A couple of weekends ago, I was sat reading the news when the Ever Lovely Mrs J asked: ‘have you read that article by Grayson Perry?’ Perhaps my TransRSS was on the blink, as I’d not, so she elaborated. “It’s about What’s Gone Wrong With Men?“
A word to the wise: you might want to read the above first and make your own mind up, before reading my thoughts.
Back? Sitting comfortably?
My initial thought to Mrs J’s question around What’s Gone Wrong With Men? was Why are you asking me? I’m not exactly in-tune with Joe Normal, but I’ve learned to keep remarks that might accidentally upset or embarrass, to myself. By the way, I mean upset or embarrass me, as much as the Ever Lovely Mrs J. 😉
We had a chat about it and in the end, I Googled it and read it for myself. Grayson’s walking his own path (there’s that walking term again), and I’m fine with that. Some may not like his alter-ego and as much as I think it would be wrong for me to ask him to tone it down, it would be as wrong for him to tell me to brighten up. Yeah, I’m being reasonable again 😉
There was much in the article that gave us a topic of conversation and later, me to ponder as I nursed a cup of tea.
One of the lines that jumped out was “I held a constant internal dialogue about how to pass as a man.” Oh, how that hit a mark (Ed: Just a Mark, but not a Fred or a Bill, mind). For yes, dear reader, I don’t have standard wiring when it comes to ‘being a bloke’. I don’t say this as a brag or a dis, just a statement. Sure, I get some of the male traits naturally, but other elements are alien to me and I just don’t have the abilities, desires or interests of gents playing with a full deck. I was tempted to make a comment about Top Trumps, but a) it would make things sound overly competitive (we’ll come back to that), or b) a set up a cheap gag about farting. 😉
This passing lark is bloody tiring and I’ve alluded to this before about masks and not being true to yourself. Of course, being openly ‘somewhere-in-the-middle’ will draw you some flack with less then enlightening people or you’ll be judged as being camp. Frankly, I could care…. but I don’t. Life is short. 🙂
Mrs J read out the line: “Though men might plead that their muscles, big cars and sharp suits are for attracting women, really they are for impressing male rivals.“
I think I can see how that can work and I wonder if I’m guilty as charged too? I don’t do big cars, suits aren’t my bag and big muscles, I’m too lazy and worried they’d spoil the line of my dress. 🙂 But, do I compete in other ways? Do I compete on ‘the slacker scale’ by pushing disinterest and rejection of the mainstream male behaviour. Possibly, methinks the trans person doth protest too much. 😛
But I asked Mrs J about her view on a previously said media line that women dress for each other, not for men. She said she could see how that could work and beautiful as Mrs J is, she’s not a girlie-girl. Yes, she’ll wear make-up, but in the main, she’s a boots & jeans kinda gal, not heels & hemlines (BTW, that’s probably the campest Dungeons & Dragons spin off never written, but moving on. 🙂 ). Mr’s J work-team is predominately women and not working in your regular office environment, the usual office clothing rules do not apply either. I notice when she changes her hair or wears something new, but then I’m trans* so I may be predisposed to noticing!
| Cyndi Lauper inspired
pun goes here
What about the question of people dressing for themselves? After reading Grayson’s thoughts, I was reminded of a time I had upset Mrs J: the matter of the smooth armpits. It was back many a moon when the Chameleons folk had decided to have an 80s themed party and it being warm that summer, I’d been – shall we say? – attending to my underarms for a while. It wasn’t until a week or so later that the heat, rather than the shaving, had given me a rash and Mrs J spotted what was going on.
As you well know, we have an agreement that I don’t shave anything other than face or chest. I had either ignored this or thought I could get away with it. Whichever it was, cross words were exchanged, but the point of this anecdote was the comment: “Why did you do it? Are you trying to attract men?!”
I assured Mrs J that I wasn’t and her comment has stuck with me. Mainly because it made me think why I had. The perfectionist part of me wants to say a strappy vest doesn’t look right with man pits, but I could have picked something else to wear. It was, if I’m honest with myself, that I wanted to be pretty. Not for anyone else, just for me. Not for me in ‘a sexual way’, but that looking good makes me feel good. In the same way a fine outfit can put a smile on a lady’s face and a spring in her step, so too, will that work for me.
Then again, given the 80s ensemble I’d put together (Primani ra-ra skirt), ‘fine outfit’ might be stretching the boundaries a touch 😉