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When I was a kid I’d joke to myself that I must be conventionally good looking because I didn’t match the conventions for UNconventional good looks. 
The convention was 

  • Tall
  • Slim
  • With longer than usual shins 
  • With narrow hips
  • With auburn or ebony or tawny (yeah, not red, black, or blind) hair
  • Breasts, regardless of size, are proud

The faces though —

  • Unusually wide set, uptilted (yep, that’s the word) eyes
  • Which are green, grey, or icy (huh?)
  • Eyebrows are also uptilted (that word again!), except when they’re level. Level brows go with grey eyes.
  • Very wide mouths
  • Short upturned nose
  • Broad jaws

My looks didn’t, and don’t, fit this convention. I’m short, and busty, and my nose is large. Indeed, my features are large and somewhat asymmetric.

And yet, I realized recently, I’m conventionally beautiful. My hair, while mousy, is thick, soft, and shiny.

My eyes are large.

My skin is beautiful.

My teeth are good.

What I have never had is fashionable looks.

Food for thought.

My body. 

I read something dispiriting the other day.

A lesbian, who had been raped by a man (with a penis), asserted that penises disgusted her and feared that her disgust indicated transphobia. A trans person responded that yes, it did so indicate, and she should work on it (because she was bad for not desiring trans women, penises and all).

So yeah, disgust for a group, or even lack of desire for any members of that group might be bigotry. And yeah, work on the bigotry if it shows up in your professional life, or expand your friend groups maybe. But no, you aren’t required to sex people you don’t desire. You’re not required to change your desires either.

People who tell you to change your desires, especially if the change privileges them are coercing you. They are wrong.

My body is not up for other people’s political agenda.

Shame on you if you push for people to have sex with people they don’t want.


You often read “follow your gut”, “your instincts will guide you correctly”, “always listen to your gut”, and the like.

My gut is not a good guide. 

I’m not very intuitive. I work hard to understand what people do and why, but the intuitive flash doesn’t come to me. I have to think.

Most of the time my gut says “Sure! Go for it!” I can’t remember an instance where it was my gut and not my rationality that warned me off something. (Except heights. I’m scared of falling off things. So my instincts can scream “Don’t climb!” at the same time as my thoughts point out “Remember the roof party? Leave the ladder alone.”)

Those boys that my “gut” should tell me are bad? Never did. Now, sometimes I thought through whether I liked them, and decided not to bother. But my instincts were and are “Oh yes please” for just about anyone like Trig in Ten Indians.

There are good things about my (lack of) protective instincts. I take people at face value, and if they are trustworthy, they warm up to me. I don’t worry a lot about other people’s reactions (I am pretty sure that the reactions are out of my control). 

So let’s hear it for thoughtfulness as well as intuition.