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.

4 thoughts on “Ouch!

  1. “Let us….learn to accept ourselves….accept the truth that we are capable in some directions and limited in others, that genius is rare, that mediocrity is a portion of almost all of us, but that we can contribute from the storehouse of our skills to the enrichment of our common life..” (Joshua Liebman)

    As a kid, I always got what I wanted, for the most part. Mom told me I was “so cute” that I got away with anything and everything and everybody just loved me. Repulsive, is it not? Then,as a young man, girls were at my summons, as if I were a Prince. In my manhood, the numbers shifted, females become more selective. Then one day, a kid behind a counter at Walgreens called me “Sir.” Sir? That’s what they call old men. Then another day at Golds Gym, a sexy Latina girl I trained with said, “Bruce, I bet you had a lot of girls when you were young.” Ouch. Add similar take downs of my ego and self image over the years and one gets a more realistic notion of that oft repeated phrase: “a sense of self.”

    Oh, every now and then, through the lines and crevices of a once chiseled face, and with the now balding head that once donned beautiful brown hair, I manage to reel in a compliment, even without trying. I don’t fish, you see. I never had to. These little stings,these jabs at our unfolding true self hurt. Yet, who is it being hurt? What is being detracted from?

    After the sulking and hurt, after the critique of others perception of me, there comes a release of tension..a sense of peace… a greater clarity. I can be me, relieved of the fact that I’m limited but still have something…for time catches up with us all. Self Acceptance. The key to peace and inner strength.

    (Maybe someday, in my wheelchair, I’ll bump into that Latina sex bomb and say: “Wow..I bet you had a lot of boyfriends when you were younger.”)

    A Trappist monk once told me: “Brother, pride is the last thing to go.”


  2. No, it’s eyebrows.

    At a luncheon promoting a nearby assisted living establishment the gentleman across from me said: “You must have been a looker in your youth.” I said, “Whaddya mean – ‘in my YOUTH.’?” Actually I feel much better now about my appearance than back then, for I was always being someone else. Like Hedy Lamarr, that Austrian filmstar, or the girl next door, one of the many beauties at Newton High. Bruce is right about self-acceptance.

  3. Thank you for your Boston accent video, Ter. I loved it – you were right on my screen looking at me a few seconds ago, talking to me.! do more of those.
    And what does Eddie sound like?

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