Originally performed for The Femme Show in 2015 as a longer monologue titled “Pink Corduroys”, this is the shorter version.
Gender is not mine.
I don’t know the word gay
I only know what it’s like to grow up in central Maine.
My mother brings me to the hairdresser.
Her name is Sally.
Long nails tapping on the gun,
She pierces my ears.
They give me an orange lollipop to suck on
The piercings hurt and
A quiet lingering happens now
From the adult men, mostly my father and his friends
They drink scotch with maraschino cherries
They call me Shirley Temple
My grandmother says: “You, be thankful.”
Her heavy, gold earrings have stretched out her lobes
My earlobes become infected.
The skin closes up around the puncture
I want more orange candy, I think.
It tastes like Fruit Loops, like warm Orange Crush soda
The pinkish corduroys are my favorite
I’m spending Christmas in Florida at my grandmother’s condo
(All grandmothers from Maine eventually move to Florida)
I refuse to wear anything but the heavy corduroys and a sweatshirt with a moose on it
This is my quiet protest to spending Christmas here.
My cords and I, we don’t know anyone who is gay yet,
but I imagine the gay men in Florida
Acting like thin flamingos
I open the Christmas gift from “SANTA”, written in all caps
My mother is still disguising her handwriting
The small box opens to sparkling gold hoop-earrings
I haven’t worn earrings in ten years
I say “Thank you.”
A renaissance framES
The mirror tucked away in a private dressing room,
I’m in a store, downtown
The fuchsia flare skirt with delicate stitching
I move the lace trim between fingers
It feels like the first time I fell in love with another girl
But I don’t know how to be a skirt-wearing lesbian
Doesn’t that make me straight?
“Traitor,” I hear them saying.
I take the skirt to the counter to pay
Like holding onto a secret
I ask for a bag to hide it in
Inside the glass counter, I see hammered metal
Gold earrings, so delicate
I could get them re-pierced, I think.
I buy them.
I say to the clerk, Thank you.
Wants me to put on another tutu and play princess with her.
I don’t want to.
We compromise on a fascinator
I’m a magical kitchen fairy.
She wants to get her ears pierced
Something innately feminine is in her
But I don’t assume she’s straight
I rub her back and watch her fall asleep
And I hope she’ll fall in love one day with a butch
That treats her well
I can feel her tiny sibling growing inside me
The fetus from the donor cell
The non-binary baby that will be born into queerness
I lean my head to one side
Unclasp my gold hoop earrings
Right ear and then left
Less energy to indulge in femininity
But it’s still always there
In the simple gestures and
Small, golden tokens
Those bits of hammered metal