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I Should Print Business Cards

5 Apr

What do you think? Too wordy for a business card? I need to get the design down pat before I have a hundred printed.

Business Card Star - Make Business Cards

Or what about something more multi-purpose? Don’t want to pigeonhole myself.

Businesscard 2

Or maybe brevity is the key here.

businesscard 3

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Well, they found me

25 Mar

Internet_Troll

Internet troll sourced from here: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Internet_Troll.png

That was fast :p Before I’m even entirely certain my friends read this blog regularly, I appear to have attracted some sort of internet troll who wants to save me from the Zionist feminist Zsa Zsa Gabor (?) sexual deviant murder conspiracy via Jesus and venerating manhood. (Sorry kids, the comment isn’t actually going up for your loling pleasure)

Well then. I think I am the Jewish queer feminist conspiracy?

Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Queer_turkey.png

Nebekeh, zi hot a mamoshes vi der goyisher gott.

Oh snap.

Sister Act

16 Mar

Public domain, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/69/Dolly_Sisters.jpg

This article by Annika Penelope is good and you should read it – even if you’re not trans, it will give you a better idea of how much crap transpeople have to grapple with while they’re transitioning and while I know it’s not the main point of her article, I also feel like it says some revealing things about what being female is like in general. However, when I read number 4 on her list, I knew I needed to talk about that really narrow part of it right now (welcome to that spiritually capslocked post on the sister thing that I promised you).

I’ll reproduce it here, emphasis mine:

I grew up in a mostly white, conservative suburb where my family was considered “middle-class” because we didn’t have a house on the water or a yacht. In other words, I lived in such a privileged bubble that I had never even heard of microaggressions until I started experiencing them after coming out. If, like me, you were presenting as a heternormative white boy before transitioning, these can seem a little jarring at first, but it’s something that nearly everyone but straight, white cis men have to deal with on a regular basis. So what are microaggressions, exactly? In my case, it’s every time a well-intentioned friend posts an article about a trans* person on my wall or remarks on my physical changes since the last time they saw me, or every time someone asks if my girlfriend and I are sisters (even if we’re holding hands). It’s the little interactions that happen every day that remind you that you are “different” in some way.

"Hey, mister, she's my sister."

“Hey, mister, she’s my sister.”

Photo by Nao Ha am Amanha and used under a Creative Commons license

First off, this article is actually the first time I ever heard the word microagressions, and it was one of those cloud-parting, thank you jargon! moments for me. Because wow, yes, that is a phenomenon, isn’t it.

Also, when I read the part in bold I can’t tell you how relieved I was that this happens to someone else.

People don’t just ask Squiddy and me if we’re sisters – often they ask if we’re twins. This happens constantly. We don’t just hear this from strangers when we go to the store, but from people who see us all the time. We’re a really physical couple, as anyone who knows us can attest. We hold hands, cuddle, generally toe the line of how much PDA-sap is bearable for other human beings. Yet one of the security guards in our building, where we have lived for 1.5 years, recently asked me if we were twins and told me he used to mistake us for each other. For a while, he didn’t even realize we were separate people. That last part is definitely a new one and weird, but he’s at least the 3rd guard in our building to ask us the twins question. I really, fundamentally don’t understand.

Annika and her partner look more dissimilar than Squiddy and I do, admittedly. If you read our descriptions on paper, maybe you’d be forgiven for getting us confused – we both have brown hair and eyes, are caucasian-y, wear glasses (different kinds of glasses!) and are similar heights. But we have different facial structures and body types and, I cannot stress this enough, are pretty physically intimate in public. Not to unpleasant-for-people levels or anything, but we tend to cuddle a lot and kiss each other goodbye every morning on our way out of the building.

"Sisters?""We're close."

“Sisters?”
“We’re close.”

Photo by Nao Ha am Amanha and used under a Creative Commons license

It has been incredibly embarrassing for us to have to deal with this. It’s certainly not the worst thing in the world – may these be our worries, I know – but it makes me feel kind of dirty and weird. How affectionate do people think sisters are? Do we really look so similar that it’s strange that we’re attracted to each other? It never occurred to me, before reading this article, that people asking us this wasn’t somehow a sign that there was something wrong with us.

So I have to ask, does this happen to other gay couples? Is this common? That would be one seriously bizarre form of standard straight-world microagression. This might make more sense to me if people asked the sisters/twins question in a way that seemed overtly hostile, but they almost never do.

