flee to me, remote elf
ALL BY MYSELF
I work in a tall building and I come to work really early. This means I get a lot of chances to ride the elevators by myself. The elevators where I work are mirrored on all sides and have handrails at about hip height. How do I take advantage of this? Here is a partial list.
1. Pretend to be a malfunctioning robot and walk into the walls
2. Prop leg up on handrail; do faux-ballet stretches
3. Shake what my mama gave me
4. Get very close to mirror and growl things like “fuck you motherfucker I went to 'Nam”
5. Kriss Kross will make me jump! jump!
6. The classic: adjust underwear, pick nose
7. Practice my Tuvan throat-singing, touchdown dance, or award acceptance speech
Tell me what you do alone in the elevator! Bonus points if you have a story about getting caught doing it.
READING IS FUN-DAMENTAL
For some reason I just read two transgender books in a row. I did not like What Becomes You because I thought it was just plain boring, but I very much liked Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Okay, maybe she could have chilled out a bit on the subtitle (damn, that's long), but I have to admit it is pretty descriptive of the contents—this is not a Maury Povich-style transsexual tell-all at all but instead a lucid and entertaining screed about how misogyny and antifeminism have informed society's discomfort with transsexuality in general.
MINOR QUIBBLE WITH A MINOR POINT
In one chapter Serano writes about how it is misguided (at best) to assume that a woman's pull toward the trappings of femininity is always socially constructed, and uses her own experience growing up as a boy as a very logical example. Despite feeling metric tons of pressure to express herself as male, she felt naturally drawn to feminine gender expression, which means that wanting to be feminine has to be at least partially inborn. Also, to assume that women are somehow “tricked” into stereotypically feminine gender expressions is insulting and misogynist, etc. And of course that's true. My only problem is that I think it is impossible for a cissexual woman to separate what is a “natural” pull toward femininity and what is years of near-constant socialization messages about How To Be A Girl. I mean, you can yell all you want about how you “naturally” feel pretty in high heels and makeup and a push-up bra, and maybe you do, but how do you know it's natural? None of us were raised in a cave. In some ways trans women have the best claim to “legitimate” desire of all things pink and girly (if indeed they do desire those things, since of course not all trans women do), because the desire is felt no matter how severely its expression is restricted. The rest of us get many subtle and overt cheers and props for doing the feminine thing, and for some women they want to do it anyway so it all works out fabulously. It just seems hard to know for sure that the path was freely chosen.
I guess the whole question is moot: how can we ever know if ANY person's gender expression is “sincere”? And who cares anyway? I have this cynical rad-fem streak that makes me suspicious of women who seem to actually enjoy typical expressions of femininity, but I guess I should get over that because it's really just my prejudice. Serano's book has helped a little in the getting-over-it process. Recommended if you like gender theory AND common sense (it's not a dreaded “academic” read).
AS LONG AS IT IS STILL ALL QUEER IN HERE
I will tell you that somehow the subject of families with two mommies came up recently, and Nora mused that it might be lovely indeed to have two mommies. LT immediately expressed his preference for “curvy with Louise Brooks haircut” regarding the co-mommy applicant, and I can't say I disagree.
HERE COMES THE SNARK
Speaking of gender trappings, are women still supposed to be catty and judgmental? I will get right on that, starting now. Saturday I am standing on the sidelines giggling like MAD at the little-kid soccer, and this woman shows up late, sort of inserts her kid into the middle of a group drill without talking to the coach or anything, and then takes her giant Mary-Kate sunglasses and even more giant latte over to stand near me. She is holding a small pink-and-white basketball.
Basketball Lady: I brought a ball but they didn't want it! They said it had to be a soccer ball.
WELL, DUH Yeah, every kid has to bring a ball.
BL: We signed up late, and then I got a call on WEDNESDAY NIGHT telling me to bring a soccer ball on SATURDAY MORNING. [ed. note: soccer starts at noon.] I said, How am I supposed to do that? I'm a WORKING MOTHER.
Me [nicest possible smile in an effort to control myself]: Oh, we just got ours at Target. They're actually pretty easy to find.
BL: But I WORK!
Me [another sunny, terribly insincere smile]: Me too.
I wandered off then, as I just couldn’t take it anymore, but what the hell? Does she work on an oil rig or something? She could not make a Target run with only two-and-a-half days' advance notice? The kids are too little yet to be embarrassed by things like this, but just wait until this mom is all like, “Oh, you're supposed to have a graphing calculator? Here's a curling iron, good enough.” “Signed permission slip and bag lunch? I think I will send this rubber band and a few packs of cigarettes. What do they want from me? I'm a WORKING MOTHER!”
Soccer, by the way, is dearly loved by Nora, and it is premium entertainment for me and LT. Not least because she coaches the whole time, by which I mean she keeps up a constant stream of team chatter DURING PLAY. Nora runs around out there screaming, “Come on guys! Let's do it! Let's kick the ball!” There is a game face involved. There are many spectacular spills from which she just picks herself up and keeps going. When I am not doubled over from laughing, I am busy patting myself on the back for getting her involved in team sports. She is clearly not a superstar (at least not yet), but oh man the enthusiasm. Wow.
DC COMICS IS GETTING HARD UP FOR STORYLINES
Here is Nora's drawing of Batman, right after the loss of one of his baby teeth. See it there in his hand? He will put it under his bat-pillow tonight and hope for the best. I am pretty sure Alfred will come through.
—mimi smartypants has a refreshing beer taste.