Friday, April 26, 2013

The Bend Of My Gender

I'm going to start this post with a short anecdote. Not long ago, Jen and I went to birthday party with an Adam Ant theme. It was fun! We dressed up for it and as part of the ensemble, Jen painted my nails. I got lots of compliments on them and I found that I enjoyed having them painted.

A month or so later, and they're pretty much painted all the time now. For a good number of you, that might seem strange. But I've tried hard in my life not to attach gender to anything outside of itself. If that makes sense. Cooking isn't for girls, football isn't for boys, yadda yadda yadda. I don't expect my view on these things to be the prevalent one, but I'm also not interested in siding with the majority just for the sake of being in the majority.

Then last week, Jen and I were at a restaurant and there was an older couple sitting a few seats away, maybe late 60s. After about 10 minutes, the guy leans over to me and says, "I really like your nails." I was a bit taken aback and my first thought was that he was being sarcastic. It turns out, he really did like them. More than that, he told me that he enjoyed painting his toes. They both told me that they hadn't run into any other men that painted their nails and I thought that was kind of sad.

The other day, as part of a package deal that she'd gotten awhile back, Jen took me to Aveda where she got a massage and I got a facial. I've only had two other facials in my life, both gifts. They aren't really something I can normally afford. My esthetician complimented my nails, my eyebrows and my overall skin care.

This of course got me to thinking. From somewhere deep within the recesses of my brain came voices that said things like : "Painting your nails and getting a facial are so gay" - and gay sounds like in insult when I hear that voice.  There are other more (seemingly) rational voices that ask if this in some way effects my gender, my sexuality, my masculinity. Thankfully, there's one voice that always rises to the top and drowns out the others. "If you like your fucking nails painted, then paint them. It doesn't mean ANYTHING expect that you like your nails painted!"  I like that voice.

My personal gender and my sexuality are, to me, a sculpture that I continue to refine and chisel at. I sometimes glance around to see what the other sculptures look like, but I'm trying hard to remain true to what I feel is the truth of my own personal sculpture.

Which leads me to some other things. Lately amongst my social circles and the news at large, there have been a lot of articles and conversations about sexism, feminism, misogyny, female body image, rape culture, sex workers and the list goes on. Something in me is telling me that my attitude about my nails and all of that external stuff is connected. I don't know how exactly. I'm still working that out.

I don't have any deep answers (and I've commented on many of these social issues in previous posts). But what I will say is that I like my nails. They look awesome.

1 comment:

lipsticklori said...

Can't believe I've only just clicked through to your blog from Twitter, after following you for so long! I love this post. You're right about the number of activities that many people think are gendered but which aren't - that's just society's arbitrary rules, which are nonsense. Thanks for writing this!