My best guess as to why this happens is that the idea of not being straight genuinely doesn’t occur to the people who do this. It must be so far off their radar that when they see a close relationship between women, the only available boxes are BFFs and sisters. This would also serve as an explanation for the rarer-but-it-happens phenomena where we tell someone that we are together and they start misgendering one or both of us, even though neither of us said anything about gender or is dressed particularly butch.

This is part of why I try to make a point of continually coming out in casual conversations. If this post was about boxes! are they always good for us? I guess the conclusion here is that sometimes you really do need to give people a new box.

Public Service Announcement

15 Mar

I live in a building with a security desk. It’s a nice thing to have in my neighborhood, means you can receive packages more easily, and all the guards are very friendly. I try to say hi to them whenever I come by and maybe ask how they are, if I’m not in a hurry. I’d imagine it gets wearing to be constantly ignored by people you see every day; I’d want people to greet me now and again in their shoes.

One of the guards in my building recently asked me if I had a boyfriend. When I told him girlfriend, she’s the girl who lives here with me, he said, “Oh. Oh shit, I’ve been hitting on you this whole time. I thought you were sisters.” *

Now, he didn’t get particularly weird about both of us being female and he didn’t push it at all – I just told him it was fine that he asked, it wasn’t like he’d known, and he said that he had just thought I was attractive. Then we had a couple moments of normal conversation about how we both were that day and went on our merry ways.

I have two wildly bifurcating trains of thought on this interaction. The first one is that he was very polite about that. He didn’t instantly stop talking to me and walk away – the way a guy who hit on me last week did – and he didn’t keep pushing it the way many other people have either. I was glad I kept my act together enough to also be polite and make it clear that I appreciated the way he’d asked and responded to my answer. Go team human, everyone was decent here.

Okay, but here’s the other train of thought. He really hadn’t been flirting with me. This was literally the longest conversation we have ever had. I have a strange blind spot in my otherwise solid perceptiveness filter for flirting, so sometimes when people reveal that they were flirting with me the whole time (!!), I feel bad for missing it. Except that I know I didn’t miss anything this time.

This was the longest conversation we had ever had by far and it was maybe 6 to 8 lines long. In fact, he is one of the guards I’ve talked to the least. We have literally only said hi, have a good one, and waved for the 1.5 years I have lived here. That is not flirting. It’s just being polite.

It’s kind of fucked up, but after that conversation I thought, That seemed okay at the time, but maybe it isn’t actually cool. That wasn’t enough information to be sure. I smiled at him and said it was nice of him to call me pretty – what if he thinks that was flirting? I just didn’t want to be a jerk. What if he doesn’t take my relationship seriously because it’s with another woman and keeps hitting on me? ** I shouldn’t have encouraged him. Shit. He works security here; he has the key to our apartment. Oh shit. Did I do something to make life more dangerous for Squiddy and me?

I recognize that’s me thinking, not him doing anything wrong. Tentatively, I’m going to go ahead and assume the world isn’t awful and think well of him for that interaction. He’s Shroedinger’s crushing security guard though. I haven’t really collapsed the waveform on whether that was an exemplary interaction from both of us, hooray, or whether he is going to continue pushing this and make me feel unsafe where I live.

This is because the security guard, live cat or dead cat, believes that two people of the opposite sex smiling at and talking to each other constitutes an expression of sexual interest. I was supposed to know that every time we smiled and told each other, hey, have a good one – that was flirting.

That’s not a notion he pulled out of nowhere. That idea, in weaker or stronger forms, is part and parcel of the common notion that ‘men and women can’t be friends’, ‘men are from mars and women are from venus’, whatever. Men and women are too different to relate without sex. It’s an incredibly dangerous idea. It makes men who are probably decent men with good intentions frighten women anyway. The idea itself corrodes the ability to be friends – now how can I smile as widely at him and the other men who guard the security desk? What if they take it the wrong way?

You know what I wish? That there was a hanky code for going about your day in public. That you had a handkerchief color for ‘totally enthusiastic about flirts, not that it’s a guarantee I will accept you’, ‘I wouldn’t mind flirts if you’re into it, but I’m not looking actively’, and ‘I really would prefer no flirts under any circumstances, thanks’.

