When I first came out, I was told all the time I was too girly to be gay. I couldn't possibly swim in the lady pond because I was too much of a lady myself. Okaaaay, to a young person already confused and conflicted about her identity, I literally didn't know how to respond. Except to try and stop being such a girl. I was kind of ashamed of it. And so began my love affair with khakis. Looking back, it's clear to me now what I was really doing was emulating what I was attracted to. I saw certain girls with a certain aesthetic, a certain swagger that attracted me, and because I was not receiving the attention I wanted, I set out to copy it. It wasn't pretty.
I stopped wearing makeup. Purchased a bunch of hats worthy of a curly ponytail in the back. And tried out some khakis. Khaki shorts, khaki pants. Flat front, pleated front. Levi's Dockers, you name it. Complete with a collection of button down Oxfords. And graphic tees.
I realized my new look was taking shape when my mother complained incessantly that she could no longer shop for me. Only to give in and buy me a sweet Nike Sweat Jacket with lettering down the sleeve. A jacket I have to this day, and cherish for what it means, in that I know how hard it was for her to embrace the new me. But, God love her, embrace it she did.
Eventually, I realized I was being ridiculous. The new look didn't work. And, as luck would have it, circumstances changed so that my girly side was not only appreciated but welcomed, wholeheartedly. I had come full circle. The "Khaki Experiment" was over. But not before failing, miserably.
Fast forward many years. In walks a second Clementine into my life, reminding me how insecure I once was. Before realizing how much I loved me. A girly girl who likes other girls. Who occassionally wear khakis but doesn't look good in them herself. She reminded me how important my experience was. And still is. After all, my barbies had sex. And still do.
Not really. But that's a good line, isn't it ?
Here's to Clementine, my Mother, and all things Girly. And to Barbies getting it on. Barbie and her Friend, Barbie and Ken, Ken and his Friend. It's all good. With or without their Khakis on.
Check out Ms. Ford's essay here. I highly recommend it: