It’s been too long. So. Let’s get to it.
My life is exponentially better than it was before, because currently I am on summer vacation! Weeee!! I get to play all day, take long frolics through the patch of gated forest area in town, and have picnics with cute girls in gingham dresses.
WRONG. Well, mostly wrong. I’m working 40 hours a week at my hip library job where my boss gives breaks away like Easter candy, practicing, translating, and memorizing for a role I perform in July, volunteering at the student station as a DJ, and socializing like how I imagine non-students do in the real world. Although I’m certainly not playing all day, I’ve realized that living away from home and simultaneously not taking classes has SO MUCH FREEDOM.
I can go dancing every night if I want. I can go to the farmer’s market aaaaall day and stare at the cute girls that work at the local farms. I can drink all the coffee I want and read “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” AND. AND. AND. I can write blog posts.
How cool is that?!
Now here’s the hard part of my post. The part where I have to have a story, and more importantly a point to my story. Eeeek. Well, I’ll tell you what, I’m just going to write what I’ve been thinking about lately, and I hope to God that I don’t offend anyone. That’s really the last thing I want. If I say something offensive, please correct me. Here goes.
I’ve been thinking about gender, folks. That’s obviously a broad term, but I’ve been thinking about it in so many facets that I’m not sure how to categorize my thoughts anymore. And talking to my sister only made it even broader and less definable! It all started (I guess I WILL tell a story) when I picked up a book on trans memoirs from a book store in Chicago while I was visiting my sister. I read through every story, and came to the conclusion that trans issues are SOOOOO interesting. If the queer community was Twitter (which it practically is, let’s be honest) then the trans and genderqueer community would be like a vastly underused hash-tag crying out for help.
A few months ago I attended a queer conference and learned a whole bunch of queer shit. This is where I learned that genderqueer is a thing, and it’s something everyone should think about, compliments of Wikipedia:
genderqueer: catch-all term for gender identities other than man and woman, thus outside of the gender binary and heteronormativity; people who identify as genderqueer may think of themselves as one or more of the following:
- both man and woman
- neither man nor woman (genderless, agender)
- moving between genders (gender fluid)
- third gendered or other-gendered; includes those who do not place a name to their gender
- having an overlap of, or blurred lines between, gender identity and sexual orientation
After being lectured about what genderqueer really was by a genderqueer trans man, I started to think a lot about gender. RIGHT?! Of course I would. Some questions I started to ask myself:
- “What’s my gender?”
- “How much does presentation play a part in gender?”
- “How much of gender is intent, and how much is accidental?”
- “Am I genderqueer?”
- “How much of identifying oneself as genderqueer is about the intent and how much is what a person truly is, regardless of their self-awareness at any point in time?”
- “Is my self-awareness good enough to figure this out?”
SO MANY QUESTIONS RIGHT?!
Luckily the lecturer stayed around for awhile and I got to ask him a few questions. He had bright pink hair, a t-shirt that somehow combined the word “Ohio” and “Iowa” I think, and a great singing voice it turned out. Let’s call him Jack. I asked him, “If genderqueer is partially about presentation, and how you feel on any particular day, then is it possible that I could be genderqueer? Sometimes I feel more feminine in both movement and clothing and can’t stand to look too masculine, and other days I feel just the opposite.”
Jack gave me a simple answer, but it was exactly the answer I needed. “That’s a great question. It’s up for you to decide, but it sounds like by just thinking about it now you’ve sort of given yourself an answer.”
Just by thinking about it. JUST by thinking about! That’s all it takes. By giving yourself the permission to think about your own gender in an open way, you free yourself enough to BE yourself.
For example, some days I feel like I look a little too queer (which shouldn’t be a problem, but whatevs), and that I want to wear a dress and cute shoes for no special reason. Instead of feeling guilty, I just tell myself I’m so damn queer that I can’t make up my mind. Some days I feel feminine. Some days I feel masculine. Some days I wish I had the balls for a good genderfuck. Although I don’t think I’d call myself genderqueer, I would say that most people’s genders are less concrete and more fluid than they probably think.
