Monday, September 29, 2008

Poker In the Rear or The Gift of a High Chthonic

I’m embracing being a hybrid. I know there’s been some whinging and whining about the plagues of puberty so I must insert (an active male pursuit!) this secondary assessment: this shit is fucking fascinating! I’m my own Petri dish!

I have periods (ugh that word) of deeply surrendering to the experience, the momentum, of hormonal chaos theory. I wish to be as present for this once-in-a-lifetime ballroom mosh-pit as it is possible for this little human to be. It remains a challenge. I have spent decades perfecting the dodge, the emotional mute-and-neuter, an inelegant shell game of “now you feel it/now you don’t!” I make a daily commitment to be available for this thing, this transition.

Sometimes that looks like me thinking “you know, I really don’t want to do this! This just seems too freakin’ HARD. I like being a woman just fine!” My inclination is to suppress this incipient revolution, nip that shit in the bud, as it were. But, in the parlance of the New Age, I have decided to honor these feelings, to pay attention, to give them voice, and meaning, without criticism, without upwardly rolling eyes, or repression. Being as I spend a good half of my interior monologue eye-rolling, this is not as easy as it seems.

I was stroking my upper lip hairs in my circular magnifying mirror (you can’t really see them otherwise, and did I mention I’m kind of a chronic skin poker? It’s calming to me.) when my manlitudiness got elboned to the rear by my perpetually stricken inner-child. “Is this what you really want?” she asked. “Do you really, really, REALLY, want facial hair? Or is it what you think comes with it that you want?”

Well that’s a good question, Inner Child. What comes with having facial hair? Razor burn, ingrown hairs, sexy man-ness, something more soothing to stroke, a soup-strainer, an attitude – POWER. And BOOM, there it is. I want the power. You betcha. I want me some motherfucking male privilege. What is that going to be like? Will I actually get any? Dear me: I feel it’s like some prize in the bottom of the Cracker Jack box. (foreshadowing: my favorite Cracker Jack prize? The tattoos o’course!) In my women’s studies class we read this remarkable piece about white privilege, white versus black, and some of the differences were so nuanced: “I can eat with my mouth open and not be seen as an example of my entire race.” What’s going to happen when I read as a full-on penis smuggler? What kind of noblesse oblige will I don; will I become amnesiac to my previously disempowered


Speaking of penis, fully half the people I tell I’m transitioning go straight to surgery. That’s the first thing they ask me: when am I getting The Thing? We are clearly not watching enough Discovery Channel, people. Or even Jerry Springer, for that matter. I have no interest in sporting some man-made pantswurst. I’m sure, like many a transman afore me, I shall long and pine hard (!) for some manifestation of my phantom limb, but for now and perhaps for always I feel very very okay not having downstairs surgery. It’s also interesting how willing people are to ask me that, without any foreplay. They go right for the cock, every time. Is bottom surgery a transgender cliché? Or can they not imagine a man sans dick? I reckon I was raised on the surgery train myself – Christine Jorgensen, Renee Richards and wotnot. I reckon the people don’t know, and me and my furrying thighs are simply going to have to school ‘em.

I used to fantasize about having a dick for a day. What would I do with a dick if I had one? What wouldn’t I do! But now, my fantasy is that people see me, for a day, the way I really am. That I, too, could look in the mirror, and see the man Sam. I get glimmers, shimmers of masculinity like a mirage of a gas station on Route 66. And then, whoosh, I drive past it. Again, the thing right here right now is to enjoy the ride. I’ll never, ever, do this again. Pay attention, Little Trans. To watch this evolution, this mutation, this infinite unfolding into only God knows what, is nothing short of miraculous. To participate, Divine.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Smokin in the Boy's Room

When I was in Junior High, there was this boy, Joey Melancon. He was beautiful. 70’s aesthetic – that perfect longish mop of dry, almost frizzy hair; his torso 70’s skinny, the kind of lean and burgeoning 14 year old boy muscularity that always, in my mind anyway, conjures the letters “NAMBLA."

His girlfriend was this stunning redhead. I mean breath-catchingly stunning, at least to me, who, had there been that option in 1974, would’ve worn an oversized black sweater and black raver pants so I could swim in contented isolation in the shadow of my own insecurity.

By 1975, a mere two seasons later, Joey was a different boy. He had begun to pursue me, ask me out, which was thrilling – you have no idea the fantasy life I had conjured for both him and her, and I can tell you plainly I wasn’t featured anywhere in that – but here’s the thing: he just wasn’t as beautiful.

