I adore these Bettie Page Latex Kitten Mittens. Who doesn’t like Bettie Page? Who doesn’t like mittens? Who doesn’t like to slide into some mittens and gloss them up and go out into the world as a disabled dominatrix? I put my mittens on, and I feel downright regal and concupiscible.
“I was never the girl next door,” Bettie Page reportedly said. And I was never the girl next door, either. I’m very disabled. You don’t get to be “the girl next door” if you’re disabled. I have many disabilities. Shall I list them for you? Who are you that I would list them, and do you wear kitten mittens?
It took me forever to recognize that my dominant identity — that I know what I want, and when, and how — is just part of who I am, as innate as my limp. I thought everybody was a dominant. I thought everybody knew that dinner would be at 8 p.m., on the dot, and that they would not be cooking it. At the very least, I thought I was just “type A,” maybe a bit picky. So for a while I moved through the world as a dominant without knowing I was one.
I bought these on a whim from the Hustler store in Charlotte, North Carolina, six months ago, just because I wanted them, and they’re affordable: $28. I adore the sound they make when I snap them on. I adore the snug fit. I adore the fuck-all they give to the medical profession, the same profession that judges my pain and finds it worthy or unworthy of relief. Doctors and nurses usually wear the latex gloves, not us patients.
I wear them all the time: alone and out in the world, morning and night, to sightsee and to drive. Who wants to pump gas with bare hands? I’m wearing these mittens, a bit of a misnomer — they reveal my fingers and thumbs — as I type this up, and I’ll wear them tomorrow night for the “star party,” a tour of the sky at the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Texas. Who wants to handle a telescope after a stranger?
Some latex is too restrictive for me. I do not wear anything I have to squeeze into. I do not hold my breath to get dressed. These mittens only take a week to soften. Like a pair of boots, wear them and break them in. They feel like cashmere.
“Because we embody meek, we get more stares,” my longtime crush said late one night on the phone. She’s disabled, too.
We disabled people are often supposed to be meek. We are supposed to be so grateful for any little anything. We are supposed to take the prescription, take the pills, and take the pity. Take the ramp to the back entrance, behind the restaurant, next to the dumpster. Smell the rotting fruit. And smile.
Nothing meek about these mittens. If they’re a statement piece, then the statement is, “I’m having fun. What are you doing?” Plus, they go with everything. I wear them with jeans and tees or dresses and emeralds. I wear them for a feeling, a mood. I don’t need anyone else to approve, just like I don’t need a submissive in order to be a dominant. My sense of self does not depend on someone else.
That’s another thing I love about wearing these mittens as a disabled dominant: I don’t smile unless I want to. I don’t answer to strangers who ask, “What happened to you?”
The question, for me, has been this: Do disabled dominants exist? Or are disabled people always thought to be default submissive? Can I exist in this world? Am I free to do that?
The mittens make me feel free. I can wear them plain, and they look like driving gloves. Or I can dress them up with Uberlube. It only takes three or four drops, and they shine for hours. I wear the mittens and I become who I am and more than.
I’m saying, in my gloves: We disabled people are not your submissives.
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