The Advance Guard Has Arrived

16 06 2010

I found a chin hair. It is long enough that I am unable to comprehend how I missed noticing it until now. Quarter-inch-long hairs take a few days to grow, or they did the last time I sprouted any new hairs. This means I washed my face and brushed my teeth and tousled my hair in the mirror on multiple mornings in a row without once taking a good look at my chin.

As a result of its surprise entrance, this hair has reigned in my thoughts all afternoon. As soon as I decide to pluck it out (because a single lonely hair looks utterly accidental, like the cat rubbed up on my face during shedding season), I decide that I have to show it to someone first. As soon as I decide to show my boss (because, as the director of an LGBT center, he would probably understand why it’s a big deal), I decide that the ability to grow very sparse and mostly unnoticeable body hair is probably not among the skills they hired me for.

It is perhaps true that of all the things I could be doing to help our community out, sitting in the center toying with my lone chin hair ranks among the least productive. Still, it is also true that I got hired to help make this center even better for every queer, whether questioning or ally, genderfucking or pansexual, trans admirer or straight-presenting, on campus. And how can you possibly do that job without sharing in the enthusiasm, the orgy of selfhood that necessitates a center like this? How could I sit on this veritable throne of new books for the library, reading pages of each one before I tape a call number to its spine, and not excitedly toy with this chin hair every few minutes?

newly trans gay tie-wearing me

It is with exhilaration that I take full responsibility for this chin hair. I feel as though I personally crafted this chin hair, and that the process has taken me years. I was crafting this hair as the bemused, straight version of me learned by trial and error to put the eyeliner on first and that my forehead is lovely but just too large to permit haircuts without bangs. Tentatively lesbian me was crafting this hair as I discovered how soft and warm sex can be when you’re sleeping with someone who pays attention to your body. Newly trans gay tie-wearing me was crafting this hair, even as needlephobia defeated T.

This one follicle comes from the part of me that keeps searching, every time some identity, word, or sexual act doesn’t feel quite right. This is the part of me that has always believed that I can find a way to be happy, whether I’m wearing clothes or not, inebriated or not, at school or in Boise, working hard or playing rough. It’s the part of me that crows lovingly about this job. I am unable to face this center, our shared and staggering multiplicity, without feeling my dear, queer little heart bounce proudly.

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9 responses

19 06 2010
Dane

Found your blog through Sometimes Davey Wins. I like your work – it’s cheeky and smart and a pleasure to read. I’ll definitely be back!

19 06 2010
James

Thank you! I’m flattered, especially because I’m already a fan of yours! A few months ago, a friend of mine happened to read to me from “Stories of Apples and Bellies” and I really enjoyed it. I particularly liked “Stories.”

25 06 2010
Dane

Well, thank you! Now it’s my turn to be flattered. 🙂

22 06 2010
Ian

Congrats on the hair! It kind of reminds me of a time in high school when my then-best friend discovered that, in spite of my inability to grow any facial hair at the time, I had sprouted a single inch-long hair on my neck. I was so proud of it that I wanted to keep it, but she insisted that it was gross (which it was) and promptly ripped it out as we were sitting on the bus. Moral of story: don’t let anybody pull that shit out against your will. -IST

22 06 2010
James

Thanks for the warning! These are the important pieces of man-to-man advice that I missed out on during puberty part one!

Also, thanks for reading! I’m really excited to see you here!

22 06 2010
James

Please try not to gag on my egregious and excessive exclamation point use in that last comment. I let my excitement overtake my writerly good sense.

23 06 2010
Ian

No worries on the exclamation points. Also, I often feel that I’m still going through puberty, so maybe we can both learn from one another here. 🙂

22 06 2010
Fletcher

Haven’t had anything substantive to comment, but wanted to drop in and say hello and that I’m enjoying reading this. *waves*

22 06 2010
James

Hello! Glad to see you here. Thanks for reading!

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