An online space for queer, questioning, lesbian, bi, trans and everything else in between women at Yale

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dyke-esque formal wear

Today I have to wear something nice. For an hour. We're not talking black tie, just no jeans. I get the impression that for most people this isn't a stress on their daily life. For me, though, I get noticeably less functional and competent when not allowed to wear jeans. I've always been this way, but when I got to college and realized I no longer wanted to ever wear dresses because they made me unhappy, it got worse. Before I could just wear a dress and be unhappy, but now I just don't have anything to wear at all. Damn principles. It is a fact generally acknowledged that there is no set pattern for gay/butch-ish women's formal wear. I don't want a dress, but I don't want to wear a men's tux. I could try a woman's tux, but I don't have one, and I've honestly never seen one I really liked. I want something in between, a sexy pants/jacket combo, a lovely vest and tie, but these items are few and far between. Not to mention that there are things you can get away with wearing to a college "black tie" event, or an LGBT event, that you can't get away with at your parents work party where you need to look "appropriate" and "conventional", rather than cute and super gay.

This winter I had to go to a black tie new years eve party, and it stressed me out for weeks ahead of time. I eventually found some pants and a vest that my mother deemed passable, and I could breathe easy. Until I got to the event and my hosts gave me a lovely pink scarf to wear. The scarf was lovely, but I felt angry and oppressed wearing it, and then I felt bad about that. I pride myself on being a good traveler, adapting to the customs of others, but I realized that when those customs impinge upon my tenuous hold on how I like to present my gender, it makes me anxious and unhappy. I don't know how I can change that. That moment made me realize how uncomfortable clothes make me feel about my gender, and how narrow my comfort zone is. I know who I am and I like that, but if who I am is going to prevent me from being a gracious guest, or an intrepid traveler, then I need to figure out other ways to keep myself sane, even when I really can't say no thanks to that pink scarf.

Sorry if this is a little scattered, I've written it during bio, and I was pretending to listen to insulin signaling pathways, so who knows if I make any sense. If any obscure bio terms pop up in the middle, many apologies.

Happy Spring Break, and may all your vacations be gender-stress free.

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