Gentle Reader, my gender expression has drifted back and forth over the years. I have been both exceedingly butch, and exceedingly feminine at different points in my life.
These days, I think it foolish to limit oneself to one or the other; if an activity or item makes you happy, embrace it! Society shouldn’t keep you from the things you love – unless what you love is murder. It should definitely keep you from that, at least.
My point here, though, is that while I consider myself the synthesis of masculine and feminine, there are some things that I really don’t like to do. Working on cars is one of those things.
Enter the Boys – those young men that I was so fond of for so long. Obsessed with cars, and all that nonsense – working on them, souping them up, customizing them with kits, driving dangerously in some sort of testosterone-fueled delusion of racing – you know, Boy Stuff.
The trouble is, they weren’t very good at it. On slow days at work, J. would be trying to put a new alternator in. A. would be peering under the hood with him, and neither had the first idea on how to get the old one out. They’d always ask me to come help them out, and I would stubbornly refuse – my mantra became “I don’t know about all that boy stuff” because I simply didn’t want to deal with it. Invariably, though, after an hour of watching them struggle to figure out just what the hell they were doing, I’d sigh, roll up my sleeves and mutter “Get out of the way and let me do it.”
I know my way under the hood well enough to be able to do most of the basic work – I learned from my Dad when I was a teenager. During a misguided time when I was trying to out butch my straight cowboy buddies, we were always messing around with our trucks – not to make them run better, but to get them running at all, again. We even Frankensteined three Chevys together so that I’d have one running one.
I felt trapped and obligated to behave in a certain way, and extremely limited by that. At the same time, there’s a lot of Boy Stuff that I really enjoyed – camping, playing with guns, taxidermy. The Boys, with their enthusiasm for cars, guitars, and – when they were old enough, bars – it seemed false, forced. “This is what guys like, this is what guys do: You know, Boy Stuff.” It led to scenes that felt more over-the-top than pageant night at a Drag club, like this:
Really, it’s just another sort of drag, if it’s not a genuine passion* – and if it a genuine passion, then learn all about it! Embrace it fully! Wrap yourself up in it so thoroughly that you choke on the wealth of information and activity available to you! Don’t just go through the motions.
*Drag can absolutely be a passion of its own, and is a marvelous art form. What I mean, properly, is putting on clothes, actions, and attitudes to fulfill a role that you may or may not wish to fulfill.