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Dreamed 1996/8/6 by Chris Wayan

Portrait of a hot redhead I meet on a future Earth.

I'm visiting Earth, centuries in the future. It's populated entirely by women now, except for tourists and a few male immigrants. A plague, or a social movement? I'm an offworlder, but as a woman I can often pass for native, so I see things male tourists never do. I'm surprised how comfortable I feel in an all-woman society, though its rules are nothing like my era's.

I meet two young women. One, a tall thin redhead, is cute and seems interested in me, but she's brassy-voiced, intrusive and artificial--really jangles my nerves. So I talk mostly with the other girl--a lanky brunette, quiet but sincere. I like her. Because she's from a small tribe living by the Great Lakes, called the Chicagos after the famous ruins near their village, her nickname's Chi--pronounced "shy", not "chee"!

You know, I'm more comfortable flirting and socializing here than back home! My usual nervousness has evaporated. And I didn't think my shyness had a thing to do with men, but... they ARE what's absent here, after all! A controlled lab test, and it came up positive.

I'm making some headway with Chi, despite her loud rival's intrusions, when suddenly I stop and LISTEN to what I've been saying. I'm claiming to be of a neighboring tribe--the Hurons, the Canucks, or was it the Motowns? I even try to mimic Chi's thick tribal accent. When I've never even been in the area--I'm not even from her world!

I WANT to blame the loud redhead's interruptions for this, but I've lied--put on a false face to fit in. And I didn't even NOTICE! What a hunger to conform, to belong!

Losing my guilt is not enough.


Cute lesbians = Yesterday in our food co-op I saw two girls in love. I envied them. So I asked my dreams for practice-encounters with women. My dreams comply, and what do I do? I lie! That hungry to fit in! And the dream warned me it's NOT due to guilt or shame about being male--for even when I'm a woman in an all-woman society, I lied in order to conform! Why?

And then I learn why:


My housemate Lily's success-team meets in our kitchen, to work on grant proposals. A tall thin redhead named Rae comes early, and we talk a bit. A startling resemblance to the redhead in my dream, though I don't find her obnoxious--I rather like her.

I'm hungry and cook a quick meal as the team slowly assembles round the kitchen table. They're all women. While I wash up and prepare to leave the kitchen to them, Lily entertains them with the news of her latest singles-ad date. "So it slowly comes out that he's still living with his ex, they still sleep together now and then..." Though I'm washing dishes and can't see Rae, it sounds like her laughing "Oh well, all men are liars."

I feel a flash of anger, and say as lightly as I can, "I'll be out of here in a minute; then you can say things like that FREELY." They ignore me entirely. And suddenly this uncomfortable situation seems horribly familiar--if you switch sexes, as I did last night. The guys are sitting around dissing women, while the invisible wife washes dishes...

Well, now I know why I had to lie in my dream. Because I'm a man, and all men are liars--even if we're women in the night.

After the meeting, Lily apologizes for Rae. "She's single again, and looking, but she's sour on men--that breakup with her boyfriend was bad." Was my dream warning me not to date Rae? It sure alerted me to take her sexism seriously, not make allowances the way so many women do when men say such things.

I tell the dream. Lily laughs. "No wonder you were a woman in the dream! Rae prefers girls."

I didn't even know she was bi. But I guess my dream did.

Hey, I can be taller! I can be female! Just love me! Love me! Love me!

Wait--do I even like you?

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