A father lifts his daughter to pluck one of the last remaining apples from the nearly barren tree in front of us. She smacks her head on one of its many fruitless branches and promptly starts wailing, piercing the idyllic scene around us. Behind, I hear the boldest little boy in Westchester County attempting to scold his mother for daring to take him apple-picking "when there aren't any apples."
"Don't you love being sterile?" my boyfriend says to me, and we both laugh.
In a perverse act of unadulterated straightness, upping the ante on the whole t4t heterosexual roleplay thing we've got going on, the guy I'm seeing borrowed a friend's car and took me apple-picking upstate last weekend. We'd missed the season's peak and climate change is real, so most of the trees were as barren as the womb that neither of us possess. But we didn't go for the apples, really. We went for the experience-because boys and girls do that. If going to Dia:Beacon is the blowjob of New York cuffing season, then apple-picking is like the blowjob with a spooning session after. It meant that we were doing this. It meant this might be real.
As we pulled into Wilkins Fruit & Fir Farm, passing at least a dozen dead ringers for the Christian girl autumn lady on our way to the parking lot, my boyfriend remarked that he'd been here before and proceeded to tell me an absolutely preposterous story.
Apparently, he'd gone apple-picking at this very s
ame orchard three years prior with the woman he was dating at the time-a cis femme who also happened to be a lesbian. The date was actually a triple date with two other trans man/cis femme couples. He told me that the relationship didn't work for a number of reasons, but the clashing of their mutually invalidating identities-her being a lesbian and him being a bisexual, transsexual man-certainly didn't help. A pairing like this might seem incompatible, and it very often proves to be, but such couples were quite au courant in the late-aughts queer communities that helped gentrify Bushwick and Williamsburg, as the Rhys Ernst film so accurately captures.
As the fag and dyke communities merged over the decade that followed and trans people realized we could just date each other, the trans man/lesbian dyad fell out of fashion. The idea of it now seems almost quaint, like plague doctor masks or Cold War duck-and-cover drills, but that wasn't what struck me as preposterous about my boyfriend's apple-picking story. No, what struck me as preposterous was that he had planned an apple-picking date with an all AFAB crew. If you're partaking in an activity that involves reaching up and grabbing things hanging from moderate to great heights, wouldn't you rather bring a trans girl along?
I know this is reductive, even verging on stereotypical; lots of trans women are short, and plenty of cis women-from Megan Thee Stallion and the tall girl from Tall Girl to Elizabeth Debicki and Peppa Pig -are perfectly statuesque. But I'm not plenty of cis women. I'm just a tall girl, standing in front of a short boy, asking him not to feel emasculated when she helps him grab the apples all the children swarming around them can't reach.
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