Monday, July 09, 2007

98. More Than Meets the Eye

This is just a random sampling of what’s going on in my head.

So… today I saw Transformers. Because I’m a nerd. Oh, and at one point I was a prepubescent lesbian. I came out of the movie thinking about how, when I was a little girl I really, really wanted some transformers. Or any toy cars, really… but especially the transformers. They were just so cool. Thinking back about the toys I had as a little girl, I honestly can’t remember most of them. I remember the barbies I had, mostly I remember cutting their hair off of them – oh, and always having to redress them after these neighbour boys would come over for my mom to babysit. They were always stripping my barbies, and while I didn’t care about them very much, I didn’t like them to be naked. (Prepubescent guilt over having naked plastic women under my bed? Perhaps.) I did have a few toy cars, but… well, true confession time. I stole them. Sort of. I would find them in the local parks and just keep them. Actually, what I remember playing with the most were the cardboard centers of the Christmas wrapping paper – I’ve mentioned those before, they were my light sabors.

Now, I’m not sure how much of this is ‘toy amnesia’, and how much of it is a result of the fact that we were not really financially well off when I was growing up, so I don’t think I had a lot of toys just in general. Plus, I was always more of a reader than a player. I do remember being overjoyed at the birth of a male cousin on my mother’s side. Not that I didn’t love the girls there, I was just so excited about the prospect of cool toys being available when I went to visit. Unfortunately, he aged too slowly, so that by the time he was old enough for the cool toys, I was too old to be entertained by them for very long.

Ooh, I’ve just had another memory… I remember going shopping with my dad for presents for my little sisters (this is many years ago, when toys were still appropriate for them) and watching in stunned silence as he picked out this super cool dump truck with all kinds of moveable parts for my youngest sister (my other sister got hair brushes and fake jewelry), and feeling so much envy because he knew that that’s what she would want to play with. Not envy of him knowing specifically, but of the fact that there was someone – anyone – significant in her life who knew that she wouldn’t want a doll or something else particularly girly. There was no one like that in my life. I’m trying to figure out how to say this, because as many problems as I have with my mother, I think she worked really hard to be there for me while having to work, and go to school and all of those sorts of things when I was growing up. She feels a lot of guilt about that, and it’s kind of funny, because I can’t seem to alleviate it even though I don’t really feel like I was neglected. What I do feel is that I wasn’t understood (and that hasn’t really stopped). She bought me the things that she thought I should want, instead of what I actually did want (and it should be noted that she still does this even though she no longer works and seems to focus most of her energy on me… so it has nothing to do with time or neglect, it just has to do with her inability or unwillingness to really see me. I can’t begin to list all of things I own that I don’t really want in my home, but don’t feel like I can throw out because they were gifts from my mother. It verges on ridiculous.) So, yeah, I was envious that someone was seeing my sister for who she is (and I have no idea if she’s gay… probably not… just a tomboy most likely), and was happy to indulge her.

Anyway, all of that was a long tangent. As I said, I came out of Transformers thinking about how I never got the toys, and how some might see my desire for those boy toys as a sign of my burgeoning lesbianism, and I got all defensive. In my head. Because, of course, I was having this conversation with myself. Boy toys, I argued to myself, are just more fun. They actually do stuff. They have cool, moveable parts. Sometimes they light up, or they fly, or they shoot stuff out of their eyes. They are just more interesting. All of which, I think, is just true. Girl toys seem to focus on clothes… or accessories. And I can’t see how that’s interesting for very long. I can’t see how changing outfits can compare with saving the planet from evil alien invaders.

But as this little argument happened I suddenly remembered something else. I remembered junior high and Randy River. If you are too young to remember the 80s and/or you are not Canadian, Randy River was the store where all the cool boys got their clothes. Boys. Not girls. Boys. (It’s still around, apparently, but I haven’t see an outlet anytime recently.) And here’s what I remembered. I remembered that the main reason I got my first job was so that I could buy my own clothes because my mom refused to buy me anything from Randy River. She wouldn’t even go in the store with me. And I really, really desperately wanted a Randy River shirt. And one of those skinny ties. And maybe some suspenders. I remember having arguments with her, saying that no one would know if I wore a boys shirt (to which her response was the somewhat reasonable “If you think they’re that similar, then why do you want a boys shirt?”) Now, once again, I tried to argue with myself… I mean, it was the 80s, and a lot of girls were wearing suits, at least in magazines. But I couldn’t hold that argument for long, because I remember how much I wanted those clothes. I remember going to the mall by myself so I could go into Randy River, but never having the courage to actually try on any of the clothes I wanted. I did immedietely buy some pant suits, however, so I didn't have to wear skirts every time I was asked to dress up.

So, it’s not that I think that all tomboyish girls are lesbians, but… well, maybe lesbian fingers aren’t the only sign. Anyway, that’s what I was thinking about today.

Oh, and my thoughts on the movie? It’s exactly what you think it is. No more, no less. But I do have this to say… and warning, spoiler alert. But once again, it’s 2007, and still, the black guy dies. Or, actually, the black robot dies. Seriously. What’s up with that?

In other news, I’m an idiot. Christine actually links to both her interview in Glamour magazine and her appearance on Good Morning America from her site. How I missed that, I don’t know. But check it out. You can also check out her new site, Beyond Ex-Gay. Some cool stuff happening there.

5 Comments:

just me said...

I think I actually had a transformer. Loved it! :) And yeah, what is up with the black one dying!!!

Peterson Toscano said...

I've got to see Transformers! And Harry Potter and the Simpsons...so many films, so little time.

Lyric Crossborn said...

I just noticed you have my blog "Thirst" in your links. I no longer maintain the crossborn.com domain and have moved to http://crossborn.vox.com with the new blog name "The Stuff of Life".

Liadan said...

I was a huge Power Rangers fan as a little girl. Transformers was a bit before my time, I think.

Stay said...

I was born in '88, so Transformers was a bit ahead of my time, too, but my older brother was a huge Transformers nut so I still grew up with it--every summer when Blockbuster had its "free rental for good report card" offer we would run down and get "Return of Optimus Prime" and "S.O.S. Dinobots" on VHS. Aaah, VHS...I kind of miss the advertisements on those tapes for Rikki Tikki Tavi...

*cough* But as for the toy issue, yeah, Transformers are damn cool (the new movie toys are frickin' awesome). But I remember being a little kid with a serious yen for "Littlest Pet Shop" toys, and those were pretty firmly a Girl Toy...