His face, 6 months later, had thickened. Those epicene, Grecian features were no more. He looked almost horsey, his facial bones having elongated in the hormonal tumult, his brow protruding. Of course I went out with him; I could find traces of my Joey in that quixotic visage and I was too delighted to have been asked out at all by someone I had perceived as popular, with whom I had spun an albeit fragile architecture of romance around, to say “no thanks, you look like a horse and you’re not actually as interesting in person.” *

I hate my hair and my skin is coarsening.

Like it or not, and I do not, I have entered That Awkward Land of Puberty. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve lost some weight or because, seriously, my skin texture is changing – it was so lady-soft and delicious, one of my best features – but I’m starting to get forehead lines and jowls. Now, the adolescent critic is nuanced and flaw-seeking; he pores over each detail with a nasty magnifying glass and a clever collection of cruel observations. I cannot escape this wanton abuse because it’s from me; the best I can do is pay it no heed.

I just feel ugly. Between boy and man ugly. I’ve got pimples for crying out loud. I had this thing, this look, as a lesbian; it was cute and girls liked it. Now I feel like my hair sucks – it’s unbecomingly short, but it is more “male;” my torso is muscling but my legs and hips are still a jiggly paean to the glories of the full-figured female; I’ve got a penchant for straight chicks I NEVER had before, even though that’s often whom I’ve attracted and I suspect heterosexual women find this awkward boy-woman-man (bowoman!) unappealing or even creepy, which speaks more to my newly detonated adolescent insecurity than my actual real-time appearance.

I shall not be attending the sock-hop, thank you very much. You can’t make me. I’ll be smoking cigarettes behind the gym.

I’m not a pretty boy. The application of aesthetic is different for men, I have to remember that. I noticed, on my transguy friends, that their skin is more lined than mine, and they look thicker and rougher. Like guys. That’s part of what happens. It’s mortifying that my nose feels like it’s growing proportionate to, erm, other changes, but that’s what I get for wanting to be a man, right? At some point I can stick a moustache under there to balance that shit out, right? I’ve always loved large noses, especially on men, so what’s the big deal?

Joey wasn’t beautiful anymore. I wonder if he grew into his masculine, adult beauty. I imagine he did. I have got to drop all these ideas about what I’m going to look like. Everyone tells you up front, when you begin testosterone therapy: you don’t get to pick and choose the effects! You’re not going to love everything that happens to you!

Of course, when you hear that, true to your impending adolescence, you think “you’re stupid and old and you don’t know anything.” Or something like that. I’d read the stories, of hair sprouting in unexpected, unimaginable almost, places, hair receding alarmingly in others, smells and oils and feelings and discomforts, but I don’t think anyone ever said “you may not be pretty anymore.”

Alas, I’m no longer a lass. I’m going to have to amp up the self-confidence. Chicks dig a confident man, and a funny, secure dude can sometimes find ingress where a handsome or pretty lad cannot. And it is, after all, all about the ladies. That seems to be writ in stone, and no amount of skin-sloughing oatmeal scrub shall blast it away. So wish me luck, and if you see me, please take pity. I'm Quasimodo just now, gimping around the bell-tower; Cyrano De Bergerac, watching the cool young dudes dance with his lady to his own tunes - aw HELL NO. I've got the adolescent's disproportionate egocentricity too - I forgot. I'll just charm the pants offa ya.

*he was very sweet and still gorgeous but adolescence is the HARSHEST CRITIC.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Is It Hot In Here Or Is It Just Me?

Ass hair. That’s what I’ve got. Ass hair.

I was giving myself a little trim (like to keep it neat and tidy!) and I felt like there was more there than there had been. I’ve always had the ass-crack hair; for someone who is as smooth as a seal everywhere else, my secondary sexual characteristics, while strategically placed, are abundant.

So I bent over in front of the mirror and lo! There it was. Like the smolder of an oncoming wildfire, I watched the march of finer black hairs encroaching on my cheeks. Not on my face, where I would like them. On my butt. My ass is the least lovely part of my physiognomy and is probably muttering under this new indignity, but as I told it last night, “maybe it’ll hide some of the other stuff!” I like to see the ass as half full, you know.

