Christian with an E

Christian with an E


The first item of clothing I can remember is a dress I wore in preschool.  It was either purple or blue with little yellow flowers and a small yellow bug button on the front pocket. The reason I remember this dress so well is because my friend in class had the exact same one, only hers was the opposite color. Because of this dress we became fast pals and had a friendship that lasted through grade school but ended in junior high after I found a note stuffed in my locker. The letter said we could no longer be friends and was signed in soft penciled cursive by her and everyone in our circle.  (Kids are jerks and we happily became friends later in life!)

In junior high I was a jock. I used to kick all of the girls as hard as I could during gym soccer games and once during dodge ball I caught four balls at once. A boy in my class was so upset about being beat by a girl that during a jump rope challenge he whispered repeatedly, “you’d better not beat me Christiane.” Until in a frenzy he tripped over the rope leaving me the undisputed champ.

For eleven years I was the only girl in a family of four boys. I had no idea that girls had to act different from boys not even when my dad would yell “Why do you want to act like a boy?’ All I could think was “what the fuck difference does it make?” and continued to wear shorts under my skirts just in case I had gym class and forgot.

Christian(e) Joy is my name because my mom is a Born-Again Christian. My mother always says “Oh Christiane Joy, the lord told me not to put an e at the end of your name and I did it anyway. Now no one can say your name right!” Instead I get called Christi-Annie as in “Here comes Christi-Annie Hultquist around the track in lane one!” Once recently I called the doctors office to make and appointment and the receptionist told me that I was spelling my name wrong. “That can’t be right,” she grumbled. This is the reason that I drop the e and now go by Christian, which of course has its own set of problems. I get mail for Mr. Christian Joy and emails desiring internships to work for this male visionary Christian, “His work is so inspiring!”

Until I was nineteen I had long hair. My mother said it was a covering for the Lord. I used to have dreams of kids sitting behind me and accidentally tripping and pouring glue all over my head forcing me to chop my hair off.  My first short haircut was copied from a look I saw on Amber Valletta in a 1993 issue of Mademoiselle. It was cut at the JC Penny salon in Iowa City by a sweet redhead named Kelly. He cut my hair until I eventually fled Iowa for Chicago and began shaving my head, inspired by Sinead O’Connor and the model Eve.