I’m trying to grow out my hair. The reason I bring this up is because I got an email last week asking me if I had thoughts about femmes and hair, and I responded that “DO I EVER.” Well, that’s not exactly what I said, but something to that effect. I have thoughts about femmes and hair especially now because I’m in the middle of trying to grow mine out. I say “trying” because I am at the point right now where I’m on the verge of tearing it all out because it’s pissing me off so much. (Awkward in-between stage much?)
So, femmes and hair. The best angle I can really appropriately come at this from is that of my own experience and relationship to my hair, obviously, so I’ll start there. I used to have long hair. And now my hair is short. I had straight, long, light brown hair that went halfway down my back. Someone told me once that he didn’t think he’d ever seen me wear my hair the same way twice, and though that is definitely NOT true, I was able to do a lot of different things with it. I wore ponytails, obviously, when I was feeling particularly casual. “Princess ponytails” (as my mother dubbed “half ponytails”) were for when I was feeling particularly feminine or girlish. I would also wear braids, or half-ponytail braids, or pigtail braids, or French braids, or messy buns, or what’s that thing called where you turn your ponytail inside out? Yeah, that. Often I would just wear my hair completely down, blow-dry it… I had a habit of twirling a strand of hair around my finger when I was bored.
When I was 20, I cut my hair short. Pixie short. Largely, this was part of my coming-out process. It was a signal that I wanted to be taken seriously by the queer community at my women’s college, that I wasn’t a LUG. (That is a whole sociological can of worms right there.) As I’ve written before, I understood that being taken seriously as gay necessitated toning down femininity and taking on androgyny or masculinity. (What I didn’t understand was that having a pixie haircut did NOT automatically make me androgynous or masculine!) It turned out that I *loved* the short hair. It framed my face better, made my eyes more prominent (I already have pretty prominent eyes as it is), was super easy to take care of, and looked flirty and fun. Once I passed safely to the other side of my masculandrogynous stage, I totally embraced my pixie hair as femme. Not in an “I’m femme… but I have short hair” way, but in a “hell YEAH I’m femme and I have short hair!” way. No “buts.”
And, yeah, I definitely think that’s put more of a burden of proof on me, in a way. In a community that has so much protection around labels (another whole sociological can of worms that I’m not going to open right now), there have been plenty of occasions I’ve felt weird about my short hair, have felt that I can’t actually be femme with short hair, and that I’m co-opting someone else’s identity by claiming I’m a femme with short hair. (White) femininity and long hair are closely linked in a biconditional relationship in our culture — if you’re a white woman with long hair, you’re perceived to be feminine, and if you’re going to be perceived as feminine, you need to have long hair. It’s a closed loop. But of course, there are so many exceptions to this. Winona Ryder, Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, and now Emma Watson are all white female celebrities who totally pull off the short hair but still feminine thing.
And yet. Female celebrities cutting off their hair is generally perceived by society-at-large (and forgive the sweeping generalizations) as a bold step away from docile girlishness and toward the re-defining of the self as a “strong woman.” When I Googled “emma watson cuts her hair,” the underlying themes in news articles and blog posts linked in the search results seemed to me to be shock and trepidation: words like edgy, boyish (though I think she looks *far* from boyish), and drastic, and questions posed to the audience like “what do YOU think about Emma’s new look?” underline the notion that white women cutting their hair short is “making a statement” that people can agree or disagree with. Comments to those blog posts and news articles tend to go in one of two directions: either people support the “bold move” and take a “rock on, girl” pro-girl-power stance, OR they think it looks horrible and wax nostalgic about her long hair, regretting the move away from traditional femininity. Long hair, then, can be read as a symbol of traditional white , while short hair is a symbolic move towards liberation. (Emma even calls it “liberating” and “incredible” herself.)
