Written Sunday, December 8, 2019

One of the interesting tidbits of culture that I've recently become fascinated with is the idea of "queer prom" and other special-occasion events that are "redone" - sometimes long after the expected event would typically occur - in order to provide people with a more authentic experience than they could have had earlier in life.


There is a wonderful insistence in these circles that "there is no such thing as too late." The power of these cultures is in acceptance and adaptation - take whatever combination works for you, and make it your own.


The European tradition of the debutante is mired in highly problematic issues of patriarchy, classist hierarchy, and curated marriage. But the core of it - the literal meaning of the word, i.e. "female beginner" - seems useful to me.


A few weeks ago I bought a dress, and in a combination of excitement and complete unfamiliarity with dresses, managed to break the clasp behind the neck, rendering it unusable. I spent yesterday afternoon tediously sewing a new clasp into place so I could wear the dress last night.


It was the first time in my life that I have not only worn a dress, but done so in public, in a large and highly populated venue, for over seven hours total. It was the first time in my life I carried a purse, at all - complete with chapstick, a supply of mints, and neatly folded lace gloves that matched the dress.


For the first time in my life, I had not only been eagerly anticipating a social function, but also thrown myself into preparing for it. I spent hours hanging out with a range of old friends, and made a few new acquaintances; I got to recommend a drink to someone who informed me later that it was her new favorite drink of choice; and - quite possibly the biggest deal for me, personally - I spent the entire time hanging around with other women and being treated as if I'd always belonged there.


It's a good thing the venue kicked us out when they did because I was prepared to try and ride the adrenaline for the rest of the night; falling asleep by 2 AM was tricky enough as it was.


In all the most meaningful ways, December 7th, 2019 was my debut - as my true self.


It took 33 years to discover that self. Last night was four months, to the day, after a company-wide email was sent out in which I announced who I am to my coworkers.


There is no such thing as too late.