May 2, 2012

A World of Welcome

Say hi to Anna Watson, the author of "Bienvenido" in The Harder She Comes.

A World of Welcome by Anna Watson

Nigh on ten years ago now, when I finally came all the way out as femme, I had a fantasy about a debutant party. The party would be a ritual to welcome me into the world of femmes and butches and to honor my sexuality, long repressed and sadly neglected. It would be a joyous occasion for all the femmes and butches in the area, a time to reconfirm our connection to one another, to wallow luxuriously in our delicious, varied, layered, joyous and oh-so-persistent desire. I imagined it would be like an adult coming-of-age ceremony, a femme mitzvah, steeped in sex. There would be a lot of preparation, like shopping dates with more established femmes who would guide me through the mall, counseling me on makeup and hairstyle, keeping me company in the lead up to the big event. Butches, too, would be on hand for escorts and driving, and they would be doing their own preparations.

My butch beau and I had a ball filling in the details of this ceremony. Our tale-telling often led to acting out some of the juicier bits, and the whole thing was just a bunch of fun. There’s one part of my fictitious Femme Debut, though, that has stayed in my memory, something that points to the fact that this particular fantasy was more than a pretty story we were telling each other in bed.

The butler steps into the ballroom and rings a silver bell, once, twice, three times. The crowd stills, and looks expectantly his way. The femmes in all their finery smile at each other, glance in anticipation at the long staircase descending from the second floor, and move to the center of the room, remembering their own Debuts. They are dressed in high steam punk to high slut to high domme and in everything in-between, a riotous flock of color, perfume, cleavage, tattoos, hair dos and attitude. The butches, whether in full tuxedo or full leather, hurry into position, one butch to a stair, my own butch beau waiting for me at the bottom. The butler gives each butch a flower, and rings the bell again. The crowd is completely silent as I emerge from where I’ve been cloistered with my closest femme advisors and move towards the top of the staircase. The femmes kiss me and step aside as I begin to descend. At each step, I stop, and the butch there hands me a flower. “Welcome,” they say. “Welcome.”

That part would make me tear up, every time.

Saturday evening, my butch husband and I went on a date for his birthday (and yes, he’s the same guy as the above-mentioned butch beau – thank you, personals!). Believe me when I tell you we don’t get out much, especially since he’s been in an MBA program this year, adding an extra exciting element to our already very busy lives (I don’t think I’ve mentioned that we also have 2 teenage sons, not something for the weak of heart!).

After a lovely dinner at a funky Chinese restaurant (East by Northeast in Cambridge – pretentious and expects you to eat lots of spring peas with chopsticks, but it was damn tasty), we stopped in Davis Square to see if we could get into one of the films showing at the independent film festival. We ended up seeing a documentary, “We Are Legion – the Story of the Hacktivists”, a world we neither of us knew anything about (Four-chan? b-tards? Anonymous? Huh?) (Wait, we did know about LOL Cats…), and we were both completely fascinated with the story of nerds-turned-social-activists sort of by accident. One of my favorite parts was when one of the male nerds who was interviewed talked about the heady energy of meeting in person other nerds who had previously only interacted via the computer, saying something like, “It wasn’t just guys, like you might think – there were girls. A lot of hot girls came out! I’d say a whole lot of us got laid that day!”

We need each other. We need to be seen – our sexualities need to be seen -- by people who, at least on some level, understand us and get us. There is nothing like it in the world, especially for persecuted minorities. I love to think of the Anonymous nerds, finding fellowship and sexual pleasure with one another, and I loved the Butch/Femme Bashes I was able to get to back in the day, where OH MY FUCKING GOD THERE WE WERE!!! Even now that I’m an old married femme lady, I will never forget that deep and satisfying soul thump of a feeling.

As D.L. King says in her eloquent introduction to The Harder She Comes, we don’t all do femme/butch alike, and how boring if we did. We do, however, share something: a love of all the scrumptious ways butches and femmes get hot and nasty with each other, a basic need for our sexuality to be recognized, honored, and held on high. As much as the world around us has changed, as much as access to each other may have become easier for some of us, we still need to know that there are folks like us out there, cheering us on. We still need to feel in our cunts and dicks that this kind of sexuality is alive and right and quintessential and vibrant and shines its love light right into our souls. I see you. I love you. That’s why I wrote “Bienvenido” and that’s why this book is so damn wonderful. 

Get your copy of The Harder She Comes: Butch Femme Erotica anywhere good books are sold.  To make it easier, you can get it from Amazon or directly from Cleis Press. 

Check out who’s coming up on the tour and go back and visit the blogs you may have missed.  Here’s the schedule:

May 1  D. L. King
May 2  Anna Watson
May 3  Evan Mora
May 4  River Light 
May 5  Sinclair Sexsmith 
May 6  Crystal Barela
May 7  CS Clark
May 8  Valerie Alexander
May 9  Andrea Dale
May 10  Beth Wylde
May 11 Kathleen Bradean
May 12  Teresa Noelle Roberts
May 13  Shanna Germain
May 14  Charlotte Dare
May 15  Rachel Kramer Bussel


  1. Beautiful, Anna!

    "Femme mitzvah"!

    And when you described a pretentious Chinese restaurant in Cambridge, I had a hunch... and, sure enough, it looks from the location that it's likely the same place I remember as Cafe China in the '80s--where, when we asked if a particular tofu dish came with vegetables, the server said it didn't come with "vegetables per se." In plainer language, that meant "no." (It wasn't like it came with a vegetable puree or anything of that nature.) Forever after, the name of that restaurant was Vegetables Per Se, as far as we were concerned.

  2. Very powerful -- your post and the power of acceptance. Thank you! And, of course, congrats!!!