The Odd One

I have a student, apparently male, who sometimes comes to class dressed as a female anime character. It’s a large class, and he sits at the back, but his costumes are flamboyant and include large wigs, so he catches the eye. He first caught my eye the morning after I posted my piece on “Draggieland,” and I’ll admit that I thought his appearance in the class might not be a coincidence.

Yesterday he wore what looked to me like a Mini Mouse costume, with a very wide polka dot party dress, six-inch platform shoes, and a colorful pompadour-style wig. When he handed in his quiz, I noticed that his costume included a mask that covered the lower half of his face. My daughter tells me that some girls at her school wear this sort of cosplay mask. To my untutored eye, it looked like a cross between a surgeon’s mask and the face-gear of a sadomasochist.

I do not know what this means, and can only suppose that something in the penumbra of the Constitution bars me from asking. I should add that the class has no dress code and he is perfectly welcome to take it.

This student also films my lectures with his cell phone. He’s not the only student who uses a phone in this way, but he does it a lot and it’s hard not to notice when he does. I feel a little odd  being filmed by a young man in a polka dot dress who is wearing a facemask and a wig.

But I suppose that just makes me the odd one.

17 thoughts on “The Odd One

  1. Perhaps you should set up a camera and record the students during the lecture. You can infer that you want to be able to check on the level of engagement you are achieving with your auditors. Minnie Mouse is a provocateur.

    • There are cameras everywhere, although the feed is stored in a bunker to which I have no access. There may be a camera in mu office, for all I know.

  2. I, too, have a student in one of my classes this year who is “transitioning,” and who recently went to the trouble to have his name changed on university records. He made a point of requesting that I refer to him with the pronouns of his choice, which is rather meaningless because I shall continue to address him with the unisex second-person pronoun “you.” The other students in the class politely ignore him, paying no attention to his flamboyant sartorial choices. I honestly bear him no ill will at all, but I do feel sorry for him. (I’m sure the wokerati would excoriate me for 1) failure to use his preferred third-person pronouns, even in his absence, and 2) expressing pity, which they would argue is merely a form of contempt. But for them, anything short of “celebrating” his decisions would be a form of contempt.)

    • I’ve had androgynous students who could have passed for either sex, and very likely some who simply played the part well enough for me not to give it a second thought. I am thankful never to have been in your position, where you know the truth and are forced to say it is otherwise. It’s the forcing that bothers me more than the untruth. I do not mind humoring a gentle soul who means the world no harm. Heaven knows, I appreciate whatever humoring the world will give to me.

  3. In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king!

    The cosplay mask i presume is to hide the masculine jawline of a biological male in a womans dress. With makeup and other acoutrement, a man can easily make his eyes look female. I further presume this is all part of the whole catfishing phenomenon. The pinnacle of the “men can be women too” phenomenon is getting the attention of an unsuspecting hetero-normative man. Sometimes they go to extreme lengths to get that attention.

    There’s the classic “what about when they enter the workforce” question–I can’t imagine that getup being well received in an interview for an entry-level corporate droneship. Maybe his plan isn’t to work, there’s definitely an abundance of professional activists. The only question that remains to my mind is “what is he studying” and “how is he paying for it”.

    • If this fellow is hoping to entice males, he’s going to be very disappointed. I’ve seen transvestite prostitutes in very bizarre getups, but that was in New York City, New Orleans and San Francisco. I suppose there must be some sort of prostitution on a campus this size, but I don’t think the market is big enough to support freakish hookers. But as I said, I really don’t know what this is all about. Maybe it is some kind of fraternity stunt.

  4. People who interact with me professionally will often “google me” before our initial encounter. It’s not unheard of for them to whip out their phones and show me something or other about myself, my “ratings,” my whatever’s online. It bothers me no matter how much I entrench myself otherwise. A colleague of mine started – as a way to combat this in her small way – googling “them” as well. A “two can play that game” of sorts. But this nuclear arms race also bothers me. Maybe Ozymandias really will survive in our digital selves that will never be destroyed until the plug is pulled.

    • I would guess that most people don’t have time for this, but that those who do are up to no good. They are looking for leverage, either by flattery or extortion. And there are also the SJW’s who are looking for bad-thinkers to ostracize and defame. But in any case they are digging for dirt that they will use against you.

  5. One of my co-workers is in the “transitioning” phase. They hired him about 2 years ago and within the recent months he has started growing his hair out in a distinctly feminine style, wearing female clothes, and – causing mild uneasiness for some women – using the women’s bathroom! He was and still is an extremely reserved fellow; in the handful of times I’ve encountered him he hardly has ever returned a “Hi” or “Goodnight”. My manager, who wasn’t informed, saw him leaving the women’s bathroom last week and was so taken-a-back that he ran up to me with a face contorted in confusion and practically unable to speak properly. Seeing my manager so confused has been the highlight of my time working here!

  6. Pingback: The Odd One | Reaction Times

  7. JM: Do you remember the recurring Saturday Night Live sketch from the first half of the 90s (when the show was still comedic) concerning “Pat,” the sexually ambiguous low-level employee played by Julia Sweeney? I thought to reference one of those sketches in this thread, but when I went looking for them, I discovered that they had all been purged from the Internet. You can see a few seconds from each sketch, but not the entire sketch. And nothing that you can see in those few seconds represents the point of the sketch, which is that sexual ambiguity is ontologically disturbing to most people. SNL is now censoring its own past. I censor its present iteration by not watching it, and I have done so for twenty-five years.

    • I never saw the sketch, but am not surprised that it was scrubbed. Here’s a variation on a popular maxim: If you want to know who rules over you, ask who gets to clean their own history (and sprinkle new turds in yours).

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