Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tales From the Vanishing Lip

In the dream I was one of about 20 in an algebra class. I understood everything. I had a beard that was shiny and thick, each hair delineated like CGI fur on an animated mammoth. It was one of those texture-dense, surface dreams; everywhere my eye landed was rich in color and dimension, a trippy evocation of smell and sound trapped in the wood-grain of my desk and the dirty linoleum under my feet.

I let my gaze drift to my leg – the denim thick and dark. There was a frayed hole, about the size of a half-dollar. Through it I could see my dick.

I was frantic. Who’s seen it? Who’s spotted my dick?

It wasn’t until later that afternoon, having been up for a good eight hours, that I realized I’d dreamed I was a man.

In real life, I roam my chin for blemishes. I’m a consummate pick-artist. I love the face-poking. I should find it satisfying that my new skin cleanser is working so well, but what I’m actually galvanized by is chin hair. I think, “I’m losing my soft, hairless skin!” and I’m momentarily dismayed. You can’t pick and choose the effects of T, as any transguy blog worth its greasy skin will remind.

I love the migrant stomach fat- my entire lady life has been spent rubbing my fatty Italian sausage legs together. Now they’re thick with muscle, and the lumpy fat deposits have a retiree’s yen for travel, moving towards the middle, joining others in the gated community of back fat. My head seems to rise from my thick neck like asparagus; no longer does the ladylike distinction between shoulder, neck, and jaw beg for an adornment, pukka beads perhaps, or pearls. The testosterone enhanced neck and jaw is crafted by a clumsy giant who got bored half-way through.

I love my squarer torso; I adore my newly acquired forehead. Nevertheless, it’s shocking to find more face hairs. Even as I believe I desire them. This mind is randomly distressed by these changes. I wonder if we get the transition we need, meaning: mine has been slower, less obviously dramatic than others. The great Transsexual T-Gods seem to understand that this T-guy needed a gentler road, an easing into his masculinity, as opposed to the beard-at-three-months variety other guys seem to manifest.

I would’ve lost what presence of mind I had, if I had sprouted a beard at 3 months. I still wonder if I’m doing the “right thing,” and I’m constantly having to remind myself how much I love my new body, and how I never, ever want to go back.

My friend Sarah broke from my 1 tranny year celebration Moustache Party to help a friend fix her bike. She arrived replete with vaselined facial hair, a Stevie Ray, Texas flavored tuffy with her Allen wrenches at the friend's house. “God I hate drag” groaned her friend, an MTF. I don’t love drag either, frankly, although I adore a moustache. I used a sentence with the words “drag” and “blackface” together but I don’t really think drag is like blackface, because drag is a homage or parody (or both) to something that in and of itself is kind of a homage or parody. Many of us in transition have found - at the end of a long, hairless day - gendered presentations to be pretty hilarious.

As Sarah was debarking the Moustache Party Barge, she was bid adieu by our real-boy friend Manchoodle, who cocked his head in a particularly Manchoodlesque fashion. In full Texas guitar god/mechanic drag, she cocked back, imitating him perfectly, masculine in the extreme. Even those gestures we believe completely ours, the most nuanced, the most intimate and personal, are often our schtick. Where does gender end and schtick begin? And if you’re reaching in your pants for the answer, believe me, it’s NOT THERE.

I grew up in the sixties and seventies, which were moustache heydays of a kind. Facial hair was so alluring, so compelling, so…sexy…although sexy was conceptually not a part of my vocabulary…To this day I will sketch the outline of a man’s face, and then lovingly, nearly a whisker at a time, shape a hairline, sideburns morphing into muttonchops, an adolescent’s wispy upper lip fur evolution into full-blown Mexican Mustachio. It is an unbelievably soothing pastime.

There is a moustache on my house. I heard Patrick Starfish today, on Spongebob Squarepants, exclaim a yen for the ‘stache, which Spongebob drew for him with a magic pencil. It promptly flew off Patrick’s face, thus initiating full-blown anxiety attacks in several transguy viewers.

I fear the moustache, yet I crave it. I felt that way about sex, once upon a time, and now I want it every minute of the day. Will I love a beard, be a dyke with a Van Dyke? At eleven I would’ve killed for the kind of evil douche chin fur Robert Downey Jr. sports in Iron Man. At 48 the shit’s coming in white, my eyebrows are curling, and nostril vines are snaking out of the nose. This is what it means to be a man, yo.