A great media example of this that I’ve watching at this very moment is Frankie from Skins UK Season 5. Now, if you’re a queer lady, you just need to watch Skins UK. All of it. 1-5. If you follow Autostraddle at all, hopefully you saw this article: Genderqueer Outlaw: Meet Franky, Skin’s Season Five Glorious Headfuck Thing.
The great thing about this character is that she breaks absolutely every boundary that could be had. Gender binaries, stereotypes of queer folk, relationships, etc. She’s currently my favorite Skins character, and I dare to say she might be even better than the treasured Naomily. Mostly because she’s one person and not two. She’s completely fleshed out, has strong and clearly thought-out relationships with almost every character, and is just fascinating to watch. You think you might know her, and then suddenly she does something that breaks your expectation of whatever or whoever you think she might be. Fucking gold. I think it’s obvious I can’t get over her. She’s simply gorgeous.
If I’ve ever had faith in the media to change the world, it lies solely with Skins, and especially with this character. I don’t know how the genderqueer/trans community feels about it, but I feel like it’s a step in the right direction for changing minds.
I’ve recently come to a terrible realization:
I’m attracted to straight girls.
Not exclusively, of course, but many a time that I’ve found a girl attractive, she turned out to be straight. I know that every gay girl has straight crushes. I know that it’s not my fault. But dammit, why isn’t my gaydar better?! And now you’re probably thinking, “Wow, Junko, you need to get your shit together,” but ladies, it is so hard to tell where I live. First of all, there are so many hipsters it’s not even laughable anymore, all of whom throw my gaydar flying off a cliff. Second of all, even non-hipsters keep giving me all these SIGNS that just turn out to be false. I’m starting to wonder whether I should keep taking Effing Dykes and Autostraddle as the gospel. Let me give you some examples of what I’m talking about:
GIRL #1: Gorgeous Theatre Director
This girl is a theatre directing major, looks like Regina Spektor, loves Shakespeare, sings in an a capella group. We met in a Starbucks while she was slightly toasted, and a year later saw each other on a bus. At the time we really hit it off. She kept talking about her directing stuff, and we talked a bit about opera stuff, and also just random stuff. Stuff, stuff, stuff. If it makes sense, it was one of those conversations that never would have stopped if we hadn’t had to go separate directions. It was all I could do to keep from just staring at her. As we spit directions she was says to me, “If you’re ever on the 11pm bus again, I hope that I run into you.” At this point I contemplated purposely waiting to take the 11pm bus every single night until I saw her again. We were already Facebook friends, and so we arranged for lunch the next week in a cafeteria. Can you say “awkward turtle”? I can. She clammed up. Then we basically didn’t talk for another few months, and I posted a Happy Birthday video on her wall and she was like, “Let’s do lunch again!”
I think I’m confused. Maybe she’s straight and I’m doing the awkward turtle by myself, or she’s sending me mixed signals and she’s interested. The general response I get when I ask about her is: “As far as I know, she’s straight.” Literally…I’ve had the same exact wording from about 3 people. Honestly, I don’t care anymore. I just want to play video games and stare at her face for a few hours.
GIRL #2: Ex-Dreadlocks Violinist
This girl I’ve known since my freshman year (before I knew I was gay), and always wondered why I wanted to be such good friends with her. *headdesk* I started talking to her again recently because she had really cute headphones with Matroshka dolls on them, and ate lunch together a few times and I asked her if she wanted to hang out. So we made sushi together with asparagus, cucumber, and avocado. I also saw her at a friend’s Shabbat Shalom, and I tipsily talked with her while I sat on the floor and gazed at her. She’s Jewish, has cute, spiky, short hair–and she used to have dreadlocks–wears a plaid flappy-eared furry hat, and decorates each of her spice containers when she gets a new spice.
You might think, “Junko, she’s gay. It’s ok. Don’t be shy.” Yeah yeah, I get it, it seemed obvious, but…SHE HAS A BOYFRIEND! She has a boyfriend that is a sound engineer and works in New York. It was sort of the end of the world for a few days, but I got over it. Now we make pad-thai together and eat Japanese cookies that look like burgers. It’s fine. No problem, except that my brain keeps yelling, “Why aren’t you gay?!”
