tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine) wrote,
tried to eat the safe banana

213: Being Any Gender Is a Drag

There was so much interest in the whole peeing-behind-dumpsters poll (important items learned: only 10% of you think peeing behind dumpsters is no big deal, but 25% of you would tell your co-workers about it anyway, because in fandom it isn't really oversharing until you're sending sex toys to actors) that I sort of thought I should do a whole watersports recs set, but that didn't work out. I just don't have enough links.

So I'm doing gender-related stories instead. (It's - sort of relevant. It's certainly true that peeing is way more of an issue for the vagina-equipped than for people with penises. Okay, fine, whatever, maybe it isn't related. Gender-related recs: I has them.)

The One That Teaches Us That in Smallville, It's Very Important to Have an Emergency Sex Change Wardrobe Fund. Budgeting in Smallville Must Be Complicated. Skin Deep, by [ profile] rivkat. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor.

Okay, first, I just need to extend a quick warning. If you listen to music while you're reading this, don't let any of it be Part of Your World from the Little Mermaid soundtrack. Because after a while, you will decide that that is the song for Smallville and genderfuckery, and you'll have constructed most of a vid in your head, and, and - I'm just saying. "Wouldn't you say I'm the girl, the girl who has everything?" THAT'S LEX, people. He yearns to be part of Clark's world! Meanwhile, Clark is yearning to be a real human boy! It makes so much sense! In that way where you can tell your brain is overheating!

Anyway. In this one, the situation is a little more complicated than Clark just yearning to be a real human boy, because for most of this, he's actually female, in terms of his actual physical body. The Kryptonians apparently believed in punative sex swapping, which is exactly how I always pictured them, because, well. They have all this awesome technology that should be great fun, and instead they use it to blow up their own planet. I mean, seriously. They can fly through space and make sentient computers and they go the trite old world-destroying cataclysm route? Please. (Now, if I thought Krypton was destroyed by Kryptonian MythBusters in search of the perfect boom, I would like them lots better. But no. I bet it was all dramatic and angsty and political. I just cannot respect these people.) And so I totally believe that they could discover sex-switching technology and immediately think, Well, this will make a suitable punishment for unruly teenagers.

So, yeah, Clark earns the Kryptonian Sex Change Smackdown in this, and - I like to think this is thanks to the influences of humanity on him - immediately puts it to excellent use by fucking Lex basically nonstop for months. (And here I really must say: Oh, Clark. You could have done that before. It must be your Kryptonian side that insists on making everything so damned complicated.)

And then the awesomeness continues from there. I'm not going to go into details, though, becauseI really don't want to spoil it. (Nor do I want to win some poor vidder in a charity auction and force her to make a vid for it, set to Part of Your World. Really. Not at all. I mean it.)

The One That Proves Definitively That John Watson Can Only Truly Love Someone Smarter, Wickeder, and More Talented Than He Is. Intemperance, by [ profile] basingstoke. Sherlock Holmes, and I'm gonna call this gen.

One of the things that I find totally entrancing about the canon Holmes stories - as opposed to their weaknesses, which, okay, not getting into that here - is that we only have Watson's word for it. That's the joy of the first-person narrator (and the heartbreak of the eyewitness). If he wants to make shit up, he can. If I want to believe that he's making shit up, I can. If someone wants me to believe that there's more to the story than Watson was able to tell us, she can try to make me. And if that person is [ profile] basingstoke, it turns out that I will, in fact, believe her.

Because this story works. I mean - okay, I think I am giving nothing away (since it's right there at the beginning, and also in the notes, pretty much) when I say that this is FTM Holmes basically exactly as he would actually be - in other words, he'd manage everything with unprecedented brilliance right up until he went off the rails at breakneck speed and needed Watson to rescue him. (Sherlock Holmes: really having no clear understanding of the concepts of limits or boundaries since 1887.) And this is just so fucking amazing I am in awe, and a little bit speechless at how perfectly this is done, how much it makes sense, how incredible it is. Really, I can't tell you. If you haven't read it, you will just have to see for yourself. (Now's a good time.)

But I have another love in this story, and that is Mary Watson, nee Morstan. She is perfect in this, a perfect match for both Holmes and Watson, which is precisely what someone would have to be to marry John Watson. And she's smart and kind and tough and she learns to cook using Mrs. Beeton's book, which fills me with joy because I am currently reading that book. (And I just need to say this: that woman used her mortar and pestle the way most cooks use a knife. It's horrifying. Was everything boiled, ground to a pulp, pushed through a sieve, and flavored with mace in nineteenth century England? Apparently so. I prefer to think that Mary Watson focused on the non-pulpy recipes, though, largely because I think if you tried to serve that shit to a pregnant person, you'd end up with it up your nose, and deservingly so.)