Obviously, Emma is straight (or at least, she has a boyfriend and has never made any statements to the contrary), as are the other celebrities I mentioned. So how do femmes fit into this? I think white femmes who typically pass as straight (which is probably most of us) probably are perceived similarly to straight white women in terms of our hair: long hair is more traditionally feminine, while short hair is a distancing from traditional femininity. Since gayness is also a distancing from traditional femininity, at least in terms of dominant definitions of femininity (which define it in oppositional and exclusive relation to man/masculinity), it makes sense that cutting one’s hair short is a move many women make when trying to find a place in the queer realm. On the other hand, many femmes participate in actively re-defining femininity as un-relative to men and masculinity, partly just by virtue of not being sexual partners of men, and partly by their intentionality in regards to their gender presentation. In that sense, a white femme having long hair, I think, uses a traditional marker of white femininity in a non-traditional way, thus also “queering” the discourse around traditional white femininity. (I think I’m talking in circles now.) A white femme having short hair is still probably read most often as being non-traditionally feminine (if read as feminine at all by hetero-dominance — I think there are many folks in my life, for example, who take ONLY my hair as being signifying of my gender presentation, and assume that just by virtue of having short hair I *can’t* be feminine) and, because even queers are typically socialized by hetero-dominance until a certain point in their young/adult lives, white femmes with short hair might not be taken seriously as feminine by fellow queers, either.
All of this a round-about way of saying: I have short hair. I’m femme. Even if you don’t perceive me as femme (especially when I’m wearing jeans and chucks and no make-up), I’m still femme. Short-haired femmes and long-haired femmes alike are re-defining femininity in our own images, distancing ourselves from a male-defined and male-owned femininity. [Aside: this isn't to say straight women can't participate or aren't participating in re-defining femininity in their own image too. Of course they can and are. I do think, though, that it's probably gotta be a more intentional thing for straight women.] AND, my growing out my hair right now has nothing to do with changing my orientation towards or relationship with my femme-ininity. The reason that I am growing out my hair is that I no longer have an income, and so I can’t afford haircuts. That’s it. The end! Though I think it will be very interesting to see how my understanding of my queer identity and my position in queerness and in community changes, both internally and in terms of external perceptions, as a result of growing longer hair.
In other news, our date on Sunday evening was perfect. We went for a walk up to Corona Heights, got winded, sat on a bench overlooking the entire east side of the city and felt appropriately invigorated. We ended up deciding to eat out (graduate student budget notwithstanding) and that was an excellent decision because it was so nice not to have to wash up dishes and whatnot. Plus, we got cocktails and fondue — you can’t argue with that! And then, just as planned, we camped out on the living room floor with our featherbed and lots of pillows and blankets and watched old movies on our projector. And then we fucked. It was awesome. It also really subdued my rising anxiety about not having time for and with each other. I feel a whole lot better. This week has been very busy, too, and not without its moments of frustration and anxiety and stress between us, but my anxiety is no longer consuming me in quite the same way it was before.
[9/20/10 Edit: I was thinking some more about this this weekend and realized that I needed to clarify that I'm talking about white femininity and its queering so I went back through and added "white" where necessary. As a white woman, that's the world I have the most thorough understanding of, and I don't feel comfortable making sweeping statements about discourses around femininity in WOC and POC communities. That's actually a topic I'm interested in delving into in graduate school -- but that's another post...]
Over a late breakfast of salsa scrambled eggs, toast, and sliced strawberries, we’re listening to NPR and sipping breakfast tea. Occasionally, we murmur commentary to each other on what we’re listening to. My mind wanders from the latest Energy Bill updates, and I look across the table and suddenly feel absurdly lucky. Her head is tilted, her eyes askance as she listens to (and grows indignant at) the radio, and I fleetingly feel like I just woke up from a long dream and this, this, is what is real. Out loud I say, “I’m so lucky,” and her focus shifts to me. She shakes her head affectionately and cracks up. “You’re a weird one,” she says, “I love you.”