GIRL #3: Adorable, Dorky Freshman
This girl I’m actually still hoping is gay, but as far as I know she’s straight, so hear me out:
I was sitting in the library, trying to study or some shit like that, and suddenly I saw this girl glancing at me from the opposite table. This was not that subtle, because we were literally across from each other, but at different tables. She had long, red, curly hair, and a polka-dot skirt. My homo senses kicked in–rightfully I think–and I glanced up occasionally and smiled at her. The SAME DAY I was in an entirely different building for a class and saw her. I smiled again at her as she passed and suddenly she stops me and says in a long spiel, “Hey I saw you at the department recital the other day and I thought you were really good and I’m a freshman and a mezzo too and thought you were amazing! I just wanted to let you know.” Pictures me running through fields of flowers, having picnics with plaid blankets, and sundresses ran through my head.
SO CUTE RIGHT?! So we stood in the hallway until her class started talking about where we’re from and various facts about ourselves. Now she’s my freshman. MY freshman. She comes to my apartment and she plays board games and watches movies with my friends, and she offered for me to stay at her apartment when I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my heat, and wants me to visit her in New York when I look at grad schools, and likes to walk through book stores with no particular purpose.
I have no intentions for any of these ladies (especially the one with the boyfriend), except to get to know them better. I feel like that’s all anyone can ever really do, and try my best not to be a big ole lesbian creeper.
Your turn. Straight crushes? Anyone?
I recently had a very interesting conversation with my straight, male roommate (we have those a lot). This is sort of how it went:
Me: My Dear Disco was so awesome! Michelle is the best! She’s so cute, and so talented!
Roommate: Let me see a picture!
Me: There aren’t any good ones, but here’s one with a megaphone and sunglasses.
Roommate: …she looks like a guy.
Me: Noooooo! She’s cute, dammit!
Roommate: I don’t get it.
Me: Maybe it’s because I want to be her.
Roommate: I still don’t get it. Why would you want to “be” anyone else? Don’t you want to be yourself? And don’t you mean that you want to be “with” her?
Me: Well, I guess I mean I want to be “like” her. And “with” her…You’re taking my sentence too literally.
Talk to me. Have you ever felt this way? I remember WAY before I even thought about liking girls, I was sitting in a coffee shop with my friend, and I saw the cutest girl ever walk by with a slouchy multi-color hat, boots, and a cute jacket. Nowawdays my gut reaction would be, “OMG she’s so cute, I want to date her immediately.” My reaction then? “[Friend]? Have you ever wanted to “be” somebody else?” She was as confused about this statement as my roommate, and honestly…I’m starting to be confused. Really…WHY IS IT that THIS is the initial reaction? And THAT is the word choice? I don’t actually want to BE anyone else. I like myself, for the most part, and there are few things I would want to change about myself.
This brings me to an issue that I think might concern the problem: lesbians liking other lesbians that look like them. Let me give you a few scenarios:
EXAMPLE 1: Dana and Tonya
This is when I first really experienced this phenomenon outside of my own experience. I was shocked, disgusted, and slightly offended that the two of them got matching suits. I asked myself, “Do people actually do this?” Truthfully though, I just really hated their entire relationship, so maybe I’m just biased.
EXAMPLE 2: Frances in ‘Better Than Chocolate’
Aw, remember Frances? Awwwww. Awkward little Frances that secretly had the hots for her best transsexual friend? Even though she obviously didn’t stick to the must-look-exactly-like-girlfriend thing, she said something along the lines that she had only ever dated, like, 3 girls, and they all looked exactly like her. Did she do that to herself? Was she limiting her options to a specific type?
Ladies, tell me why we think this. There are so many cute girls in the world, and they’re all so different! They have different hair colors, different eye colors, different lips, different cheeks, different…everything, right? I’m not saying that dating someone like you is wrong…but it’s limiting if you analyze the situation, right?…no? It can also be really hot sometimes.
EXAMPLE 3: 2 Girl-Links Getting Cozy
And somehow it’s OK. Part of it might be a whole bunch of narcissism piled into sexual preference and aesthetic value is what I think. What does this mean? That lesbians are all narcissistic? Obviously not…but maybe? THIS IS WHAT I DON’T KNOW. I can’t tell, ladies, because I can say I’m not narcissistic, but I spend SO much time looking at myself in the mirror. Practically every time there’s a mirror within 10-steps, I’m there, pretending like I’m fixing my hair or whatever. In fact, sometimes I don’t even pretend! Sometimes I just stand there I look at myself.
