“What do you think of this?” I ask hopefully, as I place my perfume-scented wrist near my friend’s face. When her nose wrinkles and she pulls away, I hear a scale descending into a minor chord. I am disappointed. “What IS that?” she asks, and, as all hope that she will share my pleasure is […]Read More Respecting the tastes and opinions of others: Is tolerance really the best we can do?
The most arresting moment for me in the video game What Remains of Edith Finch is not the scene when I am a shark, matter-of-factly stalking, and devouring, sea lions, but when I am a little boy on a swing. With one foot in a cast and another in a shoe from the early 1900’s, […]Read More The queerness of being Super Mario: On simultaneously being and not being oneself
You know someone, don’t you, who can be counted on to go “blech!” when they try to eat anything new to them. Whether it’s kohlrabi or Brazil nuts or hummus, the “ick!” is out of their mouth almost before the food has gone in. It’s the sort of reaction we might expect from children, but […]Read More When perfume becomes a doorway into mindfulness
To those who are disgusted by so-called “dirty,” “skanky,” or “animalic” perfumes — and many mainstream folks may never actually have smelled one — it can be utterly baffling that anyone would find them appealing. And this may be more than a trivial difference about individuals’ attraction to particular notes, of the “I like lavender […]Read More Skanky perfumes in the Age of Febreze
My connection to my former selves is sometimes so tenuous that I feel compelled to reach across the years. I inspect old photos and journals, and even conduct tests, eager to discover if the me that I seem to be now can still do what previous versions of me learned to do. As a youngster, […]Read More The queerness of rediscovering the trumpet in middle-age
I was walking across a Menard’s parking lot a couple of months before the 2016 election when a car swerved toward me as if to run me down. It was a fortyish white guy in a white Buick with a red Trump bumper sticker. He got so close I could see the McDonald’s cup in […]Read More When the MAGA fashion police decide you’re a faggot
When I was a kid, Alvin was a dog in my neighborhood with an underbite and a pushed-in snout. Mostly soft gray, but with wiry patches of whisker-like black fur sprouting up here and there, everyone agreed that this dog was ugly. Everyone, that is, except Alvin, who wandered from house to house with the […]Read More Queer style and aesthetic mindfulness: Breaking the habit of being ourselves