We’re at a giant thrift store together, sorting through all the junk to find a few things to take home. She heads for the t-shirts, I dive into the sundresses. Ten minutes later, I’ve scoured the racks, have a few picks, and the first thing I do is stand up on my tip-toes, crane my neck so I can see over the racks, and look for her. I don’t see her right away. But after a few seconds, her purple hoodie catches my eye and I feel a wave of … I don’t know what, exactly. Familiarity, comfort, warmth, affection, love, security, and (dare I say?) a mild surge of arousal, all wrapped up in one feeling that doesn’t have a single name but it should. All of that, just from alighting my eyes on her in a crowded room. Do other beings have the capacity to feel this way? If not, why do we humans? Where does it come from?
I’m lying in bed, trying to fall asleep. I have to get up in the morning to go into the law firm to do some contract work, so I couldn’t go out with her and some friends. That’s fine anyway, because I read a bit, watched a bit of a movie I knew she didn’t want to watch, ate nutella out of the jar with a spoon, and took a bath. It was nice to have the evening to myself. But I can’t sleep without her in bed next to me, big spoon to my little. I slip in and out of half-consciousness, restless, unsettled, waking with a start at every noise, thinking maybe it’s her. She comes in, finally, around 2:30. She sits down on the bed to take off her shoes. “Hi,” I say, mustering all my sleepy energy to squeak out the single syllable. “Awwww you’re awake!” she says, “hi cutie!!” She goes out to brush her teeth, and I prep myself for Sleep Position, turning onto my side and curling up. Soon she’s curled up behind me, and I finally feel the heaviness of sleep settling in. “Did you have fun?” I ask. “Yep!” she says, “but I missed you the whole time.” Not melancholy, just a sweet matter of fact. “Me too.”
This is my life these days. Sometimes I think conflict (in my relationship or just in my life in general) is what most moves me to write. If that’s true, then that’s too bad, because moments like these are just as worthy of being captured.
The other night, I attended a volunteer orientation for the Frameline queer film festival. (You get a voucher to see a film for every volunteer shift you take.) There were probably a hundred fellow volunteers, and most of them were men. But when the volunteer coordinator stepped up to address us, I was surprised – because the volunteer coordinator was a woman. A queer woman. As in, asymmetrical haircut, half a shaved head, totally tatted, hip young San Francisco queer woman. And after a few moments of being surprised, I became perplexed, because after all, it is a queer film festival. So why the surprise at the volunteer coordinator being a queer dyke?
It reminded me of the feeling I got when I first visited my women’s college campus as a junior in high school. Until I visited, I had been pretty vehemently opposed to attending a women’s college. I had thought it would lack diversity (which in retrospect seems laughable). But when I visited, I was suddenly struck – wow, this all exists for the education of women. The male professors and campus police and facilities staff etc., despite being men, were working at an institution that educated women. Women matter! Holy shit! And it dawned on me that it had been so internalized in me that women don’t matter that I was actually surprised and delighted to be confronted with evidence to the contrary.
And I got the same feeling at the very first Dyke March I ever attended in San Francisco, in 2006. I was with my ex-girlfriend at the time, and I remember holding her hand, processing down Valencia, feeling giddy from all the solidarity and empowerment I felt, due in no small part to the fact that there were gay men hanging out of windows, waving rainbow flags and hoisting banners that read “FAGS <3 DYKES” and the like. And I was all, “omg! Gay men love us! They care! Whoaaaaa!”
And somehow I got the same feeling while at this orientation – because here was a group consisting largely of middle-aged-ish white gay men and they were all paying attention to this queer-as-fuck dyke, who, by the way, was absolutely hilarious and cute and rocked her job. I felt somehow vicariously visible. And it struck me again, as it did at my first Dyke March and when I first visited my women’s college, that I’m so accustomed to women being invisible to men in any way that’s not sexual. And it’s so consistently ingrained in women that we’re only useful to men as sexual objects that it surprises me every time I find myself in a situation in which I’m being genuinely appreciated, as a woman (or in which women in general are being genuinely appreciated), by a man for a non-sexual reason. And it makes me wish that it would happen more often. Not just to me, on an individual level, but publicly, and in media, and in culture-at-large.