Anyway…share with me stories!
I recently made a beautiful discovery through my male, straight roommate (believe me, those two distinctions go hand in hand). We showed me this video:
This was the first conversation that we had about her:
Me: Aaaah! So cute! Ashly’s so cute! She has to be gay!
Roommate: Noooooo! No way she’s gay! I haven’t been getting that feeling, and I’m usually right about girls.
Me: Uh, [Roommate], she’s gay.
Roommate: You’re wrong!
Me: She’s swearing like a sailor!
Roommate: That doesn’t matter!
Me: She’s rapping with a sideways baseball cap!
Roommate: Lots of girls do that!
Me: [Roommate]! Now she’s wearing a suit and tie. Give it up.
After this particular conversation, my roommate and I went on a war, based around determining the sexual orientation of this elusive creature. We both began to obsessively watch as many videos as we could in the next few days, along with looking at the HAWP website, listening to the Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’ Podcast, and in my case downloading a tile wallpaper of Ashly Burch. She also has a DVD on Amazon. Just sayin’.
My other gay roommate agrees that she’s gay, but my straight roommate couldn’t tell (of course, she couldn’t tell with me either). Honestly, I’m starting to doubt myself, especially because, shockingly, my gaydar is not very good. My gut reactions are always a certain way, but then I start to over-analyze everything about this person, and suddenly my gaydar BREAKS. This is an unfortunate pattern in my life. Apparently my roommate has the same problem though.
Here’s my evidence:
– Baseball cap
– Suit (in multiple videos)
– Lots of swearing
– Super cute smile
– Really really awesome
– Plays with NERF guns
– Super huge eyes
I realize that most of these don’t make sense. I’m OK with that, because I really want her to be gay. If you talked to my roommate, he would have an equally nonsensical list at the ready. This is why I can’t tell: because no matter how much I watch her videos…I STILL can’t tell. I think it would have been obvious by now, either way, so I’ve decided to just not care.
How was your Halloween, ladies? I hope it was filled with a lot of girls in cute outfits, because that’s what mine was. Before you think, “Well of course it was…it’s Halloween!” But aaaaaaah, my friend, you have no idea.
I went to an anime convention for Halloween. It was probably the best Halloween I’ve ever had, and I will continue to do that as long as I can. There was so much anime. There were loud conversations about Pokemon, DDR, fighting games, dancing, booze, and most importantly, COSPLAY! So much cosplay! Costumes from animes I’ve never even heard of and that aren’t even released in the U.S. probably, and lots of girls cross-dressing as their favorite anime guys. Sometimes I forget why I like anime, and then I remember when I am surrounded by some of the most adorably awkward people you’ll ever meet.
I also got to take pictures of pretty girls, like this one:
Didn’t know THAT was what you’d see at an anime con, huh? Besides the hot girls in costumes, it was mostly just great being able to spend time with my roommates in a way that only we can appreciate. We played video games together, talked about anime, talked and played with other random people, and also drank a lot of lime-vodka and Diet Pepsi, which actually tasted good, and caused one of my roommates to go a little berserk after his energy powder kicked in.
FYI: don’t take more than your recommended dosage of B12, especially right before drinking booze.
Going to this anime convention has really liberated me, and made me feel more open about myself. For whatever reason, I’ve always kept that part of myself hidden from certain groups of friends, because I thought that they would judge me for it. I’ve realized recently though, that a lot of my friends are just as geeky as I am, or that people I didn’t expect watch anime or play games. I’ve been able to deepen my relationships with people simply by talking about geeky things that I like. Now I don’t feel scared to talk to people about anime or games, because the chances that they’ll accept my geekiness is higher than I think. Sure, sometimes people give me strange looks, or have a snarky comment, but it’s mostly related to their ignorance about geek-life and issues.
HMMMMM…you know what this sounds like?
COMING OUT AS GAY!
