A friend of mine is racked with insecurities that pop up every now and again about whether or not she's femme. Most recently, when she brought it up, I scolded her. Bad intellectual!, I said. Who cares if you're femme? Why must our communities -- and hers more than mine, since she's queer -- spend so much time obsessively navel-gazing over our Identities when (a) they're constantly in flux anyway; (b) half the time they're ironically put on; and (c) we can't really help what we are. Some of us have baby-faces and apple-checks and big breasts and hips and we will look femme virtually no matter what. Why feel guilty for going with it?
Later I apologized for scolding her because scolding is bad. There's no point making someone feel bad about feeling bad about something. I mean, my god, it's like entering an Escher drawing, stairway upon stairway of guilt.
Also, though, I realize I myself have a pretty complicated attitude toward femininity. I don't like to be looked at, and being looked at is sort of Girly Tenet #1. I've had two anxiety dreams about the wedding where I had to wear a big red or pink ballgown down the aisle. At first I interpreted this to be some submerged worry about chastity, but a wiser friend pointed out it actually speaks more to my fear of attention.
You can't escape attention if you're the bride. The big dress may as well be clown makeup and floppy shoes: you are the show. The three ring circus is just backdrop. No wonder I spent my first few engaged months freaking out.
Of course, as we all know:
In that spirit, I'm going to try to come to terms with the femme stuff before it explodes all over me the weekend of August 5. & what better time than during Spa Week? I soldiered bravely into the perfume-scented unknown and scheduled a discounted massage. It'll be good preparation for the subsequent weekend my mother has prepared for me, which includes makeup and hair auditions as well as dress and shoe shopping. Perhaps I will reemerge, on Monday, as Lindsay Lohan. One never knows.
Luckily, as long as there's an internet, there will be gender-neutral spaces where I can be totally comfortable, like Goodreads.
The Big Idea: Bill McKibben
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