“If he wraps his arms around me, / it will be the rest of his life. / I don’t even know what I am  /in this dress; I just sway with/ my arms open and wait.” (Jones 29)

There is a sense of helplessness here. The speaker feels empty, he lacks self. He feels uneasy at this selfless-ness and is willing to give himself to a man just for a role, a part in someone’s life. “If he wraps his arms around me” signifies an ownership, a feeling that you have a right to touch someone. But it is not just a touch of the arm, a hand at the waist. The arms are wrapped around, enveloping the speaker. If the speaker is encircled, then he will become this other man’s. “I don’t even know what I am” he says, and he feels an intense discomfort with that, with the dress, with the situation which has, in fact, been in part caused by the power (known to us not only by his financial status, but also the speaker’s belief that he can simple be taken by him) of this other man. So, the speaker sways; he has considered his lack of self, his emptiness, the dress enveloping him. To be stationary is to think, and he will no longer be stationary. He is dressed up as something he does not want to be. But what does not wanting matter when you are no one to begin with? He opens his arms and waits, feeling as though the decision is better left up to fate, to the other man in the room, perhaps to greater powers—whether that be a cosmological will or simply a man with higher status than he. However, the speaker is done thinking about it. Instead, he watches—not willingly nor unwillingly—but without a choice in the matter, his identity hang in the balance.

One thought on “Drag”

  1. I agree that Jones has a feeling of helplessness in “Drag” . Jones feels uncomfortable by his willingness to submit himself to another person but he is so used to it, it seems. The small feeling of worth gained by ‘ownership’ might make it better for him to cope with the shaky perception of his identity.
    I think that another line might support your ideas as well, “the dress begins to move without me.” I chose this line because it parallels with Jones’ desires to have a body of a girl in “History, according to boy”. Even though Jones is wearing a dress in this poem his perception of himself doesn’t align- he does not feel beautiful. I think this further supports the fact that Jones cannot cultivate a good relationship with himself no matter how hard he tries.

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