I’m back home, the residency is over, yet today, and the days before that I reached for those jeans and hoodie, slipping on boxer shorts. I ignored all my pretty dresses with their delicate frills. I know for most people wearing jeans does not necessarily make you masculine, many women wear jeans and t-shirts. But before this residency I never wore trousers, not ever, only dresses or skirts. Super femme. So maybe this adds to the extra layer of manliness I feel whenever I wear these clothes, I’m just not used to it. I look around me, browsing internet computer screens and think about the difference between femininity and masculinity. What is it about the way we wear clothes that gives us a gendered look? There is a certain way to wear these clothes that signifies a sense of queerness I realise. I feel a bit in-between, almost like that teenager again, unsure of who I am or what I am supposed to represent. I used to love my hyper-femininity, so why do I not want to wear it? We wear clothes as a way to communicate about who we are, and right now I feel that I have been broken in two, or maybe severed into pieces, it’s better without the binary divide. I have to admit that this desire to cling to these tom-boy clothes surprises me, it surprises my friends too –‘I would have thought you’d be rushing back to embrace your femininity’ they say, a little inflection at the rear of their voice. But I like their identity; dyke, queer. There is a kind of legitimacy in these clothes, one that I felt could not exist before them. A legitimacy that speaks of my desire, instead of coyly hiding within it. My old friend said that it was weird seeing me in these clothes, and that hair, she said that I looked ‘so lesbian’. A gleeful smile lighted up my face, ‘really?’ I beamed. I looked around the queer bar we were in and smiled more at the passing girls, and spread my legs a little further outwards to regain manly composure. ‘Would you really want to be with a girl?’ She asked. ‘I think you want to, but I don’t think you are really a lesbian, you like boys too much’. And I’m back to the start. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this. I remember as a teenager cupping the phone in my hands and whispering to my mum that I thought I was gay, I had a boyfriend at the time. She asked me why I thought that, and after I had told her about the few kisses I’d had, she said something about all girls going through this phase and that was that. I felt a bit foolish. My friend who I’d kissed told me that I was probably straight and then she fucked my boyfriend.
I loved the feel of the cock sock in my underwear, the way it would smell after a day of being close to my insides. I feel myself searching for another identity, another self-hood – is this a result of my breakup, breakdown? I reach down into myself, can I get beneath the sadness? – I trawl sites on butch and dapper lesbians, how do I wear my queerness in a way that will make girls want to kiss me? Is having short hair enough? My eyes linger on every girl, I smile and I hold their eye contact, I’ve become confused about which ones I even desire anymore, will anyone do? I feel like a teenage boy desperate for that first taste of flesh. Now I am wearing too much on the outside. Let’s reel it back in. I wear my skirt, with diaphanous net, with my faux converse and my grey hoodie. Safe, they remind me of that lap dancers breasts, and the net of perfume that she spun all around me.
I’ve always taken pleasure in wearing clothes, in forming a style that is mine. Teaming plaid with polka dots, and electric blue leopard print. Juxtapose. And now perhaps it’s time for gender to bend around my form, my style is too playful to stay too long in the comfort of these jeans and grey shirt. When we inhabited our characters I always found I gravitated toward these feminine men, I found it impossible to perform a clear masculinity, it was always caught up in the delicacy of my hips, and the rosebud nipple of my hairy tongue. The Detective character and the other one, who just appeared in a glance of the mirror as I took off my Detective jacket and loosened my hair sit comfortably between my fantasies of masculinity. I described The Detective as a woman, masquerading as man in drag or a woman masquerading as a man dressed as a woman. He exists almost of an echo of a familiar dynamic, amidst my confusion of gender roles and sexualities, which I never fully understood until now. He is me, and yet he is not me. He looks into my eyes as I bow down to pleasure him, stirring up that beast of desire, until I unleash a hidden monster whose only wish is to consume me. ‘Who will love me now?’ We utter as his jaws collapse in mine.