Anyway. My point is: this is an awesome story. Read it for the perfection of an FTM Sherlock Holmes, read it for the terror of a pregnant and housebound Sherlock Holmes, or read it for the love of Mary Watson, but read it.

Just don't read it with Part of Your World still in the background. I am really serious about this.

The One in Which We Learn the Medically-Approved, More Sensible Carrying-over-the-Threshold Technique. If You're Getting Married, You Might Want to Read This Just for That. A Perfect Honeymoon, by delilah_joy. Some Like It Hot, Daphne/Osgood Fielding III. (Sorry. According to the IMDb, neither Daphne nor Jerry has an actual last name. Feel free to make something up.)

I cannot be the only one who got to the ending of Some Like It Hot and went, "Did they just DO that? I thought they weren't allowed to do that in black and white times! I thought they had rules against this kind of thing, and sweet virgin audiences who had never had sex and who were in fact probably not anatomically correct!" (Look, all I'm saying is, Barbie came from the black and white era.) But they did, in fact, just do that, and I love them for it. (Those black and white times, I later discovered through haphazard study, were much racier than I had suspected. They had sex back then! And probably all the body parts we have today! And people who had sex with people of their same gender! All kinds of stuff. Crazy. Black and white times: not just single beds for married couples.)

A Perfect Honeymoon turns that ending from a joke - I mean, a joke you could definitely read two ways, but still - to a love story. (And, uh, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, just go watch Some Like It Hot. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in drag! Marilyn Monroe! Seriously, this is required viewing.) It's exactly where I wanted this movie to go without every knowing, and it works and makes sense and fills my heart with glee and - oh, look, you're going to have to read it. I don't think I can discuss it at all rationally.

I tell you what, though: this story is a gloriously sweet, romantic, gentle, genderqueer story. I could do with many more of those. Although I'm not sure how you get that - I mean, this is fandom. And yet delilah_joy wrote a sweet, romantic story about an established relationship that is the furthest thing from curtainfic. I - I am not actually sure that is allowed. I thought we had rules against that kind of thing, too. But apparently not, and for this I say: yay! (Growing up: a lengthy process of discovering that most of the rules don't actually exist.)

The One That Describes a Country Song I'd Really Like to Hear. Seriously. Links Requested. The Spirit and the Letter, by [ profile] lightgetsin. Dresden Files, Harry Dresden/John Marcone.

I am not up on the Dresden canon. Like, not at all. (I did watch several episodes of the series, but I gather from those who know that it is Not the Same Thing at All.) Here's what I know: There's a wizard named Harry Dresden. He lives in Chicago. He has a talking skull. I also suspect, but do not know for sure, that he's kind of a tool sometimes.

That's not a lot to go on (name me a character popular with fandom who isn't kind of a tool sometimes - I mean, there are some, I'm sure, but I'm not coming up with any off the top of my head). And yet. It's all I needed to know to love this story, in which Harry Dresden pisses someone off - I get the feeling that's not really unusual for him, though - and gets a vagina for his troubles.

(What is it with the punitive sex changes? I - I just find it fascinating. Plus, I can't help thinking about the punitive sex changes other fandom characters could get. John Sheppard becomes a girl because of his total failure to admit that he has ever had a feeling, and grimly represses his feelings about that, too. Aeryn Sun is turned into a boy for crimes probably relating to being a total badass, and snaps, "I already have a gun. Why would I want a dick?" Lionel Luthor turns Lex into a girl to punish him for being, you know, Lex, and Lex grimly says, "I can work with this," and does. Morgana is turned into a boy for being such a wicked, wicked sorceress, and hacks the person who did it to pieces with a sword. Sherlock Holmes is turned into a girl until he can actually be a decent human being sincerely, and "decent to John Watson" turns out not to count, so he has to stay a girl forever. Seriously - now that I think about it, every fandom imaginable needs this trope.)

And Harry Dresden is not exactly the most, um, delicate ambassador between the sexes, let's put it that way. (Clark is way better than Harry at dealing with the punitive sex change. Let's think about that. Clark is a) a teenager and b) Clark Kent, and he totally outshines Harry at coping and being a functional human being. Mr. Dresden, your therapist is on line two. Weeping uncontrollably. I imagine that happens a lot, though.)

So, you know, I don't know the canon, and I don't the characters, and I still loved this, because apparently dysfunctional human being + unwanted sex change = good times, fannishly speaking. It certainly does in this story.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
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