You see, gay men and gay women are natural “bedmates” (har har).* We are among the few combinations of adult human beings that (in general) have a non-romantic/non-sexual connection. And there’s something really special about this bond, I think, that goes largely ignored. And it’s different from the relationship between gay men and straight women, which, if judging by the connotation lent by the term “fag hag” alone, is largely a mutually objectifying relationship (and, yes, that’s a gross oversimplification, but fag hags are not the topic of this post, and the relationship between gay men/straight women has been addressed again and again elsewhere). Maybe I’ll write about my thoughts on that some other time.
No, the point is, I wish the common bond between gay men and gay women were more acknowledged and respected. When I went to Berlin’s pride celebration in 2007, I was struck by how different it felt from San Francisco’s pride. In San Francisco, there’s Dyke March of course, and then Dykes on Bikes lead the main parade the following day. In Berlin, there’s neither – and without the women-centric portions of the celebration, I realized how gay-male-centric the whole celebration felt and was. Specifically, how middle-to-upper-middle-class-white-gay-male-centric. At the time, I remember having conversations with the folks I went with (a mix of genders and sexual orientations) about how these men were taking up all the “space,” probably without even realizing it. Gay pride parade means gay (male) parade. Gay bar means gay (male) bar. Gay issues are gay (male) issues. Gay white men are the default Gay, just like straight white men are the default Human in our society. And obviously, yes, gay men’s issues are super important. Of course they are. It’s just a matter of gay women’s issues also being important. And being similar, yes, but also largely different. The problem is, though, that there have been so few studies on lesbian/queer women’s issues specifically that we don’t even know what our issues are and what distinguishes them from gay men’s issues. And this, of course, isn’t the fault of gay men individually or even as an entity. It’s the fault of a society that naturalizes maleness as the default human, and that renders women a sub-category of human. (Same goes for queer people of color – their issues are woefully under-studied too, and POC are always just sub-categories of a humanity in which White is default and “normal.”)
So, right, individual gay men are busy taking up their own issues and fighting their own battles and taking care of their own survival, which completely totally makes sense. And yet I think it’s really sad that the bond between gay men and gay women is so often overlooked, or dismissed, or undervalued. I think it has tremendous value, as we are perhaps each other’s best natural allies. Sex and romance doesn’t get in between us, not personally and not in terms of prescribed roles. When I see a gay man, I see someone who both understands what it feels like to be queer in this straight world, and who will relate to me inherently free of any sort of sexual tension or sexual judgment. We understand what it feels like to be otherized. The homophobia we each experience often looks and feels different, sure, but when all is said and done, it’s the same animal. We can learn a lot from each other. I have learned a lot from my gay guy friends, and I count one of them as among the best friendships I have. I hate this phrase, but it just is what it is. There’s nothing underneath, no undercurrents, no invisible social glue that’s trying to glue us together in awkward ways. We just get each other. And I wish this were more typical, not just on an individual level but on a socially recognized level. Because then, maybe I wouldn’t be so surprised by gay men holding “fags <3 dykes” signs, or laughing at a queer gal’s jokes.
Has anyone else felt this way? Or is this peculiar to me? Maybe in other communities, gay guy/gal crossover is much more common. But even if that’s the case, where are our friendships ever portrayed in the media (TV, books, news outlets…)? Right, exactly. Never. And why do I not know a single gay male blogger? Where are they all? I just want to be friends, guys!
What’s your experience?
*In this post, I’m addressing specifically gay cismen and gay ciswomen — and yeah, I know that leaves out a lot of people, including queer but not-gay-identified folks, as well as genderqueer and trans people… Sorry about that, this is just what’s most familiar to me.
I’m over how my uncle talks about “the gays” as if we were some exotic species, and asks me weird personal questions about my relationship that he doesn’t ask my sister about hers (with a guy).
I’m over having phone conversations with mi’lady about what we’re up to with our respective families that include sentences like “this would be awkward for you” or “I don’t quite know how you would fit into this.”
I’m over trying to explain to old friends from high school why I don’t want to hang out with their ultra-Christian crowd.
I’m over having my sister tell me that she’s got it worse because “at least people don’t constantly ask you when you’re getting married.”