I crave a beard. Long. Yearn. Ache. My face feels alarmingly naked. This is more dysmorphic I think than aesthetic; it’s another manifestation (man-i-fest!) of testosterone’s enhancement of feeling disconnected to my physical appearance. What will I do when it actually happens? How will that really feel? Can you imagine – it’s such a dream phenomenon, like flying, or your teeth crumbling in your mouth – witnessing a mess of hair growing on your body? I dearly hope it will feel more like flying than teeth crumbling. Once I dreamed a spring onion was growing out of my forehead, and to this day I can recall the physical satisfaction of plucking it from my face.

Yesterday I had coffee with what I internally refer to as “The Five Fingers of Gay,” which is an amalgamation of me, three guys, and our hilarious fag-hag lady friend. I like to think of us as a Gay Super Force for Good. I won’t relinquish my gay status just yet, although as a burgeoning straight guy I’m certainly more queer than gay. One of my friends is black, and he points that out a lot. He’s clearly uncomfortable in whatever milieu we’ve “forced” him in. When you’re at the Weaver Street Market for Sunday’s brunch you don’t see a lot of black people. I say “well I’m a tranny so I got you beat for potential discrimination” and we high-five.

But I don’t really feel that way. I was just irritated by his insecurity, and I needed him to stop placing himself outside the herd. I needed him to be one of us, The Five Fingers of Gay. I’ve placed myself squarely in the center of gang of outliers* and I need us all to hang tight, be a unit. Stop being a black man for one goddamn minute and FIT IT with the rest of us misfits. I know that constant discomfort, that ingrained, autonomic assessment, like you have an LED readout on the bottom right-hand sight of your visual periphery giving you an endless scroll of information about who is safe, who is potentially armed, where all the exits are. I can use my trans-status to both get attention (“hey look ma, I’m trans!”) and to assure my place in the hierarchy of separation.

When I talk with this man I rarely think of him as black. He’s who he is. I think of him as pretty, actually, more than anything else and he reminds me of my 2 year old “nephew” in Austin so I love him reflexively. Just as my scan says “Gay, black, cute” or whatever, I’m tossing that to the rear and hanging out with my bud. People probably don’t scan me as transgendered, or they do, but they’re talking to Sam, whoever that is to them. Why do I insist, then, on bringing it up every two minutes sometimes?

It is a novelty, I’ll grant myself that, and I haven’t gotten used to it exactly. Plus, it’s very exciting. It makes me excited, and that makes me talk about it a lot. I want to clap my hands together and grab people by the shoulders and shake them with excitation. It’s delicious. That is a nice counterpoint to the fear, the worry, the anxiety about being a freak, or just plain old changing 180 degrees from who I’ve always been. Joy versus shame. So I’ll embrace that today, and do my utmost to not use my evolving physicality to segregate myself from the rest of humanity. Remember Sammy, ass-hair is what separates the men from the boys.

*which makes me the middle finger.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Extravagantly Human

It’s all Jessica’s fault. I came to murkily out of a dream where I was rather half-heartedly whining to my father about him changing the channel to watch football. It sounds unimpressive, but in that Bizarro-land dreamworld context it was a nightmare. I woke up with the thought that it was somehow about becoming the gender I’ve suppressed all this time. In the dream I was watching a station I really enjoyed and had found real happiness in, and I left the room for a snack and returned and the grownups had changed the channel.

It’s Jessica’s fault* because I immediately started “writing” about it – this at 5:22am – and continued to do so until I forced myself out of bed an hour and a half later.

To discover you’ve been living a life in a body someone confined you in, to question, every day “what is it I am, exactly?,” to occasionally want to rip the literal flesh from your bones with frustration and grief in a child’s tantrum of exhaustion and not-knowing, to experience at a molecular level that the only thing, the only source of stability is that vague, amorphous, indefinable, unknowable supremely UNSTABLE divine consciousness whose whim and strange plan you seem to be at the mercy of is to be…is to be me.

I walked into the women’s locker room yesterday like I do every time I go to the gym: with eyes downcast, averted from the granny flashers (old women love to stand around naked at the gym with one leg up on the bench, airing their cooter and chatting away.), the young bronzed UNC athletes, the middle-aged die hards. I’m afraid they’ll clock me; I’m terrified that one day my head will raise and my eyes will accidently meet some unwise and angry crone’s and a mob will form in the locker room and I will be beaten to death by women in various stages of health and undress, with floaties, hand-weights, and bottles of hair product. It could happen.

