So here’s something worse than finding your Slam Book page covered with casual cruelties: You do a little video of what the Boston accent is like and post it on YouTube. Six months go by and every few weeks someone sees it and writes a comment saying ‘Yeah that totally IS the real Boston accent’ or ‘Actually you sound like you’re from the Bronx,’ or ‘Hey I know someone named Marotta, are you related to Frank Marotta ?’ etc. This is me I’m talking about, just to be clear, and I like all these comments that have been left on the site by people killing a little time and curious about the way people talk around here.
And then the day before yesterday someone wrote “Wait, is this a drag queen?” About me.
‘Drag queen’ is a word you don’t hear too often outside the theatrical world – I don’t anyway. I mean people are trans-gendered or trans-sexual, people are transitioning from male to female or from female to male but “drag queen “feels to me like an old word, used more for guys who enjoy dressing as women for the simple fun of it. They can even be straight guys, but for someone to seriously think I’m doing that? That I’m a man trying to pass himself off as a woman? As if menopause wasn’t bad enough!
Is it because my hair gets so puffed-out and helmety in summer humidity that it looks like a wig? Did the light on my face make me look like I was suppressing whiskers? I probably am suppressing whiskers these days with the estrogen going out like the tide, but I actually think it’s my general… presentation. I am ‘feminine,’ whatever that means or so I’ve been told along the way, sometimes by people who seem sort of sore about it. I mean once in my 20s a guy actually said to me, “You know you’re not as pretty as you make yourself appear!” What did that mean? That he thought I was working some kind of con? Am I? And am I now some sort of ridiculous figure, who is ‘older’ and should look … less like a woman? “So sue me” I tried to say back in’the hell-with-you-pal’ fashion but the truth is, I was hurt.
I was hurt this time too, so much so that I erased the comment the minute I saw it.
I did leave the video up because people seem to enjoy thinking about our accent here in Boston, and I like to revisit the subject now and then. I’ve even been thinking of seeing if my nephew will do a 60-second podcast with me where we just talk a little, since when he talks the whole world gets to see what the total no-holds-barred Casey-Affleck-in-Good-Will-Hunting Boston accent really is.
Anyway this comes at a good time in our little Back-to-School week here at Exit Only.
Now here’s Felcity Huffman in the very tender movie Transamerica, just to open our hearts a little. And here – I’ll just give you the link, I still haven’t been able to go back there – is me. It kinda brings the bad part of the teen years back in full force.
Tomorrow: back to the sweet subject of the high school yearbook.