I found myself in the shade of a tree, hiding from the midday Sun of Zaragoza, Spain this past July. It was arid hot and desert dry, like the days passed, and in a few hours I would travel to the nearby Pyrenees mountains for some fresh air and misty inspiration. A friend was sitting with me under the desiccated palm tree that was providing us protection and respite from that blazing Sun. I knew her feline ways as a brilliant pole-dancer and performance artist, as well as the fact that she wore a headband with black cat ears every time I saw her.
In the heavy silence of the heat of the moment she reached into her backpack to ‘break the ice’ and handed me a new pair of ears she had made. “It’s a gift, try them on and see how you feel” she said. So I did, and at first I did not feel different or unusual, but because of the way she formulated the question it made me wonder… How would others feel about me with these ears on? Would they react or treat me differently? Would I be ridiculed? Should I be ashamed of wearing them in public? Why don’t we all wear ears all the time?
Not long after rattling through these questions in my mind I had reached a decision, I would be fearless in adorning those two triangles of black felt upon my head for a month to come. I considered it a social experiment as well as a personal challenge with an element of fun involved, so in early July I put on my ears.
Yes, they became my ears.
The month-long experiment was certainly humorous for myself and others, and I happily can state that whilst traveling Spain, France, Denmark, and The Netherlands my concerns of ridicule were unfounded. Rather it became my own way to ‘break the ice’ by invoking a simple and discreet “meow?” to both strangers and friends, and it certainly made a lot of little boys and girls giggle and laugh as they saw me challenge society’s boundaries of decorum. Over time I became accustomed to my ears and would even forget to protect them whilst showering or when going to sleep. They became my ears but also in a certain sense a part of me as well.
I wore my ears for 55 consecutive days, until the day I was compelled to shed them. Symbolically they marked the end of the Summer and the coming of a radiant Autumn, personally it was also about returning to a more Human self and consciously deciding not to integrate a ‘black cat’ into my personality. Nevertheless those ears remain mine, and I will forever have a special bond with those little bits of black felt fabric and the adventures it lead me to pursue.
My investigation was curiously puuuurrrrr-tastic.