I’ve had a purple beard for less than a week, and in that time at least once a day somebody has complimented me on it.
And that’s nice. Don’t get me wrong, it feels absolutely bloody lovely to have people compliment you on how cool you look. All the same, I’m struck by the sudden change in character of otherwise dour Londoners. Why has my purple beard got tongues wagging?
So this lead to a sudden startling conclusion: that I am experiencing a tiny peek into the life of anyone who deviates from the white heterosexual male appearance. Further than that, I think what I’m experiencing is that deviation from that perceived “norm” is considered public performance. And public performance means that critique is permissible or even welcomed.
The phrase I’m thinking of is:
Well, if you didn’t want people to notice, you wouldn’t do it, would you?a dickhead, probably
And to be fair I do, kind of, want people to notice. Suddenly attractive people are chasing me down the street and asking if I have plans for dinner. Babies laugh uproariously. Beauties on Vespas stop traffic to stare.
But: that’s a choice I’ve made. The assumption that everything that deviates from the “norm” is for public consumption – be it the hair of people of colour; the clothing choices of women; or the appearance of people who don’t feel comfortable at the extremes of the gender spectrum – is, for me, at the root of street harassment.
November is National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo. I’ll be endeavouring to write one blog post per day in the month of November 2019 – some short and sweet, others long and boring.