Sunday, October 26, 2008

Restoration Hardware, or Look, I Changed the Knobs!

I was at Subway Mike’s the other day for a little lunch-time sammy. I had on my painter’s garb, and a baseball-type cap (my famous Ben Sherman Boiled Wool cap which a dog ate later) over my testosterone altered face. And my big ol’boobs. It really fucked with the counter help: they could not wrap their brains around what they were seeing. I was in Raleigh, which just doesn’t have the level of gender-ambivalent zaniness as my tranny-comfortable neck o’the woods.

“Uh, Sir” - and then he drops his head down to do what I call “the scan,” the assessment of what sex I might possibly be, how can he safely identify me, because as a sandwich guy it’s critical that he make a gender-appropriate meal – oop, now he’s seen ‘em and changed his mind - “Ma’am, what kind of bread do you want?”

Poor dude. We do that, though, we’re required to identify each other by gender, even if all we’re doing is creating a personalized version of a mass-produced hoagie. I like “Sir” and “Madam” myself; I always feel very Reformation when I use it, like I should have on silk breeches and a flounced shirt ‘neath a waistcoat. Nonetheless, it’s indisputably weird*, that we should feel the need to do this, in our every interaction.

I said “I’d like wheat and ‘sir’ is fine.”

What’s funny is I had met a transguy there for lunch, and I thought “you have NO IDEA what’s going on right now, you poor saps. You’ve got a store chockablock full of miniature pants-pickle sporters.” It just seemed really transgressive, if you’ll pardon the pun. (I imagine trans-people cringing at terms like “miniature pants-pickle” but I shan’t apologize Sir. Nay, I shall persist well past this adolescence, mark my words. Verily!)

My lunch date is the butchest guy ever, and when he says things like “when I was a lesbian I…” I just crack up in his face. It’s too funny to think of this dude as a dyke. “Asshole” he says, affectionately. He watched the trananigans go down at Mike’s. He shared this story about a woman he’d introduced me to. After I’d departed she asked him “Is Sam a man or a woman?”

“Why do you ask?” he wanted to know. That’s his standard, for that sort of question. He says it’s not judgemental; he’s trying to discover what it is that challenges their perception.

“Well, she seemed like a guy but she had breasts.”

Testosterone has altered the landscape of my face. It’s heavier towards the jaw-line, fuller. My Portland buddy says his face got “puffy” when he started T. “It’s angled out since then” he says – he’s been on T for at least 6 years – “but the first two years it just seemed puffy.” Great. This has greatly contributed to my haircut dilemma. I have to find something for this new, puffy face. “Squarer” is how my Raleigh companion puts it.

My titties, on the other hand? Not puffier. The fat shifts with the hormones; they’re less…composed, I’d say. Like if they were sculpture (and believe me they are. Stunning.) it would be as if they’d been in a warehouse for too long, and whatever they’d been composed of had begun to shift, deconstruct. And then you’ve got the muscular enhancement of hormone therapy, so my pecs are undeniably larger. This has the effect of sort of jutting out your fat-sacks. Like putting a loose bag of jello on really firm temperfoam. Sorry, that’s the best I can do.

Anybooby, that’s all I got. I careen back and forth, to and fro, on this gendered jour-nay, as you well know. When I’m with my guys, I’m a bro. I get my tranny on. When I’m alone, or feeling lonely, I get ascared. I’m learning, day by day, to let just let all that be. I can be a lesbian today, and a man tomorrow, or a betweener in the morning and boi in the afternoon. Or nothing at all, ever. Oh, and it is a gherkin in my pocket, and I am very glad to see you, very glad indeed.

*dispute with me, Madam, if you can!

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