Ratsoi approached me, holding up a jet black leather jacket. He commented, “I found it in the clothing section. It’s the section people normally go to when clothes shopping.”
I dropped the item I was holding and turned around to see Rats. I prayed he would not notice what was on my face. “So?”
“Well, Crim, most people don’t go to the makeup and beauty deck to get men’s clothing.”
I blushed- Kriff! I have been caught. How can I mitigate the damage done? I need to think- How can I explain why I am here, and why I put on make up? Perhaps Ratsoi did not notice, and therefore will not comment on it? Never mind, he gave me a look and is now picking up some eyeliner. I can only imagine what he is thinking- Great, mother and father adopted a sissy, is what he is thinking of me– me who is trying the wrong products, and the forbidden fruit that is crossing gender norms.
I should not be in this section, or any other section that does not communicate strong, masculinity. I do not want to be a girl, so why am I buying things for girls? Why do I like the look of eyeliner on my eyes, or lipstick on my lips when I am sure no eyes are on me? Should I not be better, tougher, and less artistic with my face?
It’s what my old father used to ensure I did when I went out. He taught me what a man should: Tall, muscular, tough, short hair, gold jewellry, powerful in the dark side, and definitely not associating with women beyond reproduction and ensuring I have a strong power base. None of those things permit me to wear make up, so why am I in the make sup section? How did I deviate here from heading to men’s clothing? Was it the magazine I saw the other day? Is my mind trying to tell me something? No, I do not think it is trying to tell me I am a girl. I would know that by now.
I am just in the make up section. I am staring at my brother, who caught me in the make up section. He is looking around now, but not at me. I wouldn’t look at me either- I am clearly walking shame.
Only when I snuck out with slaves, like Tik’shasôt, did I dare pass a glance at some of the makeup in a store. Sometimes I purchased a few items when no one was looking. I know it’s wrong for a teenage boy to get make up, but it looks so nice on my skin and I like the feel. Tik’shasôt… he is my best friend. How do we get him out of there? I suppose I should focus on that later, and worry about the brother who is standing before me, and disgusted by my actions.
I cleared my throat. “I am only here because I was trying to get at another clothing section.”
“Why? None of the men’s clothing are here… Is there something else you need to tell me?”
“Are you sure?” Rats lowers his voice as he continues, “Crim, if you are going to tell me you are a transwoman and have come up with a feminine name for yourself just say so. It will help ensure no one connects you to your old identity, if nothing else.”
“Huh? What? NO!” I cannot help but shout. “No, no, no, no… I am a man. Well, I am growing into a man. I don’t want to be female, I need to meet a female. I just… I just…”
Ratsoi holds up a hand. “Very well.So why are you in the make up section?”
I open my mouth to answer, and then close it because my answer has evaporated. How does one answer that? I am not a transwoman, though I respect transwomen because they have to face same prejudice as I do until I am cured. But that still leaves Ratsoi without an answer. I just say, “Uhhhh…”
Smooth, Crim, real smooth.
Ratsoi looks around and then back to me, eyes blinking a few times. “You can wear make up, Crim. Now, can we please get back to the task at hand? I have my studies to return to.”
I nod and we move on. Is he angry? Am I disgusting to him? How can I know? I suppose I could ask, but would that make me look foolish? He is annoyed enough already: I am taking him away from his acolyte studies!
Slowly we head out of the makeup aisle to look at the men’s clothing. Sometimes a new make up product catches my eye, and he gives me a look. Guess the look answers my question: I am allowed but I am not allowed to wear make up. Or am I? He is in a hurry…
I looked through shirts and grab some from a holozine I saw. I hastily glanced at Ratsoi and back down. “So…” I begin to say.
“Yes,” he states in a voice more focused on the clothing in front of him, “what is it?”
“How- How do I look with some of the eyeliner, foundation, and black eye-shadow? I tried it on in the make up section…”
Ratsoi looks at me with a daze, and his fingers go to his protruding face tendrils: “Well, I don’t wear make up. But I would say they bring out your best facial features. Why? Are you sure you’re not a transwoman?”
“I don’t want to be a woman,” I say quickly. I turn and go back to the task at hand, but do not look at Ratsoi. Even without the Force, I could sense his eyes on me. I suppose I should clarify: “Not that I’m against people who do… I just want to wear some make up. And perhaps grow my hair out so it’s more an emo style.”
I cover my mouth- Oh dear I said too much. He knows my darker desires- I feel my shoulders tense and my body brace for an impact. Only a beating is the reward for such unlawful wants and thoughts!
“Well, Crimsèn, I have no issues with you looking like that.”
I look up with eyes wide, and mouth hanging open. What did he say?!
“Though, I doubt this store as other feminine products in your size.”
“Would you stop it! I am not… Well beyond the makeup, I do not want to be a transvestite. Nothing against transwomen, nor transvestites. I just want to have a more emo look, and less the Sith robes and more the average civilian clothes. That too much to ask?”
“Finally, you admit something about yourself! I was afraid Pergaleas pulled you aside during the last family reunion to show you how self-denial works.”
I glare at him- Pergaleas might have done that a few times, but that does not give Ratsoi permission to rub it in my face! I march to the dressing room to try some men’s clothes on. Of course, I need to clarify to my cous- brother’s piercing gaze: “Pergaleas didn’t do anything. I am just terrified of what I am turning into- What if the makeup and my more preferred style just exasperates things? Perhaps I should just go with more masculine looks? I have so much to give, so many offspring to make. I cannot afford to reinforce my sickness.”
