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I think I need to write about the character of "Max", introduced in Stranger Things s2e1, but I'm not sure how. The feelings she sets off for me are very primal and fundamental, and her interactions with certain other characters in the story trigger old feelings of inferiority and dysphoria.

Character summary: Max is a very competitive and active girl of about 13 or 14. A piece about the show describes her as "a tough and confident girl whose appearance, behavior and pursuits seem more typical of boys than girls of this era." The four boys (Will, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas) who are arguably the joint protagonists of the show are immediately enamored of her, and this is only enhanced when it is discovered that Max is the one who has beat Lucas's long-standing high score across multiple games at the video arcade. They begin essentially stalking her; she makes her objections known to them. Dustin is inexplicably convinced that she will ultimately fall for him.

I don't know how to convey the feelings that these situations bring up for me.

I'll try starting with the obvious:

  • She's well within the range of "the girl I always wanted to be" but would have settled for being her eternal friend.
  • For most of my life, I would have thought I was just another one of the boys, and would have to compete with them on that playing-field in order to have the opportunity to even attempt to establish a friendship
  • ...even though I would have not been seeking a romantic relationship.
  • ...at least, not as a primary goal.
  • And I would have felt it a violation of my principles to "compete" with anyone for anyone else's attention, much less attempt to do so in a male role, so I would have just stayed in the background and hoped for some situation that would bring us together on a more equitable basis.

It all just hurts.

I can't ever be that.


Or is it that I can't ever connect with that? Here we are again with the feeling of not knowing whether I want to be someone or be with them.

I want to feel protected by someone like that... but I'd also want to protect her. (Is this duality common with lesbian couples?) The idea of that fierceness grabs my heart and won't let go.

Also, comparison with Jenny:

  • Max is angrier than J, but J was kind of angry, and that was one of the things I loved about her.
  • They're physically very similar, including hair-shape (but not color).
  • Max is more aggressively non-girly than J (but J was also quite non-girly most of the time) ...but without actually being what I'd call "butch".