I've been trying to look on the bright side since I got here. As Chris, I'm doing the same thing I would have been doing back home: handing out resumes. It just happens that I'm doing so in the greatest city in the world (New York!!) and in the body of a man. It seems Chris' extended stay in Maine had screwed him out of an articling position at a fairly prestigious law firm. Not that I could have handled that anyway. Sorry Chris, your career ambitions are going to have to go on hold indefinitely.
My dad always said I was an incurable optimist. I never liked that because it made me sound dumb. I prefer to think I'm a realist, it's just that in my view, reality is generally pretty ok. At a time like this, it helps. Before "Ahmir" and I set out for Brooklyn, I wrote down a list of pros of the situation. We're still in the same city, so we can look out for each other. Financially, we're not any worse off than we were before. Looking for work will give us a project, to keep our minds busy. We're not upsetting any family dynamics by being here - 25-year-old unmarried guys don't tend to have too many permanent bonds with anyone so if they drop off the grid for a few weeks or months nobody says much. Lastly, what woman has never thought, if just for a day, that she would like to be a man? To be free of all the trappings of womanhood, enter the great unknown of masculinity? To feel the security and self-confidence you can only get in this culture with a penis.
I clicked around the blog at random, favoring summer months when the Inn would be open, and took in the "greatest hits" of, yup, dudes becoming ladies. They're so fearful and panicky it's adorable. Then it almost becomes sweet when they begrudgingly admit it's not the worst thing... but I'll take peeing with an erection over period cramps any day of the week, every week of the year. Ever sneezed while on your period? I guarantee it's happened to 100% of the ex-boys who've written here, and yet they never want to mention it. Hmm.
I kid. I certainly wouldn't expect any man going through the reverse process to be as gung ho about it as I am, at least openly. That even took me a while. For the first few days, I felt overwhelmed and scared: hence the list-making, the self-reassurance. I also ranked the things I was most bothered about: "I'm a guy now" ranked below "Moving to an intimidating new city" and the big one "MAGIC IS REAL??" (Of course, maybe it's science, or maybe magic is science, or... who knows?) The late addition to that list, which I slotted in between 1 and 2, is: "Someone is going to be me."
Like, did you ever pick someone up at a bar, and bring them back to your place, only to realize you've left your dirty laundry in clumps around the bedroom, and a pile of discarded Diet Pepsi cans and Lay's bags on your coffee table? Okay, I'm not that much of a slob, but in my head, it's like that. It dawned on me that someone was about to be privy to all my garbage. I feel so exposed and there's nothing I can do about it.
I only let myself panic about that for half a day, then I decided to be a rock for Rosie, who was quite shaken. She could hardly bring herself to speak those first couple of days, like she was afraid of her new voice. As Meghan and Tyler/Alan/whatever he wants to call himself were debating Kitty on what to do (without letting it slip that they were Inn veterans, a secret I helped conceal) I glanced around the room. The New Jenkins family behind Kitty, and a loose association of women behind me. Before the change, they were catty college girls who I overheard snickering not-quietly when Rosie and I dared to go to the beach in bikinis. Hot Skinny Idiots, I called them in my head, probably being unfair to their intelligence but it helps me to dislike them if I can convince myself they're airheads.
Now a few of them weren't so hot anymore (at least not in the conventionally perfect western ideal way) but one was a gorgeous brown-skinned woman, Saraya, which took her a day or two to get over. Another, Maureen, fretted over her new body's nearsightedness: "My eyes! I can't see anything!" (We helped her find some contact lenses in her luggage but she refused to put them in.) The third was now Lucy, a short, curvy Latina woman and complained about how her newly enlarged boobs had wrecked her favorite nightie.
(Their real names were Lexi, Rebecca and Candice.)
"Saraya" was from Jersey, so she rode down to NYC with us. "Maureen" and "Lucy" went their own ways, reluctantly. As the girls fretted over their situations, I wondered which of us were truly lucky. They couldn't reap the benefits of "a new perspective" that we could. They were just purely stressing. Okay, now I'm hearing that "incurable" part of my optimism.
At the end of that first day, I turned to Rosie and checked in to ask: Are you okay?
She looked at me silently for a few moments. In her new face, she looks like that comedian Hannibal Burress. Then she shrugged and said "I just feel bad for whoever gets my body."
Well, that's the spirit, I guess.