Flashback to cave before Misha was born

“Your hair is growing back,” said Pavel one day.

“Yes. It makes me feel more feminine. I don’t know what the point of that is up here, though.”

“I like it.”

“Again, should you? And should I like you liking it?”

“Do you?”

“It doesn’t matter. Neither does feeling feminine really. Things are what they are, and there is a certain response to them, but what do feelings matter?”

“They motivate people, for better or worse.”

“People want to be fed and sheltered, then they want to love and be loved. One’s relationship with a person they are attracted to, and to their own sense of gender identification have a lot to do with the latter, but people can choose to fast from both. They can also fast from placing significance on those feelings about those relationships. Especially if they are disordered. As ours is since I am married to someone else.”

“So are you going to cut your hair again or not?”

“If I do, it seems presumptuous about your attractions. If I don’t, it also presumptuous about your lack of attraction.”

“I like your hair long. Cutting it seems mean to me and to your sense of femininity.”

“Not cutting it seems self-indulgent.”

“The Bible says it is your covering and it is shameful for you to cut it like a man.”

“Again, the female Saints that have lived as a man to prevent temptation.”

“That was in an age where women were property of men, and they had to go to extraordinary lengths to keep from presenting themselves to men. Nowadays men are expected to relate to women without taking possession of them.”

“But isn’t it cheating to flaunt something so flagrantly meant to be sexually attractive?”

“You could put it up.”

“But doesn’t that introduce a desire to let it down?”

“All this talking about hair is making me want to run my fingers through yours.”

“Then I should cut it.”

“No, wait. Beauty is an energizing, motivating thing. One response is to possess beauty, but I think this response can be channeled more constructively. If you keep up your feminine appearance, it could make me feel more joyful about our hardships in living this way. If you cut it, it would add another daunting struggle.”

“Then I would still feel a bit like a kept woman: one who gives favors to please a man.”

“But what about you? Wouldn’t you be pleased by my admiration and your own beautiful hair?”

“Yes.”

“If my admiration tends towards too intimate thought processes, as long as you aren’t being too flagrant in shaking it about or displaying it provocatively on purpose, then that is my own struggle, and not your fault.”

“And if I yield to temptation to run my fingers through it with you in mind, and you similarly capitulate to the thought, haven’t we lead each other into temptation?”

“You really overthink things. We can just both like your hair and leave it at that.”

“Fine,” she said with a toss.

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