A post from 302 reminded me of one of the dilemmas of my childhood. Fek. And my adulthood if the truth be told. I love Westerns. Preferably in book form and in particular those by author, Louis L’Amour. If movies, then the more modern ones, like “Unforgiven”. But all those hard eyed, lean cowboys with granite hearts and quick fingers thrilled my frontier blood. There was something about the lone man on his horse, searching for love and justice, but pretty damn sure he’s going to find trouble instead, that just made me want.
I wanted to be that cowboy. I wanted to be the woman who warmed his heart. I wanted to be the outlaw who knew life was short and death quick. I wanted to live on the move, with a horse as my only friend and the horizon my only ally. And those books taught me useful things. I learnt to never look directly into the flames of a night fire. I learnt that chewing leather can provide a day’s more sustenance. I learnt that one should always share ones campfire with strangers. I learnt that the ranchers can’t always be trusted and that sometimes friends arrived in unlikely forms. And I learnt that if I looked hard enough,Table Mountain could look like a mesa.
All that aside, one of my greatest issues was what kind of western woman I wanted to be. The stoic, single (usually widowed) woman in plain clothes whose brave stance on the porch with her rifle spoke volumes about courage and resilience. Or the warm, voluptuous bordello Madame who knew the secrets of men and whose big heart was masked by the need to survive in a man’s world.
The virgin or the whore. It’s always been that way. The leather clad biker vixen or the wispy white dress wearing hippy? The buxom, corseted, spike heeled dom, or the preppy dorm girl in her twin set, pearls and GTi? The mistress or the wife. Madonna or…um….Madonna.
I think I’m both. That’s not the problem. A lot of people are both. It’s just that one is usually kept to the bedroom or not given a public voice. The problem is that I usually decide who I am today when the alarm clock goes off. (And the bigger problem is that I don’t have the cash to afford the associated wardrobe!) And mostly, people don’t like it when you’re both. It makes them uncomfortable. They can’t put you in a nice square, easily stored box. Sometimes I wonder. What it would be like to choose. Which one is more me? Some days, I’m standing there, rifle in hand, in my sensible work boots, coldly staring down the bad guys while they try to rustle my cows. Other days I’m dressed in a low-cut red velvet dress, black choker at my milky-white throat, leaning over the bar to pour another shot of tequila while that cowboy drowns in my décolletage.
But I suppose what’s interesting, is that either way, whichever archetype I’m choosing, I’m choosing someone strong. I’m independent. I’m ok on my own, if I have to be. And that’s what counts, right?