As the youngest of three queer siblings, I'm my parents' last chance for grandkids. But I worry that by not having children, I'm robbing them of potential happiness.
I’ve always been polyamorous when it comes to my weed consumption because, as in any relationship, it’s hard for one person to provide all of the things we need. But I recently had to clean up my roster because things had gotten somewhat out of control.
Bud man #1 was, and still is, my main man. He has great product, great prices, is excellent at communicating with me, and I just dig his vibe. Bud man #3 would come to me wherever, whenever, but I was paying him Platinum Kush prices for aluminum foil kush. Bud man #5 was only there as an emergency backup since he made me wait two hours and then got an attitude with me and blamed it on his issues with the mother of his baby.
Bud man #1, who I am almost monogamous with these days, has been my guy for going on five years. Let’s call him “Red.” I like Red. He is confident, chill and kind. We often chat at the end of our quick transactions about work (we both tutor kids), about gentrification (we both know his home, Brooklyn, is being stolen before his very eyes), about travel (we both appreciate the balance between the push and the plush ― work hard, then live it up). I see him at least once a week, and sometimes more when I am not doing my best at taking care of my lungs and brain.
But here’s the rub: I’m a trans guy who began transitioning a year and a half ago, and Red knew me when I still presented as female. He doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo about my gender identity.
The chemistry between me and dudes who work at the corner store is fascinating. They seem drawn to connect with me, even if they don’t know why. It’s like I am just a guy, but with a twist, a tortilla chip with a hint of lime. They call me ‘papi’ and ‘brother’ and ‘boss’. They joke with me. And I joke back; smiling to myself knowing things they do not.
The other day I went into a random corner store where I did not know the guy at the counter. I asked for a pack of Bambu and a lighter.
“Are you eighteen, sir?” he asked, showing me his skepticism by inching his (impressively) bushy eyebrows up towards his not so bushy hairline.
“I am actually thirty, believe it or not.” He chose not.
“No, no. Thirty? This cannot be true,” he said, shaking his head, looking kind of sad for me like no one had taught me to give an age that could be believed, to at least give my lie a chance to pass for a truth. I smiled and handed him my ID. Along with a teenage boy, I too would be uncomfortable with him closely examining my ID, but for fear that the "F" will stand out, not the year of my birth. The F never stands out, it sits quietly nestled amongst the other information about my personhood that the government has neatly organized on this plastic card.
As he reached for it I said to him, “Can’t you see all my gray hair?”
He responded, “Well your hair looks old, but your beard looks like a teenager.”
The subject of the email is: Avocados.
The body of the email is short, bare-bones: “We will be bringing four (4) ripe avocados. Love you.”
The origin of this critical communique is my father. The concern is guacamole, to be made for a lunch at my house when he and my mother come to town, an event set to occur three weeks from the day of sending. It’s so simple, and yet, I have so many questions.
Hair is weird, man. Fluffy, curly, frizzy, wavy, wispy, thin or thick. It’s just strings of cells, these DNA appendages hanging off our body.
Hair is deep, man. We use it to step up our head's game, to show what we’re about, what we are committed to, our religion, our culture, our aesthetic. Hair is used as an art. Hair has also been used as a tool to control and disempower people.
People get real dumb about hair when it comes to gender. Well, people just get real dumb about gender and hair separately, so put them together and damn. And where do gender, hair, and (often) stupidity converge? The barbershop.
I’m 29 years old and going through puberty. My goatee is humble but hopeful. A few days ago, I got carded trying to buy a lighter (which means they thought I was younger than 18). But I’m also an heir to genetics that had my parents completely silver-haired by age 40. So, while I have a pubescent mustache, I also have half-gray, long wavy locks that make me look like a late-20s Poseidon. If this feels like a riddle, apologies. A lot of my life has felt that way, so you can deal for a little bit.