Thursday, July 02, 2009

High five

What is it about people who acknowledge unconventional glamour on the street and then require you to recognize them for approving your existence? I mean I’m all for acknowledgment, okay -- but I don’t necessarily want to shake random people’s hands, just because they’re holding them out to me. I mean it hurts to shake someone’s hand. Some people even demand a hug for their praise, cigarette in one hand and beer in the other and they’re coming towards me. At least then I can dodge.

But lately there’s the problem of the high-five. The other night it was some drunk WASPy dyke insisting on the gesture, even after I said actually, I have a lot of chronic pain issues. It was like she was praising my flamboyant attire, and questioning my masculinity at the same time. At least then I was with Randy, did Randy give her a high-five? Her friend was embarrassed.

Today it’s this aggressive drunk straight guy, yelling give me a high-five, give me a high-five! I hold my hand out lower, and he looks at me in that angry drunk masculinist way: you get dressed up like that, then you can give me a high-five!

I’m not sure I understand the connection, but I hold my hand up for his smack anyway. Then I get this burning sensation in my forearm, like the tendons on the bottom of my wrist are ripping, actually I didn’t expect it to hurt this much and then I get angry, angry at myself for not just walking by, angry at the things people assume anyone can do and really I should be angry at that moron for demanding my participation in his covert harassment. Or wait, I guess it wasn’t exactly covert because there he was yelling at me on the sidewalk -- I guess it’s harassment masquerading as acceptance, I’m not sure whether that’s better or worse than a regular old angry stare.


CaroleMcDonnell said...

Wow, I never really thought of high fives this way. This is eye-opening. I know what you mean about the demand for connection...even a hug or a hand-shake. I'm a wuss, though. If I'm greeted, I greet back. But then, I'm a recluse. I rarely am out in the world. Great post though. Made me think. -C

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Thanks, Carole --

I love love greeting people, and receiving a greeting and return, but this demand for some physical contact from random people on the street comes from straight men who are in some way still testing my masculinity, even while sort of praising me for flaunting a lack.

Then, of course, there's the issue of pain pain pain, but that's not one they know about ahead of time...

Love --

Anonymous said...

I don't get this, but I constantly get the "can i take your picture?!" from gayz and straight folk, alike.

No you can't take my fucking picture. What kind of question is that?

And people are so awful at secretly taking your picture, then when you call them out on it, they just giggle and act like what they were doing was cute.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

But wait -- what if I pretend that I'm taking a picture of that parking lot behind you...

Love --