Pepperpots and Trouser Shocks: Cross-Dressing in Geek Culture

Cross-dressing is wrong? Riddikulus!

You’ve seen the movies, you’ve read the books; cross-dressing is a common theme in fiction. It’s in mythology, history, folklore, literature, operas, plays, movies, television, and even music. Most importantly though, it has caught the attention of the alternative and dare I say? nerdy aspects in the pop-culture experience that we call life.

There are a few different kinds of plot points based on cross dressing. A very popular one, especially by those such as Shakespeare is one I like to call: Girls in Caps and Trousers. Women dressing as men have been both a cultural and historical phenomena. Some are trying to find their lost loves, some to fight in a war, and some just want the same privileges and opportunities their brothers get. Since there are many of examples of this particular trope (Japanese anime has hundreds of them) I will stick to only a couple.

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Fanfiction Fridays: Secret Keeper by ermalope

Personally, I’m not the biggest slash fan. Oh, I’ll read it. I’ll read the hell out of it. But there’s always something about a story that doesn’t involve slash that just pulls me in. Of course, seeing as this is fanfiction, finding one that’s slash free and well written presents a challenge in and of itself. This brings me to Secret Keeper by ermalope.

Spoiler Alert! This doesn’t happen.

This particular fic features a budding friendship between, of all people, Severus Snape and James Potter. I’ve actually read a number of believable fics between these two—surprisingly slash fics, but I digress—but this one is probably my favorite.

During the first war with Voldemort, when the Potters go into hiding to protect their son, Dumbledore suspects that one of James’s friends has betrayed them. Furthermore, they need a secret keeper Voldemort would not suspect. Though James and Lily are adamant in choosing either Sirius or Peter, Dumbledore suggests—you guessed it!—Severus Snape.

This suggestion does not go over well.

And it’s nice to see that it takes both a while to convince the Potters and Snape that this is merely the safest option, and not that it is a ploy by Dumbledore for entertainment value. And while the fic is mostly very serious, ermalope does spice it up with some added bits of humor, especially in the dialogue.

Dumbledore finished his tea and said, “So, to business. Can you guess what this little side project of yours will entail?”

“Not telling anyone else that I’m the secret keeper of the Potters,” Severus muttered.

“Especially Voldemort.”

“I can’t even tell him? I would never have guessed,” Severus said in the same miserable monotone. Dumbledore smiled humourlessly.

Because the Potters were in such a rush to cast the Fidelus Charm, and because they cannot leave their home for their own safety, it falls to Severus to bring them supplies every week or so, a task he does not enjoy.

Potter’s eyes narrowed, but he stepped back to let Severus in. “What are you doing here?” he spat as he watched Severus materialize out of thin air.

“Believe me Potter, if I didn’t have to be -” he stopped, and said in a more silky voice, “I’d expect more gratitude from you. I am saving your life. Part of this duty requires me to ensure that you don’t starve, as much as it would satisfy me if you did.”

Potter’s eyes, which had been still narrowed in intense dislike, widened – now horrified. “Couldn’t someone else… Sirius, or Peter, or… anyone do that?”

“Of course, Potter, practically everyone was falling over themselves to offer, but I, personally, couldn’t refuse such an honour,” Severus sneered.

This doesn’t happen either.

The friendship between the two is slow going. While James is the one to push for it more, Severus doesn’t forgive easily, and he has an understandably hard time letting go of all the horrible things James subjected him to while in school, which does halt any progress the two make in getting along significantly.

On top of all this, McGonagall doesn’t trust Snape, and she also enlists one of his students to follow him around and spy on him while he’s teaching at Hogwarts. Furthermore, once James gets back his invisibility cloak and starts going out, it creates more problems. The one scene where these two issues collide into each other in the latest chapter is quite memorable. Needless to say, Severus’s reaction to the Potters leaving their hiding place brings out a few laughs, especially because by the time that happens, he has grown to care for James just a little.

Severus almost toppled out of his desk chair. “Wha – Potter! How – WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”

“Look, Snape, I don’t like it any more than you do. But I had to contact you.”

