You Better Werk!

Last night, Tex manfully trucked it into Boston, where she got fitted and rehearsed with other suit-wearing folks for the Saint Harridan fashion show taking place at ELEVEN PM tonight. This is going to be a very late night for us, and we are planning to take a Disco Nap, you bettcha. (And in case you’re wondering, no, I personally have nothing to wear, as per my laz-e-femme-hate-to-shop usual.)

Ten, even five years ago, Tex and I agree, the two of us would have been moving heaven and earth to be even more a part of this venture than we are. Now it kind of seems like we’re going through the motions because the need for it was so sharp when we were younger. The butch/femme community, the camaraderie, the sexual zing. These days, however, the idea of being out that late at night in a loud club, well, gosh. Sounds entirely too strenuous, doesn’t it? Like finally being able to afford to buy that $150 bottle of wine and the doctor says you can’t drink any more. Like buying yourself that powerful, throbbing dick bright red sports car and you’ve lost all your hair and have to pop a pill in order to pop a boner and really, if you’re honest, you’d rather just stay at home reading magazines.

On Thursday, I took my 83-year old Dad to the hospital for an MRI. He had a whee of a time, flirting with the ladies and just enjoying being out of the house, and I enjoyed seeing him happy. On Friday, Tex and I sat for two hours with an estate lawyer, beginning to get a grasp on how to manage my parents’ assets so they can get on Medicaid if/when they need to. One thing the lawyer suggested was that my parents begin to pay me for services rendered, i.e., what I am already doing for free. When I talked about this later with Tex, I started crying.

Years ago, I quit my job in order to stay home with our kids, and because my ex and I were never married, when we separated, I got neither alimony nor child support.

I knew that being a stay-at-home parent was something I wanted to do, and I made a lot of sacrifices in order to do it. It took me a really long time, though, to understand that this work – which I did from love and because it’s part of my core values – could (and should have been) compensated by the kids’ other parent, who did have a full time job.

The concept of work is so fraught for we middle-class consumer babies of the modern age: what is it? Something you’re good at? Something you have to struggle with? Something you hate? You love? You submit to, you triumph over, you get ill or die because of? What a lot of value judgments we make about people’s work, who they work for, why they work, where they work. What they do for money. What their artistic work is – almost always different from the day job, the grind, the I-owe-I-owe-so-off-to-work-I-go litany of insults to spirit and body.

That Medicaid, the Government, would see all that I do for my old parents — all that I do out of love and daughterliness – as worthy of remuneration in the coin of the realm kind of blows my mind. I do not have a particularly lucid or healthy relationship with work or money, and possibly I’m not thinking about this very clearly, but the impulse to feel affronted or to say nobly, “No, no – I could never accept money for this!” is very, very slight. Because it is work. It’s fucking hard work. And being paid a salary is more respectable in society’s eyes than being just flat out given money (which my ever-generous parents would certainly do), even if the source is the same.

I’ve spent so long doing work that women – moms, daughters, wives — are just supposed to do, to the detriment of my real? other? work (writer, editor, teacher). So long feeling both uplifted and downtrodden by that, depending on the day, my mood, the thickness of my skin, the openness of my heart.

This evening, I will find something fetching in my closet, I’m sure I will. Tex will be resplendent, werking like a supermodel on the runway with a cadre of butch bros. I just spent time adding up the hours I worked for my parents this month, and later, will do a little research on the hourly rate of home helpers. Tex doesn’t often get to wear a suit, doesn’t often feel the full-on love of everyone in the room, and tonight she will (complete with screaming girls, she devoutly hopes). A little recognition, a little understanding of your real work, your real self goes a long way, doesn’t it?

Scream if you feel me!

 

 

 

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Yes. Yes, it does. Well, it’s about 8:45, so you’re either ransacking your closet or still disco-napping. I wish you both a fun time! Break a leg, Tex! I will likely be in bed with dog and crossword when you’re heading out. (My other half is in Edinburgh, Scotland, tonight! I told him he should come home with a kilt. He has the legs.)


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