In Praise of Dirt Girls
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
By Stevie Dance
Some of this information has been whispered to me, impressed upon me, passed down to me, carved into my arm, so I do not forget. Use it, as you will. Burn it, if you feel nothing, and if you want to feel something but don’t, just burn it still.
The illusion that we are all on the same page has been torn apart in one’s mind so formally this past year, it is important to mark this period as a plot less one, where everyday is a day where being on the same page, seems less and less likely.
Since this period began, this mass of flip flopping ideals, I have spent an exorbitant amount of time in hotels and on planes. I have spent an exorbitant amount of time feeling fine in foreign places where I should be feeling misplaced. Indeed, feeling misplaced is now a saved notion for newspaper reading and political conversations, conversations where almost all prior logic seems to have been abandoned by most.
Instead, here are the things I do still know.
I know how to wheel three bags and a purse, in unison, from the car to any curb, to any terminal through any revolving door, all on my own. I know how to pack those bags, with rigor and discipline and still allow for random acts, be it waterskiing or an evening out eating Roquefort cheese that potentially may pop up. I know how to say goodnight in a handful of languages, with a sense of goofy neighborliness. I know where to find green juice and on what corner, be it in New York or in New Mexico or New Hampshire even. I know what hotel in South Korea will make a plate of vegetables at any hour of the night and serve it in one’s room with a lily and a view of Mount Namasan. I know which hotel in Paris (the one on Rue Faidherbe) surprisingly, has a Haman in its basement and the best bio store across the street. I know where to stay in Milan if one wants somewhere very quiet to finally get some rest; the spot that serves only peanuts and stray pizza but that has those big beds and remarkably, not much noise. “…Room 311…Room 1524… Please ask for 1906”, you find yourself typing to Steph in corporate travel, via email.
Indeed I know all of these tiny things, mindless things, subsequent details that make working on the road seem more acceptable but yet I do not know with any certainty, why three of my five work associates did not vote, or what one may hear any world leader divulge on twitter today. I do not know with any certainty how anyone now genuinely feels about the equality of the sexes or about human rights, about the value of the intellect above the dollar and about whether this introspection called the selfie, is a manageable or in fact diabolical epidemic.
On a good day, I am staying at the Dirt Hotel. It is a shaky open space, with discreet music playing and golden sun and surrounding palms that dance so well, they can cripple one’s productivity. I started staying here when I met the Dirt Girls - the women here (or anybody who chooses to identify with them) who are characterized by some noticeable traits. They are the ones, often in a positive power stance, holding court in whatever they consider to be their unique power suit, be it a paper bag or pants, or pvc or Prada even. They don’t pretend to be pimple free or pubic hair free or smell like roses. They smell like normal; sometimes like sweat and sometimes like hard work and sometimes like the sea. They are the ones with feathers in their hands, which they use to tickle their imaginations and the imaginations of others, who put pen to paper and whomever they call family, first. They are the ones who want equal pay, who meditate on love, who give love, who laugh often and cry out to the kink and the coy and the crumbs of good temperament still left on the common table. They are the ones who cover everything at the hotel with white floating sheets, sheets that make the couches feel like little puffs of breeze. They are the ones who think eating plants is wonderfully satisfying; the ones who drink rain water and red wine and own a pet bunny named Free Speech, a bunny who is able to come and go as it pleases. They are the ones who sleep without any walls around them and most importantly, any ceilings.
Dirt Girls everywhere will tell you it’s the dawning of a sort of Wild West existence for us all; where roughness and lawlessness seem to have permeated the day to day; where the lawless are our politicians and our press and our police as much as they are our civilians and there is no centralized form of existence; where social fabrics have been shredded and are yet to be rewoven.
You are sitting on the plane when you hear lawlessness ring out from a Kennedys’ mouth too, Bobby not John, during a program playing about pictures and Henry Benson, but you don’t remember any of that. You just remember Bobby talking about peace and wisdom and replacing division, replacing lawlessness with love. And you think of them then, The Dirt Girls.
Formerly known as the Land Women, this is their handbook.
Chapter 1 to 100. How to be a Pioneer. How to take control of your environment, your skill set and your know how. How to dig your hands deep into the dirt and not let the worms scare you. How to not fall prey to the plastic molds that your television praises or those billboards press into you. How to not pick yourself apart with flaws or prick yourself at all, with all those plastic perceptions. How to cherish your body and your real live flesh, your intestines even. Interconnected we all are! How we are all interconnected and how to value that. How to value your economic capabilities and your desires. How to eat from the earth. How to awaken your ambition. How to be your own Deity when and if you go looking for one and you come up short. Dirt Deity! Dirt love! Dirt Family! Dirt faith! or any faith even, it goes.
It’s Sunday, and bonnet television is on across the board. The Handmaidens’ tale, particularly popular and the rise of watching the oppressed, is all the rage. You can’t help but notice how it must be a sign of the times. How interesting it is that every woman relates to the standardized, oppressive and authoritative content on those bonnet tube shows. The digital gen even wants bonnet blue content. Who could have predicted this? Apparently HBO. Later you read in The Times that demonstrations against gender discrimination and the infringement of reproductive and civil rights are taking place in Washington and this time, people aren’t just watching bonnet stuff, they are wearing it. They are wearing bonnets to march around The Capital in and though you don’t feel you need a bonnet, you do understand how metaphorically relevant it all is once more.
Later you hear a Special Edition has made it to the independent printing press. “The Dirt Girls on Revolutionary Reflection”, suit up! The Dirt Girls on defying gender binaries. The Dirt’s who praise the marginal, the deviants and the chic too! CC Wolfe. CC Sontag. CC “Zoe Moss” who is CC us all perhaps. Sisterhood is powerful! You pull out your old copy of said book that you once found on Amazon Prime for a deal when you first began wanting to read more on the ideals behind the movement. It has the etchings in it from its past owner - a library in deep Minnesota. It has its Dewey system notation in it, as well as, Weeks Memorial School inscribed in it and then this; the word DISCARD stamped inside it in big, black, ink that has smudged a bit.
DISCARD? You think not. In fact, you think never!
Instead you find yourself wondering just whom you should pass it onto next.
Sister to Sister.
Burn On Dirt Girls.