My office job ended last week, and with it the last of the feminine pretensions I had to keep up to play the game. It’s not that the office would have fired me if I didn’t wear a little makeup or women’s boots instead of my usual – it’s just that I made the decision to keep my boss very, very happy, and she’s a “looks matter” kind of woman. Although she never said anything about my dress (a rotation of three very masculine yet still women’s suits with men’s collared shirts), I knew from the way she spoke about, oh, everyone else in the office that I’m sure she made many a comment about my appearance. However, I toed the line and all was well.
Now that I’m working from home I am back to my usual appearance – and with this small switch has come the return of me getting sir’d at every store and restaurant in town. Which is, quite frankly, awesome. I hadn’t realized how much I missed threading myself between the walls of gender perception.
Along those lines: I have a confession to make. When left to my own devices, I am not “dapper”. I know there’s a huge community of butches and androgynous and other-identified folk who happily sign on to the dapper banner, but really, I’m not one of them. I make the effort for my acting appearance, sure – but I’m most comfortable in a uniform of sorts, so I’ve collected my vests and ties and shirts and basically just swap color schemes on the same outfit anytime I need to go public.
But at home – comfy sweaters, old t-shirt, jeans. I wear grandpa slippers all day long inside.
I started noticing my non-dapperness recently while at rehearsals for the musical I’m directing. My cast includes one queer girl and one woman who has mostly lesbian friends (read: most of the people who worked on the L Word. Hello, Los Angeles). And the queer girl has a definite style, look, vintage dapper-ness all her own, even though she’s neither butch nor femme. The woman talks about her lesbian friends in a way that lets me know that they’re all impeccably coiffed all the time.
Meanwhile, I’m sitting on the dirty floor in my dirty chucks and cozy sweater, with my faux hawk not quite hawking, looking a mess as usual. Many people would Dress with a capital D just because they do every day – I can’t seem to muster the energy, or else I just have too many other things to think about. It’s like I’m the single mom of my own life.
Anyway – all the more reason why it’s nice to be sir’d again. Even in just a sweater, with my hair kind of in a weird/bad state these days (does anyone else have curls that suddenly decide to curl the other direction?), I can still go through an entire conversation at Target without the checker calling me miss. Dig it.