A dapperQ walks in to a bakery in small town America. What happens next? dapperQ’s are invited to weigh in. I’ll go first.
Cakewalk Bakery and Café, Lee MA this past weekend. As per usual, stand out like a sore thumb. Big old dyke. Short hair, ripped Lucky Brands , Cole Hahn suspenders hanging, Osolo hiking boots. My presence means that all who enter are forced to both select from a plethora of sugary delights and run their own sexuality/gender calculus equations.
For some, hope springs eternal. Maybe the diamond wedding band confirms that I’m just a well-booted city girl doing chores at the second home my and I husband share. After all, my friend who is 8-months pregnant, has long blond hair and a child in tow. (If her hair was short, or brown, or if we touched, those who are in denial might be stymied.)
In addition to denial, I read in their eyes looks that reflect inclinations toward either: invisibility (if you don’t know how to act/be/dress, I can’t see you), sympathy (too bad, so sad, your mama didn’t teach you how to act/be/dress) or anger (why don’t just act/be/dress right?!) The ratios within these categories shift by whether I am in the South (folks in my home state of Texas skew toward invisibility and anger) or the Midwest, where they skew toward invisibility and sympathy.
A decade in NYC has added to general categories both curiosity and politically-correct kindness (which I’m most likely to receive walking down the street holding hands with my gorgeous femme wife.) With their smiles and nods they say, “I support gay marriage!” and I have to admit that I hungrily down those carbie crumbs too. In glorious Park Slope, Brooklyn, as often women are drawn to my dapperQ in looks that reflect flat-out desire. So I go to bakeries here a lot here.
The biggest problem I encounter — anywhere on any given day — is me. Because I DON’T FRIGGIN READ MINDS! THEY MAY NOT BE THINKING ABOUT ME AT ALL! (Yesterday I was waiting for an elevator with a man while sporting full dapperQ. When two empty elevators opened at the same time, I stepped on one and he chose to step on the other. I became indignant about prejudice and waste of elevator energy only to realize mine was going to the basement and his was going up where I needed to go.)
One of the reasons I’m so obsessed with dapperQ is because after decades of these head games, something has begun to shift. I still wonder what strangers think of me, and maybe I always will. But, increasingly, I can’t deny that there is something powerfully attractive that emanates from me. It’s equal parts confidence, self-knowing, and self-love that enables me to open myself more easily to others.
I know the way I dress is no small part of this shift. These folks may want to look down on this masculine female because they have rarely, if ever, seen us as anything except objects of scorn. But even the strongest haters have to notice that there is something about the way I dress that is put together, that is uniquely me. They might not like how I dress, but they can’t deny that I know how.
I consider the possibility that I am trying to garner approval with how I dress, rather than simply knowing that I am equally worthy no matter how I look. And that is certainly true. But I also believe that dapperQ’s have long been denied the glory of plumage that reflects our inner strength and beauty. And that the world could do with a good dose of us.
I want to both feed that shift and find others who are hungry to begin their journey from what Girlman’s Ty Greenstein calls “shame slash redemption.” We are a tribe that was cast to the winds before we ever met. We don’t even share a common language. But that which divides is not as strong as that which makes us brethren.
And I like cupcakes, don’t you?
Pls send your take, and a photo, to [email protected]