When you’re already cranky, it’s easy to find more things to be angry about. Today I am hungover and tired and, as a result, in a terrible mood. I’m in a bad mood because I’m tired but I’ve been blaming it on all sorts of unrelated things: the rain, TV shows clashing, sweating, not being pretty, lack of gay representation on television. Actually, all these things upset me to some degree or other from time to time. (Obviously the fact that sometimes Stand Up for the Week clashes with Russell Howard’s Good News doesn’t really compare to the lack of gay normalcy in the media. But you know what I mean.)
Today, my mood has been like a sponge that only soaks up negativity. When I returned from my hip and cool haunt – the library – today, I told my mother, “Is there anyone you want to complain about? Because I can get on board with that. I can join in.” And then we gave out a bit but it wasn’t nearly enough to assuage my petulance. In the end, dinner and reading and sleeping made a difference and at half nine, I was feeling pretty chipper.
But then my mother was going to bed and everyone on TV was suddenly very pretty – much prettier than me – and on Stand Up for the Week, people in the audience made “erlack!” noises at a picture of two men kissing and it made me really angry and now I can’t stop being angry and there’s footage on telly now of Radiohead playing Glastonbury in 1997 (I was only six!) and I love Radiohead, don’t get me wrong, but, Christ, they are the soundtrack to many an angst-filled adolescence. So they’re doing little for my mood, except maybe inspiring me to feel bad in a productive way. By blogging.
I want a perfect body, I want a perfect soul. Whatever. I want you to notice when I’m not around. I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo. Yeah, just that last part is true.
I’m feeling pretty angry with myself at the moment: I’m unemployed, one in about a couple of billion aspiring journalists, overweight, selfish. Not exactly easy on the eye. And I’m imagining all these situations that might be real but probably aren’t, in which no one likes me and thinks I’m terribly annoying and maybe I smell a bit.
This week, my head felt sore and I had these weird seeping lumps near the nape of my neck (I am an attractive human being) and I went to the doctor and it turns out I had something called Follicle Something, an infection of my hair follicles. What kind of a human being contracts that kind of ailment? Of course I’d get it. Of course. So I’m on a course of anti-biotics and medicated shampoo and I’m feeling like a proper nerd. Braces (complete with geeky elastics!), glasses, spotty, medicated shampoo … Am I fourteen? (Actually, I was spotty a couple of weeks ago but my skin is cleared up now – I just wanted to be melodramatic.)
I can only think of a couple of positive things right now, such is the extent of my mood. Good things have happened (for example, I somehow managed to pass my exams) but my brain would much rather consider terrible things like verrucae and whether or not to shave my armpits. Sadness is very self-indulgent and I am a glutton.
As far as Challenging Gender Roles go, my armpit hair is growing at a steady rate and resembles the pits of a dedicated feminist – something I wish I was but am not. Today, my boy toy said, “I don’t understand why you’re letting your underarm hair grow. I know you’re ‘challenging gender roles’ and whatever, but then why not let all your hair grow?” Pubes, leg hair, the lot. And when he asked me, I didn’t know the answer. Now I do. I’m making a point. It’s not a very good point and it’s one that’s been made a thousand times before, no doubt with more eloquence, but it’s a point I want to make myself. And I think that more than I am Challenging Gender Roles, I am Challenging My Own Perception of Gender Roles. Which is different. I mean, I’m not comfortable yet with having underarm hair and, yes, I’m concerned what other people will think, but I’m also concerned with what I think.
I’m scared and I’m confused and my instinct is to shave my pits because I’m going to a birthday party tomorrow. I plan to shave my legs and employ Sally Hansen in a bid to make me look less pasty and wear a pretty dress and maybe make a real effort with my hair. And have hairy underarms? I don’t know. It doesn’t fit in with the lady-like look I’m going for but isn’t that the point? Can’t I be a combination of feminine and masculine? Society (whatever that oft-mentioned concept is) tells me that, no, I can’t be both. Stereotypes assure me that I can be either a girl with smooth skin and legs up to my ears and wear dresses, or I can be a girl who doesn’t do any gardening on any of her lady bits and who wears flannel and snapback hats and who is a lesbian. That’s the stereotype, isn’t it? Fuck stereotypes.
My boy toy said that underarm hair on a girl isn’t very sexy. This amuses me. “Sexy” is not usually an adjective used in conjunction with my name. Sexy is for people who don’t fart and who shave their legs regularly and who can employ subtlety and mystery in the act of seduction. I can’t do that. I can say, “Do you want to put your willy in my mouth?” That’s not sexy, is it? I wear Spanx, for Christ’s sake, and I do not hide my Spanx from potential sexual conquests. I’ve become so open about my sexuality that I am no longer sexy, if ever I was such a thing.