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.

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