I don’t think anything makes me feel like less of an individual as I do when I tell people I work at a bar and the first thing they say is:
“Aw, man, I could never be a waitress. You probably make good tips though, right?”
As far as I can recall, nobody, man or woman, has ever strayed far from that exact sentence. Unless they happened to be a waitress. Than the focus shifts to the second half of that statement and either becomes all about the tips, or whether my boss makes it a habit of being to touchy-feely. Never in my life have I used the Point Of Sale machine at any of the restaurants or bars that have employed me. Nor has a boss felt like it was acceptable to turn my person into a stress reliever. I do not want to say I have been lucky, because that is not luck. That should just be life. Yet there is something about a patriarchal society’s method of defining gender that justifies this reality as normalcy for more people than it ever should. Masculinity, stereotypically, defines itself with words that imply strength. Masculinity is logical; it leads with courage and takes what it wants without any of the annoyance of emotional involvement. Masculinity provides for the family it has chosen to keep and it guides the traditional definition of femininity. Femininity is exactly what masculinity does not want to be. Femininity spends hours worrying about the little aesthetic details. Not just on its face or its body, but the details the house gives up, the embarrassing marks on the walls or floor. It is patient, caring, and sensitive. Possibly too emotional, but that is what masculinity is rational for. As for being Wonder-Bread. Somehow, I always knew that even if I had lost the lottery one way, my luck was undeniable. Even with that nickname, I still only had to fight against one myth.
Being born matching the skin color that lucked out and was left to define what people are now reluctant to admit is considered normal; I can only imagine how frustrated the people are who were denied such an opportunity. Every ounce of femininity within this skin desperately wants to find an alternative to the same old definition. Is it possible that the girls I went to school with, who had skin dark like the caps on Sharpies, spent a little bit of every day wishing they could just beat the tan off those girls who spent hours complaining about being too white. Did they ever feel like they were stuck being a female version of Tonto with some white girl that always stole the part of the Lone Ranger. Sherman Alexie describes every second of the short story,“The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” aware that his skin color changes everything. If it colors the whole world differently, it probably flips traditional gender stereotypes over in some direction that I have never heard of. In the story, Alexie’s girlfriend is the one to make the decision to leave him. As if it is her holding all the power. Than again, she left because of his anger. Or at least,...