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Rose By Any Other Name

Rose By Any Other Name

Rose By Any Other Name

by Cora Dawn Taylor

Kate Winslet always reminded me of my mom. Maybe that’s why, even to this day, I get defensive of Rose from Titanic when people call her stupid or shallow, or when they make those trite remarks about how there was “more than enough room on that door for Jack,” or how she “shouldn’t have thrown that necklace in the water and wasted those people’s time.” When people call Rose dumb or self-absorbed, I get mad like I got mad when I caught my dad cheating on my mom. Don’t go behind her back, what, do you think she’s stupid?

My mom looking like Kate Winslet also robbed me of an early opportunity to realize that I might be bisexual. That infamous “draw me like one of your French girls” scene was many the awakening of a young queer girl, but not me. All I could see was Mom.

There’s not enough redheads in the world, so they all remind me of Mom, really. Except me – I don’t. When I look in the mirror, I see Mom’s hair, but beyond that, I look like John Travolta trying to cross-dress his way into a women’s Weight Watchers meeting. I don’t have Mom’s stormy green eyes or her stately, slightly Rubenesque figure. I have Dad’s flat ass and a back like a bag full of ropes.

Anyways, I’m married now, to a guy who looks like James Dean if you squint. So it doesn’t matter if I’m bisexual or if I look like someone on LSD tried to draw out what it would look like if Nicholas Cage had fetal alcohol syndrome. I sure did get grossed out though, when my mother-in-law told me about the time she walked in on my now-husband jerking off to Titanic as a teenager.

Cora Dawn Taylor has been finding solace in personal essays and memoir-style writing since she was young enough for her school guidance counselor to call her mother about it. Cora likes poetry that rises unbidden in the mind, weeks after it was last read. She lives in the suburbs with her husband, a gray dog, and a dozen crispy houseplants.