I am 24 and in a serious relationship with Myra, a 48-year-old traditionalist with 20th Century feminist views. I’ve tried to explain that I am a post-feminist lesbian living in the 21st Century, but she stares at me blankly. ??When we go out for the evening and I’m fully expressing my inner-man–dressed like a boy, packing a dildo, and basically passing–she freaks. When I feel and express my inner-woman, she is much more comfortable, but really that is only half the picture. ??Myra wants to know why I can’t just be regular and I tell her I am. Regular for my age group of queers who don’t feel hemmed in by gender oppressive conformity, like our older counterparts were. I am both male and female, and I have no problem outwardly expressing that binary. I don’t care what the gender oppressive world thinks. Clearly, though, Myra does care. Very much.??I’ve been thinking of taking testosterone and growing some hair on my face, but haven’t figured out how to tell Myra. It’s what I really want to do, and I know she’ll be upset, possibly to the point of ending it with me.??How can I break the news, without breaking the relationship???-Molly/Mark
Some women toyed with gender long before the word “lesbian” was popularized. A few decades ago, when butches purchased dark suits from the men’s department and smoked cigars, some carefully avoided revealing their female anatomy, even during sex. Consciousness Raising in the 70s eradicated roles modeled on heterosexual relationships and caused the ritual destruction of thousands of perfectly good sex toys. Hairiness first popularized by feminism and originally confined to underarms and legs still frightened conservative heterosexuals who’d never flown to Europe.
Until the last decade or so, female hormone-popping was limited to women with medical issues and female-to-male transsexuals. Now, garden-variety dykes cultivate goatees like gardens, without necessarily wanting to become men.
You and Myra are working out a primitive conflict. Myra could have found a like-minded partner by combing the Sapphic personals: “Serious bespectacled womyn seeks womyn for gluten-free muffins, native pronunciation of words like “Nicaragua,” and inoffensive clitoral stimulation once each solstice.”
And if you’d resolved your inner conflict about autonomy, perhaps you’d have chosen a partner with long sideburns packing an even longer silicone dick (or at least one who appreciates yours). Ideally, she’d prefer ritual body piercing to open-mike poetry fundraisers. But perhaps you wouldn’t have been attracted to her.
Mature love means supporting someone in becoming herself, rather than hoping she’ll become more like you. But no one can guarantee that you and Myra have that kind of love, or that Myra won’t dump you for your differences. There is really no best way to spin this for Myra. You can’t control her reaction to your plan, and as you know, not all dykes dig whiskers
Don’t be alarmed if Myra reacts to your hormonal news by recommitting to her food co-op, dusting off her old Alex Dobkin records –the best line from “Lavender Jane Loves Womyn” is “There’s no PENIS between us friends”– and auctioning handmade ponchos to raise money for plastic speculums, ensuring that no woman is ever denied the privilege of viewing her cervix (or tossing her salad).
Dear Ms. Behavior:
I’m sharing a beach house for the summer. The problem is that my housemate Jim, a casual friend, uses my personal items and eats my food, and then denies it.
I didn’t mind when it was just my peanut butter, but yesterday Jim ate the steak I bought for my dinner date. When I asked Jim, he said it wasn’t him, but he had steak in his teeth.
I’ve found Jim’s blondish hair in my comb and his body hair in my razor. He denies using them. But when I saw him naked yesterday, his balls were newly shaven. (He has a beard and doesn’t own a razor.)
I feel violated by Jim’s intrusive behavior. What can I do?
Install a knob on your bedroom door that you can lock with a key from the outside. Buy a small refrigerator for your bedroom, to keep your special date food safe. Everyone knows it’s tragic to have an unexpected filet mignon or caviar emergency when you’re preparing for a gentleman caller.
Keep your personal hygiene items locked up, including those that Jim has not yet used. If your razor is unavailable, he may develop a penchant for your toenail clippers or your nose spray. Also, stop looking at Jim’s balls.