La Chienne Sans Collier (The Bitch Without a Leash)

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I’ve been dragging around a growing feeling of misfitness in the last weeks.

I feel like a misfit at work, where my “originality” and assertion are getting suspicious and play against me. I am a misfit around people my age who settle in relationships whilst I am pushing the barriers of self-exploration always further. My aim in this life is to reach a level of zero self-censorship or self-judgement. Whatever I feel like doing, I’ll manage some day to not even question my desire and sink into it.

When the debate about gay marriage broke out in France, there was one speech that summarised it all and that I wish I had written.

It was the tribune written by the lesbian writer Virginie Despentes in the gay magazine Têtu in November 2012. In that text, she compares gay women to bitches (as in female dogs) with no leash. It’s brilliant. That’s the most accurate definition of lesbianism I’ve ever heard. This comparison applies not only to lesbians but to all the girls who are a bit too free, too loud or too assertive.

The original version reads: “Je sais, je comprends, ça gêne l’oppresseur quand deux chiennes oublient le collier, ça gêne pour les maintenir sous le joug de l’hétérosexualité, c’est ennuyeux, on les tient moins bien.” (“I understand that it may bother the oppressor when two bitches forget to put on a collar, it makes it more difficult to maintain them within heterosexuality. That’s annoying, you can’t restrain them that well.”) Apologies for the poor translation but you get the idea.

Since I read this, every time I’ve been in a social context where I am being criticised or where my nature makes me feel implicitly awkward or different – not necessarily related to my gayness, but more to my combination of femininity and power – I think of that image and it gives me courage.

Hum. Let me scan my memory. When did my bitch trouble start? I believe this feeling has been a long-life companion. I would almost be wobbly without it. As a teenager, I remember the women of my family trying to control my appearance and relationships and the men of my family trying to control my studies and future career. It wasn’t easy, but I won both battles. This was my fuck you school.

In what situations does my bitch-without-a-leash-ness feeling concretely manifest?

1/ When straight guys attempt to make me feel like I have no judgment upon what I like in bed and behave with me as if I didn’t mean what I say (see screenshots above – and that’s just a sample. I gave myself the mission to educate every single ignorant guy in the universe.)

2/ When some girls I got intimate with first enjoyed that I am a “power bottom” with barely no sexual limits, and all of a sudden only one of us was a slut. (Girls are so prompt to call another girl a slut. Lesbians are so prompt to become dreadful machos if you happen to be more fem than them. One has to explain me something: why is this power relation between dom and sub still going? Why is there an eternal despise for the one who enjoys receiving whether it is a boy/girl, boy/boy or girl/girl configuration? This kills me. Enjoying receiving sex is a sublime thing and should never be associated with slutness.)

3/ Because I don’t compromise on the way I present myself. I don’t want to trade my clothes to look more respectable, because if people stop for a minute and listen to what I say, they’ll see that I am and that my style has nothing to do with it.

4/ Because I am a lightning rod in the corporate world as I verbalise what everyone thinks but doesn’t really say. I know that I am perceived as unpredictable, because I don’t have a standard life and attitude. I got drunk with my senior manager the other night and in the flow of the conversation she said in a friendly way: “I don’t find you very obedient.” There we go. I took it as a compliment, but I should have checked out of curiosity whether it really was one.

5/ Family reunions. Not even worth developing as it is too obvious. My family knows about 20% of what is really happening in my life, and yet I have to tone it down.

6/ Simply walking alone in some cities is a constant reminder that you are a bitch without a leash (aka a man).

Last time I saw my therapist we got in a heated debate and I lost my nerves. I think I started shouting a little. I was asking the questions for a change: “In what moments of her life do you think a girl like me can feel like she is fully herself? How often do you think I can experience full freedom at the intensity that I need? There are three spaces of expression that I know of: the dance floor, writing my life on my blog, and potentially sex with a very intelligent and accepting partner.” 

I am still waiting on the third one.

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