I’m over my mom saying “just get over it, of course people act weird about something they don’t get.”
I’m over being told by my dad, yet again, that he doesn’t see how people can have the “same kind of relationship” with non-biological progeny.
I’m over how my brother finds guys who really “shove it in your face” that they’re gay distasteful.
I’m over feeling self-conscious about recommending a book or movie to someone if it happens to have a queer character or sub-theme (because what if I’M one of those people who “shoves it in your face”?).
I’m over “OMG that’s SOOOO GAY!”
I’m over being left out of conversations about what everyone in the family is up to “because it could be uncomfortable.”
I’m over censoring myself in order to avoid making other people feel uncomfortable about something that’s so vital and important to who I am.
I’m over small-town USA.
I’m over how being around our families completely squelches our ability to be sexual with each other, even by distance.
I’m over being irrelevant to her Playing Straight life.
I’m over playing it straight in my own life.
I’m over sleeping by myself.
I’m fucking over it.
I can’t wait to go home. Four more days.
There are so many layers of femme (in)visibility to me. There’s how we’re seen (or not) by straight people, by society at large. There’s how we’re seen (or not) by fellow queers. There’s how we’re seen by fellow dykes. And how we’re seen by each other. And of course, there’s how we see ourselves. And in all of this, there’s the personal, and there’s the political.
But I don’t really know how to write about it except in terms of my own experience. And of course, my experience isn’t representative of anything except itself. But I think there are probably parallels and similarities to and “mmhmm”s and head nods from other femme-identified folks out there.
It starts with not being able to see myself. That must be at the very root of it. As a little girl, I loved to play house, and I always wanted to be the mom. I loved to play school and wanted to be the teacher. I loved tea parties and dollhouses and dresses and patent leather shoes, I loved American Girl dolls and dress-up and imagining my future wedding. I was obsessed with Queen Elizabeth II as a little girl (I had a book about her written by her nanny) and with figure skaters and ballerinas. I fit snugly into my gender box. No questions asked.
Come junior high, I decided to start having crushes on the boys in my classes. Each year on the first day of school, I would scan homeroom for that year’s candidates. I carefully weighed my options, and within 20 minutes or so had selected the object of my external focus for the year. Seventh grade: Dillon. Eighth grade: Ryan. Ninth grade: Jason. In tenth grade I started dating, but never really cared much for the guys. In fact I think I was somewhat scared of them. Touching them, kissing them, doing stuff with them made me feel weird and nervous.
I’m not going to go over my whole coming out story here, but suffice it to say it took me quite a long time to come out to myself. I started questioning that year, tenth grade. I had a friend who I was in love with, but I couldn’t quite believe it. There was no way I was gay. It just didn’t make sense. I was a girl. I was supposed to like boys. That was that.
Understanding of sexuality is so, so so tied up with gender. That’s really what makes femmes so invisible. To ourselves as well as to others. There often aren’t any outward signs that we digress from the norm. They’re all inward. And society tells us (all of us, not just femmes) all the time that the inward things? Are figments of our imagination. Depression, addiction, anxiety, sexual orientation — it’s fabricated, it’s (no pun intended) just in our minds. You can’t get an MRI that says “whoops, there’s some depression in there, we’ll have to medicate you” or a pap smear that tells you “yep, yer gay alright, no two ways about it.” So unless you look different, unless there’s some physical proof of it (whatever it is), there’s plenty of room for people to doubt you. And judge you. And feel justified in doubting and judging. Because all that stuff? It’s in your mind. So I can tell you you’re wrong.
That’s what I, as a femme, was up against. Convincing myself that, actually, no, I’m right. That gut feeling that made me ask my mom, as an 11-year-old, whether it was normal to like other girls? That was right. Even though I liked ruffles and paper dolls and the Sound of Music. It took me so. long. to learn how to trust that feeling. I guess I’m still learning, really. In my first years after coming out for good, I went through all kinds of identity shifts, trying to settle on the self-expression that felt right for me. I just didn’t think it could be that I was both totally feminine and gay. I thought I was just fooling myself that I was gay. To be honest, I sometimes still do have those moments of doubt. “How is it possible that I’m gay?”
