Things have been better over the last couple of days for T. and me. I took her out on a date on Sunday night, which was a bit awkward in certain ways. Mostly because, once you’ve been married for six years, how can you “pretend” you’re just dating, however much you really are getting to know someone (again) for the first time? But it was also very nice.
We saw Wings of Desire at the art-film place up the street. The angel’s experience of longing to be human, and then his stumbling but joyous efforts to be human, to perform humanity, resonated with me. Isn’t that what everyone on the genderqueer spectrum has to do? Perform masculinity or femininity, in our own halting, unfamiliar ways, until we can live as full human beings? I realize that’s an idiosyncratic and personal take on the movie... T. said she was thinking about how the film was a homage to James Joyce’s Ulysses, right down to the closing female soliloquy. (Dang, she’s smart.)
Anyway, I think it turned out that despite the awkwardness, the “date” served its function as a demonstration of our mutual good faith. Afterwards we stayed up late, cried all over the place, and felt truly close and connected once more. And I got to leave the skanky couch, hurray.
I wore some of my new clothes and we ended up talking for a while about the shopping experience. “You’re really out there on the front lines now,” she said, and I used the metaphor of crossing borders. For some reason the men’s section seems to be frequently located near the children’s section here (one-stop shopping for beleaguered housewives?) and I mentioned how, if I felt too out of place in the men’s area, I could step into the children’s section for a moment and blend in (mostly) as just another young woman shopping for a niece or nephew. “Do you feel that way inside, too?” she asked.
No. I feel like me, not like I move between a ‘feminine’ soul and a ‘masculine’ one. And yet, it’s even more complicated than that. More than once I’ve felt pressured to fake (feminine) enthusiasm while shopping for women’s clothes with other women (friends, my mom, whoever). I just don’t like shopping, I figured. But then, in one particularly good stretch of Saturday’s shopping, I felt that enthusiasm for real, looking at coats and scarves in a men’s boutique shop. I wanted to ooh and ahh and maybe even exclaim a little. Masculine? Feminine? Or a fully human compound of both, endlessly merging and colliding and separating again? I’ll take the third choice, thanks.