How’s it goin’???
Over here in Chicago, the weather has stopped hot-boxing us at last.
It’s finally cool again, and Chicago’s teacher strike is finally over.
This is excellent news, not just because teachers deserve better pay and conditions and benefits and respect for the incredibly challenging and important fucking job they do, but also because I live across the street from a high school, and there is a severely hot sportydyke gym teacher who leads reluctant, muttering high school boys in jogs around the block every morning.
With the strike, I didn’t see her on my way to work anymore, her hair pulled into a bouncy ponytail, her long t-shirt sleeves barely containing her clearly defined biceps.
She’s part of my morning commute and I love her and I’d missed watching her yell at the boys to hurry up, calling them all by their last names while she holds a stopwatch.
“C’mon McConnell, move it moveitmoveit!!!”
Fall! My favorite season! Practically everyone’s favorite season!
Thunderstorms and tweed!
Crunching leaves and fuzzy sweaters and September Vogue and slippers in the house and seeing your breath and cider!
Dykes across the land rummage around in their dresser drawers, fishing out crumpled plaid flannel shirts that feel like rumply best friends.
Hoodies come back, giving all ladygays everywhere that je ne sais quoi, that tangible aura of “c’mere and cuddle up on my shoulder while we watch Desert Hearts.”
Everything is better and no one is hot and Timothy Maxwell Thumperton doesn’t hop around the house and stare accusingly at me anymore when the temperature goes over 80 degrees.
Now, sluts, I’ve been having kind of a strange problem lately, and I want to know what you all think.
Here it is: Have you ever seen another person who you think is so interesting-looking or just has so much style or projects so much charisma or don’t-fuck-with-me SASS that you literally cannot stop looking at them?
(I’m assuming the answer is yes—arresting-looking people are all over the place.)
And it’s not necessarily that you want to ask them out, or fuck them, or anything at all, but you just…want to give them a compliment?
Or explain your stare-y eyes?
This happens to me a lot (the thinking-someone-is-unutterably-beautiful-and-wanting-to-tell-them thing), and sometimes I do tell that person how awesome I think they look, but… I’m not sure if it’s creepy.
What do you guys think?
Because, really, who asked me to tell someone how I feel about their appearance? Who gives a shit what I think?
It’s not like the person in question got dressed for my opinion.
I’m thinking in particular about this very cool girl who gets on my bus in the morning. She looks close to my age, and she’s a tall, curvy girl with these huge vintagey glasses and this wild hair that’s all over the place. She’s always got some kind of insane accessory with her, like a hat made out of fake birds or a toolbox spray-painted gold.
She is so brave with her outfit choices, but then she always fidgets with them, pulling her shirt down self-consciously or smoothing her skirt nervously, over and over.
I wish she knew how great she looks.
Whenever I see her, I always want to tell her she looks AMAZEBALLS and that she can literally do no wrong and that I actually look forward to going to work because then I can see what she’s wearing, but…is that weird?
Who asked me, you know?
I mean, I’m always getting pissed when a man says anything about the way I look, ’cause I’M NOT HERE FOR THAT, HAVE A SEAT, but…I think I understand where that urge to comment comes from, sometimes.
I constantly want to tell other people (especially women and queer-lookin’ folk) that they are so beautiful.
People all across the board, of all ages – not just femmes wearing heels carved to look like mermaids (yes the girl on the bus wore these. I died), but genderqueer kids and old ladies with heavy earrings dragging down their earlobes and butch dykes in business clothes who don’t look up very much when they’re walking down the street.
Kind of an “I’d like to teach the world to sing” sort of situation, but I’m serious.
Is that creepy?
To tell someone, a stranger, that you think they’re gorgeous or lovely, or that they look beautiful that day?
I mean, I love it when another woman gives me a random compliment.
But I just don’t want to be like the weird girl who thinks it’s ok to touch other people’s tattoos without asking, you know?
AnyIhavetoomuchtimetothinkonthebusway, this lil’ problem I’ve been innerly wrestling with kind of links with something I’ve wanted to talk about for a long time:
Heh. As if my mind wasn’t constantly on gayelles’ bodies.
Particularly, I wanna talk about our body images as queer folk, and what we feel about ourselves.
I’ve actually been thinking about gaymosexual body image a lot lately, ever since I had an unfun conversation with an uncharming straight girl I met at a queer dance night.
This girl was bellied up to the bar, and right after she’d ordered another beer, she looked at me and asked me if I write this blog.
I said yes, and she said, “I’m straight, but I read your blog. My friend showed it to me! It’s good!”
Her: You know what? You don’t post enough.
Me: Uggghh, I knowwwww, I wish I had more time, each post takes forevvvver and I write for my day job, too.
Her: (teasingly) That’s no excuse.
She paid for her beer. It was really noisy.
Then, apropos of nothing, she turned back to me and said: Hey. Did you ever notice how many lesbians are fat? You should write about that.
Her: Fat. Lesbians are like, always really fat. Why is that?
Me: Wow. Really? All of us?
Her: Yeah. (she was drunk.)
Me: Um. I don’t even know what to say to this.
Her: They are! You know they are!
Me: Ok you’re serious. Um…maybe we don’t give a shit what you think of us?
Her: Well, you should.
Me: ‘Scuse me. I have to go.
Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” was playing, and really, that trumps all conversations, even ones that are about to turn into bar fights.
I get that she was drunk (hey! that’s never a good excuse!), but who the fuck thinks it’s ok to pass judgement on an entire group of women’s bodies like that?
I can’t even.
