The Cheeky Charmer looks back on their personal journey through the decades and the steps towards embracing their truth
BY THE CHEEKY CHARMER, IMAGE BY KAMPUS PRODUCTION VIA PEXELS
I’m all grass-stained knees and wild eyes like a puppy chasing it’s tail. I’m four and I want to be He-Man when I grow up. And I think it’s possible because I’ve had a look between my legs and I’m convinced there’s a willy on its way. Later, much later, I’ll be told this is something called a “clitoris”. But right now, I’m filled with hope.
There’s no anxiety when I ask, “Mummy, when will I be a boy?” because I haven’t learnt there should be yet. Her back stiffens but I’m too little to read it. This is an in between moment, like Christmas Eve, where everything’s possible. It’s only in the unwrapping that dreams can be made or broken.
She turns. Looks at me. Looks into me but I wonder if she really sees? She says words but I don’t understand them. How can I only be a girl when that’s not how I feel inside?
I walk through my downtown loft apartment all boxers and rippling pecs. Calvins slung low under a six pack as I slide into the chair. Lois slinks towards me, wearing nothing but my shirt. She wraps her legs around me, straddling me, whispering, “Oh Clark” into my ear as we begin to move.
I wake with a start, not sure where I am, still half in what can only be described as a “wet dream” (can girls have those?). I’m not sure where I am at first but one thing is clear: this ain’t Metropolis. The Lois and Clark posters on the walls tell me I’m in my teenage bedroom.
My heart is buzzing.
I stare at the poster of Terri Hatcher and Dean Cain. The one where she’s behind him, opening his shirt revealing the “S” on his chest. I want that so much. A girlfriend. To be him. I want to stride around in boxers and make love to my Lois Lane.
But this is 1994 and I’m 14. Instead of boxers I’ve got frilly pink knickers my Mum bought in M&S. A voice whispers somewhere deep inside that this needs to stop. These thoughts I’ve had my whole life need shipping off to the dark place. I’ve gotta get real. Grow up. Follow the path. Because it’s 1994. I’m a girl. And as far as I know, it’s JUST. NOT. POSSIBLE for a woman to be with a woman or for me to believe I’ll ever be someone’s Superman.
I lay next to him in our sexless bed. The bed we’re supposed to make love in but don’t. In the next room a couple fuck frantically, enjoying each other in a way we never can. We’re laid out as if for a funeral. Cuddled but not feeling. Pretending this is normal for 20-somethings who just got engaged, drinking until we fall asleep. The proposal was my idea. Even in that I wanted to be the “man”. Buying a ring. Fantasising it was for the woman of my dreams.
Marriage is my way of pushing down the inappropriate thoughts. Thoughts about the women I take into our bed every time he’s away. Fucking them between our sheets. Sweating the lust and guilt into the fake Egyptian cotton. Until I hear his key in the door and they evaporate, these gorgeous visions in my head. Until next time. Impotent with fear, unable to go there in body, so I cheat with my mind. Living in the half light. Denying the truth of my own existence. Cheating us both.
She’s a drug dancing in my veins. I want all of her. The music melds with the wine and the heady scent of her. I’m lust drunk, floating in a bath of liquid sunshine. She licks a tear drop of wine from her lips and I can’t stop staring.
Her hand – accidentally or on purpose, I’m not sure of anything anymore – brushes my leg and it’s electric. And I do it – the thing I’ve been dreaming about the last 34 years of my life: I lean in and kiss her. Explosions go off behind my eyeballs. This is how it’s supposed to feel. There’s no turning back from this.
That thing I’ve been chasing? It’s right here in her lips.
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