Old Spice and Dysphoria

I started to run out of shampoo last week. Next to the ordinary bottle I normally buy was the same but scented with Old Spice which I got because 1) it smells amazing 2) I’ve been feeling more masculine/neutral recently so I figured it would be really reaffirming.

The other day (a particularly masc day) I used the new bottle to wash my hair and it was great. I felt validated, I was acting in a way that matched how I felt- like when I had my hair cut short. It was great and I emerged from the shower feeling happy and confident.

This morning was a different story. I was more at the neutral part of the gender spectrum but leaning towards masculine, so I decided to use the new shampoo rather than finishing the last of the old bottle as it felt more right. Lathering up my hair was so nice, immersing myself in that distinct scent that masculine products have…until I looked down. My bubble was popped, I was not who this product was aimed at and my body was wrong. Everything was wrong. I finished up showering pretty quickly and went to get dressed but ended up curled up on my bed wrapped in my towel because getting dressed would mean seeing my body, hiding it under clothes not meant for me, feeling like I was playing pretend.

The way I described it to my friend the other day was that sometimes I look at my body and see a masc person, whereas other times I look and see a femme person. There’s not much difference in it, but seeing femme me just sets alarm bells off because I look like a stereotypical ‘lesbian’. That’s not a bad thing and I wouldn’t mind that if that was the look I was going for, its just that thats not how I want to be seen- I don’t want to be seen as a girl. I guess its a kind of misgendering, but misgendering myself.

The best kind of days are where I look in the mirror and think ‘that’s just a body. Not how I want it to look but I can live with that. It’s pretty nice, just much more feminine than I want.’ I look at my face and notice the vaguely masculine features that I possess and I’m happy. I look in the mirror and appreciate myself for being non-binary.

2 thoughts on “Old Spice and Dysphoria

  1. “The best kind of days are where I look in the mirror and think ‘that’s just a body. Not how I want it to look but I can live with that. It’s pretty nice, just much more feminine than I want.’ I look at my face and notice the vaguely masculine features that I possess and I’m happy. I look in the mirror and appreciate myself for being non-binary.”
    I love you for saying that. You are way more awesome than you think. It takes so much courage and thinking to articulate that thought.
    Also, because the males of my family sometimes buy soap, I grew up not knowing that old spice or irish spring or whatnot was for “males” I loved the smell of it. I’m so lucky that way; I’d hate to be more upset by even having my favourite soap labelled as something made for males. Thinking of it that way, there’s nothing inherently weird at feeling dysphoria towards liking a soap meant for the opposite gender because the whole gendered soap thing is messed up. There is nothing masc about old spice. But there is everything right and beautiful about feeling the gender that you are without constraint!
    Irish spring all the way, everyday all day. Ain’t nobody got time for that flowery soap.

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    1. Thank you, I was pretty proud of how that bit turned out- it did take some tweaking to make it sound how I wanted to.
      Gendered soap is so messed up, its just to make you clean?! We’ve always bought ‘gender neutral’ ones at home so we all use it, so I agree with your feelings on flowery soap.

      Like

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