My acting assignment from The Coach for the next month might just kill me.  I mean, I agree with him about what I have to do and why I have to do it, but it’s going to take some herculean self-love to get me through it.

He wants me to shop.

Apparently dressing like a 14-year old boy is no longer acceptable if I’m trying to make it in the Industry.  I need to present myself as “higher class” than I’ve been presenting – which is probably true, since the class I most usually present could be referred to as “Am I awake and in public? Oh, I didn’t notice.”  To his credit, he said I didn’t need to actually have expensive clothes per se, but that I needed to figure out how to look like I had expensive clothes without breaking my (abysmally empty and shattered) bank.  His suggestion: to go shopping and try on many, many different clothes and take pictures of myself in them, but to NOT buy them.  To get an idea of my style.  ((Insert sound of me snorting into my own mouth.))

I’m a little surprised I didn’t dissolve into tears of frustration on the spot.  The last thing I need is my acting teacher telling me I’m not feminine enough.  Welcome to The Paradox of My Life, buddy.

Fortunately, I appreciate him so much for what he said next: I should take as my inspiration none other than Diane Keaton, circa Annie Hall and beyond.  That’s right, people, he wants me to work the masculine/feminine border. More tailored, put together, but not girly.  Of course, my brain immediately countered this suggestion with a) the fact that Diane Keaton is a good five inch

es shorter and probably sixty pounds lighter than me, and b) the fact that she is MIDDLE AGED.  And one of my biggest fears, ever since I was a little babydyke of twelve and came up with the idea that I would start wearing business suits everyday to sixth grade, bless my little gender-confused heart, is that when I get dressed up I look like a MATRON. Like… like a JUDY.

(You know. A Judy. A lesbian, usually very soft butch, named something like Judy, still wears pretty little earrings and pleated slacks, in her mid forties or fifties, with… that hair.  The Judy Hair. The furry ball of hair.  Not really a dykey hair cut.  Not really a styled hair cut. Sensible hair. Easy-care hair. Fucking ugly hair. I have spent much of my adult life running in abject terror from that hair.  Because people, my hair can BE that hair. My hair aspires to Judydom.  And nothing fits Judydom better than a silk floral tuxedo shirt and some pleated trousers.)

christine marinoni (gf of cynthia-stunning-nixon) may have the ultimate Judy hair.

All that was to say that the last thing that could be current is for me to emulate the style of a woman forty years my senior and a completely different size.

So I spent a lot of time looking up pics of Diane My Role Model.  For shits I threw into the mix some other acceptably famous and mildly androgynous women performers – Ellen (and Portia, for contrast), Julie Goldman, Rachel Maddow, Kate Moennig, despite the fact that she’s a freaking model.

And I’m going to do my best. I’m going to shop. I’m going to photograph. I’m going to see what fits. I’m going to figure out how to tackle this somehow. And I’m going to need to enlist help.  I’m in a second adolescence here, folks, and this time I don’t get the benefit of a supercharged ego and overarching vision of myself as a sexual superhero to guide me safely over the blunders of etiquette and poor fashion choices.  Instead I’m learning all the bits around that the hard way – the Dressing of Oneself, the Making-Up of the Face, the Accessorizing of the Garments.  I just wish I had a (preferably wealthy) butch big sister or trans brother to show me the ropes.  Instead I have The Coach, a small eager bunch of very-fashionable-yet-sadly-straight performer friends, and the Pretty GF, who is the only grown woman I know who enjoys pulling off combos like white tights and blue velvet ballet slippers, a la “It Is Easter and We Are Three.“

And all this still begs the question: am I selling out too much?  Am I selling myself away? Where’s the line where I become my brand and lose myself?