It would obviate so many problems! Maybe it could be super granular and if it’s flirty colored and paisley you’re into male-identified people whereas if it’s striped you’re into female-identified folks! There could even be a signal for if you’re in a monogamous relationship already! Wait, we already have one of those (though it obviously doesn’t work for everybody), in the Engagement Ring! Which Squiddy and I wear, albeit on a chain around our necks so maybe it’s confusing, every day. Blast. Maybe people should just be better at talking to each other.

——

 * This sisters thing is, like, a whole other, entirely capslocked post going whywhywhy. There was an incident with another security guard right after this one with the sister thing, again. That story can be part deaux.

**This happens. Squiddy and I have had a random guy on the street come up to us, ask if we were together, and then when we said yes, start propositioning us.

Love and Credit Cards

13 Mar

Squiddy and I decided to apply for a joint credit card together the other day. It makes sense – We’ve been together for several years now, are engaged, and a recent series of Household Disasters of Epic Proportions have really highlighted what a pain in the butt it is for us to try and keep track of ‘you paid for the exterminator last time, but I covered boarding the cats and the plumbing tools, so whose turn is it for groceries?’ Additionally, I’m just more interested in and used to dealing with our finances, whereas Squiddy would be happy to see the money magically disappear from her account when necessary and never have to think about it again.

So a shared credit card seems like an easy way to consolidate this stuff. Plus I have some firsthand experience with what a pain it is to not have a credit history, so we can go out and get ourselves one of those while we’re at it.

There are many things about credit cards and finances that are screwed up. For instance, the good old catch twenty-two of ‘you have no credit history, so we can’t trust you, first-time credit-card haver’. Personally, I would be happy to go through life sans debt and just pay for everything with money I actually have, but for some reason credit is so deeply ingrained in our society that I will actually have trouble renting a home without one. Qualifying to spend money you don’t have is proof of solvency, apparently.

Don’t get me wrong, when I finally got my personal one (through some seriously !!privilege!! methods, I might add, since I was rejected every time I tried to apply the old fashioned way), I could see right away how convenient it was to have one. I like not having to actually spend real money until my paycheck comes in. Fluctuations in bank account numbers make me sad. But still, debt. I don’t like getting too comfortable having it.

Despite what the last few paragraphs might have led you to believe, this post is not actually about how American finances are screwed up. It’s about drop-down menus.

Squiddy and I eventually decided on a Bank of America cashback card because yay getting some of the money you spend back again. I am not sure how these things make sense. It seems bizarre that there is free money lying around in the wild world of finances.

Anyway, you can add on a joint cardholder with equal privileges during the application, but you need to give some sort of explanation regarding your relationship to this person you want to share debt-potential with. Apparently BoA thinks you want to share a credit card with your:

Spouse

Mother

Father

Brother

Sister

Aunt

Uncle

Mother-in-Law

Father-in-Law

Brother-in-Law

Sister-in-Law

Friend

Or my favorite: Other.

So my Other and I filled out our credit card application and are waiting to find out if we’re bankable enough to get one. Apparently BoA thinks you are more likely to want to get your debt on with your Sister-in-Law (is this actually a thing people do?) or BFF than your girlfriend/boyfriend/fiancee/domestic partner.

I don’t mean to hate on BoA here specifically – this is a wide-spread problem I have whenever I’m forced to engage with bureaucracy these days. On most forms, you’re either single or married in Relationshipland. On my taxes, I’m single. On the forms to set up my 401K, still a swinging bachelor, apparently – even as I fill in Squiddy as my beneficiary, should I bite the dust. This gets particularly funny when I have to check the single box on a form that is part of the intricate legal meshwork gay couples construct to mimic the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

If you’re navigating the perils of the drop-down menu and you’ve left Relationshipland, you usually get to be widowed or divorced, sometimes even separated – that’s a bit more granularity on the not-together-anymore end than on the together-but-not-married end. This seems bizarre to me, even approaching the matter from a totally hetrosexual, conventional-lifestyle-assuming perspective.

Okay, so Squiddy and I can’t get married in our state (yet!) and this makes us Sad and is Legally Inconvenient. But on the one hand, civil unions are totally a state two people can be in that has legal standing. Why is there no button for this thing that legally exists?

And on the other end, friend is hardly a heavily legislated status – wouldn’t you think plenty of straight couples who aren’t yet ready for that walk down the aisle still might want to share a credit card? That seems like a way more likely scenario to me than wanting to go halvsies on your finances with one of your bros. So why is there only Other for all the twenty-somethings who have been living together for three years and want to pay the electric bill more conveniently?

Mysteries piled upon mysteries.

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