“You could have just used a patronus, like EVERYONE ELSE IN THE ORDER!” Severus shouted.

“Where’s the fun in that, though?” James grinned, seating himself at a desk in the very front row.

“This isn’t a game, Potter!” Severus snarled.

James frowned at a potion stain in the middle of his desk, and then glanced up at Severus. “Look, I know. I do. I thought that a patronus showing up might be a tad disruptive in the middle of one of your classes, so I came here myself and waited for you to be free. We need your help.”

“What, did the Dark Lord show up at your doorstep?” snarled Severus.

“Not yet. But Dolohov did.”

Severus said nothing for a moment, but smiled lazily. “Ah. So. You’ve come to beg me to –” his smile vanished. “Hang on a second. Dolohov is right outside your house because you got yourself caught in a pub, and you react by leaving your hiding place to tell me about it?”

James raised one eyebrow. “It would appear that way, wouldn’t it?”

“How are you still alive, Potter?”

Eventually, during this conversation, the aforementioned student walks in.

Unfortunately, Severus didn’t get the chance to elaborate on those feelings, because they had been intruded upon. Charity Burbage had wandered into the classroom several moments ago and had been staring from one man to the other silently, eyes wide, for those past several moments.

They stared back. In that instant in which the back of his mind whirred for a solution to this dilemma, Severus somehow noticed how remarkably like a deer caught in the wand-light James Potter looked when he was startled.

After that instant, he came to his senses and snapped, “Can I help you, Miss Burbage?” as though she had interrupted an ordinary discussion between himself and another staff member.

“Uh –” she said. “I was just – I’m just a little early. For class.”

Severus stared at her. “Class starts in an hour and a half.”

It was Charity’s turn to blink. “Does it? I’ll go, then.” She all but ran from the room.

James smirked. “I’m a little early for class, Professor. Who was that?”

“Oh, no one,” Severus replied ferociously. “You know. Just one other person who has seen you! Not only that, she’s seen you with me! I’ll have to wipe her memory or something.”

James snorted. “And I bet you will.”

Severus continued, oblivious to James’s quip. “Dumbledore will never let me do that, of course. Maybe I should reason with him. What matters now is Dolohov.”

As of current, Secret Keeper is fifteen chapters long, with over forty-thousand words. It’s another story that hasn’t yet been completed, but neither is it abandoned. Ermalope has done an amazingly good job on this story thus far, and it is something that I look forward to reading whenever I see an update. Check it out here, and leave the author a comment or two if you like it.

Top 20 Romantic Couples in Geekdom (10 Canon/10 Fanon)

Those of us here at LGG&F worked tirelessly to compile and vote on the top 10 canon and top 10 fanon pairings in Geekdom. You have no idea how hard it was to come to a consensus on what was actually canon or not!

THE CANON LIST:

1. Princess Leia/Han Solo

“I happen to like nice men.” – Leia

“I’m a nice man.” – Han Solo

“No, you’re not.” – Leia

The space pirate and the princess, Han helps Luke rescue Leia from the clutches of the evil empire and the rest, as they say, is history. If you like couples that start off hating each other, then this is the couple for you! Han and Leia participate in many a witty jab at the others expense. Meanwhile, the sexual tension between the two is so thick even Chewbacca notices it. Sure, there was a brief and confusing time when it seemed that maybe Luke and Leia where going to get together—*shudders*—but real Star Wars fans and a blood test quickly cleared that up. Thanks, George Lucas, for giving us this great couple!

2. Doctor/Rose

“How long are you going to stay with me” – The Doctor

“Forever.” – Rose

Okay, so Doctor/Rose. The Doctor is a traveler through time and space and the last of his species. Rose is a young shopgirl from London whom he meets and with whom he travels for two seasons (all of the Ninth Doctor and the first season of Ten). They have adventures and fight everything from ghosts to Satan. The Doctor helps Rose realize her value outside of being a shopgirl while they learn new things. Rose helps the Doctor move past his depression in being the last Time Lord alive after the Time War. They are separated into parallel universes while saving the Earth, but later reunited. The Doctor at one point is separated into a Time Lord and human self, and the human self chooses to return to the parallel universe with Rose because he can commit to her in a way the Time Lord Doctor cannot.

