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.