A few months ago, I was having dinner with some friends after our circus class. We were chatting about relationships – I was bemoaning my lack thereof – and someone mentioned how her boyfriend was an awkward geek. I said, “Well, as an awkward geek myself, I feel obligated to stand up for my fellow geeks.” Both of my friends turned to me, and simultaneously said something along the lines of, “You’re not awkward. And you may be a geek, but you’re a hot geek.”
I don’t say this to toot my own horn, because I didn’t (and don’t) particularly believe them. But I do bring it up to talk about a perspective flip I’ve had over the course of my transition: I’m now seen as the cool, geeky, girl.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this as I’ve been watching The Big Bang Theory. I think the show is pretty funny, as I’m a sucker for a show that makes good, accurate jokes about comic books, general relativity, Lord of the Rings, particle physics, video games and more. It’s funny even if you don’t get all the references, but their jokes are obviously well researched and even funnier if you know what they’re talking about.
At the same time, the gender relationships of the show are kind of predictable: four smart-but-awkward boys befriend their pretty-but-uneducated female neighbor. And I find myself very torn over who to sympathize with when they butt heads.
Because I’m so used to being the dorky guy who doesn’t really understand the rules of socialization, but that’s not actually who I am anymore, or at least not how I’m perceived by the world. So I simultaneously sympathize with the guys in the show when they’re ridiculous to women, and sympathize with the women who are being treated ridiculously by these guys.
This flip in perspective is something I’ve discussed before, although in that previous post(s) I was talking more about being on the giving or receiving end of harassment or sexist jokes. In this case, although it’s also about gender dynamics in social situations, I feel like I’ve gained power in transitioning. It’s not a consistent power, and it definitely relies on the awkward deference of the awkward men in my life, but it’s an odd feeling. To join the ranks of the women in the world who realize that their gender affords them some amount of power, even if it’s really unfair and ridiculous power.