The Doctor and Rose share this intense love of discovering new things even when they’re potentially dangerous. They sort of have an unspoken understanding that they love each other (it’s not verbalized until pretty much the last time you see Rose). Their relationship involves a lot of hugs and lust and shared amused looks/eyesex, etc, etc.

3. Willow/Tara

“I am, you know.” – Tara

“What?” – Willow

“Yours.” – Tara

Both witches Willow and Tara meet at college in a Wicca group where they discover they are the only two real witches. After several altercations with monsters, Willow and Tara begin to grow closer, leading Willow to question her previously assumed heterosexuality. Eventually, Willow follows her heart to Tara, and since then the two have been one of TV’s best same sex couples.

4. Xavin/Karolina Dean

“This is my beloved’s home, and now it is mine. I will die for it. Will you?” – Xavin

Karolina Dean is an alien that absorbs solar energy into her body and can shoot it back out at you just as fast. She is an openly lesbian character in the Marvel team known as the Runaways. Xavin is a shape-shifting gender-fluid skrull prince/princess who is engaged to Karolina. Their relationship starts off rocky. First, with the two teenagers coming to terms with their marriage, and then with Karolina struggling over the fact that Xavin is not always a woman who she is attracted two. Despite this adversity and the constant bad guys trying to kill them, the two manage to find an enduring love for the ages.

5. Usagi/Mamoru:

“Mamoru, please say it once more.” – Usagi

“Again? But I’ve said it fifty times!” – Mamoru

“Please? One more time?” – Usagi

“Okay, for the last time. Marry me, Usagi.” – Mamoru

Whether we’re talking about Serenity/Endymion, Sailor Moon/Tuxedo Mask, or even Serena/Darien, these two lives are always linked. In the manga, anime, musicals, and live-action series, their relationship varies in its depiction but their devotion to each other can’t be denied. I’d like to talk primarily about their relationship in the live-action series, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, because this incarnation of the story has the most unique depiction of their relationship.

Unlike in the anime, the two develop feelings for each other as Usagi and Mamoru first, rather than realizing they were lovers in the past and beginning a relationship from there. The affection they have for each other is so strong that Usagi’s crush on Tuxedo Mask is actually eclipsed by her feelings for Mamoru after a lot of distress on her part as she sorts out her feelings. When the pair learn of their past in this series, unlike every other incarnation, it nearly destroys their relationship, rather than solidifying it. They learn that their affair was essentially the downfall of both their kingdoms in their past lives and at first try to stay away from each other to avoid repeating the tragedy. They realize, of course, that they can’t simply stop wanting each other and decide that they will not be ruled by their past, that they choose to love one another now, in the present, despite the probability that they are doomed to bring about ruin by doing so. It is this choice that I think strengthens the Usagi/Mamoru relationship as opposed to the “Miracle Romance” of the other incarnations of the story. This is not to say that I don’t think their relationship in the manga/anime/musicals is any less true or beautiful, just that the implications of fate working against them, as opposed to, in their favor makes their choice to be together that much more impressive in PGSM.

6. Westley/Buttercup

“As you wish.” – Wesley

One of the greatest love stories you will ever read anywhere and also one of the funniest. Westley starts out as a poor farm boy working for Buttercup. She mistreats him horribly, but soon she falls just as madly in love with him as he is with her. When Buttercup thinks Westley is killed, she abandons hope and nearly marries an evil prince, but Westley soon returns, because, well, “death cannot stop true love; it can only delay it for a while.” Buttercup and Westley also share one of the greatest kisses in all of history. If you don’t like these two, then you might just have no heart.

