PDX Diary April 11: Ladyboys in Hell

“Just a couple of kids necking.”

“Boys or girls?”

–Dirty Harry

At the moment it’s unseasonably cold in Portland; snow on the ground this morning. Slush falls now as the temperature rises, and occasionally a clump of snow loses its grip in the trees outside my window and falls with woeful grace to the ground.

Days ago it seemed spring was here in full. I was outside, enjoying the light, and even I couldn’t help but take a good picture. As every year it seemed as if more women flooded the streets overnight, released from some subterranean place, blossoming in delightful variation, as the clothes lightened up with the weather.

This favorable aspect of spring was in effect and lifting, along with the light, the air of our battered downtown. But the people are fewer, still, than before the one-two punch of Covid and the post-Floyd racial reckoning set in place our new order, maturing into its third season, and even fewer are the best fauna of spring, young heterosexual women not yet ruined. With despair I look back over the last decade to see this species is on the wane, giving way to the invasive: sluts, lesbians, asexuals, trans “men”.

Fashion in female dress is fracturing around social identities, from sluts who can’t dress provocatively enough to young women who can’t dress far enough down. This latter category I think I’ve seen increasing over recent years–young women who may or may not be straight, aren’t obviously gender-confused, and dress like adolescent boys. I’ve developed my own half-assed theory: this is an adaptation, like much gender confusion, to the ruthless nature of the sexual revolution in its maturity, existing at one end of a spectrum from its polar opposite, the half-dressed slut. One embraces and the other recoils from our sexual free market and its hierarchies. The sexually absented now–young men and women living lonely lives isolated from one another, incels male and female–choose quiet poverty over repeated ruin in a sexual free market that values them little.

I have a hard time accepting that under the purple hair and nose rings and rashes of tattoos, that walking arm-in-arm with their same-sex different-race “partners” (boyfriends and girlfriends are passé) are the same women who a generation ago would have been normal and–God forbid!–available to their respective racial, heterosexual male counterparts (and note how vastly more women have been changed by the sexual revolution than men); but it’s true. We lost our women and thus lost our world.

But there’s a new seasonal invasive I noticed when spring did its little head-fake last week; not a degenerated female but a fake one (I can’t help but recall one summer in boyhood when Japanese beetles just showed up out of nowhere, a brand new pest; glossy green flying monsters, buzzing sinisterly, that I found terrifying and would bat over the back fence into a rival’s yard with an old tennis racket).

The new species are young trans “women” appropriating the role of the spring girl described above. I realize I’ve seen plenty of ladyboys walking about at night, but not in the day–not that they’re not there, but they don’t register as much because, I think, they don’t dress up in the day. But this year I noticed several, bravely and awkwardly offering their various interpretations of femininity with a newfound boldness in dress–determined or emboldened more than ever to “pass” as women. All of a sudden they’re here–this is one day’s impression, so perhaps I’m being silly–and the sight of a pair of spindly boys in heels and hot pants, their hip-less male outlines giving them away at a distance, undiluted by the crisp spring sunlight, is jarring for its novelty–novelty I fear will be worn away by familiarity.

It seems there’s nothing the new order can’t ruin.

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