She’s in the shower right now (that pretty girl I sleep with) and when she’s done we’re headed into town to do some enjoying of the day and maybe some clothes shopping. I have worn my one pair of acceptable jeans so many times, I would not be surprised to see them get up and walk away of their own accord. And I sort of like shopping these days, now that what I see in the mirror looks like someone I might want to be, rather than an embarrassingly awkward stranger.
I got called sir for the first time. At a security checkpoint where I had to swipe a card and then open my laptop. It was a hurried transaction—I’d been through a few times already that day—and the security guard there at the moment was distracted, telling her coworker about some trouble earlier in the day. I swiped the card and waited, then opened the computer, and then she glanced over: “Oh, I’m sorry, sir, you’re good, go ahead.” The deferential apology, the air of unthinking certainty, the word itself, all shook me a little, tipping the axis of my rotation just a little.
On the other hand, back in these spaces of family and old, old friends, it’s a case of the elephant in the corner. My hair is a good barometer: mostly, the people who Say Nothing At All are going to be weird the whole time. There’s an exception to every rule, of course, and the supposed friend who told me I looked like I got my head caught in something is it. He said something, but it was weird. Otherwise, it’s been a glacier of crushing silence, an invisibility of averted gazes. Not an outright rejection of female masculinity, but treating it like something to be politely ignored, like an oozing abscess on my forehead. Best to swallow the discomfort and talk of the weather while looking at the femme girlfriend, the table, the sky, anywhere but right at me.
It makes me flicker and fade. Years ago that’s precisely what I did. But now I have been seen, and often enough to make me know it’s real and it’s possible. The Dyke March, our incredibly generous host in Brooklyn, the events we’ve attended so far in Boston, the cute dykes who eyed me at the Farmer’s Market yesterday, all of it reminding me: this is what it feels like to have a conversation with people who make eye contact. This is what it feels like to be myself, outside of a vacuum.