A few years ago if someone called me a “femme” I would get irritated. I wasn’t sure why I got irritated, but for whatever reason, it felt reductive.
Maybe it’s because I have internalized misogyny I worried to myself, wondering if I had fallen victim to the wrath of patriarchy or some shit. And then I realized, no, screw that, I love being as flamboyantly girly as possible more than any entity I know. I worship at the altar of girly-ness like Catholics worship Jesus and native New Yorkers worship bagels with cream cheese and lox on Saturday mornings.
Finally, while sitting on a panel in LA about “femme style” I got to the root of my issue. The term femme didn’t resonate with me because it was too one-note. I’m a specific woman who doesn’t connect with anything general. When I get my nails done, I’ll ask for “robin’s egg blue” or a “Pepto-bismal pink with a violet undertone.” I’m a highly visual creature so blanket terms like femme or butch are too much of a gray muddled mess for me.
One day I was sitting at a bar (let’s get real, when am I not) when someone (a cute gay boy) asked what kind of lesbian I was. Before I could answer, my friend Justin answered for me. “Zara’s a mascara lesbian! Not a lipstick lesbian, a mascara lesbian!” Never had an identity felt so right to me.
From that moment on, I relished in being femme. I was empowered by being a mascara lesbian. I reached into my purse and pulled out my Too-Faced “Better Than Sex” mascara and began feverishly adorning it unto my lashes right there in the bar, without a mirror. It felt visceral. Primal. Right.
So I decided it’s time for femmes to have a few more dynamic, creative ways in which to identify (if they so wish, it’s all about choices, honey). For femmes come in a vast array of diverse styles and feelings. Here are 10 types of femmes I happen to love, that perhaps you didn’t know existed.
1. The mascara lesbian
The mascara lesbian is a very specific breed of lesbian that is hyper-sexual and has a sky high libido. She likes to eye f*ck and knows that the most seductive thing a girl can do is bat her lush lashes, so she applies two thousand coats of mascara on for dramatic effect. She wears mascara everywhere — to the gym, work, on the subway, the gay bar, the beach. She needs to replace her mascara at least twice a month.
She doesn’t wear lipstick not because she doesn’t love it, it’s just that she’s always wanting to indulge in salacious make-out sessions and has learned the hard way, that red lipstick and passionate, impulsive kisses can end up looking like a vile murder scene! Unless of course, you use liquid-to-matte lipstick, but that’s too much of a damn commitment for her. The mascara lesbian tends to be flighty and all over the place. She’s usually a big player and can’t help but flirt with everyone.
2. The eyelash extension lesbian
The eyelash extension lesbian is exactly like the mascara lesbian, except she has more time and more money. Eyelash extensions are the ultimate seducers because you can wake up in the morning with eyebrow-cascading lashes, without having to take fifteen minutes to apply mascara.
The only drawback is that extensions are very, very expensive and require bi-weekly hour-long application sessions. The eyelash extension lesbian tends to be a wealthy, lady of leisure, but also very sexual and coy. All mascara lesbians strive to be eyelash extension lesbians.
3. The leather princess lesbian
The leather princess lesbian always has *one* piece of leather (or pleather) on, no matter the season or occasion. Sometimes it’s a fabulous studded cuff, other times it’s a badass bomber jacket, other times it’s a kinky thong. She juxtaposes her hard-edged leather with super frilly baby-doll dresses and prim little peter pan collar tops, in order to properly mindf*ck you.
You can’t tell if she’s a total dominatrix or the sweetest kitten you’ve ever met. She’s a freak in bed.
4. The glamour bitch lesbian
The glamour bitch is a very intimidating, vocal, femme, who is all about the unapologetic bright red lipstick, the floor-length faux fur coat, the big hair, and the mega-tan. In certain circles, she’s known as the “Texas lesbian” because she looks sort of like a Southern beauty queen, only much more extra.
The glamour bitch usually drinks blood-red wine and smokes Virginia Slims that she lights up with a monogrammed 14-carat gold lighter. She’s rare in the millennial world and is usually gen X or a boomer. Gay men worship her and she usually has some sort of theatre background. I usually seek out a glamour bitch to serve as my mentor.
5. The label whore lesbian
The label whore lesbian is obsessed with everything and anything designer. She doesn’t flaunt her posh labels, but if you were to peer into her perfectly organized closet you would notice that her simple cotton t-shirts are by Theory and the cashmere throw casually strewn across her couch is Ralph Lauren. Her nails are always clean and neat, her apartment is impeccable and she collects Jo Malone candles.
She’s usually a Taurus because we all know Taurus lesbians like bougie shit. She’s a big fan of oral sex even though she’s a germaphobe. She lives in one of those new glass buildings in Williamsburg.
6. The sad-girl ’90s lesbian
The ‘90s sad-girl lesbian is a very sad-eyed, beautiful breed of femme lesbian who likes to rock sexy tee-shirt dresses and pairs her ripped black jeans with tiny pale gray crop tops but throws a flannel around her waist to prove her fierce dedication to the decade of grunge. She likes those super cute Dr. Martin boots that have a heel and she’s memorized every single Ani Difranco lyric to ever exist. She had her first kiss at an Indigo Girl’s concert and secretly sites Courtney Love as her style icon. In high school, she dated boys who wore nail polish.
She’s a hopeless romantic, likes the rain, and drives a Prius.
7. The witch bitch
The witch bitch is the consummate lesbian goth. She wears all sheer black lace, fiercely stays out of the sunlight, burns sage in the office and attains an insatiable taste for all things ~velvet~. She has three regal black cats who reside in her plush home and she listens to bands like the Cocteau Twins and Portishead.
She doesn’t have any male friends and often speaks of the “divine goddess.” She’s a sensual kisser and will read your palm after sex. Don’t cross her though. The witch bitch will haunt the shit out of you in your nightmares for years if you screw her over.
8. The long-skirt lesbian
The long-skirt lesbian is a hippy who likely went to either Smith College or Wellesley. She wears long, flowing skirts that kiss the surface of the raw earth, and bears a bevy of silver toe rings on her always-exposed feet. She has a tattoo of a big oak tree going up her lithe arm and she rubs hemp oil onto her temples every morning.
She has a surprising fascination with metal and often dates metal head dykes (they balance each other out and both dislike deodorant).
She’s an excellent vegan cook.
9. The lipstick lesbian
The lipstick lesbian is super provocative and radiates sexual energy, but she’s a total tease. She seduces the masses by pouting her heavily painted lips at the bar, but she doesn’t kiss anyone. The lipstick lesbian will not spoil her gorgeous lips for you, baby. She needs to be wined and dined and fawned over before she removes her lipstick and gets down and dirty with you.
Which is why she’s so sexy! Us lezzies love a chase, don’t we?
10. The summertime bikini lesbian
You know that lesbian with the rock-hard abs and impressive muscle tone in her thighs, who you never, ever see in the winter? Yet come memorial day weekend she’s out and about everywhere? She’s playing volleyball on the beach in fire island, she’s sucking back cocktails in Central Park, she’s at bikini brunch and every goddamn lesbian bbq? And she’s always in a string bikini and cute little baseball hat? It’s like she trains all winter long and sticks to a strict keto diet and then in the summer comes traipsing into the scene all spray tanned and buff and making the rest of us feel bad about ourselves?
This lez is hot and usually very powerful. She hibernates during the winter and slays in her career but parties like a rockstar all summer long. We miss her when the winter comes, but look forward to seeing her in the summer.
What kind of ~femme~ are you? Tell me in the comments.