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The Hardest Walk

A classmate and I were chit chatting after class on Wednesday night and after a few minutes, I said, “Okay, man, I gotta go. My boyfriend is picking me up tonight.” Confusion washed over his face as he said, “You have a boyfriend?” Then I was all, “Yeah, I do. Why do you look so surprised?” Then he said, “I don’t know … I thought you were gay.”

Immediately, I felt this was a compliment and I even thanked him for it. But as I walked away, I thought, wait a minute. When men are mistaken to be gay, superficially I think it’s usually because they are groomed meticulously, and are dressed impeccably well. But it’s different for women. When a woman is thought to be gay, on the surface, one would assume so because the woman appears, well, to be candid, butch. But this couldn’t be so. For god’s sake, I wear red lipstick! Gay is not the issue, but looking butch is. Perhaps it was the rainbow socks I was wearing that night, I don’t know. But wait! Oh my god. No way … It all became clear and oddly enough, I found it amusing. I think I know why my classmate thought I was gay. I’m probably still doing it. I’m probably still doing The Strut.

My dad was, and is, the personification of macho and when I was but a wee little lass, I was his loyal sidekick. As his sidekick, I followed him everywhere (work, the barber shop, errands, etc.) and I aspired to be just like my dad when I grew up. So how did I emulate him? I imitated his walk and needless to say, I did a very good job.

Well, old habits die hard because even when I no longer wanted to walk like my dad, I did. I’ve been told that I strut. I’ve been told that I swagger. I’ve also been told that I bounce when I walk. When I was fifteen, an uncle even told me that I strutted like a cowboy. Bouncy cowboy swagger strut. Just great. I thought I had fixed my walk, but I guess I was mistaken. When I was conscious of it, walking girly felt awkward and unnatural, quite frankly. Oh, c’est la vie. If I walk like a man, I walk like a man, damnit. Oh, my Papa will be so proud.

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