I was sitting here trying to find a topic to write on and one fell in my lap.
Cheers. I actually like the show, I watch it from time to time. It’s on Netflix so it’s fairly convenient as an occasional distraction. But… it was definitely of the time.
I realize I’ve buried the lead a little, here, but that’s not to be mysterious. I guess, in a way, I’m trying to sort out my own feelings, in real-time with you.
I’ve seen, in a couple recent examples, the vulnerability of people like me. Being trans in this society is hard. Being called mentally ill, being ridiculed online and in person, difficulty finding employment, difficulty being heard in politics… and there was this scene…
So, the episode is entitled “Strange Bedfellows: Part 2”. Now, the episode’s prequel had a plot that essentially took Sam and Diane through a scenario where Sam meets a local politician, played by the same actress that played Captain Janeway in Star Trek Voyager… which seems to have the result in my mind of loosing the plot, allowing it to be somehow more existential and less concrete as a cannon “Cheers” story. She’s accused of using Sam for political gain and he’s, of course, oblivious.
The jokes are very often misogynist, homophobic, crude or otherwise… very… as I said… of the time. I wouldn’t expect anything less. The 80’s were a more enlightened time… than the 70’s, but that’s about it. The residue of the lifestyles they led bleeds through in strange and unpredictable ways as the veneer of the idyllic Boston of only the imagination wafts in an out of the three-wall set… the forth wall is often only just hanging on.
The first episode ends with Sam’s new ‘girlfriend’ winning her election and seeing her opponent, a meek and sullen man, leave in defeat.
The second episode opens with him and Frasier walking into Cheers to have a drink where Frasier concocts a story that Diane is, in-fact, a post-op transsexual.
He, in what would be the obvious reaction at the time, becomes uncomfortable. Agitated. Embarrassed.
He proclaims to her that the surgeons ‘did a fantastic job’, he remarks that ‘now I can see it’ and makes up an excuse to escape. He feigns his non-disgust and jettisons himself from the bar. Frasier, a supposed psychiatrist, has played a cruel and forgotten joke on both of them… and in some universal way, on me.
It’s not like me to take jokes personally. Usually I take those kinds of things in stride. Jokes are what we make of them. I don’t believe anyone should be immune to the biting glance of humor, myself included. And this joke rang humorously. It was funny. But it made me aware of something. Something I had heard a few times in the last few days.
I’m, by and large, not attracted to most men. But that’s got more to do with personal comfort than the following observations. I have no experience in this regard.
But recently I’ve heard a lot about this idea that men who are interested in trans girls are embarrassed to be seen with us. We’re their fetish, their secret want, their dirty little tryst. I’ve heard in a number of cases a lot of these men tend to also be involved with many women and trans women at the same time. What it all really brought me to was seeing my own fear of intimacy, full force.
Most days I truly don’t see how anyone could want me. How anyone will ever… want me. I heard the other day that all trans girls want is the attention that women get. And that would make sense if trans girls actually got that attention. I’m under no illusions about the pains I’m likely to endure.
In the 80’s certainly it was harder. Anyone that found out about you would run, frightened from a bar. Was it because they felt dirtied by it? They saw someone, interacted with someone born biologically male and felt ‘gay’ for being attracted to them? Is it that we aren’t women? Are we fake? Are we simply facades, flesh and feelings and words? Are we nothing more than what we make of ourselves or is there more to me? Do I get to be the woman that lives in my heart or am I doomed to carry this sickening trope of being too disgusting to be loved around with me like an anchor?
I wish so much to just be seen for what exists inside me. I fear no one really cares to look. I try to do that for others. To… engage their inner selves. To show them that what exists in there is worth attention, because I wish so badly that they’d make the same attempt. Over the years my art, poetry, writing have become desperate cries for people to walk inside me. I suppose in a kind of metaphoric sense I’ve been spending a lot of time being emotionally… ‘loose’.
That might be a turn off. But there is something to read in that, is there not? My need to be wanted and… ‘probed’ as a psychological replacement for the emptiness I don’t feel. For the void I lack, to fill.
Strange how it’s sort of a phantom pain. You know, where someone has a limb cut off… they feel the limb for years or decades after. I’ve got the opposite of that, something I can feel that doesn’t yet exist. And it is a kind of pain. Crippling me. Keeping me from being whole. And the world sees that pain and finds me to be… perverse and unworthy.
As the world also turns from the starving, the diseased and the crippled… what are we but machines intent on survival and genetic propagation? In that scheme I’ve fulfilled the second need, I have a genetic heir. I ‘survive’, to some degree. This world has no genetic imperative to ‘enjoy the ride’. No need for me to be happy or comfortable or contented. All of that comes with success, in this world. To have those things I must somehow accumulate wealth. To be me, finally, the world demands payment. And to think on the millions… billions that have died in agony, in war, in epidemics… I sit in this place wondering what makes me think I’m worth it.
In what way am I special enough to warrant such wastefulness? Such extravagance. Is it not simply selfishness to wish to be comfortable? I justify it, because I am in pain… but lots of people are in pain. What makes me better?