Tag Archives: Mass

So You’re Surrounded By Right-Wing Catholics

Happy Easter!

How was your holiday? I for one am still recovering from my Easter brunch food hangover–ah, the joy of bingeing on things I only half-way gave up for Lent.

My Triduum was good, mostly business as usual–stomach rumblings, Stations of the Cross, cringing through several of the Good Friday prayers, and staying up late to see new Catholics welcomed at the Easter Vigil.

There were also unpleasant reminders of the Catholic Right. Multiple anti-abortion posters in the church hall. Hyperbole about “attacks on religious liberty” in the church bulletin. A priest who waxed patriarchal about motherhood as women’s special lady vocation.

To be a progressive or moderate Catholic surrounded by traditionalists, Opus Dei members, Santorum supporters, Planned Parenthood protesters, or American Papist followers can be a bizarre experience–something like being the only person wearing jeans in a group of Colonial Williamsburg actors who refuse to break character, or the only participant in the smoke-filled room study. That is, what is obviously bizarre to you seems completely normal to everyone around you.

When you find yourself in a Catholic environment dominated by right-wing folks with an anti-gay bent, it ain’t the most pleasant of circumstances. So what is a Good Catholic Dyke to do? Why, make it into a game!

1. The “Gonzo Journalist” Game

In which you pretend you are Hunter S. Thompson, or the kid in Almost Famous, or Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed, immersing yourself in a strange subculture and reporting back.

via jakewilton.com
This plan can backfire.

2. The “Colbert Report” Game

In which you pretend offensive remarks are actually satire. This is particularly helpful when you hear people comparing abortion rights to genocide, or homosexuality to “man-on-dog” sex, or Obama to a totalitarian dictator.

3. The “Showing Patience and Sympathy to Probable Closet Cases” Game

In which you recognize that at least some of the anti-gay people around you are probably struggling with doubts about their own sexuality.

via glee.wikia.com

4. The “Remove Yourself from the Situation” Game

In which you distance yourself, or cut yourself off completely, from the situation or group of people crushing your soul.

5. The “Episcopalian” Game

In which you go to an Episcopal church until you find a healthier Catholic environment.

via simpsonswiki.net

6. The “Foxhole” Game

In which you find other moderate, progressive, queer, and queer-friendly Catholics and build community with them. They are definitely out there, dykes. We must always remember that most Catholics are not anti-gay. If you are lucky enough to live near a DignityUSA chapter, that is worth looking into.

via dignityusa.org

What do y’all think? How do you deal with less-than-welcoming Catholic environments?

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Bring Your Dyke to Mass, Part II: Smells and Bells

Don’t think you can get away with smelling ripe on Sunday just because Father Whatshisface will be swinging the incense all willy nilly. When you bring your dyke to Mass, you best bring her smelling good.

Now, dykes, I don’t mean to scold. I know you’d like to attend to your olfactory situation, but you don’t want to smell like a funeral home or a goddam cucumber melon salad–hence you avoid women’s fragrances. At the same time, it can feel awkward to stand shoulder to shoulder with a khaki-clad man your dad’s age at the pharmacy, clearly considering the same bottle of Aqua Velva aftershave, or–to your shame as well as his–the same bottle of Axe.

Confidence, homos! I, too, have been there. May I share a story? Gather round.

Just recently, while grocery shopping with a good Catholic straight woman, I hit the sale aisle, and oh boy. Glassware, shampoo, hair gel, and body wash. Here I was, in need of body wash, and a big ole bottle of it was on sale. On sale, dykes! It was red and bulky and cost-effective–clearly a men’s product.

But I worried. Yes, dykes. Worried that it might seem a tad peculiar to take it; worried that I was overdoing it.

What to do? In a moment of extreme neuroticism, I tucked it oh-so-sneakily under my arm with a bottle of gender-conforming shampoo (also on sale), hoping to conceal the purchase from my friend. It was only a few short minutes later, on the salsa aisle, when she turned to me and said, “Did you get a bottle of man body wash and try to hide it from me?” that I realized just how asinine this was.

Did she care that I bought man body wash? She did not. Did she think it was rigoddamdiculous (I’m paraphrasing) that I tried to hide a body wash purchase from her? Affirmative. Yes indeed she did.

I was being sneaky about body wash. Body wash, I say! What foolishness.

The body wash in question was Old Spice Classic Body Wash. When I saw it in the sale section that fateful evening, I already had Old Spice on the brain. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and it’s pretty decent. The smell of it is definitely masculine–at first it was a little too manly for me, to tell you the truth. But it has grown on me. It smells clean without smelling like flowers or detergent, and that’s basically what I was looking for.

I’ve also got a can of Old Spice After Hours Body Spray. This smells different. Less old man-ish. But not like flowers, not like detergent, so it is A-OK with this ladygay.

