"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Jacques And Jane - A Tale Of Sexual Desire Along The Gender Spectrum

The gender spectrum, a continuum along which are plotted every possible sexual indication, is a new and surprisingly popular idea.  Who would have thought even twenty-five years ago that one could be one of a hundred different sexualities; that hetero- and homo-sexuality are nothing more than fiction, tired, outdated and hopelessly irrelevant notions; and that such distinctions along the curve are fungible, interchangeable and as value-neutral as a trade in?

Jacques and Jane were two iterations of the same person, a 'we' of simultaneous duality. Jacques was Jane and Jane was Jacques depending on inspiration, impulse, and desire. 

Jane fell in love with Allie, a butch woman who in the designer phase of her transition had opted for a testosterone level which had preserved just enough of Allen's muscular advances to give her a wide appeal, both to submissive women and gay men and to straight men with an open mind. 

"I can't do without you", Jane said; but Allie had other plans; and with so many sexual options available, wanted no part of monogamy.  So Jacques too, over, repurposed her/himself from frilly girly-girl Barbie ensembles to bass fisherman camo and boots, and hung out at a biker bar in Healdsburg. 

That was a scene out of Star Wars - a bar scene of every possible version of tough, outdoor guy, so much so that not even the practiced eye could sight with any accuracy.  Despite the fungibility of today's sexuality, one could be quite étonné at the moment of truth - a replay of Browning, Durrell, and Kurosawa. It was one thing to accept all sexualities along the gender spectrum; another to sort out who's who between the sheets. 

And so life went on in both Bernal Heights and Bethesda - everyone had taken the notion of gender fungibility as their own,  It was Halloween, Mardi Gras, Bay-to-Breakers and Folsom Street all rolled into one. Donning costumes and changing from dear to queer with the shake of a boa and tinsel.  Butch, fey, darling, and lumberjack in a quick change in the wings.  These were heady times, unforgettable times, marvelous times. 

There of course was a pecking order. The dweeby Iowa-frocked farmgirls were not - ever - on a par with Sunset Boulevard queens and Times Square cowboys.  Drama, excess, theatre were the memes of the day; and choosing a place on the spectrum was never an equal opportunity exercise. 

Take Mabel Swing, for example, a former fairy turned wholesome schoolmarm.  She felt quite at home never more having to strut and promenade with feathers and sequins and relax in her chalk-powdered smock.  Yet she was looked down upon as a rube by the in-crowd, the runway queens, the fabulous guess-who twins who spent a fortune on dresses and e-boots, flannel shirts, and gold lame. 

Yet, this shell game could not last.  Human beings are programmed at birth to be one thing or another, not necessarily homo or hetero, but a fixed point, an absolute in a puzzling, often impossibly complex and changing world.  Besides, did it really matter when all was said and done, who or what was what?

A fixed gender identity was a good place to start.  Once reproduction was discounted, then sexual preference was a vanity.  Besides choice was draining.  It was hard  enough to choose among cars or refrigerators let alone gender identity.  Better leave well enough and let the XX, XY chromosomes be. 

Jacques found a lover he cared for, but by the time he did, he had become so uncertain and undecided that he could never say that he - or she - was the one; while his straight, uncomplicated friends were peeling off one by one in happy girl-boy couplings. 

What's a modern, progressive, socially attuned, man of 2023 to do? The canon was too comprehensive for denial.  If he/she turned his back on sexual fungibility, then climate change, economic equality, and racial justice were next.  When he signed up, he signed up for the whole package, the ensemble and not just a take-it-or-leave-it smorgasbord.  Leaving the gender spectrum was tantamount  to leaving the circus in its entirety.  When he showed up at a pure water seminar dressed as straight as an arrow, not even a hint of color anywhere, he was dunned, shunned and shown the door. 

The same was true for Jane who showed up in a severe Armani business suit, white blouse, string of pearls, and Manolo Blahnik pumps. Not a trace of butch Jane or fey Jacque.  A mainstream, normal, unexceptional woman. This was the moment of truth for Jacques/Jane.  It was time to get off the fence.  The 'he' had precedence because down deep in his DNA he was testosterone-fueled; but his spirit had been for so long dressed itself in crinoline and lace that he tended to ignore Watson/Crick.  The decision was not easy, for in this period of the 21st century, sexual identity trumped all.  A choice - man or woman - would be a traitorously defiant act. 

But back he went, gave his feathers and frills to Goodwill, traded pumps and shirtwaists for T-shirts and jeans, and moved South.  There was the last redoubt of masculinity a place undisturbed and unmoved by feminism; a place of male things and male bonding.  It would be there that Jacques would be restituted and reclaimed. 

It was the perfect place - one vilified by the progressive North.  A racist, homophobic, sexist, misogynist, ugly, virtue-less place.  Living in Mississippi would solder his sexual resolve.  One day on a bass boat or skinning squirrels would do him once and for all. 

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