out of the closet and on display

Do you remember my post about my history as a redhead? No? That’s okay. Just believe me when I say that yesterday something happened that never has before: I enjoyed a hairdressing appointment. There has been no time in my life when I liked having my hair cut or styled. And yesterday someone did both, and I was thrilled.

This is mostly because I finally met a wonderful stylist. He was smart, he was funny, he didn’t make me feel bad about my product choices, he let me know what he was doing and made me look seriously cute. Five or six inches, half a bottle of conditioner and one razor later, I look absolutely smoking:)

What made me most happy, though, was not the haircut. It was the amazing discussion we had about the gay rights movement, and what rights we want now–whether “marriage” is the right word for the privileges we desire, the political/social/religious connotations of “gay marriage,” and the discomfort that comes with being able to pass as straight in the company of those who are more conservative. He told me a funny/sad story about a client he’d been seeing for many years who told him she’d “never met one of THOSE people,” and I told him about the terrible Easter incident with K.’s extended family. We had a good moment of solidarity, even though we didn’t totally agree on the political issues.

And the best part was this small moment of vicious satisfaction that I got when there was a pause in the conversation…and I realized that everyone else in the salon was silent. Listening raptly. And I wondered, ‘huh, are we making them uncomfortable?’ and then though, ‘I hope not…but if so…well, it’s about time.’

educating the masses

The tag surfer is one thing I love about WordPress over other platforms (LJ, for instance). It shows me all sorts of things I would never have found otherwise–and perhaps shouldn’t have.

Like this post by a well-intentioned but seriously misinformed person, trying to understand some basic concepts of gender theory and human sexuality. I’ve linked to it, because I’m hoping some of you can give her a little help (I have very little formal training in this arena other than my own life experience) but here’s some quotes to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Brace yourself.

“If gay people are gay, why do they want a same-sex partner who very much resembles an opposite-sex? Why don’t they be straight from the beginning and just like the opposite-sex in that case? Why bother making someone try so hard to look like the opposite sex when natural ones are readily available in abundance? [….] Or an even better example, Chris Crocker. He is obviously born a man and he’s gay. But apparently, he’s trying to be a woman, isn’t he? If he did go for a complete sex change, he will become straight because he still likes guys and he’s a woman then?

SEE. SO damn confusing. I should have asked my professor these questions during open discussion time when we were struggling to come up with topics to talk about.”

I left a long comment which is full of holes and some half-accuracies, but I was trying for understandable, not comprehensive. It was surprisingly well-received, by her response:

“I had no idea much of my thoughts could be offensive. I still don’t understand how it is but since you said so, I’m really gonna think about it again seriously. Because I’m serious about understanding homosexuals. I am afraid I wouldn’t be prepared if one day I find out I am one myself. I doubt it now but I really need to know about you guys, that’s all. […] I don’t think ignorance is bliss.”

Points for trying, in my book. When faced with ignorance, it’s very easy to become defensive and angry—because so often, it’s a justifiable and necessary response—but sometimes I try to step back and see if there’s some genuine effort going on behind. On a good day, I like to think there are more people like her than we realize, and that we really are getting somewhere.

ISO queer friends – w4w – 25

Why do I feel like I have no community? An astute reader picked this out of a post, and I thought it deserved a more detailed explanation. While I threw it in like a sidenote in that post, the truth is I feel very isolated. I actually know quite a lot of people, but most of my friends are straight and those that aren’t live far away. I love my friends, but girl-watching with straight guys just isn’t the same.

Let’s start with the one thing nobody ever told me about being a young adult: not only will you be broke from paying off student loans, you will be lonely. All of your college friends will move away, and you won’t know how to replace them. You don’t have the convenience of making “we met in a class last semester” acquaintances and trying them out for size. Meeting people without having a pre-arranged reason to talk is a totally new life skill. I’ll chitchat with people in the grocery line, but how do you ask them to hang out later?

Conventional advice for beating the quarter-life crisis is to make a pre-arranged reason: decide what you like to do, and join some kind of club. Like music? Go to a show, do music things. Like to play sports? Do athletic things. Like to be gay? Do….gay things? Um. What, exactly, are those? You see the problem.

