Man, have I been out of the loop. It’s been almost a month since my last post, and, after reading around, it looks like half the internet blew up and put itself back together. Particularly the gender-blogging side of things — I’m seeing good news and bad news and tough conversations and awesome make-overs and happy anniversaries and one-step-forward-two-steps-back changes, and the ever-present, always appreciated, brilliantly written navel-gazing. Oh, yes.
Kind of makes me want to go around with party balloons and hugs and maybe a straight jacket or two. (Or three. Why does gender-blogging always bring out the extra crazy?)
So. After a couple minutes of thought and a scrapped picture or two, it turns out there’s no way to transition smoothly from ‘THE INTERNET IS BUSY AND ALSO CRAZY’ to ‘HERE’S WHAT I’VE BEEN DOING’.
Actually, that worked pretty well.
First off, I GOT MY DISSERTATION FINISHED. My dissertation written about butch gender, in fact (though, if I’m totally honest, it was a literature review and mostly I was reviewing butch authors, but that still counts). I wrote it in about a week, lost two nights of sleep, and wrote the word “gender” so much it might literally be seared onto the backs of my retinas. BUT DESPITE THAT, I got to rhapsodize at length about the validity of butch blogs (or hell, any kind of gender blog) being included as an academic source. Because seriously, if the criteria are only “must be written by an expert”, “must be published”, and “must be peer-reviewed”, THEN ALLOW ME TO REDEFINE YOUR TERMS.
(Also, note to self: writing all in caps is extremely entertaining. Must remember to
inflect it on people do it more often.)
I also had a good friend, Ki, come stay with me for two weeks, which involved a lot of touristing, a lot of travelling, and much general walking-up-and-down-the-country-and-taking-lots-of-photos. I’m footsore, noticeably reduced around the waistline, slightly sunburned, and very de-stressed. It was brilliant. Also, she made me curry.
Funny thing, actually: seeing as Ki is cissexual, straight, and Mormon, conventional odds would tilt our spending much time together in the same room towards the side of catastrophe. Epic catastrophe, even. And I wish that was just bigoted, narrow-minded thinking on my part, because I know religion and Teh Gay are not mutually exclusive (just ask Nezu, who attends an awesome gay church down in San Francisco, or JB, who attends another gay-friendly house of religiosity in the same region), but man, as peaceful coexistence goes, Mormon and queer are not what you’d traditionally think of as on speaking terms. Just look at all that Mormon funding for Prop 8.
And Ki is really Mormon. (And also possibly not speaking to me, after this introduction. *laughs* I’ll have to post up an anecdote about myself falling down a flight of stairs, or something, to make up for it. Or send her a fruit basket.)
But, but, but — here is where it’s awesome. Because not only is Ki really Mormon, she’s also really cool, and amazingly unfussed about either Teh Gay or Teh Butch. Two key examples: she invited me to Sunday church with her and didn’t bat an eye when I threw on a suit and tie, instead she got all aw-shucks-pleased when I pointed out that my tie matched her very pretty new dress, and then complimented my new dress shoes. (Also, Mormon church is bizarrely enjoyable. There’s a very warm-and-friendly atmosphere, much like a village bakesale and gossip, rather than the high grandeur and severe sense of You Are Doing It Wrong that the Catholic church nails you with.) Second example: I’ve spent the last few weeks using gender-neutral disabled bathrooms instead of doing the awkward knees-clenched dance between male/female, and lemme tell you, disabled bathrooms rock; there’s space to stretch your legs, set your rucksack down, adjust your binder if necessary, and do your business in absolute peace, all without the tension of worrying about what’s waiting on the other side of the stall door*. Totally flaw-proof system, right up until you hit a place without an easily accessible disabled bathroom, such as the Imperial War Museum in London (y’know, hypothetically), and really have to pee. Particularly if the Museum is about two hours away from your safe and gender-free hotel room, and you can’t think of any other more appealing bathrooms in-between, what with it being London and you suddenly being a severe coward.
Seriously, it’s amazing how out of practice you can get with gendered public bathrooms in a few weeks. It’s like all that armour just melts back into your skin, and you are soft and quivery and easily-stabbed all over again.
So, there’s me, hovering awkwardly by the door to the ladies (which is about a mile away from the mens’ room, and two floors below the disabled) and trying to decide whether I really need to piss that badly, or if I can just hold it — and there goes Ki, striding past without a word, to check out the whole bathroom and then flash me a grin and an “All clear!” with a reassuring thumbs up, like someone gave her a manual entitled How To Make Your Gender-Bizarre Friends Go Wobbly At The Knees With Gratitude.
I can’t actually remember if I told her thank you at the time; I was too busy sprinting for the stall. But oh, I meant to, possibly in poetry.
It’s a funny thing, really, I’ve known Ki for… jeez, two years online? More than that? We’re writing partners and moderaters on a community over on Insanejournal (great site, awful base coding), and spend waaaaay too much time meddling about in the lives and loves of fictional gay ninja (seriously, and it is awesome. Also, have I mentioned that I’m a ginormous geek?), but I still expected her to be a little dicey with everything when she came over. Not much, but just a little, in a background, slightly-awkward sort of way. Because there’s a difference in knowing someone is weird/different/liberal/gender-bizarre/insert-adjective-here abstractly, and knowing it because you’ve just met them face to face and now you have to spend two weeks sharing a room together, eep.
Of course, seeing as half our family and friends expected one of us to seduce the other, I reckon we managed to hit the middle ground pretty well.
Man, this is a rambly post. So, yeah, internet asplody, dissertation finished, Mormon friend awesome, what else?
– I have amazing Wolverine hair today. It’s kind of accidentally awesome, all slicked down on the sides and whoosh on top, like my hair gel has a world-saving agenda and just neglected to tell me.
– I’ve rediscovered my love for boxers recently, specifically the really cheap kind you can buy at the supermarket. Y’know, the £3 for a set of three kind, which sit comfortably on your hips and loosely everywhere else, and go great with a plain t-shirt if you just need to laze around the house for a day.
– Bear S. Bergman has a livejournal blog, and it is just as fantabulous as you’d expect. (Also, Bear and his husband had a son recently, and there is just not enough aww in the world, folks. In the world.)
There’s a whole lot more to write about (when is there not?) but this post is becoming ridiculous-sized, so I’ll call it quits for tonight. Or, y’know, the next thirty seconds. But hey, baby Bearlets is a pretty excellent place to finish, don’t you reckon?
*Though occasionally you do catch a funny look from people trying to parse out how, exactly, you’re disabled. I’m often tempted to walk out and collapse dramatically on my face, just so they can have an ‘… ah’ moment.