Friday, November 25, 2011

Anthony, "Charlotte" - A little of both.

After the reaction to his last post, Zane called me, on the verge of tears, which I found deeply unsettling. I'm not going to say he was always the most stable guy, but to have such an outward emotional reaction is pretty unlike him. Sleeping for days on end? That sounds like him, sure. But crying and ranting because someone on the internet hurt his feelings? I don't know.

Admittedly, our situations differ. I've been frustrated with him for not "getting with it," but I'm trying to be patient. I threw myself into Charlotte's work to cope, but unfortunately, her work primarily concerns Clara's modeling career. So my pressuring him probably hasn't helped. On our occasional lunch or coffee meetings, I've noticed she seems very blank. I also just noticed that I wrote "she" instead of "he," because I was thinking about her face, not my friend inside it. To me, "Zane-Clara" is a different person from the guy I've known since college.

I can sense, though, Zane is noticeably discomforted by the way she looks, and very paranoid about people looking at her. I've seen people glance at the both of us, but it just doesn't faze me the way it does her. Very self-conscious, which I imagine is a huge hindrance with me pushing her into this modeling thing. Given the risk to my friend and his sanity, I think I'm going to have to find her something else to do. I feel like I owe it to him to make this experience as good as it can be.

I do think it's not as bad as he imagines. I certainly don't feel traumatized by my new body or life. It requires a certain amount of upkeep and attention -- I'll let you imagine the details -- but I find the female lifestyle to be a bit of a fascinating project. It's remarkable what a woman has to do to succeed in this world, even (perhaps especially) in an industry dominated by women. When first arrived here, I was maybe not the warmest person, very reserved from having to adjust my lifestyle. I had to re-learn how to relate to people, to show personality, even "flirt" casually, without seeming overbearing, so that I wouldn't come off as inaccessible or "bitchy." It's so easy to pigeonhole a woman, even for other women, that navigating the minefield of office politics has been... difficult, yet perversely thrilling. I guess, if I had to explain the difference between my experience and Zane's it's that I'm the type of person who rises to a challenge, and he's the type who shrinks away. That's how we started in the same place, and I was a vice-president for a corporation, whereas he spent a lot of time scrubbing dishes and delivering packages.

It's hard to blame Zane for not wanting the burden of looking sexy, even in street clothes, let alone being dressed up like a doll for money. I think to some degree, he's feeling aware of how he objectified women in the past, and is having a hard time with this shift in perception now that he's the one with the breasts. Keep in mind, this is a man who believed women wore thongs, high heels and low-cut tops for their own enjoyment.

That said, we have one point of agreement. I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of men being attracted to me. Admittedly, while I have certain appealing attributes, I'm not "model-calibre" the way Clara is. I'm a fair bit freer to disregard male attention. I wouldn't rule out some sort of relationship, as being a hermit is patently boring, but I'm still in love with the woman I was dating in my real life, whom I still hope to return to.

I look at it this way: real women have a lifetime of experience with these bodies, with their roles in society, and even then it's not considered normal just to go along and be what everyone says you should be. A lot of them have problems with their bodies and what they're told they can be. I'm not saying Zane's reaction is typical, or not exaggerated, but I completely understand his lack of desire to conform. That said, I still wish he would figure himself out a bit more. Maybe he will never "enjoy" his time as a woman, but there must be some way to help him tolerate it, reach a level of temporary acceptance as I have.

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