I like to think I’m handy with a tool. I love fixing things. I was the “fix it” person in our family for as long as I can remember. My father was useless in this realm. Minor repairs were either farmed out to the professionals, or I would notice something amiss and fix it.
That’s not to say I never barreled ahead and tried to fix something I had no business sticking my impulsive hands into. Clear evidence of this continues as on occasion I feel the spark when I don’t turn off the electric before meddling. Or, when I put a chair on a counter while trying to attach a new ceiling fan. I tend to involve myself in definite catastrophes that risk the lesbian Goddesses yanking my butch card. I posted about the minor shock I was on the receiving end of last weekend. I do get in trouble when my wife is not around to temper my impulsiveness.
That got me to thinking about the thousands of books I’ve read over the years, and except for a handful of novels, women in what might be considered “blue-collar” occupations are rare. Arguably, there are a lot of police or firefighters in lesbian romance. Some might argue that police or firefighters aren’t high powered occupations, but those dangerous professions are considered sexy and appealing. I’ve been binge-watching Nancy Drew and the sexy little car mechanic was so yummy. I thought, now that’s a character I’d like to see a whole lot more of. But, of course, she’s a side character and Nancy Drew is not lesfic/WLW.
When there is that sexy butch construction worker, mechanic, bartender, cook, etc., they usually own the business or are the crew chief. Another favorite trope is to connect that sexy butch in a blue color occupation with a rich and powerful woman—the whole Cinderella theme. Honestly, I’ve fallen into that same trap. I made Alex, the sexy butch in Pleasure Workers an undocumented “fix it” person who meets the middle-aged Atlanta socialite and then I had to further uplift her.
I’ve realized I don’t like this one bit. Where would we be without all those factory workers, housekeepers, cooks, maintenance workers, car mechanics, truckers etc.? Those professions are important and dammit we should be highlighting them in our books. I can absolutely see a sexy butch in any and all those occupations (or someone more feminine). I’m not picky. I simply would like to see more variety in the occupations we choose to highlight in our stories.
This reminds me of a story I sometimes share to highlight the pride that a person can have in any occupation. The parable of the bricklayers building a cathedral: https://sacredstructures.org/mission/the-story-of-three-bricklayers-a-parable-about-the-power-of-purpose/
I’m going to make you go to the link above and read the story yourself. Suffice to say, this is about pride in one’s work, no matter what the occupation. Purpose, worthwhile work and making a difference. There is not one single occupation that cannot find all three. Hint: I usually take this story a bit further at the end and add something like: the people will come from far and wide to worship in the most beautiful cathedral ever built. Now that is aligning what the bricklayer does with purpose.
In the third book in The Trophy Wives Club, one of the main characters is a young bartender. While we did allow one trope to sneak in (age-gap romance with a rich socialite), I would like to ensure this character not fall into the other trap of changing her occupation too drastically and reveling in the pride of being a mixologist who delights her customers.
There is not one occupation more important than another. I believe this with all my heart. Let’s make those sparse occupations in lesfic/WLW more prevalent and turn them into something sexy. I triple dog dare you. Maybe I will shake things up with a kind and loving hospital environmental services aide who meets a sexy car mechanic. If you want to see the many and varied occupations of my leads, you know the drill click on the links below.