And, dude, I’m gay. I fuckin’ love pussy. The best compliment from mi’lady is when she looks at me in wonder, after a good fuck, and says, “you’re so gay.”
In fact, I think that’s probably the best compliment from anyone. Even people who mean it as an insult. To be recognized as gay makes me puff out my chest and stand up straighter. Really. I just want to belong here. I want people to know that I’m a member of the club. Sometimes, I do get some sort of signal, a wink maybe, and I just about die, every time. Especially when it’s the older, butch lesbians, in their late 30s and 40s. A wink from them is so gratifying. Not transgressive, not presumptuous, not inappropriate. Affirming.
I’ve spent up enough time and energy proving myself to myself, you know? I don’t have much leftover to try to prove anything to anyone else. So I don’t try, not much anyway. And for the most part, I don’t let the invisibility get to me. But those moments of visibility are all the more precious because of it.
Reading the comments to my previous post helped me clarify my thoughts about this femme fantasy. So I thought I’d do it “out loud” here, too.
I don’t think the fantasy I described of being perfectly domestic, perfectly sexy, perfectly exactly for my lover is the only way I conceive of myself as a femme. I certainly have my own goals and ambitions and social life and tastes and enjoyments, and I certainly want to keep nurturing those and developing myself as a person. (As greg said in the comments, I absolutely need those days of knotting the hair back, donning the cracked boots and jumping in the jeep. Well, I don’t have long hair or a jeep, but that’s the general idea!) Writing here is one of the ways I do that; doing the rape counseling work is another; keeping in touch with my friends, applying for graduate school, playing piano, doing yoga… all of that is stuff I do to continually round myself out and build myself up. And it’s absolutely necessary for me to keep doing that, always. Always.
But the fantasy is there, and I want to explore it. Until now, I’ve been angrily pushing it away, thinking “no! that’s co-dependency! get out!” For example: I feel like baking. What do I bake? Into my head pops the thought: “mi’lady’s favorite is strawberry rhubarb pie…” and I get all warm and tingly and excited at the thought of surprising her with a warm homemade pie when I see her in the evening. But before I get too excited, I cut myself off. “Why do you always want to do what she likes? You don’t even like pie! Bake something you like!” And so I’ll probably end up compromising, I’ll bake something I know she’ll like but that I like too, and I make sure to bake it not with her specifically in mind. So when I see her, it’s “look! I baked cookies today! Have one, they’re yummy!” rather than “look! I baked your favorite pie today, just for you!”
It sounds so selfish. But I guess I’ve thought it to be necessary, as a way of coaching myself to pay attention to my own wants and needs, rather than always catering to other people’s. I think it has a lot to do with vulnerability for me, too. I get angry with myself for giving too much of myself away to someone else. I get afraid that the more I give away, the more I’m allowing her to hurt me. I’m giving her power. And maybe I’ve thought of it too as a zero-sum game — that if I give her the power to hurt me, I’m somehow lessening my own power to heal from hurt.
So, to continue with the previous example, when I bake mi’lady’s favorite pie, just because I know she likes it, I’m making myself vulnerable to her by doing something for her. It’s saying, “you matter so much to me that I’m going to bake you your favorite pie, just because.” And what if it’s not reciprocated? What if she doesn’t like it? Or doesn’t really notice? Or just says, “oh thanks baby, that’s so sweet” absent-mindedly. Clearly if I spend my afternoon baking her favorite kind of pie, then my afternoon was about her. But what if her afternoon wasn’t even remotely about me? What if I think about her more often than she thinks about me? What if what if what if. So stopping myself from baking that pie is a way of holding back, keeping things level.
And that’s what it is, it’s holding back. Because really? I want to bake that pie. I guess I have to throw those what-ifs to the wind. Because she does matter to me that much. And I want her to know it. I want her to feel it. That’s not co-dependent. That’s so far from c0-dependent. What it is is trust.
