He dwarfs me when we stand, stripped, and his hair falls in waves down his back. I am tiny and shivering beside him, unable to meet his height.
I spent a few minutes today trying on huge trench coats that swallowed me whole, twirling around and asking, “How is it?” My shopmate covered her mouth and said, “Oh, oh no.”
We traveled to a new store and found a much better coat, but I paled at the price. “Um,” I said. “Oh yes,” my shopmate affirmed, yanking the jacket from my hands and demanding she pay for it. (It was decided that I couldn’t have it until Christmas, however.)
This shopping is something I’ve been meaning to do, but the cold forced it a bit sooner than I’d planned. In a few days I’ll be chopping off yet more of my hair. The reactions from friends, family, and coworkers has been varied. My mother asks worriedly, “Are you trying to weird people out?” When I say, “No, I’m trying to be ‘mistaken’ for a boy,” she nods approvingly. “Well, you’re doing that,” she tells me.
Until I hacked my hair off, I never really understood the presentation of gender and the game of appearance. Of course, I was faced with the reality of such things immediately after walking out of the parlor – within a minute I’d been called a ‘dyke’ and laughed at. I’d paused, looked at the men trying to insult me, and wondered why in all the hells I wanted to be mistaken for something like that. Loud, obnoxious, smelling like old beer, probably high. The type of college boy I had managed to avoid in my brief stint at the university.
I had expected little internal change once I cut my hair. I’d been planning it for a month or so, spurred on by a strange affection for a fictional character, and even thought I might cry at loosing hair I had been growing for years. I loved my hair, and damn society for marking it as ‘female’. But then I chopped it off, to the horrified stare of hairdressers, cropped it short as could be, and I forgot why I liked long hair. It seem nonsensical to prefer it.
I stared in the mirror and for the first time in many years, perhaps ever, saw myself properly.
The glamour I wore was one of femininity and curves and long red-brown hair. I stripped it away to reveal the truth. It doesn’t surprise me this change came during my journeying and work with the Star-Wind and His many mirrors. It doesn’t surprise me that the idea of glamoury and presentation and masks is emphasized in a religion that deals with faeries. But I was surprised nonetheless that I had lied so long to myself and could only see the truth – I was a boy, entirely, fully – when I dared to rip the lie away.
Now I find myself wishing to glamour other people, to toss glitter or shadows in front of them that they might see differently. It has been said that faeries appear to us as we wish to see them, as we perceive them, or as they believe will most comfort (or scare) us. Their height or weight or feet or legs may be different ‘in truth’ than we perceive, but there is always a thread of truth in the glamour. Which is why I quote and dance around the word ‘mistake’. I am not being ‘mistaken’ for a boy. I am attempting to cease people’s mistaking me for a girl.
Those who play with gender more overtly or actively fuck with gender norms (and here I am breaking my vow not to discuss gender issues, but let it be this once) receive my respect, admiration, and often a bit of romantic interest. But that is not something I can do. I am a boy, and presenting myself in that way is my own exertion of control and glamoury with those that come in contact with me.
It is far better, in my opinion, than being told what a sweet little ‘fae-like’ girl I am (not!).