It’s the same thing. EXACTLY the SAME. I recently came out to my roommates, and it was completely fine. They pretty much knew, but now me, my male roommate, and my other lesbian roommate can talk about girls more. We give each other advice, and joke about it constantly now. It has really changed the dynamic of my household for the better, and in EXACTLY the SAME way that talking to my friends about my geekdom has changed the dynamics of my life and how I carry myself. It has also given me a little more strength to come out to my friends, or to just talk about gay things without fear, because chances are they’ll accept it. It’s just another part of who I am.
Hm, now I go to bed.
I was thinking recently about something rather epic, and I think the entire lesbian internet world will thank me after I introduce this to them:
Maybe you ladies don’t realize it, but opera’s just about the gayest thing on the planet. In opera, you sing about your feeeeeelings for long periods of time using super visceral things like COLOR and DRAMATIC INTENT and SOUND to create this whole other world where nothing completely makes sense, but still makes you cry most of the time. You just can’t help yourself. You get overwhelmed. Let me give you an example of why you will want to go to the opera immediately after reading my post:
This is Cherubino from The Marriage of Figaro. Cherubino has a problem: he loves all women in the world, he doesn’t know what to do with himself, and they make him quiver. And in his next aria ‘Voi che sapete,’ he sings, “You ladies, who know what love is, see if I have it in my heart! I’ll tell you what I’m going through, it’s new to me; I can’t understand it.” You know what this makes me think of? All of the gay feelings that I have had/do have/will ever have. Also, there’s a cute girl in a suit singing this.
Remember in high school when you first read Romeo and Juliet and you realized that you didn’t want to BE Juliet, but you wanted to FUCK Juliet? Somehow Bellini realized that lesbians needed a Romeo and Juliet for themselves, and created this. not only does it fulfill your fantasies, but it’s Bellini, which means that it is some of the most gorgeous music that you will ever hear.
The greatest part, is that it is COMMON for women to play men in operas. It happens so often, they have a term for it: pants roles! Also called breeches roles! Hehehe. Women get to play boys/young men, and kiss women on stage sometimes. This is mainly a mezzo-soprano (middle) voice type occurrence, but happens occasionally with sopranos as well.
If you are a lady-lover, here are some operas you should watch immediately, and the pants roles in them:
- La nozze di Figaro by W.A. Mozart: Cherubino
- Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss: Octavian
- Orfeo ed Euridice by Willibald Gluck: Orpheus
- I Capuleti e i Montecchi by Vincenzo Bellini: Romeo
- Faust by Charles Gounod: Siebel
- La Clemenza di Tito by W.A. Mozart: Sesto and Annio
- Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II: Prince Orlafsky
And there are so many others. You can even look it up in Wikipedia. Because I really love opera, I will probably post about this more than once. And please ask me anything about opera. ANYTHING. Please ask me questions about what/who/how to watch! Please send me awesome links for opera videos.
I have a question: how do you tell when a girl is gay? This may seem like something I should know, and something that would be practically essential to my survival as a lesbian, but I still have no idea. Is it because I have a thing for straight girls? Is it because I’m being too hopeful that all girls are actually a bit gay? Is it because girls ARE becoming more gay? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m very confused all the time.
What I’ve come to understand are that there are a few tell-tale signs of a lesbian, and then also additional clues coupled with one or more of these signs adds additional coverage. Or if the signs aren’t present, but enough clues are, then they are also a lesbian. Here are what I consider signs from what I’ve learned on Effing Dykes and Autostraddle, mostly:
- “Interested In: Women” on Facebook
- Seen making out with another girl, other than at a sorority/fraternity party
- Seen comfortable at a gay club/bar
- Has a “Nobody knows I’m a lezbian” t-shirt
- Girls name other than her mother tattooed on her
- Lip-piercing: this is the most important, apparently
- Fedora: only a non-straw-type fedora, such as felt
- Likes The L Word
- Likes America’s Next Top Model
- Likes Tegan and Sara
- Likes Skins
- Chose the romantic relationship Leliana on Dragon Age: Origins
- Has a huge love for blazers
- Would “go gay” for Angelina Jolie/Keira Knightly/Natalie Portman/Ellen Page/Kristen Stewart/etc.
- Lots o’ plaid in wardrobe
- Loves cats
This is sort of all I have to go on. Maybe there are other ways to tell…but I haven’t found them. Help me please?