“Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret.”
(door opening, hurried footsteps)
“What the hell are you doing here? You’re in the wrong place, kid.”
“What? This isn’t Judy Blume’s brain, circa 1969?”
“NO! It’s Claire’s brain, circa 2008, you nutty little freak. Now get out of here! And take Ramona with you! The grownups are talking! Crazy ass kids, always running around in here. Some of us are trying to WORK!”
Dear Future Partner,
Hi, it’s Claire. If the the exchange you just witnessed above made you question my sanity or pull a number of pamphlets from your satchel, then you are excused. If it made you laugh or, at a minimum, shrug and say “Well, at least she’s not trying to make me eat Peeps,” you may stay. If Margaret immediately opened the door to your own brain and asked if this was the room where she learned about the flower of womanhood, then you may come sit by me.
It’s often been said that one shouldn’t have a “type,” and that creating a list of criteria for one’s perfect mate can actually prevent you from finding true love because what one wants is so rarely what one needs.
This is, of course, crap.
OK, not really. There is some sense to this – after all, if you’ve reached the point where you look at another person and say “Oh, jeez, I’m sorry, we can’t date – I’m not really into women with your shade of hair. You’re russet, and I’m really looking for more of an auburn. Also, you don’t have the Pirate Memory Game I’m looking for,” then it’s time to hang up your dating hat and reconcile yourself to being the Paranthropus Robustus of your family tree.
However, future mate, just like anything I attempt to reheat in the oven, I’ve been burned before – and there are some important facts I would like to share with you, here and now, so that in the future, when one of my myriad eccentricities manifests itself like the ghost of Jacob Marley, you’re prepared, and not phoning the authorities/raising a crucifix/alerting the citizens of Tokyo to my presence.
1) You should be interested in learning. You needn’t be a super-nerd like me, nor must your internal fires burn with an insatiable lust for knowledge second only to Pryrates. If, however, upon hearing me and/or my friends discuss some bit of linguistic minutiae, some fascinating tidbit of literature or history, or last night’s episode of Jeopardy!, your immediate reaction is to roll your eyes and say “Um, we’re not in school, professor!” before turning back to your People Magazine crossword ( “24 across: TV horse “Mister __””), you will be driven way out in the country and left on a farm where you will have lots of room to frolic and watch reruns of A Current Affair .
2) I am sure that, given time, I really CAN come to love your children as if they are my very own. However, ten seconds after I meet you is a bit soon for this sort of special bond to form. Because I’m an unknown adult, I feel as though it’s not my place to yell at them for drinking bleach/smashing my belongings with a sledgehammer that they must’ve brought from home because I certainly don’t have one/tearing pages from my books (which are, it must be said, MY children) like feral goats. Furthermore, I’m not their Mom – I’m just some lady who keeps making suggestive comments to their mom while she laughs, says things like “little pitchers!” and turns red while slapping her hands over their ears. I don’t hate kids, I don’t have any illusions about my role in their life unless things get sufficiently serious, and I don’t worry about “competing” with them – but, shockingly, I would prefer to get to know YOU before being introduced to your kids and hearing the Brady Bunch theme music as we’re all tossed around in blue squares with your maid and Robert Reed.
You: “Rosie, honey, can you…”
Announcer guy: “FINISH HER!”
Me: “GET OVER HERE!” (followed by launch of weird spear thingy)
You: “BLERG!” (thump)
Alternatively, you may receive the silent treatment and/or wake to find I have hired a plastic surgeon to bring you into line with Robin while you slumbered. So, you know, look out for that, then.
4) Birthdays are not optional. Even if you’re “not from a birthday family,” be prepared to experience a celebration of your birthday normally reserved for royalty and the ungrateful offspring of the privileged elite.
Seriously, lady, you’re gonna think Ed McMahon stopped by. Well, I mean, the old Ed McMahon, with the Publisher’s Clearinghouse checks, not really old Ed McMahon, with the neckbrace and crippling debt. You will expect to see yourself on the Society Page! Assuming wherever we live has a paper large and pretentious enough to support such a thing!
Naturally, my own birthday week should be written in your calendar in PERMANENT marker and, if desired, sparkly pen. The kind with a feathery tuft where the cap would rest on a non-super-gay pen.
5) When I hear “PDA,” I think of my Blackberry™. Yes, I love you, Future Partner! Truly, I wish to declare it from the tops of the highest trees…I want to shout it to the deepest caverns of earth’s stony heart! However, I do NOT wish to have an amateur appendectomy performed by your experimental tongue-probe method in front of A) my family, B) strangers at the mall, C) that weird neighbor guy who suddenly became all friendly when he found out I was a lesbian and forced me to get blinds for the bedroom. Seriously, I’m not Prudence McPrude, mayoress of Prudeytown – I just know how grossed out I am by other “get a room” couples, and my hypocrisy only extends so far.
6) I am a tGirl, and the “t” is not silent. OK, it should be noted that, while I don’t exactly wear a t-shirt (get it? T-shirt? HA! Oh, God, I should be killed.) proclaiming my transsexuality, it is a part of who I am, and I have no intention of hiding that part (insert rim shot here). Falling squarely into the “Activist-Lite” category, I am active in the trans community, and anyone I’m with should be cool with that, if only because I’d hate to be at Pride, stuck outside one of those unbelievably snobbish “Natal Women Only” events, holding our ciders while you listen to “Robyn WomynRayn” do a poetry slam.
7) Come to think of it, the “girl” isn’t silent, either. Despite my little case of Harry Benjamin Syndrome, I am in fact a girl through and through. Well, a woman, really, since I heard “Miss” for about a week after I began transition and then settled into “Ma’am” with blithe acceptance. No, my house isn’t pink and covered in doilies, nor do I dress like Miss Yvonne from Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, but I am a femme, for better or worse. It can be difficult to separate stereotype from reality, and even more difficult to separate the concepts of “feminine” and “female,” but let it be said that I am most certainly the former and will (barring acts of the Almighty or Congress) also be the latter as soon as possible. The reason I bring this up is that, as mentioned in my Transgender Primer, I am not a f*ing drag queen, and I am most certainly not a guy in a dress (or any other kind of guy, really).
8 ) I’m not what you call a “serious” person, a fact that has been underscored abundantly within the past two sentences if not the past 33 years. Like a lot of kids whose differences forced them to choose between being the entertainment or the main course, I donned humor and my own cavalier disregard for authority as my sword and shield. Don’t worry, there’s a nougaty center of considered and rational sincerity under the brightly-colored candy shell, but you’re gonna need something sharp to get at it, sister.
I think that’s it for the moment. It’s strange to think you’re reading this now, even though we don’t get together until later, around chapter seveteen (after the incident involving the Van Allen belt, but before we kill the giant badger with silly string and a Sharpie®). Write back soon, okay? But don’t tell me what happens in Transformers 2, because I’d hate to have its tightly-written and no-doubt Joycian plot unraveled for me prematurely.
Also, if Michael Bay ever, ever, EVER wins an Oscar, just go ahead and send a nuke back with the letter. I’ll see that it gets where it needs to go.
Your future wife/partner/ball-and-chain-but-don’t-call-me-that-where-I-can-hear-you-I’m-not-kidding,