I’m not ready for the men’s locker room. Internally, yes – I should like to be there. Externally, I just look like a bigger and bigger butch dyke. This has its own un-tender pain too; I’ve never identified as a butch dyke (although others surely have done so) and more than ever I do not feel like one now. I feel the trans-gestalt, my compatriots’ need for unisex bathrooms, for gender neutral pronouns. I’m betwixt and between – and while it’s “convenient” to call myself a guy, even I don’t know what sex I really am.

One of the things I’ve been shown recently is how I have this pattern of attraction for mentally ill women. I know, all our exes are crazy lunatics, but I’m talking clinical. I gravitate towards a distinctly borderline flavor of woman. A woman for whom I am either saint or Satan, who abruptly 180’s, with whom I can never feel truly safe and secure because I don’t know who I’m waking up with, for whom a strong emotion (and they’re all strong emotions) can require days of recovery. When I emerged from my tepid nocturnal tantrum I thought “of course I’ve been attracted to chaos and unmanageability! I’ve been the literal embodiment of those things! My BODY, my BRAINS, my deepest sense of who I am has been held captive by a betrayal for all these years!”

So this is what I know.

The fact that I’m in such dire straights financially, that my jobs have been yanked to and fro, is not at all helpful. I pray for some relief, some comfort, a lump sum to hold back the tide and the exhaustion, so I can breathe an unhammered breath. God, in all its mercy, is a merciless critic and will not let me rest right now. I would like to know a place of ease and comfort from within, so I can stop manifesting chaos without. Will manning up lead me to that place? Will my thickening neck and shoulders, my furrying thighs, the brain that now likes diggers and cranes be that interior place of calm? You tell me, because I surely haven’t got a clue.

The upside is that none of this would be happening if I didn't feel some stability, some safety in the love and support of my dear, dear friends, old and new. That’s the mercy part: that the most genius, most kind, the snarkiest wisest wiseacres will come poke me out of my grandiose transpontification. Thank god for these men and women who all have the capacity for huge humor, or they wouldn’t be with me, who insist on enjoying this moment or at least the next one, and who are willing to sandbag my levees during my stupid hurricanes. I know stability is possible; I get glimmers of it from them and reflecting in that love is some compassion for this little man/woman, this scared boy/girl. Now if it only came with a winning lotto ticket, a tract of land, and a Bobcat I'd be a supremely contented boy.

*Jessica made me start blogging. Made me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wake Up, Wake Up, 'Cause You Do It Right

Can I just tell you how excited I am about my leg hair? Have I shared with you that I was an avid, committed, shaver for 30 years; that I found hair on my body repulsive, that I enjoyed shaving my legs? I have always understood, in fact, my enjoyment of the leg shave was I always wanted to shave my face and this was the closest I was going to get. It was satisfying beyond belief. Now that I’ve cultivated leg hair, I cannot even contemplate shaving it off. Having seal-skin smooth lady legs gives me the shudders. But before, BT*, hair was anathema. Foul even.

It’s nice not having to think about that before I go on a date or something. It wasn’t a big deal, but I do recall pointedly shaving the legs for at least 3 months into the dating. Now I’ve got to watch the chin whisks. I went out the other day and on my way home checked myself in the car mirror. Raggedy-ass chin. There’s nothing like 30 random 1/16th inch pubes on your otherwise super-smooth face. Super hot is what that is.

Women are afraid of men. There, I said it. It’s often a really vague, not-appropriate-to-real-time fear. My most recent experiences in the dating arena reminded me that the sunny sky of woman always harbors an occluding little thunderhead, and it’s usually some sort of sexual fear or shame. Women experience sexual attraction; they want to make the sexy times. But beware, Gentlespoons: they fear it too. Hence the timeless tale of the cocktease.

Most of the women I’ve dated aren’t going for Tease, for Temptress, at least not entirely. They’re afraid to have the sex. I know for me this began around the time I was seeking to lose my virginity. I would get incredibly aroused by our junior fumblings but the digital penetration was always uncomfortable. The idea of surrendering to a boy’s actual cock was really scary. Once you’re over that part, which can take years, you’ve still got to deal with a) now that I’m finally comfortable with it in the vagina, you want to put it where? and b) sometimes sex with other people doesn’t feel good. It feels rough and hurty. Thus is the tender, sensitive nature of the clitoris. So one goes through this arc of getting deliciously turned on making out, rubbing parts, whatever, but then s/he puts her/his something down there in earnest and IT HURTS.

