A couple weeks back I was feeling particularly low and dark. I pulled into the parking lot at school before I could choose to slam into the metal barrier fencing on 147 and made my first “lifeline” call. “Jessica,” I began with no small amount of gravitas, “I want to die. I just don’t want to do this today.” Jessica knows the personal torment of living less than successfully as an artist, and sugar-coats nothing. “Hang on,” she said, and put her two year old on the phone. “Say something to Uncle Sam, Gussie!”
Then, over the bleak cell reception came the small happy voice. “Hi Tranny!” Gus said, with that unique personal triumph of having cracked both his mother and me up into small pieces. And the world was right again, all ‘round.
I don’t have a small child I can train like a mynah to say “Grandma’s got false teeth!” or “Hi Tranny!” That’s probably a good thing. I would get any child of mine to say all kinds of crazy inappropriate shit. You’d think it would be enough that I do it all the time myself – “my ass is sweating RIGHT NOW! Whatever’s in my pants is giving me angina! Angina! I’ve got angina and a vagina! Weren’t they the backup singers for Tony Orlando and Dawn?” I have to pat my own hand and say “seriously, stop already.”
I dragged both Jessica and Judith (my het BFFs) and a crew of lesbonians to Local 506 to see Athens Boys Choir. Everyone I love must endure total tranny submersion. Fortunately, my besties go along agreeably to whatever freak show I can summon. We all bopped to “Tranny Got Pack,” and shimmied our entire arms to “I like you but I love your Jazz Hands.” I’m delighted to discover other men find their transition deliciously weird and hilarious. You have to laugh, at your wildly erratic voice, moods, surging libido, the balls-out (as it were) awkwardness of morphing gender in public. If you don’t, you’ll wind up playing Twister with the guardrail on Highway 40. There’s enough violence at transpeople without inflicting it on yourself.
I liked being in a club with a bunch of transguys. I liked seeing where everyone was at. I’ve been on testosterone since May and I don’t have a beard and I still get my period. The change this body has manifested is significant, but it’s distinctly my own. There were a couple guys there I tranny-stalk. I see’em at cafes, Whole Foods, places where trannies congregate. It’s the freakin’ trans Serengeti out here, I’ll tell you what. On any given day you can sight at least one transguy within 4 blocks of my house. But these two in particular – I’ve watched them visibly swell and stretch to fit their masculinity over the last six months. I nearly clapped my hands with glee when I discovered observable side-burns on one. I should have a Peterson’s Trans-Guide, where I can find silhouettes and determine regional differences. A side-burn sighting! Where’s my list? Check! And then I text all my club members excitedly, because you have to have a club if you’re some sort of lay scientist. If you see some riled up, vaguely mannish person squatting behind the organic plumquats, peering from betwixt the Lacinato Kale and the Rainbow Chard, that’s me on the transguy prowl.
It’s Thanksgiving. I subscribe to this online horoscope, and I don’t know why because it’s always kind of a buzz-harsher. It always says stuff like “you dream big and are very creative but don’t give in to sloppy planning like you always do.” Anyway, today it said things will be fantastic if I’m really grateful. That’s what I mean, it’s a very Christian, dogmatic horoscope, very judgey. I always feel sufficiently cowed after reading it. But I will pay heed, and be (abashedly) grateful today.
I’m grateful I have a bunch of friends who are complete weirdos, or at least, completely comfortable being around me, who is a weirdo, the least of which weirdness is being a transguy. I’m thankful I ended up living in
I’m grateful for a biological family who has thus far pretty much ignored what for me is the most monumental decision I’ve ever made aside from the one to stop drinking and drugging (mostly because none of us want to actually answer any personal, possibly baffling, questions nor feel any sort of responsibility or anger for same, and for which I am truly grateful!); I’m glad you’re reading this because I think the deconstruction of social concepts of gender is a significant, relevant battle and on some level you must be interested too; I’m delighted my shoulders are broadening, thickening and that the fur on my cheeks is darkening even ‘though I’m the only one who knows this; I’m grateful for dogs and cats, and elephants and octopi. I dreamt I popped a live octopus in my mouth and ate it and I’m grateful that was just a dream. I think it’s possibly all a dream, this crazy play, so I’m thankful today I don’t have to take myself so seriously. Happy Thanksgiving.