This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Solstice Black, is from BABE by Dorothy Chan, released by Diode Editions in 2021.
Triple Sonnet for Oversexed and Overripe and Overeager
He asks me if I own any thigh high boots for the home movie of our dreams, so we can have our Pam and Tommy moment, unleaked and let’s go old school on a tripod camera then get drunk on a boat, me in a red one-piece, nipples popping out—let me put a Cherry Coke over them—and I tell him I have absolutely no grace as a woman. I can’t walk in heels. I hate florals—how innovative for spring. I’ll do my makeup in five minutes or under, because what more do you need than a good lip for pleasure and a rosy cheek for treasure? I’d rather be kicking it in Air Force 1s with plaid skirts and sweat dresses or go ultra-sexy with lingerie as outerwear in public, looking like I have some place better to be than here, and isn’t the key to life to walk into the room like you’re the most important person. I lace up my kicks, put on a red plaid dress, from the noughties era of Betsey Johnson reliving her Club Kid days, hot pink bra underneath, thinking about how tomboys in anime never wear their uniforms properly—there’s always an unladylike bit: an untucked shirt, an unbuttoned blazer, a loose tie, sneakers instead of Oxfords, and of course, she’s the one in the group voted most fun to be around. Don’t we all want to be the best time. I think about what it even means to be ladylike as a woman. Once upon a time, my father told me to be a little lady, in the middle of a department store shoe section. I still hate him for that. Lady is code for woman to be controlled. I cannot be controlled. I will not be managed—I’ll roll around in shorts and crop tops for the rest of my life—the whole womanchild aesthetic of dressing down for success or I don’t care what you think about me, because I’m a wonder, and I don’t care about you. I own the room. I overline my lips, throw on a pair of boy shorts and a mesh bralette, ready for the home video of fantasies— it’s my moment of splashing out of the water.