The ironic thing is that there are actually quite a lot of queer people here and I see them around everywhere. But most of them are in their 40s and 50s, and the rest are college hipster kids. As much as I’d like to make friends outside my demographic, there are practical difficulties. Somehow I took my useless degree and found a professional job which requires me to keep daytime hours; yet, at 25, I’ve had enough of the older set by the time I leave work each day. Add to that: I don’t live in a big city. We have some coffee shops and some kitschy stores and a few good restaurants, but it is not what you could call an “urban area.” There’s a potato farm around the corner and only the sports bars are open after 9 pm. There just aren’t that many places to go.

It feels like one of those jokes where the punchline is something so obvious…in college I went to parties to meet hot girls (unsuccessfully) and to class to meet interesting people (more success there) but now? I’m in bed by 10:30 and I don’t know how I ever did it. How, between the hours of 5pm and 9:30 pm, can I find some people who are like me? In a potato field? And still find time to clean my house and help K. make dinner and manage to get to work on time the next day?

an ethical dilemma

Several years ago, my mother converted to fundamental Christianity. She was raised Baptist, many years ago, but was not a practicing Christian of any variety for most of my life. But for whatever unknown reasons, she has joined an evangelical church and has become a full-blown Bible thumper.

It makes me sick. Truly, physically nauseous. When I went to her church the first (and hopefully only) time, the pastor told us that pagan teenagers that worship the devil will go to hell, and encouraged his congregation to be as dedicated as Muslim suicide bombers to their cause. These are the people my mother spends three nights a week with. I don’t know for sure that they hate The Gay, but based on what I know of them, it’s a pretty safe assumption.*  And although her behavior towards me and K. hasn’t changed at all in that respect, I just can’t support her decision to give her time (and money) to their causes.

Now, I won’t go into the details of the history of our relationship, but I will say that it’s been rocky–since I was about 10 years old. It’s really only been in the last couple of years that we’ve been getting along better. We have real conversations now, and she invites K. and I over for dinner on a regular basis–we don’t always go, but I appreciate the gesture. I’m trying, really really trying, to maintain the stability of our relationship.

So when she asked me if I could do a little sewing for her church’s Easter banner, I made up some dithering excuse about how I’m really busy with work right now and I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it, but can I get back to her on that? It hurt me to say it. I’m a very honest person, I always speak my mind. I’ve been looking for a reason to tell her why I can’t support this–and I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. And the worst part is, I think that was the right decision.

*edit: I didn’t know for sure because I wasn’t willing to do the research. having done it, I know for sure. hate the sin but not the sinner…

being seen

Apologies to my dear readers—life got a bit busy, but I promise I do have a nice update on the progress of my tie-tying skills. Which may or may not contain a photo, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer for that.

A few days ago K. and I stopped at a little country market on the way back from visiting my parents…which is to say, in the middle of nowhere. New England is like that. You might only be forty minutes away from a college town, but that doesn’t mean there are streetlights. Some people (Action Girl, you there?) would argue that forty minutes still makes us more civilized, but I grew up in this area and I know when to be cautious–our proximity to the college towns give us a certain buffer from the typical redneck homophobia, but I know what this place is like behind the facade of tolerance. I don’t like going into the country, and I try to keep a respectable distance from her when we’re there. But we go anyways because, well, even the supermarket doesn’t sell squash for 50c/lb.

We’re in line, surrounded by leaf-shaped candies and coolers of kielbasa and bacon (you can almost smell the pigs from which they came), trying to decide whether to keep the celery we’d put in the cart. I hate the stuff, K. loves it, and it was *very* on sale.

The check-out girl, though? Was offering recipes left and right. She sided with K. on the subject of celery soup, and in general made herself more helpful than was necessary. I started to feel uncomfortable, until I looked at her face: this girl was SUCH a dyke. And so obviously pleased to see us. And who can blame her? She’s bagging squash for Polish Catholic grandmothers all day long. So I put my hand on the back of K.’s neck and fixed her collar, just a bit, just to say, “yes, we see you too.” Because it really is nice to be seen.

million-dollar question:

Can I learn to tie a Windsor knot? How about with my eyes closed?

….before Friday?

alrighty then

K, on the subject of email spam: “I never get any interesting ones, only the stupid ‘enlarge your penis’ ones…I don’t know why I’m getting those, all I have to do is buy another dildo.”

In other thoughts, what stereotypical lesbians we are. While waiting to move into our new apartment (we’re moving!) K. and I are staying with Action Girl—who, while totally awesome, is nevertheless my ex. It’s alright though, they get along well. At least, well enough to sit around making fun of me all day long—it’s like some kind of competition sport for them, to see who can make me blush the most.

Good times, good times.