Gabriel, you are a woman!
Though I’m still way far from the grace and fluidity of the dancers I’ve seen here, I felt less awkward in class today. My teacher, Mr. Hardi, brought me an elastic corset and the lower part of this dance’s traditional costume that ends up looking like a long skirt once you’ve finally managed to wrap it around your waist in the right fashion. That certainly helped to create and maintain a womanly posture. Mr. Hardi even softened the desperate expression on his face. That is to say, until the moment he asked me to place myself on a certain sitting position he had just showed. I “naturally” leaned forward and pulled up the “skirt” (I still can’t remember the names for the traditional apparatus) with both hands and squatted down to the floor. He let out a horrifying scream. – “No! Gabriel, you are a woman!” I couldn’t help but burst into laughter. I had indeed realized that what I had just done did not correspond to the gracious movements I had been trying to execute before. Mr. Hardi also gave in and started to laugh. That broke the ice between us.
In addition, that quote gave me the chance to realize what I had propped myself. It is true. At that moment I have to become a woman or I’ll never get those movements to come out right. It suddenly fell into me the idea that one doesn’t have to have a vagina and ovaries in order to be a woman. And you don’t even have to be a woman the whole time. One can keep on shifting from one thing to the other. I love this. You should have seen the change of attitude that naturally took over me once I left the studio and went for a meeting with one of the guys at the office. Kate Bornstein is definitely right: gender is simply one of those many boxes those that hold the power love to impose upon us. And I want to do the same ze’s been doing: using gender as a playground. You should give it a try. It’s fun!
When I told Mr. Didik what had happened in class, he told me that Mr. Hardi must have reacted so because I must have looked like a village woman preparing herself for a piss. Not like the court feminine dancer I’m supposed to become.