I speculate that while men certainly can have this experience, they have it with far less frequency. I also recall my young male friends sharing their own fears of penetration; they just weren’t around pain. It was more about maintaining rigidity, actually getting in there. I had a trick who would always go soft at The Moment. It was emotional. He was a sex addict and this was his Achilles heel.

Nonetheless, while that’s potent (!), it’s not PAIN.

I’ve also heard women say “I’m afraid once we have sex, you’ll leave,” a concept which always baffles me. I’m like “you’re putting out and you think I’ll LEAVE?” But I know guys do that; they get it and git, those guys that are purely interested in conquest anyway. I’m not that guy. I can’t get it up for someone I don’t care about. I can’t get it up for just anybody either. It’s a complex package, arousal, and there are pieces of it that are as ancient and mysterious as the pyramids, which are actually old but no longer very mysterious since we’ve broken down the engineering. Arousal’s like that. If you ever watch porn (homework assignment!) you can experience first hand your astonishment at what actually gets you off. Tell me you’ve never watched a rape scene in a movie and gotten turned on, much to your horror and dismay. Go watch some midget porn, something with an old man, a gangbang, heterosexual sex, homosexual sex – whatever you intellectually find repellent – and see what happens.

Also, sex is an investment. For this guy, and for many women, it means we’ll be getting deeper (yes, deeper) into this thing we’re doing. I don’t expect it to be fantastic right away. It takes time to know someone, intellectually, emotionally, and in bed. If it is fantastic, well great! But there’s still learning to do.

Here’s my tranny conundrum.** When I date someone meaningful to me, they often want to “take it slow.” For me, that’s three dates. For chicks, that could be three months. Ladies, it’s okay. Let’s take our sweet time, but understand: your fears aren’t about me. And once you go tranny, well you fill in the blank. What I’m saying to you is I understand your fear, Mama. Baby, it’s okay, we’ll take our time, you’re awesome. I don’t want to hurt you; I really want to know you as a person. So get out of those fucking jeans already.

*before Testosterone, remember?

**no, that’s not what “we” call it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

She's More Than a Lady

I’m broke-ass broke this month. One of the things I’ve noticed about being a guy is I feel like I can’t rely on other people to support me, which as a woman I’ve done. It’s imperative that I be independent, in a new, manly way. I remember tapping into that in my last relationship, really wanting to support my girlfriend financially, which was laughable given that she made a bazillion bucks, owned a house, status car and I limped along painting houses and wiping the liquid poopies from my friend’s MS ridden ass for money.

I recognize for me there’s some chivalric fantasy – if I succumb to some wonky family-of-origin hardwiring I can default to rescue mode in a heartbeat of shining armor – and I really want to take care of my woman. Don’t mistake me here: I need an equal. I’m an insufferable ass around people I feel are beneath me. Nonetheless, I am inspired, with an equilateral, indulgent partner, to be solicitous, gallant. Testosterone has a unique way of gelling these liquid romantic dreams into a solid block of purpose, raison-d’etre.

I digress. So having lost my source of income, I’ve been lucky to have been given some work painting houses, but not the kind of house-painting I’m used to. What I’m doing is serious labor, and I’m old and tired and I work with young men. I keep praying the testosterone will magically boost me beyond lady middle-age, and to a remarkable degree it does. I am absolutely stronger and have more stamina than I did 4 months ago, which reminds me - I picked up my new vial of T today. Here’s what it says under “side effects:”

“If you are an adult woman, tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious* side effects occur: deepening of the voice, hoarseness, unusual facial hair growth, enlarged clitoris, irregular menstrual periods…”

Other side effects are “increased sweating, trouble sleeping, ankle swelling” – all of which I experience. I wish I could lug out a big, hompin clitoris and just lay it on the table like a beefy gherkin for my endocrinologist but alas, enlarged parts don’t get anywhere near man-sized, much less resemble the Jurassic weiner I sport in my mind’s eye. Forgive me; I daresay I promised both you and myself I wouldn’t talk about bits, but it is nearly compulsory in any trannyman blog.