Love is not a zero-sum game. I need to practice believing that in how I go about loving. There’s plenty to go around. There’s enough for us both. And the main thing I am now slowly coming to realize is, if I do something for her, I’m not necessarily losing myself, or giving myself away. I could be, for sure, depending on the context. But I could also actually just be reaffirming myself. So the next step I guess? Working all of this into my relationship with mi’lady in a way that feels right. Stay tuned, this could be a wild ride.
(Updated to remove weird duping of the post? It doesn’t appear in my editor but I tried to just delete all and re-paste so we’ll see if that works…)
I’ve been learning, lately, how to pay more attention to the little voices in my head. The ones that say “yay!” or “boo!” to all the little things I do. The ones that have the answer to questions like, “do I really love playing piano, or do I just think I love it because I was supposed to love it growing up? because my dad wants me to love it?” or “do I feel like myself when I wear this [insert item of clothing here]?” These voices have been buried in me for a long, long time. Digging them out has been quite an interesting process, and I think they’re still mostly buried, but at least now I know they’re there. And whenever I feel up to it, I can keep digging a bit more, and eventually I’ll have unearthed them all.
There’s something that’s been peeking out of the ground for a while now, and I’ve finally dug it up. It’s a fantasy, and it goes like this:
I am a nurturer. More than anything, I want to take care of you. I want to support you and give you what you want and be your pillar. I want to stand next to you proudly, “I’m hers.” I want to cook for you, and bake your favorite sweets for you, and clean. I want to notice the little things that make you feel better, and do them for you. I want you to dress me, in whatever you want me to wear. I want to be manicured, and pedicured, and wax my arms and legs, and spend a half an hour every morning and evening on my skincare regimen. I want to wear four-inch heels with peeping toes. I want to iron your shirts and make your bed and stroke your head until you fall asleep. I want to plan little surprises and encourage your passions and turn you on. Making you tick is what makes me tick. So.
As I said, that’s been peeking out of the ground for a while. I kept ignoring it, thinking it’s just another indicator of my co-dependency. My tendency is to want to exist for someone else rather than for myself. And I’ve always thought that that’s because it’s easier to take care of someone else’s wants and needs than it is to take care of my own. (The responsibility of making myself happy? Huge.) So it’s been really easy to write off that fantasy as something unhealthy and something I need to dismiss, something I need to work out. I’ve thought of it as the problem.
But maybe the problem itself is the very solution. Maybe it’s not co-dependency, but in fact a valid form of self-identity. Can this be? I have a lot of feelings about this. Frustration – have I really been working so hard to discover what I really want, only to realize that what I want is, again, just to do what someone else wants? Fear — what does this mean? Will I lose myself even further? Confusion — but I thought I was ambitious and driven and independent! Worry — how on earth will my friends and family take it if I come out to them this way? Excitement — wow! So much to work (and play) with here! Weeee! Intrigue – what would this feel like, to actualize this? what worlds might this open up for me?
So, I think I’m going to try this on for a while. See if it fits as well as it does in my fantasy. I need to keep reminding myself, though, that I’m doing this for me. In the end, I’m not really doing this to sacrifice myself for her. Rather, I’m allowing myself to indulge a fantasy. I’m going for a dream.
Maybe I don’t need to find co-dependency support. Maybe I need to find femme support. How about a Femme for Dummies: How to Make Sure You’re Taking Care of Yourself While Caring for Your Lover (and Others).
Anyone out there? Femme bloggers who’ve written about this sort of journey? Any femmes who read here who want to pop out and say hi? Maybe there is a Femme for Dummies that I just don’t know about? Oh my gosh, I feel so thirsty. Is this what it feels like to know what I want?
(Disclaimer: For me, the word that works best to encompass all this is “femme.” I fully realize that many, if not most, femmes probably don’t share this same fantasy and wouldn’t necessarily identify this fantasy as being femme in nature. For now, just realize that yes, I acknowledge that, and I apologize if anyone feels that their identity is stepped on. As this is all coming to light I’m sure I will write more about this in the near future, because boy do I have thoughts…)
I’ve been thinking a lot about cocks lately.