I’m besotted, enamored, smitten with the ‘stache. Is it any wonder teenagers and budding trannies cultivate their seven chin hairs? Rub me with your stubble, transman, I’ve got an itch bigger than Pinocchio’s desire to be a real boy. But be wise – look: there grows your “nose.”

Monday, May 18, 2009

They Mostly Come At Night

I am dutifully putting the “men” in menses. I am having my “mantime*” albeit a pink vapor trail of its former self, this after shooting a full dose of T for over a year now. It is a dilute blood memory, still manifesting “symptoms” of ladytime: larger connection to energetic phenomenon, violent nocturnal tableaus inserted in carnival dreams, a sublime, embarrassing tendency to weep at clearly manipulative advertisements, particularly those involving animals, children, people, long distance phone calls, submarine sandwiches, and Skittles.

I am crawling up a sanitary diaper, looking for the pee hole, and all I can see is red red red.

There’s this ridiculously obdurate part of me that refuses to acknowledge this is happening. I haven’t bought a tampon in 6 months, preferring evidently, to bleed in my Old Navy briefs, deliberately black so I’m not forced to concede that my man-panties are damp with shed uterine lining. Blood blots follow me everywhere, as, when at home, I am a tee shirt and no-bottom kind of guy. Did I leave that? Naaaaaw, couldn’t be! Somehow the combo ladytime/testosterone thing allows for a distinctly male flavor of denial, like the way guys can be completely oblivious to their twenty-pound gut-gain, still flaunting their former pecs, now furry moobs, beachside.

Masculine denial is a beautiful, beautiful thing, y’all.

I had these interactions with a couple men this weekend…it’s hard to tease the human from the distinctly male sometimes but here goes:

My observation is that a certain genus of men are exceedingly willing to throw a cold glass of vitriol on your shirtfront, and expect that you’ll agree that some other asshole made them do it. Then you’re supposed to be in some kind of angry alliance against that person, or institution, or idea that pissed them off in the first place, you with your now-soaking shirtfront and their invasive hostility.

These guys were really, really, REALLY angry about something and they could not wait to spread their oily ire all over my sweet toast. Now that I’m a guy(ish) I’m not as eager to sign on to another guy’s agenda. Maybe I never was, but certainly the delicious drug of testosterone amplifies a certain…self righteousness. My own back went up with a quickness. My instinct is to punch a bloke in the puss, but I’ve had too much 12step training to fall for my haywiring. But DAYUM. It’s a place in others I find difficult to have compassion for. I dearly wish your anger was none of my business, but now you’ve soiled my clothes, you bastard and I must participate somehow.

Often there’s a flavor of misogyny attached to the breed of man that wants to slime you with their bile, too – a mustard gas tang to the battery acid scrapings you’ve just been force-fed. I guess in GuyLand it’s okay, appropriate even, to march up to people you barely know and urk up some story about what a fucktard somebody else is. I should probably feel included, a part of – these angry dudes are wrapping a buddy wing around my shoulders, pinching my traps, punching my arm. I’m in the club, right?

I desperately want to be kind. I think this is the greatest thing of all and I want to live by the creed of kindness. T injections have raised the stakes. Just when I was getting the hang of it, as a lady, finding compassion, being present, making the numbers, the game changed up and instead of a My Little Pony and a Hair Beader Activity Kit, I’ve got to lumber around in a Thomas the Tank Engine with a miniature “just like Daddy’s” chainsaw.

By virtue of the props alone, I’ve engaged in a desperate, inimical game. My brand of “being kind to the angry mens” looks like me stating firmly my opinion (note Paul Bunyon stance), allowing them to shake their head at my idiocy and walk away. That’s pretty darn good, especially when the hormones are perversely urging you to “punch a bitch in the face.”

I see misogyny everywhere; this type of guy is often angry at a woman, only he wouldn’t put it that way. I don’t have the luxury of pointing a finger at a gender, or I choose not to; this one guy I’m thinking of is so pathologically ill with his anger at women – which mostly, as far as I can tell, seems to be a part of that curious cycle of the pre-emptive loathing men have for women who probably won’t like them – that it’s hard to take him seriously. Diminishing a person is almost worse than hating them.

This other dude I interacted with this weekend is a stellar character. He’s opinionated all right, but he’s willing to hear all the sides. His posture in an argument is “it’s entirely possible I missed something.” I find this extraordinary, and desirable. I’m casting about for role models. Part of the downside of men running the world is we’ve got this fantastically abysmal cast of manliness: Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, and not enough Bishop Tutus or even Jon Stewarts. But we do have them.