But enough of that. I’m not really here to tell you what to buy so much as to say: Do you, dykes; do you. Because nobody cares. As long as you’re a clean, mean, lezzing machine come Sunday mornin, it doesn’t matter what set of chromosomes your personal hygiene  products are supposed to go with. I said it before, and I’ll say it again: confidence. You’ve got to bring your dyke to Mass with confidence.


Bring Your Dyke to Mass, Part I

It’s a dilemma that many a good Catholic dyke has faced: how to dress for Mass without dishonoring one’s dykeness or, well, looking like a mess. Certainly, not every good Catholic dyke wishes to attend Mass, but for those who enjoy looking dapper at liturgy, their friends, and their family, we’ve got a few introductory style tips on how to bring your dyke (self or loved one) to Mass.

Many dykes wear dresses, skirts, or gender-conforming pants to church, but some prefer to offset their traditional Catholic behavior with some nontraditional attire—or perhaps to balance their traditional Catholic observances with traditional lesbo garb.

The old button-up and dark jeans is a mainstay of my own Mass attire, but since Sunday comes but once a week, sometimes I like to dress it up a little.

Vests

I’m sure that straight women wear button-front vests from time to time, but it remains a signature dyke look. And when worn over a simple button-up and pants, it makes you look a little more like you got dressed on purpose.

Mr. Shue Rocks the Vest

Women’s vests are made with your hips in mind and tend to be more fitted. Men’s vests tend to cover more and are available in more classic cuts. Either works. I once borrowed a men’s H&M vest for a college lesbian party, and, dykes, it made the panties drop. This may or may not be the effect you’re going for at Mass; I just want you to know your options. That being said, the vests I own are all made for ladies, and I have no complaints. I got some sweet New York & Co. vests on sale one summer, but when they’re not on sale they are not at all economical. Often, you can find pretty decent women’s vests at thrift stores. Boys’ vests are another option to consider–they’ll probably fit, and they’ll be a good deal cheaper than clothing made for adults.

Ties

Katharine Hepburn wore ties sometimes and you should too.

Katharine Hepburn

The wide Reagan-era ties in your dad’s closet are likely to make you look like a kid at a costume party (though in some cases it’s possible to pull off the wide tie look). Narrower ties are better suited to most women’s frames. Lucky for us, skinny ties are easy to come by these days, fashionable as they are thanks to hipsters and Mad Men, so get while the gettin’s good.

In addition to skinny ties made for hipster guys, ties for eleven-year-old boys tend to fit about right, though they are shorter (something to keep in mind when tying and adjusting the knot) and tend to have truck or airplane prints on them, which you may or may not appreciate.

There are many ways to tie a tie, but the most common are: the four-in-hand, the Half Windsor, and the Windsor knot. The four in hand is the one you see most often. It’s a smaller, asymmetrical knot, and it is the easiest to tie. The Half Windsor is symmetrical, triangular, and larger than the four-in-hand. Finally, the Windsor knot is, as its name would suggest, larger than the Half Windsor, and it, too, is symmetrical and triangular. I ordinarily choose the four-in-hand or the Half Windsor, as the Windsor knot is pretty substantial and tends to look best with wide silk ties, which I don’t have many of. Further, while a four-in-hand knot or even a Half Windsor can be worn pretty loosely, the Windsor knot is not particularly well-suited to such a stylishly disheveled look. It really looks best when it’s tightened all the way to the collar.

As for how loose or tight the tie should be: some dykes button the top collar button and wear the tie quite snugly, as men tend to wear them . I have more often seen women wearing the tie loosely, top two or three shirt buttons undone. Either look can be great; do whatever suits you and makes you most comfortable.

Now for tying the damn thing. The best instructions I have found online are by a gentleman named Hendrik, at http://www.tie-a-tie.net/. There are written instructions, diagrams, and videos–oh my! No really, it’s helpful.

Cufflinks

To wear a pair of cufflinks, you’ll need a shirt with French cuffs. French cuffs are big old wide cuffs, and instead of buttons, they have four of what look like buttonholes. You fold the cuff so that the four button holes are all aligned, and you use the cufflinks to hold the cuffs together. It looks good.

Cufflinks

Unfortunately, women’s French cuff shirts aren’t always easy to come by, and they tend to be more expensive than button-cuff shirts whether you’re shopping in the women’s or men’s department. If you’re only really intending to sport cuff links for Mass or special occasions, then one or two of these shirts will suffice. Unless you’re a daily Mass kinda dyke, which is also fine.

Confidence

Confidence, ladies. You’ve got to bring your dyke to Mass with confidence. It can feel a little weird to rock the gender-bending wardrobe in a traditional setting, but it need not be too uncomfortable. You can incorporate only one of the above at a time for a more subtle dyke look, or, if you’re feeling like a badass, wear ’em all. I have never been stopped, harassed, or looked snidely-upon for wearing any of this stuff to liturgy. One time, two of us went to Mass in ties, and an eight-year-old girl seemed confused, but that was about it–and I like to think it was an educational moment of some kind. Who knows, perhaps she’ll look back fondly on that event someday if she herself is a raging, yet devout, young dyke.