Introduction by Halimah Marcus Jun 12, 2023 Issue No 578 The Perfect Beach Weather for Every Gender Written by Marne Litfin Recommended by Halimah Marcus “Neither of my girlfriends would take me to the beach.” So begins “Daisies” by Marne Litfin, in which the narrator's friend, Miller, drives from Binghamton to Philadelphia to do what their girlfriends won't, which is take them down the shore. The narrator is the third in a relationship with a married couple. A throuple, one might call it, but they prefer the term “murder,” as for crows, because “throuple and polycule were straight people words that sounded like science projects.” Litfin writes with the energy of a perfect summer day: bright, fun, cathartic, and satisfying. Though the weather may be perfect, the beach is nonetheless fraught. The narrator's complicated feelings about their gender are intensified by the sartorial expectations of the swimsuit. They have purchased “a one-piece spandex thing,” sold to them by the algorithm. “Instagram, I eventually admitted, knew more about my gender than I did,” writes Litfin, with characteristic sardonic precision. Miller is further along in their transition—they take testosterone, they've had top surgery—and together they discuss their changing identities and bodies with a fluency that can only exist between great friends with shared experience. The murder is glum and losing steam (the keystone marriage is falling apart) but the platonic chemistry between Miller and the narrator fuels the story. Miller is the kind of friend anyone would be lucky to have; from the moment Miller arrives, their conversation is alight with inside jokes and effortless irony. The narrator is free to misspeak, and to recover, to bumble around in confusion, to get held down by a wave, and to come up for air. To read “Daisies” is to be invited inside that friendship, and to be reminded that the greatest gift in any relationship, romantic or otherwise, is the freedom of being loved while also being yourself. – Halimah Marcus Editor, Recommended Reading Photo by Didssph via Unsplash There's something viscerally appealing about nesting dolls. The same holds true, I'd argue, […]
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