As a proud and radical queer, I, for one, am not going to let an insidious heternormativity infiltrate my life and choices – especially when someone is earnestly trying to help me. This is why I rhetorically circumscribe how the queer self discursively constructs and experiences of taking so-called “sound advice”. In an effort to examine and ultimately deconstruct the boundaries of queer love and friendship, I refuse to take my friend’s advice to “open up a bank account”.
While some would say this advice is “very good” and might “help me”, I refuse to kowtow to these mainstream ideas of what it means to be a queer body existing in a capitalistic society. I also don’t know exactly how to do it or what the purpose of one actually is. And whether or not we take an essentialist or post-structuralist approach to this question, I will not give in to the indelibly heteronormative position of “earning interest” on “my money”.
This radical act of queer subversion (re)makes the material possibility of “taking good advice”, and forces us to question the meaning of “good advice” in a radical queer context. What is a “bank”? What counts as “advice”? And why am I still sleeping in an attic that I pay for through a barter system? My eight years of grad school have left me little opportunity to engage in the praxis of so-called “adulting”, and as my friend would say, “it shows”.
I am deeply questioning the validity of participating in this power exchange if its discursive and material performances do not radically transgress common ideas of a “friendship” and “being able to pay my cell phone bill”. The performative aspect of “giving me advice that will really, seriously help me get out of this mess” recuperates heteronormative, hegemonic tropes and gendered power relations that, in some instances, appear to be incredibly anti-queer?
No matter how much this performative act of not taking help costs me, I am willing to explore the erotic possibilities and power dynamics behind not taking good advice from people who care about me because it is both problematic and requires talking to a person in a suit – and isn’t that the most Queer act of all?