7. Jane Eyre/Edward Rochester

“I know no weariness of my Edward’s society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together. To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character—perfect concord is the result.” – Jane Eyre

Jane and Edward are not the typical lovers. They are twenty years different in age; she is poor, obscure, and little, while he is rich, well known, not handsome (though does posses a fine pair of dark eyes), and while athletic in build, is not particularly tall. They are not beautiful in body, but they are in mind. Jane is plain, but she has a sprightly and empathetic disposition, coupled with a strong sense of justice and a surprisingly quick temper. Rochester is dark and brooding—*swoon*—with a sarcastic sense of humor, but he is passionate, especially when it comes to Jane (Bow chicka bow wow). Their love is not instant; it grows through the time they spend together and the trials they are put through. Though they have societal differences, it is their spirits, their mutual affection, and compatibility that make them such an amusing, beautiful, and ultimately romantic couple.

8. Apollo/Midnighter

“God, I just love you to bits sometime.” – Midnighter

What to say about Apollo and Midnighter? They where originally introduce in Stormwatch, which was in a universe outside of the normal DC universe. It has often been pointed out that these two characters are simply the gay version of Batman and Superman, and while they do share many similarities. They are also extremely badass superheroes willing to kill for those they love. The two are subtle about their relationship in the beginning, but soon share their relationship with their teammates. They eventually get married and adopt a little girl. Word to the wise though, super villains, if you mess with this family you may end up without a head… or worse.

9. Arwen/Aragorn

“I choose a mortal life.” – Arwen

“You cannot give this to me.” – Aragorn

“It is mine to give to whom I will. Like my heart.” – Arwen

A timeless love that crossed cultural divides and racism. Arwen gives up her immortality to live a short life as a mortal with Aragorn, despite her father’s disapproval and the concerns of her people. There is actually not much said about Aragorn and Arwen in the actual series, though there is plenty in the book’s massive appendix, as well as in the movies. Arwen’s and Aragorn’s love is pure and sweet, the kind of a noble knight for his faithful lady. It’s a classic that we love.

10. Joker/Harley

“Aw, c’mon, Puddin’. Don’tcha wanna rev up your Harley? VROOOM VROOM!” – Harley Quinn

What’s a romance list without a little mad love? A bad one, that’s what! Harley and the Joker don’t have a stable relationship, not by any means, but if you ask fans about comic book romances, they will more likely than not mention Harley and her Puddin’. Let’s be serious: their love is deranged, sick, twisted, and maybe a little bit sweet. The Joker himself worries that he might care too much about Harley in some comics. Unfortunately, that doesn’t bring about a change in Joker; it just makes him want to kill poor Harley! Well, Harley can change him right… no, probably not.

THE FANON LIST:

Kida/Anri/Mikado

Kida, Anri, and Mikado all are high school students that secretly run different gangs in the city. Yep, anime… go figure? Despite running rival gangs, the three maintain a friendship and eventually work together. Their love is epic and there is just too much of it for one person. So maybe Kida had some other girlfriend—screw her! She wasn’t nearly as cool as Anri and Mikado! Congrats to our list’s only OT3.

Dean/Castiel

Move over, Wincest fans! Profound bond coming through! Only two pairings were almost unanimously voted for on this list, and Dean and Castiel were one of them. An angel and his hunter, the eye sex alone may be enough to point out how totally in love they are. Castiel fell from heaven and died for Dean twice. Castiel is the first person Dean has ever trusted that wasn’t family (Bobby doesn’t count; he was basically their dad). Dean, however… insists that he’s straight… yep. But the fans know Dean is lying. And to prove it, the fans dominate every online couples contest. Castiel and Dean won best couple in a poll done by Spoiler TV, and are now going head to head with Faberry and Klaine (both from Glee). Castiel and Dean, their love is heavenly!

Snape/Lily

Another paring almost unanimously voted for by our writers. Snape always loved Lily. Always. Fans of the Harry Potter series adore Snape so much that his happiness wins out over the birth of Harry Potter. A slew of fanfics were written describing the beautiful love between Lily and Snape. After all, JKR admits that James was Lily’s second choice… because you know, Snape called her a mudblood, but if he hadn’t done that she totally would have married him, because she loved him way more than James. Snape and Lily, in the minds of fans, they will always be together.

