Saturday, June 20, 2009

When Will I Be Him?

I’ve delayed writing about this, in part because it was genuinely traumatic, and it didn’t feel terribly “masculine” to “whine” about it.

I was taken out by a drunken dyke spider-monkey at the Peaches show Tuesday night.

Now, being the Bringer of The Diversity that I am, I have a vast array of lenses through which to view this fracas. I could write about this from a sober perspective; I could opine through the voice of maturity (Whippersnapper!). I have an ex-dyke take, a trans-masculine stance, and a pissed-off consumer who spent $40 he could ill afford to have to leave after 2/3rd’s of a fucking song.

Let’s just do it all, a veritable Chex mix of anger, fear, posturing, and anxiety flavored with nauseating sprinkle of PTSD! YES!

D and I muscle up to the stage. He’s 5’10” but me, I’m stretched at 5’6” on a really tall, just-been-rolfed day. Neither of us particularly want to be there – we’re homebodies – but this is Peaches for godssake, THE disco-flavored “Fatherfucker,” a veritable margarine tub of gender-spread on your delighted prone toast. So we show up and try to see through a couple packed rows of baby dykage, general faggotry, and someone's dad.

The crowd feels hostile. I’m old and my back hurts. I have spent my day scraping, bleaching, and painting an antebellum porch and I’m as tore-up as the waitress at the Last Supper.

But I’m with friends, and I’m excited to see this performer I admire. I’m out of the house because Peaches is amazing.

Little chickie in front of me is angry. Later, D would tell me this baby had clocked me, checked me out with red in her eye. We’re all holding on to our dance floor real-estate for dear life, but it feels aggressive, antagonistic. The beautiful freelove queerspace of the Cat’s Cradle is feeling less Woodstock and more Altamont. The drum track pounds and we all stiffen like warriors. The woman in front of me begins to push, to throw her body back. She’s deliberately shoving me backwards, but I’m committed. I eyeball D; we’re like “what’s up with this crazy crowd?” but we’re dedicated to this spot on the floor we’ve staked in way that, in retrospect feels a tad…insane.

Chick’s still pushing, I push back. I’m shouting at her to cut it out – part of me is trying to argue rationally with a drunk – I’m yelling “what the fuck’s your problem” and “you’re going to hurt someone.” At one point D steps in; by sheer towering height and aggression he backs the woman down and we all relax just a little.

But up it starts again and this time it’s on. Every time she throws back, I spike her with my elbow now and it inflames her. She turns and attacks, going for, of all things, my hair, which, much to my almost galvanizing astonishment she is pulling. She is actually pulling my hair out. She starts throwing punches; I’m pushed back into a packed and baffled crowd; being a smart nerd my hand seeks my glasses as it occurs to me in that moment that they will go flying and be trampled, and I will be blind.

D hurls himself into the fray; someone is holding me back, and I see that someone is holding the lesbian primate too. In that moment, I make a decision, a decision hindsight tells me I would not have had to make as another dyke on the dance floor. As a sober woman, I would have moved long before the monkey caca hit the fan.

As a dude, the adrenaline is pounding in my temples and my fists are curled in the shape of a pitbull’s skull. There is something so primitive happening here – it defies description. I would like to sidebar and tell you that since I’ve been on T, I’ve become taller. Not literally. Everyone looks smaller to me. People I was convinced were bigger than me I now can see are actually the same size or smaller. I don’t know if being a chick shrunk me in my own estimation of myself, or there’s some testosterone-induced grandiosity, but boys and girls? You don’t look so big to me.

Anyhoo, in that second, I make a decision, and the verdict is in: I will not punch this cunt in the face. Plain as the blood hammering in my head is a vision of myself with the po-po, having to explain to them that some young woman was all up in my space so I hit her. That’s that masculine insanity, the flag-planting, leg-lifting, imperialism of My Space. And there I was.

The truth is, I’m not a fighter. This little chicken would have kicked my ass with her crazy spider-monkey, hair-pulling ju jitsu. So there was a piece of this that was totally emasculating, too, even knowing that I had made a tacit “gentlemen’s agreement” – and I also had the horrifying insight that all those times I thought I had “won” in a showdown with a guy - in a bar, in a parking lot, on the dance floor – maybe the guy was doing the gentlemanly thing and not punching me in the face. Because I was absolutely that dyke that would try to mix it up when there was masculine presence in “my” space.

Here’s the thing: I think I may have been perceived as male. At the very least I was perceived as a masculine woman. What I’m saying to you is that that male privilege we all read about? Transguys are fish-in-a-barrel for lesbians targeting men as the source of their ire, their frustration. Believe me, I even smell like a guy, but I forgot that. I wish I could say I was all “here we are in happy-go-queerland together” and this bitch fucked things up, but the truth is I was hateful myself at these three fags who were taking up more room than Kanye’s ego – they had masculine noblesse oblige and it was pissing me off big time. I haven’t learned how to take the space men do, nor how to hold it. Being read as male is so new to me I almost don’t know what to do with it. I’m also way more reliant on using my femininity than I ever could have known. The very characteristics that disarmed strangers when I was a woman - my puppy dog friendliness, my toothy smile - can seem weird and invasive from a dude.

I’ll summon the Muse, to end this one. With the help of the very sage, I shall quote:

you got them all
by the balls
causing water falls
stone walls
bar brawls
climbing stalls
at concert halls
to you they crawl
body sprawled
smoking Pall Malls
close call
stand tall
doll you make them feel so small
and they love it –

“Boys Want To Be Her” ~ Peaches

Let's keep it safe, have a great day, and stay out of the gender binary, shall we?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you described that show perfectly. I was stuck behind the "someone's dad" guy the whole time. The crowd quickly turned into a bunch of primates, and it even rubbed off on me. I had the sudden urge to go all spider-monkey on "someone's dad" because he was just standing there, a foot taller than me and blocking my view. Thankfully, I didn't give into that urge....and good for you for walking away from that mess. One more thing: you picked the perfect Peaches song to end this post with!