Euch, now I hate myself for spelling skills with a ‘z’.
Anyway, the topic of my last post on collar stays, and a comment I received, made me realise that there are skills that are traditionally butch or femme- the butch ones include DIY, sports, and maybe cattle wrangling.
I am a terrible, terrible traditional butch. I can’t do any of those things. But I do have other skills, and there are a few that are unexpected and untraditional for a butch, but really fit right in, if you think about it. So here we have 4 skills that no self-respected dapper should be without.
Yes, sewing. My mother was a trained seamstress- going off to England to train when she was 17 (which was a BIG DEAL in 1960’s Ireland, let me tell you!!). My great-aunt (on my mothers side) was an unreal crafter- knitting, patchwork, embroidery, tapestry- you name it, she was an expert in it. In fact, she was one of the best known and most respected haberdashery buyers in Ireland during the 40’s & 50’s.
So, with pedigree like that, it was only natural that we all learned the basics of sewing at a relatively young age. I was never as good at knitting or embroidery as the other women in my family (I made my great-aunt cry once, my knitted whale was so bad…) but sewing I could manage.
And think about it. How easy is it to find trousers, shirts, cardigans etc. in a size that fits the female body? Without buying female versions that is. It’s pretty rare. So knowing how to take up a hem or put some darts or pleats into a shirt is invaluable. Plus customization becomes very easy if you can sew well enough to change out buttons- I have given my navy peacoat a bunch of different looks simply by swapping buttons. By personalising you can add flair to a garment without spending loads of money.
Lots of places do sewing classes these days, but if you look up youtube you can find tons of tutorials on everything.
I mean come on, cakes are amazing. Cookies are amazing. Biscuits are amazing. And I’ll tell you this- nothing impresses people (read: ladies) more than something home baked. And people who don’t bake are convinced that baking is hard. It isn’t. It just takes a little bit of time and effort, and boom! You have a delicacy that will shoot you straight into everyone’s good books. Win-win.
To start with, try something easy like banana bread.
I class cooking as separate to baking. Baking usually means treats- cooking is every day. But again, there are some amazing dishes that can be knocked up with very very little effort. And same as baking- they really impress people. Think about it, which do you think would impress that lady you’re trying to woo more; bringing her out to a boring restaurant which might end up being full of obnoxious morons whose conversation you can practically join in on because their table is 6 inches from yours, or having her come over to your awesome pad, which impresses her immediately with the music and whiskey selections, and serving her up something you put major effort into?
And if you’re in your place, you don’t have to eat desert straight away. Just sayin’.
4) Shoe shining
Ok, ok, so I’m cheating a little here. Shoe shining is a butch/dapper skill for sure, but a surprising amount of us don’t know how to shine shoes properly. It’s an activity I really really enjoy- I get to switch off for an hour as I go through my shoes methodically, using different cloths, brushes, polishes and yes- spit. I spit shine at the end. It’s so worth it. There’s a great guide over on Art of Manliness that will show you the basics.
So, anyone have any other unexpected skills to recommend?