And no, I’m not questioning my sexuality, haha, thanks for asking. But I am questioning, well, something. I’m just not sure exactly what it is I’m questioning. Mi’lady and I use cock play (for lack of anything better to call it… is there something better to call it?) a lot when we fuck, in various ways. For example: I strap on and fuck her. I strap on, and she gives me a blow job (SO HOT, oh my god I don’t know if I can think of any image hotter than of my cock in her mouth, and her looking sweetly/seductively up at me). Occasionally, she straps on and fucks me. These are all ways that we use real fake cocks in our sex. (I know, real fake is contradictory, but what I mean is there’s a real cock there, a non-flesh one, a dildo, but it’s a real cock just the same.) These are the more straightforward ways of fucking with cocks, and these are the ways that don’t make me think much beyond HOT! TURNED ON! HOT!
And then there are ways that are more psychological. One of my favorite ways to get off is orally — her tongue has insane endurance and is oh-my-god so so good. There are no words. She is truly the mistress of licking pussy. Except… sometimes (dare I even say often?), when she’s between my legs licking my clit, I pretend she’s sucking my cock. And something about that psychological trick just turns me on so much that I can come really, really fast after that.
And I’m not the only one who does this. The only way mi’lady gets off is with my fingers on her clit (mmmm I love the feeling of her slick hard clit under my fingers…). And one time last week, I was rubbing her clit and she said “how do I feel baby?” “Slick and hard,” I said, “hard like a cock.” And she literally writhed in her sudden new arousal. “Oh baby yeah, jerk my cock,” she moaned, and for the remaining moments until she came, we dirty-talked cock imagery. Imagining that I was jerking her cock was a profound turn-on.
We talked about it afterwards. Though this kind of cock play is really hot and fun, it definitely brings stuff up for me (and for her as well, in similar ways, but I’m just going to speak for myself on my blog). For one thing, I’ve struggled quite a bit with the whole idea of Authenticity in the lesbian “community.” I’m sure I’ll write more about this at some point; I’ve touched on it a bit in my post “On Femininity” (see link under my Favorite Posts, over there on the left). It’s this whole idea that “gold star” lesbians are the most authentic lesbians, and on down the line until women who have sexual/romantic relationships with men as well as women are often peered at in suspicion, and lack total authenticity. (Along with that, I think, is the notion that women who present intentional or unintentional masculinity are automatically more authentic as lesbians, and women who present intentional or unintentional femininity are less authentic.) So, this whole thing of somehow liking cock in sex… especially as a femme-presenting dyke… brings up issues for me of “can I talk about this? will people doubt my sexuality?” And of course, it doesn’t matter whether other people doubt my sexuality. But it feels oppressive all the same.
But something that’s even more unsettling for me, I think, are questions of patriarchy and heteronormativity. Are we just buying into some sort of hetero-paradigm by including the cock in our own man-free sex? Are we in a way proving people right who think that the ultimate sex acts (“real sex”) have to involve a penis? (Clearly there are many things we do that do not involve the cock or any kind of cock play, but hey, those could be just foreplay!) And… do we have penis envy?? Are we proving Freud right? Women just spend our lives trying to make up for a gaping hole (to be utterly literal)? (It might be relevant to point out here that both of us do not identify as trans or genderqueer.)
As I sort of said above, strapping on by itself never raised these questions for me. I’ve never been uncomfortable with the idea of using a cock. It seems so blatantly and purely not straight, so clearly not pretending to be a man — it’s very much its own thing. So strapping on in itself has never seemed to me to be heteronormative or patriarchal. But somehow, imagining that my clit is my cock starts to make me think there’s a line I might be crossing. I don’t know. It’s hard to articulate. And mostly, I still just think it’s hot. But it makes me wriggle the tiniest bit just the same, in some sort of vague discomfort. Luckily, the vague discomfort isn’t enough to make me want to stop.
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