“While feminine grooming practices are common among gay men, it does not determine sexuality. That’s the first thing. Second thing, we are here to disguise you Crimsèn. You need to look different- Thank the Force you naturally have a different style than what my moronic aunt and uncle stuffed you in for the last fifteen years. Now, could you kindly stop kicking your own testicles and discuss something else behinds discovering the non-existent cure for homosexuality?”
“But Rats,” I looked at him desperately, “I have to cure myself of this! I have to make babies and get married. And why the different pronouncing of my name?”
“Mom told me to call you that from now on. Your legal name gets you caught, Crimsèn doesn’t. And Crimsèn, there is no cure for being gay. Enough of this nonsense! What you need to do right now is accept who you are, as our parents have already.”
I looked down. It wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear but I knew Rats was not going to budge on his position. If he was, he’d be using smaller words to talk to me. Of course his position was odd: I have to be heterosexual. Don’t I?
I was thinking of this as I changed through 20-30 outfits. Finally, we settled on 15. No, I am not kidding- 15 new outfits! I never knew aunt and uncle are so rich. No, let me stop you right there, I did not buy clothes from the women’s aisles. I wanted to but I stopped myself- I really do not want women’s clothing, just their make up. When we went to the a hair salon, I was able to get a more emo-like style. It was good. No one will see my right eye again when my hair starts to grow out. One of the women there, who happened to be sith, did not blink when I asked to have some make up put on me. Of course, Rats prodded me to do so. Yes, I gave into him and allowed myself to be some what comfortable within my own skin. A part of me really likes it, while the other part is cringing. So much for self acceptance, Rats…
When we got back to my Aunt and Uncle’s ship, I stared at myself more in the fresher. When I told Rats I wanted to look at my new makeover, he said, “I’ll make sure you are given all the time you need.”
I stared at myself: The eyeliner brought out my silver eyes, and some of the darker blush made my red skin look deeper. The mascara helped shape my eyes and my face. My scars that crossed my face looked better, as if they belonged. All inspired by my wants for my style, encouragement from my cousin, and reading a magazine filled with beautiful men.
Beautiful men?! jump back a little at the thoughts.Why can I not say such things around women? I I should not be thinking this way. Why do I still think this way? How is it that repeatedly telling myself I cannot be this way never works? I pick up the magazine I bought and look at the man on the front cover. He is a transvestite and looks so comfortable wearing the dress, long flowing hair, and being made up. Why can I not be this way? I do not want to be this way! Yet here I am in a family where my old parents tell me I can’t be this way or I die, and my new parents I need to accept that I am this way or I die. Which life do I want? Can I not keep both?
I see the door crack open and my aunt smiles. I turn around and look down. “Can you tell I have the makeup?”
She nods. “Do you want to hit me for it…”
She shakes her head, and her eyes look distant. “I never want to hit you.”
She slowly walks in. “Crimsèn, you have been adopted by your uncle and I. From now on, we are your mother and father. I know these are a lot of changes. Are you alright with me being your mom?”
I nod at her. “You are more my mom than my biological mother is.”
She closes the door. “I know you wanted to be alone, but I wanted to come in and say I liked the way you chose to dress yourself. The makeup brings out your best features, and I always thought you were better suited in biker-like clothing.”
My jaw dropped. I had no words. She liked the way I looked now? How? “How?” was my response to her.
“How am I pleased? Well I saw you in your new outfits, and makeover. If what you really mean is why? Well, as I said, it brings out your best features, Crimmy. Anyone with working eyes can see that. Hell, the lady who asked for your comm frequency said her daughter would die if she saw you. I of course declined it, but you should know it does please some people.”
“How can you say that aunt- mother? You are telling a teenage boy he looks good in makeup! Isn’t that some gender faux pas, at least? And why not get the daughter’s comm frequency? I have to breed… I need to be straight! She could make me straight- Can you not see I am not normal! Shouldn’t you be encouraging me to be normal?”
“Crim… Normal is a word in constant redefinition. Yes, you were not normal in your old household. Not here. So long as you are under my roof, you should not fear to grow into the person you were meant to be. The Jedi sit still and remain the same, the Sith thrive on evolution. You are Sith, and I am happy you are evolving past pointless prejudices.”
I looked down and turned my back to her. “But… I don’t want to be gay.”
“Why? And don’t give me that ‘I got to breed to perpetuate the species’ bantha fodder. There has to be more to your aversion.”
“… I’m… I’n afraid. The galaxy is not kind to kitegós*.”
My mother hugged me from behind. “Crimsèn. I understand fear. But never use that term again and please do not reject a part of yourself because of what peers in a life you left behind said. After all, I don’t want you to be one of those gay men who lost their integrity by getting married to a woman anyway, and leave a broken family behind once his affairs with many men were exposed.”
I looked at myself in the mirror again as she spoke. Her words matched Ratsoi’s. They were so comforting, and seemed so right. Yet I knew I could not take the shaky step from being where I was back at my biological parents’ house to where I am now. I would however concede one thing: “You really think I look good?”
“More than good. I think you look handsome-any boy would be grateful to have you as a partner, and eye candy.”
My reflection smiled widely at us. She pats me on the back. “Now, to bed! We get to Korriban early tomorrow, and you have much ahead in terms of settling in.”
I left the refresher, and climbed up to the bunk bed in the crew quarters, turned our room, after cleaning my makeup off and changing into just boxer shorts. Ratsoi was already fast asleep when I entered. I lay in bed and ponder her words some more.
I resolved that I am not ready to be gay, never mind leave old opinions about gays behind, but I can take small steps away from my old life. My clothing looks good, and I love my new hairstyle and makeup. That is enough for now.
Response to Forbidden, the Daily Prompt for Today
kitegós= faggot in Sith