“Here I am, gaslighting myself, and all I want to do is buy some clothes.”
Shaven heads on women have challenged and informed ideas of beauty, power and tradition for centuries. Here’s the history of a very queer style.
“My style icon is Nancy Meyers’ interpretation of a middle-aged white woman after she’s decided to pull herself together sometime in the second act. Wow that is… I feel very called out by own self.”
A lesser, straighter person might have given up the ghost at this point, but I was determined.
I had “dressed” myself before driving drunk to my mother’s home. I had taken a shower thinking that water would take away the smell; that putting on leggings instead of leggings-that-I-slept-and-drank-in, would make me look like I was wearing clothes; that if I put on mascara I’d look like I had slept through the night and not spent the whole day drinking.
I don’t want to be pigeonholed into a specific category or subject; I want to be seen as everything and nothing. I want to be seen as authentically myself, and to push myself to fully experiment with my favorite art.
“She doesn’t mean to be limiting. She just doesn’t see that the way she feels about her body is not the way that I feel about mine.”
“Amazingly, neither the training bra nor my actual boobs magically solved my very typical and very sad self-image issues.”
“I couldn’t help to associate this perception of my ‘powerfulness’ in drag as belittling my power when I dress and present as feminine.”
“I wear Spiritual Awakening Pants, because I look good in them and sometimes I crave that feeling. I feel guilty while I do it, like I’m legitimising the remnants of colonialism that I see in the patterns of elephants.”
“I can’t be a woman without the right clothes. I’ve been on HRT a year by now, but I still haven’t been gendered correctly by a stranger. It’s a lot of things. I try not to think about bone structure, about shoulders and necks and foreheads.”
“The boots fit. They fit in every way I had never known that other clothing didn’t. They fit in the way that frilly, muddy dresses fit my sister; the way that a black cocktail dress fit Audrey Hepburn; the way that pillbox hats fit Jackie Onassis.”
“My favorite thing in the world is when people ask if it’s a mood ring so I can say yes.”
“It took me 14 years to recognize with certainty that I was a dyke. I wish I could say it was about the intellectual complexities of sexuality and gender, or that I was afraid of being different. Those were factors, but not nearly as pressing as this: I thought dykes had bad style.”
Midwestern lesbian fashion — flannel, Birkenstocks, baseball caps — is ignored at best and looked down upon at worst compared to urban, Shane-esque queer style. What happens when it’s given museum exhibit status?
“I was once a dancer, a synchronized swimmer, I played acrobat on thick, moss covered logs when I was at the lake, catching myself as I stumbled was a game. Now, I struggle to do eyeliner.”
“The guy I had a crush on made the shirt, and I hoped that the girl I had a crush on would notice me in it.”
Perhaps he would have loved me enough. I’ll never know, and my eschatology doesn’t include a heaven from which re-embodied souls watch over our earthly lives. All I have is speculation about how he might have reacted to his daughter’s bisexuality, and to his daughter not being precisely a daughter at all.
We’ve packed and unpacked these items through several apartments, hung them up with care, and regularly touch the sleeves contemplatively although today could be the day. Reader, it’s not going to be the day! The day is not coming. Yet we can’t let go of these garments. Why not!
“I shower. Get dressed. Read or listen to music until my hair is mostly dry and I can brush it. I don’t wear makeup and I don’t know how to do anything with my hair. No one wears the same size as me. I don’t know how to be a part of this ritual.”
“I’d actually never even seen a woman in a blazer before. Like a men’s cut blazer. It really was like Fun Home. Inside I really did feel like I KNOW YOU!”