“Judy: Is absolutely sure of the existence of ghosts. Mostly because she can communicate with them, and feels a need to help bring them peace. Nick: Initially only joining for the paycheck, Nick at first dismisses Judy’s claims, but then sees evidence she may be for real. Is slowly starting to be more aware of the supernatural. Also, the crush on the cute bunny helps too. Finnick: They promised him a paycheck. He still doesn’t know why the hell he’s gotta put up with this bullshit, but the paychecks are good, so he guesses he’ll deal with this insanity.”
For God’s sake, Kent thinks to himself in
the “personal care” section of the grocery store. Why does Dove think I’m allergic to purple just because I’m a guy?
He picks up the lavender-scented bar soap and inhales. It smells heavenly. Next he tries the sandalwood-scented from the men’s section. It comes in a
gray box and costs fifty cents less. It smells good but it reminds him of floor
I’m a grown-ass man, Kent thinks, and buys
the lavender soap.
The next time he’s out of body wash, he spends thirty minutes
trying to decide on one of the many “manly” smells before caving to “Cocoa
Cabana” in the women’s aisle because it smells like Valentines Day in a bottle.
After that it’s his deodorant body spray, trading in “Bold” (whatever the fuck
boldness smells like) for “Fresh Cotton.”
The first time Jeff catches a whiff
of it on him, he asks, “New fabric softener? It smells awesome.”
“Nah, switched deodorants.”
“Huh.” Jeff nods in approval. “Well, you smell like fresh
blankets out of the dryer. I have a physical urge to hug you.”
Kent laughs. Jeff hugs him and he laughs more. It’s nice.
After five months, nearly every toiletry Kent owns has been
switched over from an endless variety of blacks, grays, and occasional dark
greens and blues to white, purple, soft brown, yellow, and pink. Showers have
transformed from a perfunctory necessity to something luxurious. Women’s
products are so indulgent.
They make Kent feel and smell like he’s been at a spa. He does have to learn to juggle the fragrances appropriately or
risk smelling like a perfume store vomited on him. But it’s worth it, for how
good he feels after. He feels pampered. His skin is softer, his hair shines,
and even his pits and crotch look and feel cleaner. He doesn’t know if it’s the
products or because he really cares about the maintenance, now, since he’s got
all these specialty items to try. It doesn’t matter. He feels great.
Kent now has honest-to-God bubble baths and detox-salt-soaks.
He’s got body butters and face masks and a lip balm in almost every flavor. The
ladies at the Lush at the mall know him by name.
Kent’s still single. He’s got his cat for company, though, and
the guys, who drop by or come over for movie and game nights and get drunk and
eat all his food and pretend to chirp him for the specialty lemongrass-scented
hand soap in his bathroom. Sometimes, on roadies, Swoops will plop down next to
him on a bus or a plane and say loudly, “Damn, who’s got chocolate and
isn’t sharing? Oh, it’s just Parser. Fuck you for getting my hopes up,” and
then he’ll noogie Kent or grab his fingers and gnaw on them.
(The coaches have had to break them up before and it’s very
unbecoming of two adult men.)
More than once, one of the guys has fallen asleep next to Kent
and ended up face-first in Kent’s shoulder. They’ll wake up blearily, rubbing
their eyes and saying, “Whoops, sorry man, didn’t mean to drool on you.”
Kent was confused at first but he’s realizing that it’s because they gravitate
towards the scent of him in their sleep. He smells like comforting things:
honey and chocolate and cotton and Shea. He smells like warmth and safety. It’s
why he likes all the things he buys, so it makes sense the guys would like
Nobody rags on him for it. They chirp him, but that’s different.
Chirping, light-hearted and giggly, means acceptance. Soon his teammates start
coming up to him in the locker room or nudging him on a bus and
saying, “Parser, can I borrow some of your stuff?” and leaving with
key-lime lips or cocoa-butter hands.
But it’s when he catches Sunny—big, burly, greatly-bearded d-man
Sunny—pulling a bright orange tube of passion fruit lip balm out of his bag and
slicking it on in front of everyone that he knows for sure that it’s okay.
Excuse me while I get extremely emotional for a minute. Last night I was blown away how amazing The Doldrums was. Every single second was absolutely beautiful. But something that really astounded me, and has since his introduction in A. Malcolm, was how Yi Tien Cho’s character has been portrayed.
Representation matters. A lot. But what’s more important than simply having POC represented on in mainstream media is the production behind that understanding *why* it’s important. How it affects the people watching – both POC and non-POC alike. Because whether we like it or not, mainstream media – television in particular – shapes how people view the world and how they view cultures not their own. I was so moved by it I had to tweet this out to show my gratitude.
Maril + Caitriona liking this tweet is so much more than a simple like. It shows that the cast + crew alike understand that, yes there are people like me out there watching. People who were absolutely terrified that my culture was going to be reduced down to a caricature rendering of outdated stereotypical views. These likes were reassurance. These likes meant, “Yes, we see you. Yes, we understand. We see the value.” Simple statements that nearly moved me to tears.
This production not only understands these failings of an originally poorly and offensively drawn character, but they didn’t take the easy way out. Instead of taking out his character entirely, pushing him to the background with no lines or meaning to speak of, or whitewashing him to the point of unrecognizableness, they decide to go that extra mile. They gave his character depth, meaning, purpose – they gave him true life for the first time ever. And most importantly they gave him and all the viewers respect.
I will never not be grateful to the entire production for this change and never not applaud them for not caving to the pressures of a dominantly white Hollywood culture. All my praise and applause to you, Outlander. Thank you.