Anymicropenis, so I’m working with these young guys who, by the way, have no idea I’m a guy too. I’m not out to everybody, just the entire internet. Guys can really work hard! Their physicality is amazing! This is no surprise, I’m sure, to the mothers and sisters out there who watched their sons and siblings consume pre-historic quantities of animals and animal by-products, who witnessed the profound changes in musculature and development of their pubescent progeny. It’s freakish almost, what many a young man can do physically and how much they can eat, and expend energetically, and exercise, and masturbate. As a woman who’s been in relationships almost exclusively with women (I said relationships, not sex – we’ve established my history of sub-clinical trampdom) I have to report that most of the women I’ve been with don’t have half the energy of men I know. Men are revved up, 8 cylinders, Big Wheels; women are Vespas, efficient, sleek, practical. Even the insanely athletic women I know – I had a gf who was fantastically buff (it was her arms and shoulders that captivated me first) who had to run, had to work out, for her sanity. We lived together for 4 years during which we spent some time with her physically and emotionally sloppy family, and I figured out what she was actually running from – would be hard pressed to do a day of physical labor like some guys I know. Although, conversely, I doubt any of these guys could spend 3 hours in Step Class** and survive, so in part it’s what we’ve trained for.

It’s impossible to discuss the differences between the sexes without tripping over my own steel-toed Timberlands. I feel like I’m slogging through a step class of stereotypes, and believe me, I would be slogging through any step class. I was just starting to type “I admire the men who show up for step” but I realized I was lying. I think the men in step class look ridiculous. It pains me that I am so deeply steeped in stereotype, so judging, and that unlike beings of superior moral fiber I will sell out my Original Sex to fit in, seem “manly.” Therein is the masculine Achilles heel. You can hear it loud and clear in the guys I work with; they are constantly establishing pecking order by feminizing their fellows.

Well, I’ll pass for a woman until I can’t. You gots to pick and choose your battles on this field – there’re so fucking many. Being a “man” is easy till you’re 40 feet up a ladder with two buckets, trying to match a 27 year old brush for brush. I find refuge in the prima facie evidence that my skin looks so much better than theirs, that I can pass for a 37 year old, if not a dude, then a something. My voice cracks, everything’s changing, and I’m an old lady on a 60 foot ladder. I can also take refuge in the fact that hybrid creatures like me can transcend any pecking order. I’m like a Griffin; I’m heraldic! Yeah, that’s the stance me and my steel toes are committing to. Just don’t ask me to don a leotard. Even mythological beings feel insecure in spandex.

*italics mine

**Who figured that out? Why is it still popular? It looks like a gimmick from the 80’s – I can never watch a step class and not think of Duran Duran.

Monday, September 8, 2008

"My Brain is Hanging Upside Down" - Ramones

I have a confession to make. This is just between us, ‘kay?

Last night I watched a show about some ultimate fighters and I liked it.

You have to understand: I hate fighting. I have never understood the appeal of watching someone get pounded, slapped, kicked, tossed or otherwise pummeled. Not interesting. In fact, I always found it to be a barbaric, disturbing form of “entertainment,” to the degree which I most certainly would judge you for enjoying it yourself.

I was painting, a tree in fact, a lyrical, almost childlike watery wash of tangled roots and spreading limbs rising from an ocean into a yellow sky. There was some show on in the background, a marketing calculation of fighters/entertainers, all with personae, costumes, tattoos. Totally stupid; nothing redeeming about it. Worst sort of pandering to inner and actual twelve year olds. These fighters were scouting for new blood and had found a tiny, densely compacted acrobat and…sit yourself down…a female. She was an ass-kicking “mixed martial arts” fighter. In my defense, this began as a personality driven “documentary,” which is more chick in its appeal than balls-out head slamming is. So I got snared with the narrative.

But then these bemasked asskickers got to the ring. It was absolutely compelling. My blood was pumping, heart stuttering; I caught myself, embarrassingly, punching the air several times. I’m here to testify: these kinds of antics used to turn my stomach.

This speaks to a fundamental change in brain dynamic. This wasn’t me “finally allowing myself to enjoy” some male enterprise. I hate this shit. And I was really into it. I felt none of the repulsion, none of the horror I typically experience when seeing someone take a fist to their face. What I’d always heretofore found disturbing I now was looking forward to seeing. The fighters got bloodied. They stood together and hugged it out after the fight and I found myself moved by their “good sportsmanship.” Yeesh.

Afterwards, while boxing-dancing to the fridge for post-slaughter prandials, I felt ill and chastened by a severe adrenal hangover. What had been an exquisite rush of power was now a human organ-fry. I was toxified, queasy.

