Ten Money Questions for Lipstick & Dipstick
Gina Daggett & Kathy Belge write the punchy column, Lipstick & Dipstick that appears regularly in Curve magazine and offers relationship advice from the butch / femme perspective. They just finished their first book: Lipstick & Dipstick’s Essential Guide to Lesbian Relationships with a release date of November 2007. So in anticipation of the fame and fortune it will bring, I asked them to get personal about money, relationships and all things financial. And as you’ll learn below, money spends the same whether it’s carried in a purse or a wallet! Enjoy!
1. Does gender and identity influence earning potential?
Dipstick: Yes and no. We can’t pretend that prejudice, sexism, racism and homophobia don’t exist. They play out in all things, including earning potential. But on an individual basis, I think people can overcome these barriers. In other words, know what you’re up against, but don’t let it hold you back.
Lipstick: In the outside world, I believe it’s becoming less and less true and that earning potential is rooted in your education, your experience and how big your boobs are. I think more than gender and identity, the way you were raised affects your earning potential.
2. What is your most significant memory about money?
Dipstick: I have a few. I remember my mother breaking down crying in the grocery store because she didn’t have enough money to buy food for the family. My other is after I got my first job, a paper route at age 11, when I saved up enough money ($14) to buy a skateboard.
Lipstick: When I was nine, I tried to buy a sticker at the mall—it was huge, the size of a kitchen plate—and was short about a dollar. My mom was right behind me in line and I was trying to be a big girl and show her that I could buy things on my own with my allowance. I was so embarrassed that I’d miscalculated (I didn’t know what tax was then!) and humiliated because there was a big line behind her, too. I realized right then and there that my future wife should be in charge of balancing the checkbook. When I was high school, my friend and I coordinated on a ski trip to Colorado for 50 of our friends and earned $1000 each (a lot of money back then) and got to go for free. I learned the significance and power of an entrepreneurial spirit! I’m a big risk taker.
3. What is your worst habit around finances?
Dipstick: Not putting away enough for retirement. I want to enjoy it now!
Lipstick: Loving to shop and eat out. The latter is also my worst enemy regarding getting into those new clothes.
4. Gina, as a former debutante, do you think women are still conditioned by their mothers and society that a man is a financial plan?
Lipstick: Yes. When I was in college, my sorority sisters used to joke that they were getting their MRS. degree. (They wrapped it in humor, but they weren’t really kidding.) Funny, I thought, totally in the closet, I was pursuing a majoring in girl-on-girl action. Beyond that, I think that it’s still quite common for women not to be involved in money issues in the traditional household. Men pay the bills and earn the living and women spend the money. Growing up in that culture can misguide young women when they’re eventually on their own. Me, for example. I will spend, spend, spend without even bothering to look at the register. This can be a big trigger in my relationship.
Dipstick: It can be a big trigger in the business relationship, too! Remember when you got all excited and spent $100 on glitter? We almost closed the door on the LLC over that one!
5. We have a series at Queercents called Sleeping with Money. What’s the best money lesson you have learned from a past romantic encounter?
Dipstick: I don’t know if it’s a money lesson, but I had a girlfriend once who I bought a car with. When we broke up, she kept the car. Shortly after, the car needed $800 in repairs. She wanted me to pay for half. I guess the lesson I learned was standing up for myself and saying, “Go fuck yourself!”
Lipstick: One of my ex-girlfriends, years ago, had a huge stock portfolio (as well as a huge rack) and was already buying stocks at a young age. Of course, it helped that her father was a broker, but still, she was already thinking about her financial future, even as she was getting her first job out of college.
6. Kathy, are there economic advantages to living as a butch?
Dipstick: I wouldn’t say advantages, no. Let’s face it, we live in a country where people can still be fired for being gay in 33 states with no legal recourse. Since butches look “more lesbian” they are often the target for this kind of discrimination.
