Family Events, or how I dress like a “straight” person
I put on makeup for 45 minutes today. It was a meticulous process that involved primers, powders and potions. The reason why it took so long was because I was putting on “feminine” makeup. I say it this way because it’s a very stark contrast from what I usually wear. In my day to day life, I wear thick black eyeliner and purple lipstick. It’s a rough look that’s coupled with spiky earrings and menswear vests.
The makeup I put on today is a soft, blended combination of golds and browns. I’m wearing a 3/4 sleeve, black and white shirt that I bought for interviews because my therapist told me that I should wear neutral clothing. He meant, “Don’t look too gay,” but I guess you’re not supposed to say that to your patient. I have black dress pants and silver and black flats on. There’s a silver chain with a teardrop pendant around my neck. My hair has been subdued into looking like a pixie cut. Long story short, I’m dressed up so convincingly that I might even get a compliment from my homophobic mother.
There are a lot of problems with what I’m doing right now. First is that people, gay, straight, bisexual, trans, genderqueer, dress in a wide variety of ways. Second is that by dressing in a more “feminine” manner, I am playing into stereotypes of what women should and should not look like. My culture and my family have very strict views on this. This is why my mother calls me before every family function and tells me to dress appropriately. I wouldn’t get the best reception if I showed up in a suit, dress shirt and Oxford shoes. So here I am, on the subway, all dolled up, getting very unwelcome looks from men I don’t know. And I’ll show up to the party and I’ll be hugged and kissed by all of my relatives. It’s a sort of “they play nice if I play nice” situation that I am so incredibly tired of.
I thought I had come out already. Hello world, I am a lesbian. But it’s not that simple. These things never are. I’m out to my friends, parents and sister, but not out to my grandparents and most other family members. So I’m partially out? Or I’m partially in? I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m not ready to have my grandmother, who partially raised me, stop talking to me. I’m not ready to be the family outcast. Until I’m ready, I’ll just have to keep making up excuses for not having boyfriends and keep wearing my gold and brown eyeshadow.