I see shirts tucked into bulging tummies legs drawn too soon into boots VPLs snail trails arm definition toning superstition and hair everywhere long and neat and trim and dark and dyed and stained and pocked and marked skin flowing dresses and tight crevasses where waist meets breast garment gapes and mouth awakes and there in between the polka dots and the tank tops and the sportswear fabric rucked inappropriately and roots that are fucked disconcertingly striped socks and daring looks of sexual tension between me and… suddenly I realise that there are people everywhere. I live in London, so they’re hard to avoid. I follow that stare and I make it look like I don’t care when you call me ‘sir’ and inside I shiver and stir. Maybe I should apologise for you I think and then maybe I should just laugh and wink and hope that you know when you realise, I won’t be upset.
In Victoria Sin’s Tell me everything you saw, and what you think it means, she uses the word ‘look’ a lot and so I do. I look with my eyes and I look with my layers. I look with everything that I carry, a heavy rucksack loaded with me. I see tits, tummy, tattoos, legs, underwear. I see fake tits, real tummy, real tattoos, real legs and fake underwear. Because I know Victoria Sin. I’ve met her in person and I know that those tits and that underwear are not hers every day. Is it weird that I don’t see that face? That made up face, clown like and snarling at me? She asks me to look and I know it’s her asking because I’ve met Victoria Sin and I know what her voice sounds like. So I look again and I look and I look again.
What does it mean to witness her like this? She wants me to look at her and feel what? Right now, I feel lost on a sea of lust towards her and I think again and I look again. What is it I feel lusty about? Is it the tits? I think it’s the pout. I look again.
Stockings, leather sandals, painted nails, shoulders, skin and flesh and in between the bejazzle and the overt dazzle I know what she wants me to see is the hypocrisy of all of this. That drag, as a political statement, has power. Even though at night it haunts my every turn and I’m yet to decide why it makes my stomach churn when AMAB's do it. But, when Victoria Sin does it I understand what’s happening at least. I see that she wants me to use the tired system of female objectification and that she wants me to witness it in myself. And so I do and I question my lust and I question my gaze. Because am I lost on a queer journey here? Am I allowed to desire her because I’m gay and so I’m not violating her with this stare? If I were to stay longer and if she witnessed the tiny pool of drool that seems to be crusting around my lower lip, if inside that screen a small camera existed showing Victoria Sin all whom view her in this way. What then? Would she laugh? Would she shout and stomp around and say no, no, NO…you don’t understand!!
Would she be stomping out my indignation with every shout? Would she witness what is swiftly becoming an oppressively solid structure of daily misinterpretation? That within that simple peek, within the initial look, I so want others to see what I see when I stare into the abyss of the mirrored surface. Yet, the lies it contains will not stave off my disdain, so that when I'm witnessed by you and others like you who see nothing but a stereotype, I wish I too could recline and paint myself in extremes and say look, look again, no really look again, what do you see and what do you think this means? It doesn't matter that your intention is not to harm, it doesn't matter that you don't understand, it doesn't matter that you can't empathise because it's not your experience, what matters is that you really look, and when someone tells you to look, don't look away with pity or confusion or even laughter, don't look away until you understand the power of your gaze as a witness.