I had an alphabet poster as a small child, with pictures of objects and items whose first letter began with the appropriate symbol. Except for "X" which read "X as in fox" with a picture of the animal, grinning slyly underneath. Smug at having snuck in there rather than at the more expected "F". A mixture of both secretive and sticking out like a sore thumb. Not following the rules and being noticed and special because of it.
The controversial status of the cross carries on beyond childhood challenges and into adulthood. X-rated. X marks the spot. Put your X in the box. We talk about our "exes, those lost lovers still attached by virtue of a letter. X is always transgressive, things blocked out or under erasure - a replacement for a word that cannot be spoken in polite company, or something that is unknown. We try and resolve X in equations. It is also, and at the same time, bold and definitive. X is X is X. A known unknowable within maths, language and society. A placeholder that is a signifier in and of itself. An X is traditionally as good as a signature for those without writing - even now, Xs are commonly used to signify where one should sign documents. X crosses out that which went before and puts itself in the foreground.
Foxes and Xs go hand-in-hand. Mysterious, chimerical, refusing to be pinned down or to ascribe themselves to any sort of fixed position. Strange, curious and fascinating. They resist gender stereotyping and appear male, female and many things in between. Foxes get around, linguistically and literally: almost every culture has a story about a fox. They are hard to eradicate. They are also, like Xs, sexual. Fox sounds a bit like "fucks", and along with their trademark scent there is something a little dirty, a bit of the earth about them.
This is all a rather roundabout way of saying that I've solved my problem with femdom titles, as well as decided on my next tattoo.
5 weeks ago