3 min

My kind of femme

Why can't I be more like Pinky Tuscadero?

When I was a little girl, Pinky Tuscadero was my hero. I used to make my mom dress me all in pink and I’d strut around the neighbourhood in my pink polyester bell bottoms and a pink polyester turtleneck that I’d awkwardly safety-pinned over my non-existent cleavage all sexy like.

Whenever one of the neighbourhood kids would call me Morgan I would give them the old two snaps and two claps and say, “It’s Pinky, kid!” Because both Pinky and I were sassy like that.

When Pinky’s sister Leather arrived on the Happy Days scene, all the girls I knew wanted to be her. Except me.

Leather was not my cup of tea. She was the kind of girl who wouldn’t be caught dead in a pink scarf, even if it was while racing in a demolition derby. Sure, she was cool and tough and rocked out with her band The Suedes but she just wasn’t as interesting to me.

It was the combination of the tough and the girly that always made me love Pinky. As a kid I didn’t have the language to identify her as femme and Leather as butch but even then I made an instinctual identification with her.

I wanted to be like Pinky when I grew up. I still do. I’ve got the pink scarf and the sassy attitude but I can’t seem to muster up the butchier side to go along with it. Pinky raced cars and knew how to fix them. My strategy when my car breaks down is to turn it off for a few minutes and let it rest.

No, I’m not the type of femme I dreamed of being.

I wish I were a femme who could fix the plumbing without breaking a nail and then perform a striptease without missing a beat. I wish I could drink a bottle of whisky, win a fistfight and then bake a pie.

But the reality is that while I can sew like the devil and identify a pas de chat from a pas de bourrée, I still can’t figure out how to turn the volume down on my damn cell phone.

Luckily, I have a butch who deals with the car and reaches things down from high shelves for me. I love the balance between us and I love being taken care of in the ways that she takes care of me and vice versa.

Still, there are times when I wish I had a little more of the Tuscadero in me. I’d take the car in to the garage (even in my fantasies I don’t imagine I could fix it myself) and I’d say something that makes more sense than my usual “The thinger is making that noise again.”

When people asked me what kind of car I drive I’d have a better answer than “a black one.” And I’d remember to put water in it when I’m supposed to and where it’s supposed to go. But I don’t.

It’s as though I have a mental block against anything as typically butch as that. The mechanic can tell me patiently and thoroughly what he did to the car and I listen and understand. But half an hour after I leave the garage and my girlfriend asks me what repairs the car just had done to it, all I can do is stare at her blankly and say, “Um… the thinger isn’t making so much noise anymore.”

Perhaps if I excelled more at being femme I wouldn’t mind so much, but I fail miserably at most traditionally femme things as well.

I can’t cook without turning everything into something a toothless baby would reject as mushy, I have to be reminded all too often to shave my legs and, rather than appearing angelic whilst I sleep, I snore like a chainsaw.

This seems terribly unfair to me; if I can’t be my ideal femme, the least I can do is be a stereotypically ideal femme.

Still, I guess my femme faults might be Pinky Tuscadero traits too. I can’t imagine Pinky whipping up a soufflé and she probably kept the Pinkettes awake with her snoring when they were touring the demo derby circuit.

And while she and Fonzie broke up because he didn’t want to be “Mr Pinky Tuscadero,” I don’t have that problem in my relationship. Perhaps I’m not doing so badly after all.

So maybe I’m not the kind of femme I always wanted to be. Maybe I’m not the beautiful car racing and repairing vixen I wish I were. But maybe I’m doing okay.

I’ve got a Fonzie who loves me and reminds me to shave my legs. I’ve got a good mechanic who doesn’t expect me to remember anything he says. And if I can drink a bottle of whisky then perform a striptease, is the pie baking really necessary?