itsyourears: Photograph of 'Taking Root' by Kate MacDowell (Default)
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"It's your ears," says my poet friend, who will later come on to me in a way I find faintly disturbing. She is bisexual, and clearly fascinated by the sensual thought of a physically female man.

"It's because you're so quietly spoken," says my boss at the part-time job I have. He is a man who has lived his whole life in such rude health that he believes all sick leave is malingering, and is abrasively energetic and cheerful.

"It's something about your haircut," says one of my oldest and closest friends; and I explain to him that actually, it's not the haircut, it's the shape of the neck and the head that lie beneath.

They are all seeing the same thing; the indefinable something, the otherness about my appearance. All the conscious cues I so carefully manage say one thing, but the gut-deep recognition they feel, their instant response to my shape and proportion, their touch-and-taste physical experience of me, says another. The blindness of instinct has remarkably sharp eyes.

I could intellectualise; after all any species which couldn't tell its males and female apart would be at, shall we say, an evolutionary disadvantage. But in the street and the supermarket it feels like magic. Like a vein of arterial blood, pulsing beneath the polite surface of shop-bought clothes and manicured style, people see the reality of my body. All the magic and allure of women, sung for so long and refined so highly in our culture, is in this animal, physical tug; we are animal and spirit both, neither is less sacred than the other, and the two halves are inseparably entwined. I was always a little in awe of the power of my body over men, always tried to use it to give happiness instead of to control; and I am no less so now that it's something I wish to redraw. I cannot control it, only divert its energies and blur its boundaries, and worship at the altar of hormones in the hope of being granted a second life.


itsyourears: Photograph of 'Taking Root' by Kate MacDowell (Default)

August 2012

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