Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"You're Way Too Beautiful Girl - You Had Me Suicidal"

I’m at the Whole Foods in Durham this place is lousy with transpeople. Crawlin. People like me, too: ‘tweeners. We read dyke but only we know how we see ourselves, our interior view. For instance who would know that right now I envision me the post-modern American Rake, a graying George Clooney, comic like John Stewart, with the alpha ne’er-do-well bonhomie of Mr. Bradley Pitt.*.

Oop- see, chick across from me just stood up. Dyke, not trans. No way she’s going for guy, but the incipient moustache threw me off. It’s a tough tell, but the shoes are a dead giveaway: flat-soled, unsexy, narrow black 80’s style office-wear. No self-respecting transman would be caught dead in those. I mean, we’re clearly capable of the same bad taste and delusional thinking every other joe is, but these particular breed of brogans belong only to lesbians or older moms at the workplace. They're the elastic waistband jeans of footwear.

I foresee a future where “sir” and “ma’am” cease to exist. It’s becoming less and less comfortable, especially for “normies,” to gender-qualify everything. I got “sir” then “ma’am” from my school’s automotive instructor today, who was clearly both comfortable and capable of switching gears, as it were. His is the kind of classroom that gender neutral people possibly frequent, if they can be said to frequent anything. I was also “ma’amed” Monday in my Women’s Studies **class by the instructor, which was at first contextually disheartening. I wanted to be especially offended, but then recognized second wave feminism’s (my professor is from the 60’s) struggle with strong gender i.d. You know, the second wave worked very hard to include all varieties of lesbian and often had to accelerate above dyke-baiting conservatives, both within and without the movement. So I feel like a “ma’am” from this quarter is an open-armed, albeit misguided, embrace of my dyketitude.***

I’m reminded of those men and women who insist on telling me how pretty I am. Why are they telling me this? There's often real force behind it. Recently a guy remarked, apropos of absolutely nothing, “You’re a good woman, Sam.” “I’m a good man!” I countered cheekily. He shook his head “No, no.” That was not acceptable, even though I said it. I was defining myself. And these women that tell me how pretty I am: does it make them feel better somehow? Like now they’ve complimented the big hairy dyke who’s clearly uncomfortable with her femininity, and they believe this to be some warm-hearted missile that detonates dykey recesses of latent desire to be beautiful? Or do they displace their own discomfort with my androgyny, my blurry gender presentation by shoving it into their “beauty” template? Please! Call me handsome! You would be correct, Sir!

I have got to live in my own delusion, the one where I’m handsome and not pretty. By delusion, I mean I need to block out my true silhouette, the one that looks soft and hippy and breasticated; for my interior survival I must define myself as stocky, yes, but muscularly so. I need to believe men see me as their equal, when I know they often do not. It’s too heartbreaking sometimes, to skate the interstices. Some people love it; they live radically in a gender neutrality. I’m afraid not a little of my stance is about power, after all. Getting “ma’amed” today is feeling a little bit like kryptonite; it’s the outer Delilah to my inner Samson. Interestingly, it’s having gotten my hair cut off that’s getting me “Sirs.”

*Anyone who actually knows me is likely choking on a raucous gumball of their own spit, disbelief, and hilarity just now.

**The deliciousness of taking this course now was too savory to resist!

***In my instructor’s defense, it was freakin MONDAY morning, and virtually everyone in that class is female, even the guys. I’m sure I don’t know what I mean by that.


  1. Wow, you sure are judgemental!

  2. Alright, since no one else is commenting, I just want to say that I have (Had to because of my former size) "stooped" so-to-speak, to wearing elastic waist "jeans" a few times. And I still consider myself way-cool. I am not a mom, and my mother was one of the first women to wear "slacks" to work at Duke in the 1960s, so I guess that makes me second-wave. (Although some obnoxious guys at a certain bike shop called me a fuzzy-Dyke when they thought I wasn't listening.)
    Oh, and as to being a Dyke? Well, actually I am a Cracker with possibly a little Kike mixed in, and I've been a Dyke; I've been married to a WOP; Divorced; a slut; and now I am married to a Polak.