Brass piping and copper drip trays in a fight against cloth to stain and corrode. The modern take on the busy bar is channeling out the menu on flat screen televisions hanging from high above the counter where the last bell would normally chime. It always starts at normal conversation volume. Easy to order a drink whether it’s a glass of wine to feel hugged and warm with sulphites making my cheeks glow like blusher or the new trendy connoisseur of ale drinkers with a palette for zesty hops. It doesn’t matter what changes in the social occasion of the legal drug alcohol the effect is much the same – we get tipsy.
As the drink passes along with the conversation the noise of other people doing the same seems to get louder. It’s like one of those bizarre phenomenons you get in open plan offices where conversation gets progressively louder in the fight to be heard until the whole room is one large sonic block of cheese. May be the vocal noise of the bar is just people getting louder as their alcohol blood content increases.
While it seems a little more difficult to get to the bar or to correctly count my money or for some reason find it difficult to focus on the drinks menu which now seems a bit further away and a touch blurry some parts of my observational curiosity doesn’t change. How did she get her eye shadow that perfect? Why can’t I ever find those shoes in my size that the girl at the other end of the bar is wearing? Why is there someone in the corner I used to work with that I’ve fallen out with here of all nights? These are mild curiosities but thinking about the gender thing while mildly intoxicated can come up as much as it does when I’m at home or with more in parallel with when I’m running.
Much the same as when I run, when I’ve had a drink, and that’s not that often anymore, there is a clarity amongst the lack of focus. It always comes down to one thing. If I ask myself that question that we all of us with a gender identity issue ask ourselves, ‘If I could simply flick that switch this minute, would I?’ after a few drinks I would always answer ‘yes.’
They say that alcohol lowers our inhibitions, and while I would never say a huge decision about gender should be made under the spell of a glass of Corbières, does the removal of our fears present an honest answer? When I run I get a flood of endorphins that give me a positive outlook on the day and my future and this has much the same effect and answer that I come up with when I ask myself that ultimate question. Not only that but the answer in both situations appears to be the purest answer devoid of what other people think and the fears that come with those thoughts. But where does this leave that middle ground. That day I’ve asked the question when drink or running isn’t involved. Where inhibitions are clearly in place and that cloud of reality hangs overhead giving responsible finger wagging in the face of the argument.
I don’t have the answer. Not yet at least and certainly alcohol is not the voice I should listen to given the irresponsible decisions it’s lead other people to make but then the answers from while exercising are completely internal with the only source of a drug being produced is by my body which is natural; and isn’t a natural decision that seems pure is all that we want? At the moment the only thing the middle ground seems to give me is grief of the constant poking kind and a great ability to put everyone else first.
– ❤ –
I wanted to say a little about someone. Someone who I briefly met in person that was nearly ten years ago and who I’d spoken to online from time to time back when both our blogs were on Yahoo 360. When I met her along with three other people in a bar in London the one thing that struck me was her normality despite the gender identity change that seem to pass through her at ease. By normality I mean she presented herself as, well, herself.
I had met some people over the years where their gender was a pantomime and they were in between two very separate solid worlds, which I guess we all have been at some point, but she was living a normal life and gender was just a part of it, rather than everything. It didn’t seem to rule her life and she was probably one of the first people I’d met like this. The second thing I admired was her intellect and ability to talk about things whether they were gender related or the metal music scene that she was such a huge fan of. How many people can you talk about the psychological levels of gender and in the next moment Iron Maiden?
Over the years she became a great campaigner for gender issues but she did it in a highly subtle fashion by remaining ever so slightly behind the scenes and yet so many know her name. She seemed to be respected even by those who disagreed with her opinions and that is the mark of a person.
I always thought that one day I would make an effort to find some time to meet up with her one day, if anything at some event she might be at just to catch up, after-all I didn’t know her that well enough to claim a friendship but we spoke from time to time on forums. Before I knew it nearly ten years have gone by and to my shock I found out just a short time ago that she had passed away – so young.
So this is a thank you to Denise Anderson who made a small impact on my way of thinking that made a magnified difference so many years ago from just a conversation in a bar and who, without realising, showed me how normal things can be and how sad I am that I’ll not get to catch up with you.
Until next time,