neither fish nor fowl

(reference points: Shelley’s post and my initial stub of a response)

I guess this is sort of a grunchy thing, as Dorothea would say. grunchy in all directions at once, really. Shelley talks about being outside even among outsiders, and I identify with that on all sorts of levels.

A while ago, I was at a social gathering – I won’t be any more specific about it than that – which was about evenly split between men and women. All of these folks were intelligent and fairly well-educated individuals, but very quickly the men and women separated into two conversational clumps. I knew the men in this group somewhat better than the women, so my initial impulse was actually to socialize with the men. But they were in a space where I didn’t feel entirely comfortable: not their fault, I don’t think. Mostly, it was two friends bantering pretty intensely, as they are wont to do. Still, it wasn’t my thing. So I got up and wandered around; ended up listening in on the conversation amongst the women…that wasn’t my thing either: gossip (or whatever – social bonding stuff?) about people I don’t know.

So I felt neither one thing nor the other, not part of either group. Flippantly, I later described the sensation in my paper journal as being transgendered. It’s not the first time I’ve had that feeling; I almost wrote about it shortly after that incident, because a half-dozen other experiences jumped to mind, but I hesitated.

– Saying that I feel/felt transgendered goes perhaps beyond flippant to disrespectful. (To someone in particular.)
– Talking about these experiences seems to break the boundary of private social spaces. (I’m very consious of my Google visibility. I feel a little tongue-tied about what I can and can’t write, what examples are safe or appropriate to use, how to hide identifying details in a way that allows the nub of the story to come through.)
– I don’t always feel that way.

As usual with my not-quite-rants, I don’t know where I’m going from here. For a lot of reasons, I find myself (most of the time) exceedingly uncomfortable in spaces that are too intensely gendered, in either (!) direction; I’ll just leave it at that.

I’d like to say that I’ll come back to this later, but almost certainly I won’t in any depth, if history proves instructive. Is it any consolation to know that I wrote a very long entry in my paper journal sometime ago in which I think I get to some of the roots of this, for me, and almost manage to make my peace with it? (After all, on paper I can say anything I like, and the world can’t see.)