Some are born femme. Some achieve femme. Some have femme thrust upon them.
Of course, it’s not always that simple.
The label of femme was thrust upon me while I was in graduate school. My girlfriend and I went to some LGBT pride event and a woman who was only slightly older than me nodded knowingly. “You’re a femme.”
I’d heard the term, but didn’t know what it meant. At least not beyond knowing I liked girly things but not girly girlfriends. I started reading, joined a couple of online forums. It took a while, but I grew into it, owning femme as my own identity and not just who I was in juxtaposition to someone else. Now, it feels as natural to me as my own skin and I can’t imagine being anything else.
I wonder, though. I think back to the days before that time. When I was a little bit boy crazy, but mostly a good girl. A good girl by Catholic school standards, no less.
I like to think there is some is some femme essence that has been with me always, long before I even knew what femme meant. That the inexplicable fascination I had with the sporty volleyball player who I tutored in algebra was really my first authentic girl crush. That my secret obsession with the k.d. lang/Cindy Crawford cover of Vanity Fair came from a place of deep knowing. Yeah, you know the one. (Was I really fifteen when it came out?)
I like to think that both my body and my subconscious knew before I did, and waited patiently for the rest of me to catch up.
It’s sort of the same as being a writer. I dabbled with writing in high school. I desperately wanted to be a writer in college. I forgot along the way, but I remembered. Now, I can’t imagine being anything else. I like to think that it, too, was there the whole time.