look out for. Politely remove yourself from the situation if she:

-Exhibits extreme forms of traits listed in “Touchy-Feely” section above.

-Uses the terms “Bible-believing Christian,” “Biblical womanhood,” “inerrancy of Scripture,” “Intelligent Design,” “Father God,” or “Supply-Side Economics.”

-Doesn’t celebrate Halloween and/or Christmas.

-Attended Oral Roberts, Regent, Bob Jones, or Liberty University.

-Belongs to an enormous church with a pastor who, while youngish, is nonetheless too old for his hair gel, soul patch, and designer jeans.

Volunteers at the “crisis pregnancy center” advertised on billboards in low-income areas across your state.

-Talks about inviting Jesus into your relationship. Get. Out. Now. Because you must not–I repeat, must not–get pulled into the “3 way with Jesus” thing. This is perhaps the most intensely uncomfortable form of the Protestant Jesusisms (see 2.a., below).

Exhibits such dykeisms as: acoustic guitar playing, interest in Africa, tattoos.

Fundamentalist Protestants are often found in evangelical megachurches of various denominational affiliations or no denomination at all; small store-front churches; churches with long names that include the words like “tabernacle” or “seraphim”; the Assemblies of God; the Southern Baptist Convention; some Baptist churches; the churches of Christ; the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

2. Passing for Protestant: Meet the Family

So you’re visiting her Protestant parents for the Protestant Holidays, and you want to blend in. But how?


Here are some tips for understanding and conversing with her schismatic relatives:

a. It’s all about your close personal relationship with Jesus Christ, your pal.

Our Protestant friends are not quite as hierarchical, anal retentive, and sacramental as we. The core of their religion involves lots of feelings and personal relationship talk, all focused on their best friend/brother/boyfriend Jesus. Helpful phrases: “I love Jesus”; “Jesus saved me”; “Jesus changed my life”; or any discussion of a “close personal relationship with Jesus.”

b. Prayers should be long-winded and extemporaneous, filled with gratuitous use of the word “just” (as in “only,” not as in “fair”), and should conclude with “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory” or “In Christ’s name we pray.”

If you are awkwardly called upon to say grace at dinner, you must remember this rule, dykes: anything memorized (except the Lord’s Prayer–don’t call it the Our Father–because it’s right out of the Bible) is suspect.

And don’t cross yourself. It’s like when some secret Canadian lets slip a “sorry” or an “about”–dead giveaway. Plus, it is a prime example of Catholic emphasis on suffering and death, which brings us to…

c. Death is icky.

Catholicism, with its affinity for crucifixes, transubstantiation, and saints’ relics, appears morbid and semi-pagan to the tidy and modern Protestant. The Protestant is likely to feel discomfort with the following features of Catholicism, which I have oh-so-cleverly dubbed, the Three C’s.


The Protestant prefers the plain cross, with its clean geometrical lines and understated elegance, to the rather gory and explicit crucifix. Celtic crosses are acceptable; they symbolize sunshine.


Protestants dislike the cannibalistic implications of Catholic eucharistic theology. Moreover, some Protestants object to booze and fear foreign microbes. Accordingly, you may receive your own personal thimble of grape juice.


Dead people are dead and gone–not to be seen, or heard from, or prayed to, or prayed for. This, of course, means that Protestants:

Do not see apparitions of the Virgin Mary.

Do not pray to saints or for the dead.

Do not travel 3,000 miles to a cathedral in Northern Italy to see St. Catherine of Siena’s incorruptible foot on a satin pillow. For example.

3. Cultural Differences: Understanding Your Protestant

a. Excessive Cheerfulness

Mass is serious, introspective, death-centered, and at least a little depressing. Regular exposure to this particular form of religious expression discourages the vice of excessive cheerfulness. It is precisely this vice which Protestant churches, with all their talk of “freedom” and “redemption” and “getting saved,” encourage, and nurture, and reward, as though it were a virtue. Indeed, hard work and disproportionate happiness are considered not only virtuous, in some Protestant circles, but also as evidence that one is predestined to eternal salvation.

b. Drinking

Anyone who has ever partied with a group of Roman Catholic nuns knows how freely the boxed wine floweth. But Protestantism, unlike Catholicism, has a history of teetotalism. It wasn’t Catholics, dykes, who championed Prohibition, and that is a fact that you may proudly pass along to your adopted or in vitro fertilized child someday, in moments of Catholic chauvinism/insecurity. While most Protestants drink, I would argue that they take the more restrained approach of people who value self-control as much as they distrust pleasure.

c. Guilt

Catholics do not own guilt, dykes. Protestants, too, experience guilt. Oh yes. See, for example: the shenanigans at the Province of Massachusetts Bay, total depravity, limited atonement, or Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” for insights into the peculiarities of Protestant self-flagellation.

To put it rather too simply, Catholic guilt springs, primarily, from feelings of personal inadequacy, whilst Protestant guilt springs mostly from the charmingly egalitarian notion that we are all horrible and/or the fear that we have been predestined to eternal hellfire and have no way of knowing for sure. The fine distinctions, dykes! The fine distinctions. These forms of guilt often play out differently in life, which is what makes it all such a wild and exciting ride on this crazy merry-go-round.

What do y’all think? Have you dated any lovely Protestant ladies? What have we left out?