#567: FEMINIZED ACTION AS ACCIDENTAL PERFORMANCE ART
A telling thing has occurred three times over the last two weeks. Let me illustrate by using an incident that happened last night at Saviabella's birthday supper as an example:
I took a pressed powder compact out of my bag and proceeded to powder my nose.
Ha! Oh, gawd, huh-ha! That's so funny! The woman sitting across from me at the table giggled openly at my behaviour.
It's powder. My nose was shiny, I offered as way of explanation.
Oh, I know, I'm sorry. It's just that you didn't strike me as that kind of person.
You should have seen me applying lipstick earlier, I said. That was a lesson in high hilarity.
I can't be entirely sure, because I am just one person with one person's experiences, but I am certain that this does not happen to most females when they decide to take the shine off their noses. It's like brushing one's teeth or combing one's hair: the activity is not in and of itself funny.
Of course, there are always exceptions, such as my powdering my nose versus anyone else powdering their nose. Often I choose to blot up the oil with toilet paper when I use the washroom, but occasionally I use pressed powder. When I do anything that is considered to be a highly cliched feminine action in public, it is often met with smiles and giggles, as though I am putting on some sort of performance, a parody of our culture's idea of the female. To be honest, it seems this way to me, too. As someone who does not define herself as exactly female or male genderwise, it does not surprise me that when I engage in behaviour that involves such highly feminized actions, it does not come off as completely natural. It tends to come off as Oh, look, I am doing a highly uncharacteristic thing. How odd. I feel like my actions, lacking the subtley of long practice, are all large and comic. I am miming a woman rather than being woman. I am suddenly in poorly executed drag.
Aside from all this overthinking, it's really quite funny. When someone smirks at the sight of my powder puff, the humour in the situation puts me at ease. You are so right, I think. This thing is unexpected, and it seems a bit ridiculous, even to me. It would be the same if I had suddenly pulled out a level to check the construction of the chabudai table we were seated at.
So, if you are ever hanging around with me, don't hesitate to follow your instincts and yuck it up when I whip out some tinted lipgloss or ask where one can find a nice negligee or wonder aloud if sugaring is indeed less painful than waxing like they say. Slap your knees.
Maybe I will start making more of a performance out of it. I'll come out with a monkey wrench and start tightening the screws on my chair at the pub. I'll produce some perfume samples on little cards and offer to help someone find their signature scent. I'll stick my hand down the front of my pants and burp after eating supper. I'll tell you that you should already know why when you ask me why I'm upset. I'll have them rolling in the aisles when I ask if anyone is up for throwing the old pigskin around.
Hell, I could be a riot doing just about any gender-stereotypical thing if I can command laughter simply by producing pressed powder. I'll have to see how gel nails go over, or maybe I'll play fast and loose with some Old Spice High Endurance Beard Minimizing Shave Gel.*
* Holy crap. The Old Spice site is a misogynist piece of crap. It claims that "When she sweats it's sexy. When you sweat, you stink." and "Just like your ex, it's completely disposable". Today's woman: now sexy and disposable.
(Inter)National Blog Posting Month 2006 is partially responsible for the above entry. This is day eight of thirty in the NaBloPoMo challenge. The NaBloPoMo Randomizer can lead you through a tour of what the other NaBloPoMo-ers are up to. NaBloPoMo stuff is where it's at.
I have been nominated for the 2006 Canadian Blog Awards Best Personal Blog. This is shameless self-promotion, so I am not ashamed to mention that you can also nominate me other categories. Don't forget to vote for me on November 12th.