Tales From the Gay Bar – “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the butchiest of them all?” or “The Kamplebbe”

Posted: June 5, 2014 in TFTGB
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

There are so many words in the English language that cannot properly be translated into Danish. Mainly because English has so many more words, but also because some words have a very precise meaning or are only used in a very specific context and thus when translating, you run the risk of having to use a much broader and general term. This way you tend to lose some of the original finesse and meaning the word bears with it.

I deal with this on an almost daily basis, but what really throws me, is when it happens inversely. Every once in a while I will stumble upon a Danish word that cannot easily be translated to English. This especially happens when describing bodies of water. We have a lot of terms for those. This country doesn’t consist of 443 islands for nothing.

The reason behind all this rambling about words and translations is, that it happened today. I sat down to write an anthropological piece, because I know you guys like those, but I floundered when trying to translate the name of the LGBT subtype I wanted to portray. I thought long and hard, I Googled, I searched Urban Dictionary, but I came up empty-handed.

The word that gave me so much trouble was Kamplebbe. A literal translation would be Fight Dyke, the closest I could get to what she is like, is Bull Dyke, but she is oh so much more than just that. What is she? Well let’s once again (muff)dive into the mysterious world of The Gay Bar and learn about the strange creatures that frequent it.

The Kamplebbe is usually a short, broad (but not fat) butch. “How butch?” you might ask, my reply: “The butchiest!”. Let’s take a peek at her.

Fauxhawk on top. Always styled with enough hairgel to allow one to commit Seppuku with it. When she’s too lazy to shovel on the hairgel there is her extensive cap selection to chose from, all still with the stickers on, naturally. Sidenote: If you get in a fight with a Kamplebbe and you want to make sure she hits you first, just flip the cap from her head. Insta-fight!

T-shirts. Always T-shirts. They can be woman’s style or men’s oversize, but she never wears anything more feminine than that. Often they will have some kind of design, the more misogynistic or “gangsta” the better. We’re talking slogans with “bitches”, “hoes” or “pussy”, dollar-signs, silhouetted guns, gang signs or strippers. Real classy stuff! These things apparently make our Kamplebbe feel pretty badass. I know I’d feel real badass too if I had “Big Booty Bitches” plastered across my chest.

The Kamplebbe’s pants are always baggy, probably hang down below her ass. How else would the world know she wears boxer briefs? Sidenote: I wholly endorse wearing boxer briefs, they are so friggin’ comfortable compared to panties, and I can’t even think about thongs without shuddering. It’s the “everyone must know the brand and pattern of my underwear”-mindset I don’t understand.

Around her thigh and ass will at times hang the international sign for “I will punch you without a second thought”‘; The wallet Chain. Known to instantly boost your coolness-factor by at least 20%, this item is a must have for a Kamplebbe. I swear I’ve seen dykes carrying a credit card holder and still wear a wallet-chain, that’s commitment!

On her feet we find the obligatory sneakers. Preferably the clunky skater-type and the more tattered the better. As with the wallet-chain this sends a signal that the Kamplebbe is just badass. She is literally too cool  to care.

Her girlfriends are always incredibly femme. You know how the worst question you can ask a lesbian couple is “so, like, who’s the guy and who’s the girl?”. Well here the question is both valid and superfluous at the same time. Valid because they will actually take on these roles and will most likely give you a straight answer. Superfluous because you can tell from 100 meters (109.4 yards for the inventors of anal bleaching (we all look upon your in terror) and 0.54 international cable for the merry men of the sea) away exactly who’s the dude (hint: it’s the Kamplebbe).

Not only are her girlfriends femme, but they are a special brand of femme; the low self-esteem kind. The Kamplebbe treats them like crap and they put up with it because they sadly don’t think they deserve any better. Don’t think domestic abuse doesn’t happen simply because both partners are women (or men for that matter), it does. It is a big problem that it’s so invisible because the victims often feel they have nowhere to go, no one to turn to.

Sometimes being a sexual minority makes seeking help for things, medical, mental or other, very difficult. Simply because you are always afraid, that that your divergence will in some way be used against you or as a means of rejecting your experiences. A lot of people in that situation feel the only viable option, is drunkenly blurting out their burdens to their friendly neighbourhood gay bartender. It breaks my heart every time.

But back to the Kamplebbe. Now I know I have written on the subject of drugs in relation to the Powder Puffs, but I feel that if I do not mention it, it becomes a silent issue much like domestic abuse, the over-sexualization of young guys and the heterophobia that are all thriving in the community, simply because no one will address the issues.

Drug and alcohol abuse is not just common among the Kamplebbe-demographic, it’s the norm. I mostly bust them with coke, MDMA and speed (not counting the copious amount of cannabis I find), but heavy drinking is also a crowd pleaser. Simply put they’ll try anything that will enhance and prolong their nights out. And nights out are not kept strictly to the weekend either, any reason to party, they will use and abuse it.

Being a bartender I’m all for the party-crowd, but after a while you start to see these guys breaking down. The drugs and alcohol take over and they no longer party for fun, but because it’s a necessity. They fall apart and waste away in front of your eyes and there’s really not much you can do about it.

Now someone with a bit of knowledge about the LGBT community might rightfully state, that many of the above statements fit very well with the description of a standard butch. What then makes the Kamplebbe so unique? Well the name sort of explains it; Kamp means fight or battle and that is the final defining feature of the Kamplebbe. She is incredibly short-tempered and will never back down from a fight. Actually she will often be the instigator. She feels the most badass when she gets to intimidate or even hurt someone, both physically and psychologically. She gets off on it. It makes her feel large and in charge.

After reading this description of the fascinating Kamplebbe, you can imagine the trouble a couple of them can cause in a nice little gay bar such as mine. Luckily they mainly frequent the parties and there I have my bouncers to keep an eye on them. Still 90% of the ‘incidents’ we have at the parties involve one or more of them. We catch them with drugs, they start fights or just misbehave in some way and I’ll tell you one can get pretty fucking tired of chucking out the same cunts every month. I ban them for as long as I can, but they sneak in and when I catch them and chuck ’em out again, the trouble starts up anew.

There’s one silver lining though: I’d say you’ve never really lived until you’ve seen three barrel-chested bouncers struggling with a tiny little lesbian. Her face distorted in a scream of expletives that hold no truth or meaning to anyone but herself and her limbs flailing like a shipwrecked sailor’s when vainly attempting to attract the attention of a passing ship. It is indeed a show-stopping routine and even with a replay every month it never ceases to amaze and astound me.

Everything the Kamplebbe is and wants to be, is based on attitude and perceived image. This is my main issue with this sub-group. Why is it so important to look cool, that you would give up any individuality for it? Why act like someone else when you could simply be you? Aren’t the coolest people you know the ones who don’t try to be cool at all?

I guess I’m just not cool enough to understand.

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