I don’t like to wish ill on anyone, but I do have this fantasy, and I don’t think it ill-natured, exactly. I wish Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh would get a period. I wish their breasts would swell and heat and feel about to burst when they walked up stairs; I dream their nights are full of visions of fetuses and home surgeries; I long for them to experience that unique ache and cramp that visits those of us blessed with female internal organs; I want blood to soak their drawers and their bespoke pants, smother the off-gassing of their fancy ergonomic desk chairs, run down their legs and pool in their Brooks Brothers wool knit socks.

But I don’t run the world, and neither, it turns out, do they. Thanks be to the Big Tranny in the Sky, my brothers and others, and thank you too. And please pass the Motrin.

*Ryan Pinion, Ladles and Jellyplugs.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

You, You Could Be Mean, And I, I'd Drink All The Time

Star Trek was, of course, sold out, so we ended up going to see Wolverine. Not a bad decision: I am absolutely crazy about men right now and Wolverine is crammed full of delicious Hugh Jackman – which is the best porn name ever, ps – and Hugh Jackman’s high, tight Broadway ass and utterly fantastic shoulders. There is also some very satisfying facial hair. If you’re a transguy, you’ll be feeling me right now.

I let myself simmer in this butch broth for a minute. Entertaining the notion of sexual attraction, I allowed myself to hold Hugh’s furred jaw, slide my hands down his neck, and caress his mammoth traps. I lay with him for a minute, teasing the pebbled abs on that perfect torso with my fingertips.

Nothing. I got nothing.

Okay, by “nothing” I mean “sure, I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating lychee nuts,” – I’d wear a boy OUT – but the magnetic pull of the masculine has, at the end of a long, sweaty, locker room antic day, a unique flavor for the “heterosexual” transguy. Just as an aside: I’m totally that heterosexual guy that’ll get his dick sucked by another guy. Or, yeah, we fucked each other, but it was just nut-busting, you know? THAT guy.

Men fascinate on seventeen different levels, which is a lot if you’re a dude. Men really don’t have that many levels, or most of them don’t. I can state this empirically: being a woman means having access to an extra dimension. It’s ridiculously nuanced, and potentially maddening. The “Health” Industry has even medicalized this by insisting women need SSRIs for “that time,” by encouraging childbirths only a robot could love. We have not, culturally, transcended the Victorian idea of female “hysteria.”

(sidebar: I’m gimping around with a toe wrapped in a Lysterine-soaked paper towel. I read this helps the toe fungus, which I have on one outlier pinky toe. I have never, ever, EVER, had toe fungus before, even having spent DECADES in one gym or another. I’m embracing it as a revolting dude rite-of-passage. You have to spin these things somehow.)

That women operate in this space/time is not an advantage. We’ve all seen that Sci-Fi where the really gifted, empathic alien race is basically subservient to the brutish ass-kickers. I’m floating around this interstitial fluid, an undersea gender volleyball game, whereupon one is occasionally artfully volleyed like a gentle birdie. It’s sometimes difficult to enjoy the ride when one understands this to be a setup for a spike.

I know I will find many brothers and sisters when I say “men are captivating.” I have been observing them scientifically since childbirth. I have aped their ways, mimicked their manners, so I could shame myself later. Transitioning means never having to say you’re sorry. It means open gawking. It means I can overtly eye-molest the gang of joggers to the left of my car, note the musculature, delight in the postures, their tousled hair, how this one sweats and that one does not, the jocularity that infects all that ambition all that drive, their tiny man-nipples and sweat-drenched hair rivulets. I am the Humbert Humbert of man-stalking.

There is a sexual component, to be sure, but it is celebratory, communal. I avert my eyes when females come in scantily-clad herds, one because I’m a dirty man, and two because they are so foreign. I am a canine in a land of cats.

My friend Murphel (if you say his name and cover your mouth, that’s what it sounds like) recalls how he used to think he might be gay. He was so penis-obsessed. He’s come to understand this fascination, dive into it, become the penis. We’re all like that somewhere. We’ve been covertly or balls-out glomming our longing on to every guy and every guy part that sings to us. It is very near worship, although having lived as a woman for over four decades I feel a certain sang-froid about actual males. Maybe that’s because all my blood is now in my pants, driving me into me, Being John Malkovich bumper cars all full of me and my stupid lusts.

I heard some transguy on the National Geographic Channel say that transitioning is a “hero’s journey.” Whatev. We certainly get comfortable with masculine grandiosity right away. I’ll tell you what’s heroic: walking around with your little toe wrapped in a paper towel soaked with Listerine. Wrap that in your “Playgirl” and smoke it.