For Boys in Glitter

This one’s for the femmeboys. The flaming softboys and the fearless sissies. The boys in glitter and nail polish and neon pink. The boys at dance camp who I let try on my pointe shoes, just for shits and giggles. The men who showed me how to tear up a dance floor in heels like its a job. The pop stars with full makeup and raging falsettos.

You offered the first form of queerness made undeniably visible to me, and I latched on without quite knowing why. No, it wasn’t a desire for a “Gay Best Friend” accessory that drew me in, but a deeper, vaguer sense that we somehow belonged in the same category.

And as we stumbled through adolecence together, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be with you or be you. (Like with the cool girls with half-shaved heads, leather jackets, and poetry blogs, it was probably some of both.)

As a babyqueer girl who would never feel at home with ‘butch’ or ‘femme,’ something told me that the sissy boys were my gender cohort.

I’ve often heard from butch women and female-assigned trans people that wearing dresses and makeup felt like drag. And I’ve felt that too–but in a good way. See, I considered drag fun: a way to be excessive and expressive and play outside the boundaries of who you are. (The only problem comes when people don’t seem to want to see me out of that costume.)

If some butches found their parallels in bros who would never be caught dead in a dress, I found mine in the bold give-no-fucks girly boys (who usually lived in patterned buttoned-downs–but actually might be caught dead in a dress). Beyond the style inspiration, I saw a form of femininity that could be part of me–a queer femininity that wasn’t passive or dainty, but aggressive, flamboyant, and subversive.

And then there were my occasional boy-crushes–generally falling into that same type. They seemed safely unrequitable–like all those straight girl crushes. (In reality, some were not as unrequitable as I had assumed–like some of those “straight” girl crushes). But in my head, they were a purely hypothetical illumination of my desires, without the more daunting possibility of action.

With my femmeboy crushes, I realized it wasn’t men per say that contradicted my tastes, but rather the stale normative masculinity that most of them came wrapped in. I came to own the nuances of my desires and understand how my sexuality might be made to function in a less staunchly gendered sphere.

So thank you, all the fabulous femme-leaning men who have rolled through my life. We’ve found our own places in the world and they’re not quite the same, but in seeing you be unapologetically you, I found some seeds I needed to be me.

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Rock

You were my rock, in that I felt you poking around between my toes longer than I could ignore, so I had to take you out.

You were my rock that I kept kicking down the road, until I got bored.

You were my rock, in that I was silly enough to think I could just paint a smiling face on you and call you my pet.

You were my rock, and I wanted a collection.

You were my rock, in that I looked at you and saw the work of art you would be once I chipped away the extra parts.

You were my rock, but I wasn’t much of a sculptor.

 

Easier Bent

The course of that force could not be stopped
As she plowed down prescribed aisles–
But what couldn’t be paused with pushes and shouts
Could be twisted with tickles and smiles,
And nudges and winks and side-eyes,
And words left half-unspoken.

Fate is shaped by those who realize
Paths are easier bent than broken.

Just Ribbing

Did he think of it as birthing or purging when he tore me out of himself? It was hard to tell.

No sooner did he fixate on what he loved in me–the beauty, the softness, the fragility–than did he gag at reminder that it had once been a part of him. Then he sighed in relief that it was all now apart from him. As if he didn’t have more ribs where those came from. As if we weren’t made of the same bones.

And I thought: what a self-loathing creature to draw such a wall between what he loves and what he hopes to be.

But maybe that moment of shock was when he became determined to see no reflection of himself in whatever came out of him. His colorful musings were Pure Reason. His sappy tunes and poetry, Straight from God. 

Of course, anyone else could see otherwise, but I didn’t have the ribs to break it to him. Yet. When it came to the baby, though, we had to talk.

Again.

Want to make change?
First you’ve got to make history
Out of the fantasies in your mind
Out of the thick air where you draw
Ghosts of some past to inhabit you
Who see ruins of pillars in the cobblestone
and say to rebuild
what always wasn’t
Again.

Rules Of Conditional Acceptance:

They’re so glad to have you here
So long as you’re not too much of what you are,
And can fit yourself inside their narrow outline for one of the good ones
(Exactly one of the good ones).

But now you notice it’s feeling tight
And you’ve spent your life climbing up their pedestal
So you can be a prop:
One season change away from going out of style,
One slip away from getting knocked off.

I don’t want to be one of your good ones anymore.