[thanks heidi! gummygay]
Not only were her observations completely untrue and based on nothing (I know plenty of dykes who are fit; queers who are yoga fiends; homos who are athletic; gheys who are naturally, extraordinarily skinny) but…so what?
Who was this woman to decide what “fat” was, and…why was she using it like the worst insult of all possible insults?
In a queer bar, of all places!
She was basically using the word as a weapon, and since I got all riled up, ready to defend my people, I realized I had some feeeeeeeelings about all this.
Late that night, as I tried, for the first time, to wash off my new waterproof gel eyeliner and watched half the skin cells on my eyelid skid merrily onto the washcloth, I found myself going over that conversation at the bar, thinking about what I should have said.
Fuck it – I should have decked her.
Nearly all women (and plenty of men), regardless of sexual orientation, struggle with insane body issues.
We don’t need other people to pass judgement in real life – magazines and the teevee already tell us we don’t have flat enough stomachs; toned-enough thighs.
Cellulite is a hideous monster to be avoided at all costs. We can’t have any wobbles, we can’t have “flab.”
Did you see what just happened to Lady Gaga?
People considered a few (supposedly) unflattering pictures news.
Fuck that girl at the bar and her narrow-minded idea of what beauty is.
Women are alarmingly beautiful. Women of all shapes. Big girls, small girls, curvy girls, skinny girls.
How is it possible that real live people still think beauty is being one certain way?
Why was that straight girl at the bar even focused on our bodies?
(And if she was straight, what did she stand to gain from being in a queer bar and carefully monitoring the bodies of queer women so closely, eh?)
I’ve been talking about this stuff obsessively with other dykes lately.
And I’ve come up with a theory:
Because it doesn’t really apply to us, I feel like maybe ladyqueers so often disassociate ourselves from what popular (read: straight) culture wants for us that we have developed an entirely different and new acceptance of our bodies.
I’ve noticed that in OutGayLand (population: everyone I know), you can be whatever, look however you want, and nobody says shit about it.
Live and let live, motherfuckers.
And for the most part, everybody in OutGayLand does.
Other people find this alarming/unacceptable.
I had never really noticed until CJ brought it up, but – as a vast, sweeping generalization, it doesn’t seem like queer women sit around bitching about their bodies.
In fact, I cannot remember the last time that casual body-hatin’ happened within my earshot in a queer setting.
Why is that?
Why don’t gay girls…do that?
Y’allfags. Forgive me.
I know it’s completely taboo to be talking about women’s bodies at all.
But since our hands are so often on (heh) queer bodies, it’s a topic that feels important to me.
At the same time, I realize the only body I can speak for and talk about is my own.
So I will.
I have this to say about my body: I love it. It’s strong and healthy.
There are things I like about it: it’s curvy and soft and I have rull cute feet.
There things about it that don’t thrill me: I have a little belly that wants to stay put, and I have cellulite on the back of my legs.
But who the fuck…well, cares? Really?
I’ll tell you who doesn’t care: the women who sleep with me.
about “flaws” when you’re gettin’ down.
All types of bodies can be attractive. All types of bodies can be sexy and desirable.
It is all about how you feel about yourself.
Uniformly, across the board, after close to a decade of dating and doin’ it with a number *coughcough* of girls and bois, I have never had one single lesbian offer a single negative comment about any part of my body at any time, nor have I ever felt compelled to pass judgement on anything of theirs.
(This might be true for straight and bi folks, too, sluts – I’m just talkin’ about the overwhelmingly positive queer sex experiences I’ve had with my body.)
I’m not even thinking judgey things about someone else’s body when I like them, because I am clearly attracted as all get out to them and want to get in there and be close and intimate.
Not that I’m the patron saint of All Good Thoughts All the Time.
I’m just busy with boobs at that moment.
I am not looking for body “flaws”; neither (I HOPE TO GOD) is anybody else.
Everyone’s always just so happy to be fucking, you know?
Dykes love women.
We also maybe have a unique perspective – we know what the standards are for women as dictated by the media and everybodyelseontheplanetOMG, and we know just exactly how hard it is to both:
a) maintain that standard of “femininity” or
b) disregard that prescribed kind of femininity completely.
Coming out and dealing with being gay day in and day out seems to have bred a phenomenon amongst queer women – a phenomenon called Owning It.
Big, little, tiny, round, extra-tall or extra-short; flat or big-boobed or wrapped boobs or no boobs; fit or average or not at all fit or strong or wobbly – queers own it.
We’re comfortable with ourselves.
We have to be. We’ve learned how.
That is our sexay.
And maybe that’s what some people find so fucking scary about us.
The world views female bodies as public property, and when we don’t care about keeping the property tastefully and appropriately decorated according to the outlines described in the female homeowner’s association handbook (aka Cosmo, Elle, and all TV shows, ever)…people get pissed.
It’s hard to control the bodies of women who refuse to take made-up standards seriously.
And I, for one, like these rule-breaking bodies the best.
You know – human, real, queer bodies as they are – scarred, lovely, wrinkly, fleshed-out, unutterably beautiful and stronger than anyone can see.
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Krista Burton is brand-new to Chicago. An ex-Mormon from Minneapolis, she writes a blog called Effing Dykes (www.effingdykes.blogspot.com), which is about activating your lesbian gaydar. She spends most of her time staring longingly at enormous dogs, riding her shiny orange scooter around town, and trying to bake gluten-free cake that doesn’t taste like gluten-free cake. She’s a staff writer at Groupon, and loves girls, inappropriate footwear, and hip-hop songs with filthy lyrics.