by Zoe Page

It's Friday night so they’re throwing a dance party in the Mile End for specific people. They do this often, mostly on Fridays. I’m specific, so I go, most always. Where else am I going to get to be specific, like, really specific, flamboyantly specific? All of my specific friends are going to be there, being specific. I feel obligated to go.

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t specific so I could just go to any party, or, truthfully, so I wouldn’t have to go to any parties at all, let alone specific ones. I hate parties, but I feel obligated to go. Plus, I’m lonely. I don’t think that comes with being specific, but the posters for the party tell me that this is the best place to get with specific people, so I go, most always.

At home I put on my red shiny vest and yesterday’s underwear because it’s the sexiest. It’s just plain white cotton but that definitely beats all the other ones. I clean my room just in case, purposely leaving the collage-in-progress, just so.

The nice thing about these specific parties is that I don’t have to shave my armpits, or wear makeup or high heels. I don’t have to feel shame for wearing a sports bra. Radical specificity officially promotes saying “fuck you” to patriarchal beauty standards. In fact, I feel obligated to feel proud of my mustache, to flaunt my belly fat, so that’s what I’ll try to do, at least for tonight.

It’s a small bar on Parc, where the road is widest, where I always lock my bike across the street and time my jaywalk when the tide of cars is far, far away or when the stoplight is red, so I can close my eyes and walk very, very slowly. I’ve never made it to the other side without getting nervous and opening my eyes.

Once I’m on the curb I’m in a face off -- with the too-bright-hot-pink-tube-lighted sign that never even flickers -- it’s got one sure word it shouts over my silence, so what it says isn’t important, I always lose.

Sometimes I have friends and they’re sitting on the steps outside, but not tonight. Just the same smoke-talkers shivering in T-shirts, having heart to hearts and watching me watch them. I might know some of them from somewhere, but they wouldn’t let on. I kick dust and go for the stairs.

Inside the heat frosts my glasses. Arms pull me towards the cashbox, where I’m stamped. A shiny sea of torsos, open mouths and closed eyes, shove-heave through the crowd holding beers like fragile children above their heads. Sex organs bounce in crotch-ripped jeans between bass blasts and hand claps. Everyone seems to be trying to get somewhere else than where they’re standing. The DJ ching chings alone in the corner wearing duct tape pasties, smiling. She looks like she might be having fun.

Someone spills warm beer down my back and I am flung towards the washroom. The toilet has no seat cover, so I take my pants down to sit on it. Oh well I think, even though I’m not here to pee.

The party is muffled, and the stall is a teleport. I close my eyes and my mind travels to memories of other places I’d rather have never been.

My second grade Spanish teacher, Senorita Summers sits on the edge of the school playground at recess, flaunting her pregnant belly like an A on a spelling test. She was really pretty. Pretty like a cabbage patch doll. All the girls stop playing tag and run over to pet the imaginary fetus, a princess shining bright with mucus and blood. I always believed that beneath their cooing voices, and eyes saucy with sisterhood, the girls were conspiring against me. Alas, what they didn’t know, I remember thinking, was that it was in fact a dodgeball under Senorita’s shirt. But I keep that to myself. I don’t know… what made me think of this.

I travel to the conversation I had with that girl I met at the protest today.

“Global warming exists, and it sucks.”

“Yeah, I agree, like, whoa.”

“I totally feel like we have an affinity! Do you totally feel like we have an affinity? I totally feel like we have an affinity! Why? Because you’re wearing that headband with a bike wheel and a heart and not only do I like hearts and not only do I like to bike, but I also think it means you’re a dyke.” And then we held hands and walked off into the sunset, towards a post-penetration anarchist utopia.

Back in the stall I wonder if that really happened, or if it’s just in my mind. Then someone’s banging on the door. Maybe they need to pee, or make out, or wallow in self-pity. I realize I’m wasting my time, I only get to be specific ever so often. I feel obligated to leave the washroom, and go dance. Soon I will have to face the throngs of sweaty bodies, people with just as much torment as me, but who dress better, and who aren’t afraid to bury it in the lips of a familiar stranger or crush it in the space between pants flies, and plus they hide it better too.


Zoe Page is a Montreal activist and poet who organizes at the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy and the Union for Gender Empowerment.

Check her out in the Matrix 85 New Feminisms online supplement:

No comments:

Post a Comment