In which I say words like ‘otakusona’

So, as discussed previously, my thirtieth year on this planet brought the return of my younger flirtation with makeup and such, and as it turns out I can do this sort of thing with greater precision and confidence, as the intervening years have made me both more disciplined and more confirmed in my eccentricities. Anyway, it feels quite natural to offset my appearance with a bit of feminine fashion.

Part of this is cultural circumstance. Modern men’s fashion is largely unassuming, while that of the opposite sex has more possibilities in terms of expression, ornamentation, theatricality, etc and that wasn’t always the case. I’d be fine with the 18th century European gentleman’s frock coat making a comeback, for instance (those wigs, though…): it’s beautiful and eye-catching in a way that the modern tuxedo is not.

As it turns out, the return of a bit more glamour into my life went hand-in-hand with something else: I wondered if I could, indeed, go all the way and straight-up do the crossdresser thing like I briefly did in the good old days. As it turns out, the answer is: yes, with greater precision and confidence.

It doesn’t feel like I’m in my civvies to present as feminine. But it doesn’t quite feel like a costume either.

What got the ball rolling was costume stuff though. It started with just some cosplay ideas, but that pretense quickly fell out. Because, like, you notice that 90% of your ideas are kinda really girly and have to own up to what the whole thing is really an excuse for. Anyway, the result feels a bit like the dragon fursona I use online: on one level, yes, it’s a mask. But as my own aesthetic creation it functions as an extension of my own personality. Which, yeah, means that my tastes are perhaps more informed by my diet of anime than actual womanhood, so if you squint it’s kinda an….otakusona? (I feel absolutely terrible about that portmanteau)

That it is a sort of art project keeps it from feeling like a casual thing. So, even if I probably don’t qualify as a drag queen, given my estrangement from that whole subculture, I’m also not quite on par with, say, the dude who just likes hanging out in his wife’s wardrobe. A drag princess, perhaps?

I do wonder what draws me to this. The artsy stuff does play a part, because as it turns out the pleasure of accomplishment found in getting better at putting a feminine appearance on top of me is similar to that afforded by say, getting better at line art. But what specifically is it about this sort of transformation act that appeals to me. I don’t think there’s a part of me that literally is a woman any more than I think there’s a part of me that literally is an anthropomorphic dragon. Nor do I feel estranged from my masculinity, or feel like I’m not somehow a real man.

It seems like I’ve dodged a bullet on that latter point, since existential angst over one’s masculinity does seem to be something that a lot of guys struggle with. I’ve had struggles with all sorts of philosophical/theological stuff, but never over my dudeness. But, come on. Nobody’s perfect: I can’t agonize over every aspect of my existence.

Were I to put on my amateur psychologist cap about what’s so appealing to me about drag and dragons and such, I’d speculate thus: I don’t emote much and have always had trouble expressing my feelings, but as readers of this blog are aware, I tend to have a lot of stuff going on underneath the hood. The result is that the impression I often make on people is one of unflappable, Spock-like stoicism. Which is a boon professionally, but frustrating personally (and, as people get to know me, I often hear some variation of “you didn’t strike me as the kind of guy who’d be [ ]”). I think I’ve often compensated for this by articulating myself via other means: through writing, through art, and I suppose also sartorially (and, I suppose also also religiously, as there’s something consoling about the belief that God knows you more profoundly than any human could, even as there’s something fearful about it as well). You can become a little weird in coping with this.

I also do feel that all my recent struggles with insomnia, my recent religious histrionics and general existential angst has changed me in some way. It’s like the part of me that still had some pretense towards being a normal guy just dropped away (not that, as a furry, I had much I could legitimately claim much ground there). Which I’m not much concerned about, as it’s also gone hand in hand with the diminution of the sort of despondency that often brings out my worst side.

And, I suppose, there’s something to be said for the potential Sherlock Holmsian effects of attempting to live a celibate life in modernity.

Only on this blog will you get literary analyses, theological reflections, furry/brony trash, arthouse cinema reviews and posts about makeup and crossdressing, because apparently I am just this weird cronebergian teleporter fusion accident.

Anyway, between this, the Joyce and the Utena and whatnot, all I need to do is take up fencing again and throw in a continental philosophy text or two to turn my early 30s into a weird recursive sequel to my early 20s.

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About Josh W

Scribbler and doodler
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