None of my nausea, however was moral. My barometer of right and wrong had changed. I could not find it in me to respond with the same viscerally experienced respectable revulsion for one-on-one violence. Wasn’t there. Still isn’t, although I’m a tad mortified by having to record that I watched such a show (it feels like confessing to an admiration of Dog the Bounty Hunter - like, great, what’s next? Racial prejudice!? Fantastic!) much less soaked in its briny, Tag spray man juices.

I did an interior scan: had I really changed? In the mail today were my test results from the endocrinologist. “As you can see” she reports, too dry for the occasion, “ the testosterone level is right where it should be in the middle of the normal male range.”

Actually, I can’t see. I couldn’t box my way out of this blood report if it were wet. It makes absolutely no sense to me; “as you can see my ass” is what I should like to report back. But the tell is there, isn’t it? Hairs are growing on my thighs in an almost time-lapse photography way. I actually saw them, over the course of three days, emerge, sprout, and do the wave. Tiny dark hairs are populating my cheeks. I leg press 240 lbs. I enjoy watching people get pounded in the puss, and I don’t feel any particular way about that at all. I still cried this morning. I’m a huggy man, and I say “I love you” easily. I would say it to Robert Bly if we were in a drum circle together and I would mean it. I kind of want a muscle car. I feel more and more estranged from women, and that feels genuine and frankly, a bit of a relief. They never have made sense to me. Just remember, Sam, ass-kicking may have its transitory pleasures, but as global policy it’s a bad, bad idea. Now, I should like to witness Sarah Palin get taken down by a moose.

Friday, September 5, 2008

'Though I Never Laid a Hand On You, My Eyes Adored You

More Notes From The Field:

I finally had that experience that my friend K keeps talking about, the one where your eyeballs, your vision goes from being a 2-dimensional experience to a 3-D tactile, sexual organ of its own. I was paying small attention to an Adrian Brody movie, the Undertaker’s something something, when all of the sudden, this woman’s breasts were in her dress.

Yes, her breasts were in her dress. She moved, they moved. Within a millisecond, they had gone from their dramatic, balletic, sensuous presentation in her slinky black shift, to literally grabbing me between my legs hissing “Pay attention.”

Every hair on my body erected. Lust flooded the interstices of my every cell and an unfamiliar energetic field shoved itself from me like a punk in the mosh pit. In extreme slow motion, the breasts moved, one up, one down. They danced a special erotic tango together. They made their skin especially soft and tan and oiled, just for me. They went in perfect partnership with those legs, that stomach, arching up and out from fabric, a Dionysian tease of implicit union – me, you, forest orgy: STAT.

I can’t even tell you how visceral this was. I’m an ASS MAN, f’crissake! It wasn’t even a real human; I hadn’t even been paying attention!

Women have of late had the capacity to transform in an instant, from a complex, integrated, human being, to a veritable Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade of parts: oh look, there goes an ass! Oooh next comes some thighs, look how tight those thighs are! Oh, wow, those shoulders are even better than last year’s shoulders! How bout that boob?! Look how high it is! My my my!*

While women have recently hastened to assure me that their sex is equally ill-equipped with good breakup protocol, I must insist that there’s a strong tonal difference between the way men behave and the way the less hairy sex behaves after a relationship is over. My personal experience is that when a woman is obsessed, she’ll call 5 times a day and show up on the doorstep with a meal, or volunteer to do laundry. When deterred, she simply fades away over time. A guy on the other hand, anecdotally at least, may find himself wandering the streets, looking for the new guy, to do what exactly with him upon discovery? My poll reveals men are more likely to show up at a woman’s place of work, to inform them of their ire, their displeasure, at the woman’s cunty ways; more willing to park in the front of the ex’s house, like an indigestion ridden, low rent P.I., waiting patiently for their former lover to come home, simply so they can inform their ex how much they hate her. And then ask them if they want to get back together.

My informal census shows that while women and men both may stalk each other online, or in person, men want you to know they’re following you. I rest easy in the comforting knowledge that I’m simply too lazy to stalk like that. I’m purely unmotivated, thank god. My personal brand of obsession lies somewhere between the sexes (imagine that!), but it has been disconcerting, unsettling, to observe fantasies of violent revenge emerging recently, like gas bubbles in the tub, for the most spurious of occasions - being cut off in traffic, being ignored in line, overhearing pignorant prejudice. The testosterone, like a man ignored, will be heard.

