It was crazy in SD last weekend, with that comic con thing going on. I actually didn't experience that much of it, but I needed Treena to give me a ride somewhere and we ended up driving past a whole herd of people in costumes.
I gawked a while. There were some very fine looking women in that bunch, dressed in skintight or skimpy outfits, often as characters I don't recognize. After we got home, I made some comment to Treena - honestly, an innocent one - about how they were probably just doing it for the attention, and it was clearly working on me.
Treena got very huffy about that and told me I didn't know what I was talking about, that these girls were probably really interested in the things they were dressed as and just wanted a "creative outlet" to express that.
I shrugged it off and said "Whatever, but you can't tell me the attention isn't a nice side-benefit. I know it when I see it."
"You would say that," she sneered.
"What is that supposed to mean?" I barked back. Normally I don't give her the incentive when I can sense she's mad at me, but that day was hot and I was frustrated with some girl stuff, so I wasn't in the mood for her passive-aggressive murmuring.
But then came the lecture. "You have such a limited view of what it means to be a woman," she said, "Scratch that - what it means to be a person. Not everyone is just in it to get attention and tease people. Lots of these women are probably just doing it because it makes them feel good. Because back home, they're nobody, but coming out here, dressing up as a character and yeah, getting some props for that... makes them feel like they're more than that. Sound like anyone you know?"
I shifted in my seat for a second and said, "Yeah, but they can take their costumes off."
"Sure," she said, "But inside, they're probably dealing with a lot of the same stuff you are. Even without the body changing shit."
The rest of the ride was silent but something about her tone irked me so much that I finally couldn't let it slide, so when we got home I let it out, "What exactly is your problem with me?"
"What do you mean?" she played innocent.
"I mean you hardly acknowledge my existence and whenever you do, it's like I'm some big burden you got saddled with. Sorry your friend went missing and you feel like you're stuck with me, but this isn't a walk in the park for me, you know? If I'm that bad, I'll... fuckin' leave."
She stopped and sighed again. "So we're doing this then? Okay, I'll let it out. First off, don't bitch to me about treating you like a burden. I've been so helpful to you and you hardly thank me for it, like it's my job or something to help you decide what to eat or what to wear or show you how to insert a tampon. You have a phone and all of her contacts and social media accounts because I took the time to hack into them for you, something I felt very gross about doing."
She took a breath. "It's hard for me, okay? It's hard for me to watch you walking around in my friend's skin, acting like some kind of cruel parody of her. You have her voice and her face but you say things she would never say, a way she would never say them. Obsessing over your looks and chasing after women, openly talking about using your looks to manipulate people to get ahead... thinking with your nonexistent cock and potentially ruining her reputation or her career, or anything about her life."
"I've been very careful," I interjected, but she brushed me off.
"It's not even what you're doing as Joy, it's... it's what you are. I read the blog, you should know. Every time you write about any woman, including me, you have to discuss their looks in a way that makes me feel dirty. Like that's the only value we have, or that you have now that you're one of us."
"That's not true," I said.
"Sure feels that way," she said. Boy, she had all this stuff worked out and I was just blindsided.
"Sorry if I hurt your feelings, I don't think I said anything that bad about you."
"Yeah," she said - she was on the verge of tears, I think - "I'm sure you think that, but how many times have you felt the need to mention my size? Fuck's sake, I'm not even that fat!"
"It's just for comparison..." I explained. She didn't care.
Silence fell between us. I guess she ran out of steam, and I was just cold trying to come to grips with what she was telling me. Finally I composed my response.
"Look, I'm dealing with this the best way I know how," I said, "Don't act like looks weren't important to Joy, because I've been living out of her wardrobe all summer and believe me, this is a girl who cares about fashion. She was probably nicer about it than I was. But she wasn't as nice as you think she was. You know what Shayla told me?
"She said she was surprised I was still living with you, because Joy told her she was worried you had a crush on her, and the way you treat me, I can totally see it.
"You don't get along with her friends, and I think you probably judge them because they're into all that superficial crap you hate - or claim to, miss dyes-her-hair-some-new-color-every-month. So get off your high horse. I'm doing the best I can to adapt, and I'm sorry I'm not a perfect person and I hold some views you don't like. I'm just trying to learn, okay?"
She stormed out and I went to my room and we didn't talk almost for the rest of the night, but as I was getting ready for bed she knocked on my door.
"Well," she said, "There's one more reason I might have been upset and it has nothing to do with Joy. Who, by the way, I did not have a crush on."
"Whatever. I'm listening."
"That guy Joey, the one who was all over you at the party?"
"We hooked up a year ago. Never called me again. And... look, he wasn't that great or anything, but seeing him pawing at you without you having to do much, while I might as well have been invisible... it just reminds me that shit isn't fair sometimes, ok?"
I smiled. "Wow. I never would have guessed. I mean, not that I thought you were actually gay, but I didn't think you'd go for a guy like that."
"What can I say?" she smirked, "Sometimes you just need a piece of meat."
We laughed a bit and called a truce. She agreed to cut me some slack if I made an effort to be more sensitive - I don't think I'm quite the chauvinist she sees me as, but I guess that's just about changing hearts and minds. Still, getting that all out in the open was... kind of a relief.
I was still laughing afterward. She asked me what I found so funny, so I showed her...
It was a text conversation between me and Joey.
But more on that later...