I don’t like “dapper”.
Dapper, to me, is a minstrel’s facemask; it’s a put-on, perhaps even a put-up-on, for the purpose of make-believe and pretend that I doubt is really reflective of a true persona. It’s a box, for if there are rules to it (how to be a dapper queer you must wear, and act, and speak–) then it is not something that is, in and of itself, real. Now, this is not to say that someone cannot appear to be dapper, but if someone starts out with the intent to become dapper, I really must consider it fakery.
I am not dapper.
I am, however, a person who enjoys getting dressed. Yes, mannequins and magazines do give me ideas, but I do not follow “rules” to how I must dress save that, from my own personal ethos, I prefer that things match in some shape, form or fashion versus things that do not. A good friend of mine once called me “difficult to read” or, more succinctly, “difficult”. As someone with a few more years and therefore a few more references to call to mind she found it hard to determine if I was this-or-that (read: gay or straight or queer or gender-inspecific or androgynous or–); I was not something that came out of a box, fully-formed and conforming. At first glance I may appear to be something easily categorized, but second glance erases that and leaves a question mark where most people expect to find a period.
I didn’t set out to be this way and the brutal truth is that my life, all of it: dating, career, even in my family and community, it would probably be quite a bit easier if I were not the way I am. For, people don’t like, or at least have some aversion to, things which they cannot easily reference back and associate with something familiar. Let us not pretend: stereotypes have their place. I am, most distinctly, an “other” – an other in my fashion, an other in my mannerisms, an other in my being.
This is not a rant; this is not an apology; this is not a feel-sorry-for-myself because while I am certain I am “an other” I am also certain that I’m not alone in this. In fact, I think if more people were more brave about how they really wanted to be, or not, they would probably be more of them in this category of otherness with me than there would be outside of it. Nobody wants to conform; we all want to be independent; but conformity, even in your “non-conformity” can not only be easier, it can be a rather comfortable place to sit.
Do you recall “the nail”? Yes, the nail that stuck up got hammered down. That is nothing less than a cautionary tale for living in society.
Nonetheless, I remain a particularly stubborn nail. That is all.