The hipster army—the 20-something with the Beatles cut, a 60s suit and sliver tie with awkward dress shoes, and his friend with the form-fitting black jeans and low-rise Converse sneakers with thick, longish hair—is what gets to me. These guys wear gender with such light irony. They embrace the strength of masculinity, but wear strength’s concomitant burdens as a grief of sorts, not belligerence. To their wash-and-wear masculinity, they bring the politics of nonconformity and the sheer aestheticism of androgyny. These guys are hot. They’re the men I want to be.
There’s no comparable way for masculine or transgender dykes to ride the line of gender. Instead, we gear up with Harley-Davidson T-shirts, big boots, shaved heads—at worst, all three together—and, of course, the de rigueur baggy jeans. These hide our asses and hips. You see, I can’t wear tight black jeans. I would look like one of those creatures that’s one thing on top and another on the bottom: a butch upper body soldered onto the lower body of a hipster girl who’d suddenly gotten too big for her pant size. (It’s key to the hipster look in either gender to be skinny and have absolutely no muscle tone.)
I could take testosterone, and my body fat would shift, like magic, away from hips and ass and onto belly. That would be great, except I’d also turn into a bushy-bearded short man, possibly bald, definitely dickless. That hardly feels like a solution to my particular gender dysphoria. Then, after my voice changed—if it did—and I developed body hair, I would have to lower my dose only to have my fat distribution—the very thing standing between me and gorgeous, casual masculinity—return to its feminine default setting.
At least I could let my hair get bushy and wear tight T-shirts, right? Tight T-shirts wouldn’t work. And bushy hair on a female face doesn’t impose the same irony that it does on a male one—the boxy strength of the face violated by messy long hair, which is usually a little greasy. The softened face that says mainstream masculinity—pig-faced, fist-pumping spectator sport—is dumb. And says, I’m not confused, or filled with some stereotypical, irrelevant rage; I’m just waiting for something better to come along.