Batman/Superman

They’re best friends, best buds, best pals! They are as close as two men can be… Let’s be honest, Batman and Superman are a little into each other. There is a reason Apollo and Midnighter were created, and that reason is that fans saw the sexual tension in droves. The relationship between Batman and Superman rivals that of even the most avid Batman/Robin fans. Their love is chaotic and often filled with problems, mostly because of Batman’s abandonment issues, but despite all this fans are convinced it’s Batman and Superman forever.

Sam/Frodo

There are several Tolkien scholars that would smack me over the head right now if they new this couple made the list. Sam and Frodo are war buddies… brothers… okay, fine, lovers trying desperately to save Middle Earth despite only having each other, and I guess Gollum, to rely on. So this may be one of the most contested pairing on this list. Some people love them; some people hate them. But hey, if they found some happiness with each other during these troubling times, who are we to judge?

Kirk/Spock

A fandom that boldly went where no fandom had gone before! Kirk and Spock hold the honor and distinction of being the original slash pairing. You don’t want to mess with Kirk/Spock shippers. Like all things that involve Star Trek, Kirk and Spock are a pairing ardently defended and upheld by the fans. And who could blame them? Both characters are bachelors for life and seem to only care about each other and a ship. Okay, that may be an over simplification, but you see my point. When Spock is going through the Vulcan mating cycle of Pon Farr, it takes rolling around in the dirt with Kirk to help him find release. Ladies and gentleman, the original slash pairing!

Jason/Kimberly

They’re the ship you shipped before you knew what shipping was. Well, maybe that’s only true for me, but whatever. Throughout the first three seasons of Power Rangers (IIRC—Jason left sometime in the third season, but I may be mistaken) and especially in the episodes prior to Tommy’s arrival, there were strong hints that Jason Scott and Kimberly Hart were romantically interested in each other, or at the very least shared a closer bond with each other than they did with the other Rangers. From the beginning of the show, when the group was in danger these two always seemed to seek each other out in the chaos, for protection, for assurance that the other was safe, for shared strength. Whatever the reason, they almost invariably grabbed or at least looked to each other in moments of peril. Classroom scenes and schemes which involved splitting up often shows Kimberly and Jason together, and even when Tommy and Kimberly were dating, for the time Jason remained on the show there was still a closeness he and Kimberly shared. Jason/Kimberly shippers got the biggest gift of all in the form of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie which, as far as I’m concerned, made the couple canon.

France/England

The characters in Hetalia are anthropomorphized countries, so France/England is based partially on the diplomatic history between France and England, like they reimagine a proposed treaty between the countries as a marriage proposal, etc. England is portrayed as a stuffy, superstitious, sort of uncool guy, whereas France is a flamboyant, womanizing/… manizing, wine- and food-loving layabout who solves his problems with love.

Light/L

Ah, what can be said about L and Light? Their relationship certainly isn’t healthy. Much like Harley and Joker, there is a lot of abuse and manipulation happening here. Unlike our two favorite clowns, however, there is a mutual respect and understanding. There is also the kink factor. L handcuffs himself to Light in order to ensure he is definitely not Kira. Boy, did that spawn some porny fanfiction. And show of hands who thought they were going to make out in the rain in that last episode? Yes, I said last episode! Are there episodes after L? No, there are not, but there is always fanfiction.

Harry/Draco

Harry stalked Draco all through book six of the Harry Potter series then saved him from fiery death in book seven. Draco loves to pester Harry all the time, but we know he really just wants Harry’s attention. This couple is probably one of the most intense love/hate relationships on this list, but as every fanfic everywhere has said, there is a fine line between love and hate. Harry and Draco prove that more than anyone. So what if both Draco and Harry got married and had kids with weird names? That’s actually an alternate universe, thank you very much. We all know that Harry married Draco after the events of Deathly Hallows, that’s just fact.