Monthly Archives: November 2007
I don’t know how many women of my generation were (and are) being told by their mothers to “act ladylike” or “be a lady”. I know my mother (and to a certain extent my father) were sure to tell me when I was not acting like a lady.
Do I consider myself a lady? I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I didn’t think so. But I’m a different brand of lady than my parents wanted me to be.
My brand of ladylike allows me to choose when I want to be feminine (fancy hair, make-up, pretty dresses, the whole shebang) and when I want to just be me. It also gives me the liberty to swear when and if I need to, but not excessively, because that’s just plain rude. It is about being polite, but not to the point of excess. I hold doors, offer to pay for dinner, and unlock car doors because it is nice thing to do, just a decent act between one human being and another; I also expect the people I am with to do the same things for me on occasion.
My mother trained me well on acts of courtesy. When someone I know well has a person close to them die, I will at least send them a card, and possibly a very personal gift. If someone sends me a gift, I send a thank you card as soon as I can. When someone writes me a letter or a kind email I try to write them back promptly, even if just to thank them for thinking of me. What else my mother has taught me will be the subject for another post.
Being a lady is equivalent to being a decent human being.
Am I any less queer because I do like some things that are considered “normal”? That sometimes I like things that are pretty vanilla? That the only sex I’ve been having for the last nine to ten months is heterosexual?
I don’t think so.
I love the fact that queer encompasses everything about me, from the way I like my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (on sourdough bread, creamy peanut butter and homemade raspberry jam), to the people I think are attractive, to the way I like my sex (with occasional hints of dominance/submission). The term bisexual, which is what I normally call myself, encompasses only the people I like, see as attractive, would like to have sex with. Queer is an identity I’m just getting used to. It doesn’t force me into a tiny box labeled “likes men and women”. Yes, I do like men and women, and see both as attractive in their own ways, but what about the people who don’t consider themselves either or simply don’t believe they fit into society’s narrow definitions of gender and sexuality. Just because I have not yet found one that I like/want to have sex with does not eliminate the possibility that I might. I like to keep my options open. Yes, I still do describe myself as bisexual, because that is my sexual orientation, I will not disagree with that, but it does not describe my whole self, like the sex: female does not fully describe me. Yes I am female, in body and mind, but I am not that feminine, nor have I ever been, and I am fully comfortable with that.
To me, trying to fit into a prescribed gender role is restricting and it just feels wrong. I wear a skirt or dress when I want to, not because I have been forced into it. Make-up, nylons, hair-styling make me feel like I’m in drag. Sometimes being in drag is a wonderful thing, messing with people’s perceptions of my gender. I like challenging the assumed norms. That’s what makes me happy and comfortable. There are times that I just want to hide myself and I do, something I learned how to do very well in high school. That ability to hide means that only the people I like and respect get to see the true me, my true colors as they say.
I am working my way into a role I feel comfortable with. I would like to be completely open with everyone about who I truly am, but I know that society will not let me be that. So here at school is the only place I can truly express the full me: my sexuality and my queerness, and the truly great thing is that it doesn’t really matter to that many people. College is full of variations, that’s what makes it so wonderful.