Friday, April 24, 2009

Boys Will Be...Girls.

New Year’s resolutions aren’t my thing because at best I forget about them. At their worst they’re a constant reminder I’m failing at something I had an entire year to accomplish. I made the same resolution every year between eleven and fifteen (kiss a boy!) and managed to fall so spectacularly short each December (not even making eye contact with a boy who’s not my brother!) I gave up the practice entirely until this year. I resolved to dress like a girl more often.

I have a bad habit of dressing like the dudes I like. Going out tonight? Sweet. Dumb t-shirt, jeans, actual men’s boots. Occasionally I throw flannel and a leather jacket into the mix. The thing is that I actually kind of like clothes and, now that I lost some weight or whatever and can buy cheap dresses from those abominably wonderful bargain stores on lower Broadway (Extazaa WHAT WHAT), I’m endeavoring to do so. I think I’ve achieved some success.

This is why it’s funny that the larger issue of my failure at traditional girlitude, by virtually any other measure, has become a recurring theme in my life lately. It’s important to point out here that my preadolescence was informed by 90’s style girl rock, from Courtney Love (cartoony, psychotic) to Lilith Fair (crunchy, hirsute), so classic girlishness was never something to which I aspired. But at some point between then and now, when a friend helpfully reminds me to wash my hands after eating something spicy so I don’t accidentally make my dick burn when I pee, I ended up kind of Middlesex. All I was really shooting for was a little Tank Girl swagger.

I’ve been “dude”-ed and “bro”-ed while making out. I’ve been half of the phrase ,“guys like us…”. I’m used to the “YOU ARE SUCH A DUDE” reaction after telling a story. This bothers me exactly zero approximately 98% of the time. I know these people, mostly guys, don’t actually think I’m a guy. Moreover, I know I’m a girl and that, like any other girl on the planet, my brand of girl is appealing to some. I have successfully seduced a dude with only my knowledge of 1980’s era professional wrestlers while swigging PBR out of a coozy and wearing a ripped sweatshirt, no make-up and dirty jeans. I’m fairly positive I belched. I’m fairly positive that’s gross. My point here is that the one thing I’m completely positive about is that grossness and being female not are mutually exclusive.

Ditto for being frank/pragmatic about sex and being female. Or not feeling particularly caught up in the idea of having a wedding and being female. Or having the ability to take a joke about being ugly or being fat or being a slut and being female. Or not smiling and being female, although that one caught me by surprise. “Other girls, they smile at people when they walk by. Like, as a rule,” my coworkers informed me. “You’re the only one who doesn’t.” I’m willing to own the idea that I might be completely unfriendly, but that doesn’t make me a boy.

I’m not exactly treading new feminist territory here. It’s just that the “you’re a guy” reaction whenever I do something particularly un-girly gets to me every once in a while because first of all, I’m not a guy and I never will be. The only time I even semi-wish I was is right now because I have cramps, the lady kind, and there is some proof I'm not a guy right there in your pudding. And second, I get guyified whenever I seem unemotional. This defines being a girl as having feelings that are easily bruised and being a guy as not having any at all. That’s good for exactly no one.

So, to settle. Yes, I am a girl. Yes, my fingernails are short and chewed and probably dirty, but that makes me more of a grubby third grader than a boy. Yes, I sometimes, ahem, interact with dudes without getting lovey-dovey, but that makes me more of a sociopath than a boy. Yes, my laundry contains so much flannel I’m releasing an album under the name L.L. Cool Bean, but that makes me more of a creature of comfort than a boy.

And besides. Some of that flannel is in dress form. Four months resolved and going strong, bro.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Short Dispatches from Vague Territory

I’m trying to come up with a runaway train metaphor for my life that isn’t horrendously cheesy and also doesn’t bring to mind the ride at Disney World or the Soul Asylum song, but I don’t think I can do it. And now I’ve just got that “like a madman laughing at the rain” part stuck in my head. But do you know what I mean, that feeling? Let’s stick with the rollercoaster over the 90’s anthem. An amusement park ride has rails; it’s clear you’re running along a path, however terrifying or nauseating, and it’s only the velocity that makes it feel dangerous. The scenery around you isn't all that interesting either--what's thrilling about an amusement park besides the speed at which average people whip into and out of sight? That’s the completely cheesy way I’m feeling lately, described even more smoked goudally. Havartishly.
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