I didn’t ask for his opinion, but he gave it anyway.
“Peanut butter ginger chews? Gross. You’re fucked up, ya know that?” He flicked a blonde wisp of hair out of my face.
“I love my ginger chews. Let me be, you beast!” I stick my tongue out at him, pink and plump, wriggling like a fish gasping for water. He bites it.
He’s been supportive of me, I cannot deny that.
I’ve become involved with feminism. Like, higher calling involved. Like, This is it involved. Like, Beyoncé’s Put A Ring On It involved.
Am I a good feminist? Well, I haven’t read any of the literature. You know, those authors that make you legit. Those names that you recognize immediately. Those names that you can scream in your heart (and perhaps publicly, depending on who's around), “I love their work!” if mentioned in passing.
I don’t always use inclusive language.
I often mutter bitch under my breath if someone offends me.
I don’t often reflect on my privilege and I find that some women are truly, utterly unbearable.
But, becoming acquainted with The Greats is on my to do list. I am working on my language. I am updating my Instagram daily to follow empowering people and brands. I am learning to see bitch as a term that empowers, not degrades. There’s just so much to do. As the saying goes, “Fighting the patriarchy is exhausting.”
He doesn’t really get it, but he tries.
We roll off the bed, our stomachs still glowing in the warmth captured from one another’s bodies. My feet touch the cheap, scratchy carpet that outfits my apartment, wall to wall. I walk over to my closet to pick out a cozy winter outfit. I want to wear an outfit that would inspire Refinery29 editors to pen the title, “A Cool Girl’s Guide to Mornings”. The story would then feature a picture of me laughing at my coffee. Messy bun. Check.
I also want to look good for him.
“So what’s for breakfast, baby?” He starts to pick his shirt up off the ground. His maroon cotton T, perfectly fitted, my favorite color on him. When he starts to put it on, I see the stain. Climbing chalk. Left breast pocket.
“Can you stop calling me that? You know how I feel about it.” I glare at him with flirtatious seriousness. I hope to burn him enough so he remembers how I feel, but not enough to start an argument. I have spoken with him more than once about the negative connotations of the nickname and how it bothers me.
“Oh, sorry. Didn’t know you don’t like it, babe.” He smiles innocently.
He doesn’t remember that I don’t to be called “babe” either.
“It’s not okay, but it’s okay,” I smile. I give a little laugh to soothe the sudden bite of tension in the room. I’m not that kind of girl. I’m cool. No worries! No damage done here!
I walk over to him and grab his hand to lead him to the kitchen. “Breakfast awaits, dahling.”
I’m frustrated. The Pussyhat Project called out for being exclusive. Does that mean I can’t tell Trump that my pussy isn’t up for grabs? Why do I have to feel bad about that? I’m proud of my vagina. My hat is adorable. Also, I love the color pink.
“Babe, it’s alright. Seriously, if you want to wear a hat, go ahead. No one’s stopping you.” He puts his hand on my thigh while we sit on the couch watching the newest episode of Girls.
“But you don’t get it. It is now seen as a sign of exclusivity. I can’t prance around in my Pussyhat anymore. I don’t want to be that asshole. Also, enough with the “babe,” alright?” Internally, I roll my eyes until I fall backwards. It replays on my mental GIPHY. Babe.
He reaches into the darkness behind us in his car and grabs something. I hear a plastic bag rustling against the cold floor, and then he’s holding something near my face. Hands it to me.
My gift sits in my lap, glowing under the cool orange tones of the streetlights. He gives me an expectant smile.
A $4.99 bouquet from Price Chopper. The fuck is this.
The cheap plastic is breaking at the seams. A flower is dying.
“Awww. Thank you. I love them.” It’s the thought that counts.
“I thought you’d like a little surprise.” He basks in the glory of a job well done, then shuffles to sit forward in his seat, grabs the steering wheel with one hand and starts the car with the other.
I like body hair. Actually, I love body hair. Who decided that femininity and hair couldn’t coexist, amiright? I feel empowered with my hair, like a goddess who’s ready to take on the patriarchy, Wonder Woman style.
But when I turn over in bed, ready to glow in my hairy positivity, he looks at me. Not at me, but at my armpits. Then at me.
“I love you and I support you, but I...just can’t get used to this.” The last words were spit out in a breathless way. Like he was giving the final push to their birth. His eyes dart back down at my armpit hair. Then back at me.
I look at my hair. It’s chestnut brown, curly.
People pay for hair this beautiful.
God himself painted these hairs on with a fine tipped paintbrush.
But I digress.
I feel ashamed.
I see the hairs, spindly and long. I smell the odor, unnatural and dirty.
I bring my arm down from its resting place under the pillow and curl it around my head as a prop to better look at him.
“It’s just, I don’t know. I’ve never dated a girl like this before. I mean, a girl who doesn’t shave? Like. Seriously. You’re the first.” He looks dumbfounded. Confused — almost happy. That sort of happiness that boils beneath the skin and breaks into a thousands shards of glass when it touches the air.
Girl. Baby. Babe.
“Well, I don’t really know what to tell you. I like my hair. I’m going to keep it.” I look at him.
He looks at me.
I take a mental inventory of what I have in my bathroom. Do I have a razor?
Yes, yes. I do.