Lipstick: Be that as it may, femmes have to come out of the closet each day over and over again in the workplace (depending on circumstances) because everyone assumes they’re straight. We also can get tangled in sexual harassment drama at work, even though we’re innocent. Many years ago, I got a promotion and the woman I jumped over started a rumor that I was sleeping with my boss: a six foot man from Nigeria. It was comedy once the rumor made its was up the chain to HR—she had no idea I was a dyke. When she learned that small little detail, the look on her face was priceless, so was the door hitting her ass on the way out.
7. If you could buy one thing right now, what would it be?
Dipstick: If I win the lottery, I always say I want to buy a WNBA team. I’m a huge women’s basketball fan. But what I’m wanting and looking to buy right now is a small RV or camper van so I can have the freedom to get out of town, get into nature and still be able to work.
Lipstick: More real estate (pay cash for a large, historic building downtown that pulls in huge rent) and I would start an endowment for young lesbian writers.
8. You are both freelance writers and therefore, self-employed. Do you think of yourself as a small business owner? And is there truth to the saying, “Do what you love and the money will follow?”
Dipstick: We are small business owners—Lipstick & Dipstick is an LLC—but beyond that, yes, “Do what you love, the money will follow” is one of my favorite philosophies. I have always followed my heart, even when people told me it could not be done. But I have found a way to do it.
Lipstick: I think there is definitely truth to that, but the quote should actually read: “Do what you love, be persistent, patient and positive, and THEN eventually the money will follow.”
9. Will there be a chapter dedicated to relationships and finances in your new book? How does money play a role in the success of a partnership?
Dipstick: Yes, we have two chapters that deal with finances. Money issues can make or break a partnership. Dipstick urges couples to be cautious with merging finances. Lipstick is looser. Well, she’s looser with money in general. From time to time I have to take the L&D credit card away from her.
Lipstick: Funny, Dip, but yes, Lipstick does like to spend money and she loves to shop. This trait, too, is a learned behavior. My mom is the runner-up Queen of Shopping, second only to my nana. Beyond my loose spending habits, I think it’s critical for couples to talk about money and finances in a relationship and keep that line of communication open, whether you merge finances or not. It’s not very sexy, but money issues can break up more couples than lesbian bed death.
Dipstick: Unresolved money issues can lead to lesbian bed death.
10. Which is more important: how much money you make or how you spend it?
Dipstick: What is most important is your outlook on what you have. The key to financial balance (and a balanced life) is to be happy with what you have, but to always strive to improve on it.
Lipstick: How you spend it, definitely, but it’s also important keep the cycle of money moving in your life. Hording is no good; we must give back to the world, too. It’s very important to payback the universe and take good care of those you love.
More about Gina Daggett & Kathy Belge
There have been a lot of advice booths set up over the years, but never could needy lesbians catch more than one uniquely queer perspective…until now.
One is a feisty, curvaceous femme. The other is s a lively, pragmatic butch. Lipstick, a.k.a. Gina Daggett, is the girly-girl of the pair, favoring stilettos over socket wrenches. Dipstick, a.k.a. Kathy Belge, is the eternal tomboy who prefers the rough-and-tumble to Barbie. Voted the #1 column in Curve in a recent reader’s poll, Lipstick & Dipstick pen punchy advice for the lesbian community, a measured blend of guidance, wit and sincerity from the femme and the butch perspective. Their first book, Lipstick & Dipstick’s Essential Guide to Lesbian Relationships, will be out this fall.
Lipstick’s words have appeared on the cover of Curve, Girlfriends and Just Out, as well as in a Cup of Comfort, The Kerf Poetry Journal, and the Portland Tribune. Dipstick’s writing credits include Curve, Girlfriends, Just Out, Out Traveler, Out.com, and daily as your guide for Lesbian Life on About.com. Together, they pen the punchy advice column in Curve Magazine Lipstick & Dipstick. Find them on the web at lipstickdipstick.com or their blog http://lipstickdipstick.blogspot.com/
Read other Queercents interviews in the Ten Money Questions archive.