Saw Khloe in the hall today, and we sat in a lounge talking while she ate lunch. I showed her my Boston pictures, and she didn’t run screaming from the room, which was a good thing.

A graduate student came in to get lunch and to lie down on the couch, but Khloe and I just shifted into talking generally about things, being careful to avoid touching on anything particular.

Or so I thought.

Tonight, Miles and Khloe called me to say that another grad student had told Miles that he had been told by the couch-resting student that Dr. Bailey and Khloe were having a very strange personal conversation that seemed to touch on the performance of gender, drag, sex changes, and that sort of thing, and she was speculating that Dr. Bailey was having a sex change.

“I protest,” said I to Miles on the phone. “I don’t do drag.” đŸ™‚

In all seriousness, I said, I figure there’s no point in writing her and saying “forget what you heard” because that will simply confirm her suspicions. Miles and I talked about the full disclosure with the truth hidden in plain sight, as in Poe’s “The Purloined Letter”), which would go thusly: “It’s not professional to talk about personal conversations you have overheard. And even if you were to talk, you ought to understand what you think you heard before speculating. Dr. Bailey certainly doesn’t do drag, but he and Khloe are definitely interested in gender as performance, in how we construct our identities through our dress, our mannerisms, and our language, and he would be happy to share his research thoughts with you any time, if you’re interested.”

I don’t know if that will keep things burning slower rather than faster, but whatever happens, it’s all going to happen in a few months, anyway.

I’ll be at school tomorrow and I’ll see if grad students eye me suspiciously (or, I should say, more suspiciously than normal).