Again, I thank the gods I’m a lazy man. It’s most certainly not a testament to my stellar character that I’m not more of an asshole. All my defects of character keep me in line: misguided pride, sloth, “I can’t let you look better than me” - but what the hell. Most of my exes don’t talk with me because I was able to confine my assholatry to the relationship and simply didn’t need to whip it out for the breakup. So kudos to me. Anyway, I’ve got better things to do than go chasing after you; I’m watching the hair grow straight out of my neck.

*So way better than Wonderdog. Or is it....? Remember Wonderdog?!

Monday, September 1, 2008

You Blight Up My Life

I had a Travis Bickle channeling a couple days ago. I stood in front of the mirror, put up my fists, and let my rage take me. I punched the air – right! left! – where loomed the cackling if misty visage of my nemesis.* If I wasn’t such a lazy tranny I’d construct those awesome shooter-sliders like my hero Travis and go on a mad rampage, but fortunately for the world at large, there’s endless Bravo reality tv and Facebook and I’m easily distracted.

Is this the anecdotal “T-Rage” I’m experiencing? K says men punch things because they cannot access their tears easily, or at least, that’s what happened to him when he began injecting testosterone. I’ve certainly noticed that place; it’s like trying to orgasm on a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor. It’s as if your body just forgot. That part is on vacay, happily sunning somewhere away from your insistent demands upon its exquisite release.

But how could I not experience rage? Transitioning is a little like living in Manhattan; it’s as if there’s a jackhammer right outside your window working two union sanctioned shifts beginning ½ hour before you wake and ½ hour after you repose. Don’t get me wrong: the foundation needs to be shattered. It was erroneously built, mistakenly created, full of flaws and fractures: it needs to go. But the process of dismantle is omnipresent and unsettling and LOUD. To be destroyed, even as it means transformation, freedom, can be frustrating and painful, insomniac and exhausting.

For my research I’ve interviewed several (born that way) men, all of whom I admire, all of whom have soggy sagas of fisticuffs, restraining orders. Now I had a history of volatility, I aint gonna lie. I am deeply ashamed of having hit people I loved, mortified at having punched through walls, destroyed dinnerware. My past holds a violence and a rage and I am unashamedly nervous about revisiting any of it.

I have also recorded this phenomenon:

I broke up with Hadley well over a year ago. We’re the best of friends, with no romantic ties whatsoever. I absolutely adore her – the things that made our relationship great are still available and the things that sucked ass about it are gone. Nonetheless, I have experienced an odd sort of jealousy, a sense of ownership, if you will. Hadley has been with the same man since we broke up, a man I have genuinely loathed, but now I pretty much just pretend to (which is charming, right?) for her benefit. I have no attachments to either him or her – but once in a while, she’ll say his name, and SNAP! Up comes the lizard collar! I want to…what? Something dire! Punch him in the puss! Pull his hair! I don’t know, but he can’t have her! That’s MINE!

I’m having difficulty sorting out what’s strictly male, and what’s just retarded human. And by “retarded” I mean not mentally challenged, but literally retarded, like my emotional growth.

I have an emotional situation in my life right now where my mind insists on feeling victimized and self-righteous. It has a distinctly male flavor to it – I feel very Christian Bale in this rage but that’s because I need even my disgusting fury to present well, look stunning. Christian Bale is a human penis, and I mean that in a good way.** I, on the other hand, am just another schmoe who was done wrong by a dame and there’s just no way to really make that look appealing, especially by spinning it as having been taken advantage of.

I guess that’s the thing for guys: you can’t win. You leave a broad and you’re heartless, cold, emotionally unavailable, and I have been that guy, over and over and over and over, and it has been true that I was heartless, cold, and emotionally unavailable. If you’re dumped by a broad, you’re weak and pitiful, a loser because you were emotionally totally available. It’s the Man version of Virgin/Whore. There’s a piece of that paradigm that makes a guy want to punch things. It’s not like you can’t find a wealth of buddies to commiserate, but at my age, even as people identify, they’ll still laugh at you. Still, at the end of the day, I’d rather be angry abashed dude with my head slung low than razor-wrist girl. But since I have a choice, I think I’ll just do something else entirely.

*Say that fast three times.

**If I were Christian Bale I would stay at home all day long licking my vascular musculature like a big gay cat. I just heard you go "eeeew." Danny Bonaduce also looks like a human penis, but in a really really REALLY BAD WAY.