I can feel it in my body.
My chin drops and I start looking through my eyelashes. My head tilts to the side as my shoulders move back, bringing my chest up, arching my back and sticking out my bum. My mouth curves into a smile, and I sense a twinkle in my eye.
It is the coquette response, attentive and engaged, flirty and attracted, and when I feel it come over me, I know that my feminine interest is alive.
I don’t feel it often, but last night as I watched Jacques Pépin show some essential ways of cooking seafood it kicked right in. Mr. Pépin is a sliver fox now, but his gallant and debonair handling of both food and women has caught my attention for years now. He has a professionals touch and an artists flair, being both practical and elegant.
I have enjoyed watching him partner with women. In a few series, he handled grandmother Julia Child with aplomb, even as she was deliberately provocative and playful. Other times, he has brought his daughter Claudine onto the show, a “not very adept cook,” as one magazine called her, teaching and teasing her as they shared a kitchen. He has even hosted his granddaughter Shorey Wesen on television, being every inch the adoring grand-père.
Every women knows that one of the best ways to understand a man is to watch his interactions with other women. If other women find him charming, well, then you probably want to get to know him too
I would watch the episodes with his daughter and imagine having him as a doting father, partnering me with grace and fun. I wanted to see his wife, to see what kind of woman was lucky enough to have this man in her life everyday.
It should be clear by now that I have quite a crush on Jacques Pépin. I will never meet him, nor do I really want to, but when he cooks on the television, I watch.
More than that, I feel the coquette response, dropping my defences and engaging him in a very visceral way.
As a transwoman, it is so very rare that I let myself feel that way. I have learned to be defended and wary, always on guard for the “third gotcha.” In the world, I very, very rarely just let loose and allow the coquette response to take over my body, very, very rarely feel safe enough to drop the defences and open up to anyone.
Those moments, though, are moments that resonate for me, moments I remember, because they are moments when my feminine heart just drops its shields to be engaged, open and vulnerable.
I know that I have the coquette response wired into my heart. I know how to melt, flowing around another person to embrace them and draw them inside of me.
I also know that as a transwoman, so much of that softness has been denied and wasted as I was too defended and ashamed to open to the world around me, letting it in and letting my own heart visibly and vulnerably blossom. My crushes were always and still are policed heavily, from long experience of difficult results.
Still, it’s nice to feel that coquette response when a charming man cooks for me, even if I know I never will get to share in tasting his beautiful food. It reminds me of what is still there inside of me, reminds me that somewhere, I am still alive and very powerfully femme.