Faces in Focus: Looking Californian, feeling Carson City
September 3, 2005
Pink spiky hair, tattoo-covered arms, an adoration for Jesus and the girlfriend by her side. For Athena McIntyre, it’s not easy being a woman in Carson City sometimes, but it’s usually satisfying just the same.
Twenty-four-year-old McIntyre isn’t hard to spot around town. She makes no attempt to “fit in,” and in fact often takes the stage to stand out.
She can occasionally be found in local venues singing with a band called Wickerbox. And from time to time, a lucky soul or two may even catch her at a random sit-in with a local musician, punk rock attire and all, for an incongruous rendition of something like “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” which ultimately provokes jealousy from the happenstance audience for no comprehensible reason.
McIntyre has lived in and around Carson City since she was 2, switching homes, schools and towns several times. The local population has ballooned in that time, making locals wax increasingly nostalgic for the days of small-town life.
But to McIntyre, there’s no need for nostalgia. The change in size hasn’t had too great an effect on the character of Carson, from some people’s point of view.
McIntyre’s short, frequently changing hair, tattoos, piercings and quick-to-laugh personality all still draw the same effect they might have 20 years ago.
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“Oh, I get stared at all the time,” she said. But it doesn’t matter.
Sometimes it’s even good. It reminds her of the impact one person can have on the people and the world around her or him. If the reaction is positive, great; if not, well, that’s their problem.
Then there’s the matter of her sexuality, combined with a strong faith in God.
McIntyre sees no contradiction between being a lesbian and a good Christian. She’s scoured the Bible for advice and found only things some people must have misinterpreted. Moreover, those who make pronouncements about homosexuals going to hell might want to get ready for some fiery pits themselves.
“Those people are judging, and they are sinning in that instance,” she said.
In a bigger town, such a disregard for mainstream tastes wouldn’t elicit the stares, glares or even the smiles and “wows.” It wouldn’t be necessarily common, but it wouldn’t be salacious, either.
McIntyre has thought about going somewhere with more variety, or maybe it would be better to say less homogeneity. She still thinks about it. But for all the reasons for striking out, there is at least one reason to stay home: She’s happy here.
She’s got a job as a barista, a band to sing with and a girlfriend.
Her plan, if it can be called that at all, is to “Follow what God has in mind for me.”
“I don’t plan the future,” she said. “He does.”