emma b. says

Friday, March 06, 2009


I drove out to nowhere, to shoot guns. With dudes.

I have never been around guns, repellent and alluring. Things of death, things of power, things of men.

But when a bunch of dudes that I work with invited me to shoot trap, I thought, well why the hell not. I did not have a liberal freak out, I had a fucking (pun deliberate) blast.

I am reasonably certain that I was the only woman at the gun club, I am not sure what I expected, but this is what I saw. Flood lights and construction without aesthetic put up just to the left of marsh lands and close enough to a prison to put the fear or the hunger into the jailed. And men, lots of men. I walked through the door and a the crusty old coots in their cammo with their protective glasses and their ear protector thingies slung around their necks shut their craws as if an alien had just entered their midst. It was really fucking strange.

First thing. Guns are loud, the report is sharp and quick and cutting, cordite snakes to the ground, I can still smell it on my fingers. Guns are loud, louder than on TV, but only if that is the only reference, a report, an involuntary shudder. I felt floods of adrenaline.

As I was the only woman, and the only total newbie, and since men are wont to demonstrate, I got good lessons, I will not disavow that I did not work it just a little bit, not to be flirty or damsel in distressy, and polemic feminists will surely flame me for saying it, but it was interesting to play the paradigm. I am hardly helpless*, I know they knew that, it takes a certain amount of salt to dude things and be dudeish while not being afraid to be a girl, especially when one has no designs on fucking any of them. Also, advantage mine, I am a pretty decent tennis player, and I am really good at darts, the principal is the same, keep your eyes on the pigeon.

They gave me a short barrelled 12 gauge pump shot gun. You are five in a line, you shoot five rounds in position and switch, 25 shots, a box of ammunition. You get to yell "pull!", which is almost as fun as pulling the trigger. Pull! The clay pigeon sails into the night, sight, pull the trigger. BANG! The butt kicked into my shoulder, my head spun, my nostrils burned, I heard white. I missed. I laughed. I was totally hooked.

Two boxes of ammo later I had felled many clay pigeons, out shot several of the dudes, my shoulder was throbbing, I was slightly deaf, was freezing my ass off, was wildly exhilarated. The dudes were pleased with their student. And you know, sometimes I think it takes a girl, who will whoop and holler to make the others drop their pretense of manly stoicism and whoop and holler, too.

It was just what I needed. It didn't entirely quell this continental restlessness, but the joy of mayhem, of proxy violence was invigorating. Nothing quite like hitting a clay pigeon and watching it shatter in the night under the flood lights, when the grass beneath your feet is tinged red with spent shells, a little bit cowboy, everyone drunk on imaginary bloodlust.

*I got home and dudes had been in my house. Have I mentioned that my brother's bandmates are building a practice space in my basement, it's true, also true that I might be possibly nuts. But home I came and cold it was. No heat. Panic. I was cold all the way through, went to the basement and contemplated the behemoth that is my furnace, turned tail and fired off an email to the dudes, halp! I said, you've ruined my heat and I am cold! I was instructed to google, I had visions of blowing up my house and/or freezing to death. My brother stopped by this evening and nonjudgementally (honest! fatherhood/sleep deprivation has mellowed him) showed me the switch that had been jostled. Oh. Then instructed me to change the filter, stat. Oh.

Now, more on gender dichotomy, perception edition. Word got out about our shooting party and in the course of conversation with dudes who are friends with the dudes who were there this is what came back to me... I apparently showed up in high heels and lipstick and proceeded to blow some shit up like a mother fucking femme fatale. Now for the truth, I was wearing wedge boots, with a two inch heel, because they are comfortable and also water proof. I had on rolled up levis. While it's true that I was wearing a kicky raincoat, it's my only raincoat, and it's very functional. I was, indeed, wearing lipgloss. It was subtle! It's also true that I had my hair up in chop sticks, but only because it's slightly less lazy than a ponytail. Jesus, by the telling of it, you wouldda thought I'd shown up in a ball gown. I was both flattered and baffled. Had the thought that maybe this is how myths are born, some cordite besotted engineer mistakes a pair of rainboots for a pair Louboutins (who, wha?).

And the bruises, the tangible, that imprint on my body? I have a perfect square on my arm , on my inner bicep, just beneath my shoulder where the gun slid down the super fabric of my kicky raincoat, the right length of the butt of a rifle. Currently crimson, I anticpate the day it turns that sallow, sufuric chartreuse. I wear it with pride, like the badass that I am.

Onto the nerdgasm - OMG, BSG! How fucking great are the writers, Anders as Ship. I swear to Gods I heard the collective ecstasy of dorks dorking the frak out (me included, what, go out? don't you know there are only THREE episodes left of Battlestar Galactica) End transmission.


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