An audio version of this post is available here.
“I wouldn’t mind embarking on an affair with someone from a circus,” I said, on twitter.
In my mind, there were trapeze artists, a bearded lady (there probably aren’t bearded ladies any more, although I have known lots of bearded ladies and frankly they were beautiful. Ladybeard is TO BE ENCOURAGED); perhaps a Strong Wo/man. There were definitely tigers in this circus and possibly an elephant in a tutu. Obviously I don’t hold with actual animals in circuses, but this is an imaginary circus, and in imaginary circuses, like with imaginary sex, EVERYTHING is allowed.
Lately I have been rasslin with the idea of Finding Someone Again. This is a silly thing to rassle with, as it isn’t a thing one can force to happen. It either happens or not. One can’t preempt it, nor is there an invocation (“DARK GODS OF OKC I IMPLORE THEE…”), cribbed from the works of Crowley and L Ron Hubbard that will *poof* one into being. There is no option on eHarmony that even begins to describe the tiniest corner of who I am, much less who I might be looking for. The very act of looking on a dating site means that whoever I find will be unsuitable (reason given below).
Nonetheless, I have rassled.
I find very, very few men physically attractive at all. Then you add on the fact that I’m a Proper Feminist Right, and that’s ruled out basically 99.9% of men (you’re reading this, right now, and you’re having one of those moments where you think “ah ha! But I am a Feminist Man so clearly I would be acceptable.” You probably wouldn’t. We’d end up embroiled in passive aggressive Mutually Assured Destruction because I caught you in a darkened room, screen turned away from the door, laughing at “8 Out of 10 Cats” IN YOUR PANTS).
Yeah, I’ve got your number. *narrows eyes*
So basically it’s a given that almost all men are ruled out by virtue of the above. Then the 0.1% that isn’t patriarchal and who is beautiful is – and this is guaranteed – married to someone. Tiresome. I am greedier than this model permits.
I find far, far more women attractive than men. (I’m bi and despite the gigundous breasts, believe it or not, nonbinary.) Because
a) there are far more women feminists who are actually feminists; and
b) there are far more beautiful women than men; and
c) when a woman is sexually attracted to you SHE NEVER LEAVES YOUR TEXTS UNANSWERED. (Except deliberately to make you sweat and swear.) (I don’t know why men do this, but they do and it’s shit. Stop it, ffs.)
But my attraction to women, although more frequent than my attraction to men, isn’t – usually – as strong. There are exceptions. The woman priest I saw having a fag in the St Mary Aldermanbury gardens remains one of the three “drop your coffee all down yourself” moments of vivid physical attraction I’ve had in my life. (I wasn’t carrying a coffee on that occasion, so I walked straight into a bed of verbena bonariensis instead. Stuff turns out to be surprisingly good at hooking onto your clothes, and is impossible to extricate yourself from coolly).
And I think really my problem with both is the binaryness of it all. Men. Women. It’s all alien to me. I’m always at a disadvantage, speaking binary-as-a-second language. I’m drawn to people who’ve subtly fallen through the defining net. I was brought up in a world where, two years before I was born, sexual acts “between two men” were decriminalised. But they weren’t in any way accepted. In my childhood and youth, gay men were – just about, technically – considered legal. But they weren’t considered acceptable. Lesbians didn’t exist at all. And bisexuals not only didn’t exist, when I found out that they were A Thing, I also found out they were somehow extra-filthy, because clearly they just wanted to have loads of sex with literally anyone and probably his dog, gerbil and furniture. If you’re of a generation younger than me I can’t express this to you. People were literally not permitted to be who they were. There was no way to be out when I was young. Defining yourself – figuring out what you were – was nigh on impossible, as a bisexual because the world did not contain the concept of bisexuality.
And so what becomes attractive, in that situation, specifically, is covercy. There should be a name for it. It should be a kink where everyone knows “Oh, that dude’s a covert.”
There probably wouldn’t be any coverts under 40. That’s ok. I think your grey hair and wrinkles are superhot.
So what I really probably ought to do is hunt down someone a bit like me, who specifically gets a frisson from passing and then transgressing (this is why I totally understand transvestite men), whose self definition stems from being not-that. Because really what I like is having or being a colossal secret. That’s my specific brokenness. I know I am allowed to be anything I like, now.
But what I like being is forbidden.
So I’m basically keeping my eyes open for the next MX, MS, or MR chiller. They’re probably wearing a suit. Or a priest’s robe. But under it could be ANYTHING.
 to me, and my idea of beauty is … well, it’s broad and rich, ok? It isn’t magazine beauty, and it incorporates both the bony and the lushly corpulent.