You would think that dealing with new sexual preferences would be easier for a girl who gets turned into a guy, but I seem to be pretty oblivious until something hits me over the head with it. After all, I may only be 20, despite what this driver's license says, but I probably told other girls that they looked hot more than Missy said something similar to other guys despite vastly more time to do so. Girls making out with each other may mostly be a male fantasy outside of folks who are actually gay, but there's less fear of acknowledging each other as attractive, which you would think would carry over after the Inn reshapes whatever part of your brain is responsible for finding other human beings attractive.
On top of that, you can't argue with erection. A guy turned into a girl may be able to rationalize any sort of internal sensations as meaning something else at first, but there's really no other way to interpret your dick getting hard other than it being ready to go into that person you find attractive. It's embarrassing but definitive.
I suppose that I can be forgiven for needing to get so drunk that inhibitions were out the window as Ravi; even he didn't seem to realize he was gay and I figured that it was just all the things I had filed away in my head as stuff I liked pulling a mind over matter stunt. Once I actually did it, though, there wasn't much doubting or going back - I was a guy who liked guys, and not just with me taking the girl's role, so to speak.
So while I knew from first-hand experience that being Benny physically would mean being into girls, it didn't really hit me until that ballgame when I wound up kissing Missy. Suddenly, I couldn't deny that holding a woman felt good, and I found myself thinking back on all the times I'd complimented her outfit to see if it wasn't just the clothes I was talking about. My sex dreams suddenly got a whole lot more specific and vivid. It suddenly seemed like every movie poster and magazine cover was pushing breasts in my face.
And that that was kind of awesome.
I can't exactly say that I didn't appreciate my boobs when I had them - I had no problem wearing a bikini at the beach, and my prom dress wasn't that of a shy church girl. I knew how to lean over a bit when I wanted a guy to notice me, and buying bras - real bras - was one of the first times I felt grown up despite still being in high school. Even now, I know that if a woman is showing some cleavage, it is probably because she just likes the look, not because she wants a guy's attention.
I know all that, but my head is on a swivel anyway. Maybe there's some element of envy to it for me, but I can't lie: I want to touch. Not quite to the extent of understanding why boys acted like lunatics in high school, but a lot.
Which brings us to the part where my story begins and gets kind of weird.
I don't go to Harvard Square a lot, because that's where the university is and thus where Sandra is, and being around her is something that I have been avoiding. It's got one of the country's best book stores, though, with author talks and a basement full of used books and remainders, plus two or three other book stores besides, so I took the 66 up Monday afternoon and started browsing. It was all going well until I looked up, saw Sandra walking straight toward me, and ducked into the next aisle because this was not the day I was ready to deal with her. It's one of those stores where it's a sort of maze, though, and even if you really wanted to leave (which I didn't), you may have to take a pretty indirect route around other browsers or be pushed in the opposite direction because avoiding someone was taking priority over getting somewhere.
After about a half-dozen near-misses, we finally wound up turning a corner right into each other. I almost knocked her over, and when I instinctively reached out a hand to keep her from falling, she grabbed it. looked up, and smiled as she said she'd finally caught me. That's when I realized she wasn't actually Sandra.
It was an easy mistake; she was the right height, had brown hair styled much the same way Sandra did when I saw her in August, and wore glasses that made her heart-shaped face look even more triangular like I used to do. The t-shirt she was wearing - the cover of The Great Gatsby - had been one of my favorites.
If I had taken a closer look rather than run away, though, I would have spotted the freckles, the closer-to-green eye color, and the fact that she was doing everything with her left hand (Inn folks: does handedness change like sexual orientation?). And, of course, the tag that said she was an employee of the store and that her name was Marybeth.
I asked what she'd meant about catching me and she pulled my wallet out of her pocket. "You dropped this over by 'Mystery'. Pants that dump your stuff from the pockets and avoiding the folks who are here to help isn't a great combination."
I blushed a bit as I took the phone back. "Sorry! I don't usually do that, I just thought you were someone else."
"Did you? Or did you think I was someone specific, only for me to actually turn out to be 'someone else'?"
"Wow," I said, "and here I thought that I was picky about grammar when I asked people who say they're 'doing good' about their volunteer work."
She laughed. ''That's a good one. I'm stealing that." She apparently felt a supervisor wandering into the area, because she started asking if there was something she could help me find. I remembered that biography was on the other side of the store, which gave her an excuse to lead me there.
"So, who did you think I was? Ex-girlfriend?"
"Sort of. Yeah." I pondered saying she literally wouldn't believe me, but this was not the time for gags about "literally" being redefined. "Let's just say it seems like a complicated situation until I realize that in reality, it's pretty simple - we're not going to have anything to do with each other because no good comes out of being that angry."
"Ouch! Explains why a grown man plays hide-and-hide-and-seek in a bookstore, though."
''Yeah--" I saw something out of the corner of my eye and stopped, drawn to a poster listing upcoming events, and I kind of rudely, I guess, took a step in that direction. "You've got a Penny Lincoln-Kim signing coming up?"
The change of subject threw her a bit, but she is pretty good at her job. "Yeah, she's local and shops here all the time to boot. Why, are you a fan?"
"Totally! I totally connected to Pygmalion's Proteges right away - I was such a, um, such a Morris back when I was in high school." I tried to put the brakes on my fangirling, at least not blurting out that I identified with Geena. Or saying how it and Pygmalion's Pioneers made a lot more sense to me knowing that my favorite female writer had started out a man before spending a couple weeks in a cursed Inn. "The Lynn Ashford mysteries are really good, too."
"Well, then, I guess you'll have to brave the crowd of teenage girls when she comes to sign Pygmalion's Proposal, won't you?"
She was amused by me, I could tell, but it didn't bother me much. Sometimes you've just got to let the original you out, and let folks think that you're just kind of eccentric.
We stood there for a couple minutes, and then someone asked her where something by Richard Feynman was, and she said that one would be under science rather than biography, and led him away.
I had my books paid for and was halfway back to the T station before something clicked in my head.
"Damn it!" I yelled, setting some looks as I turned around and started stomping back toward the bookstore. "You're the guy now! She drops hints and you ask for her number!"
I opened the door hard enough that the bells attached made more noise than usual, scanned the place, and not seeing Marybeth, headed down to the basement where she was tidying up a shelf in the Young Adult section. She looked up and smirked. "You realize that I'm about to make a major exception, right? Normally guys have to be a lot quicker on the uptake to get my number!"
"Then what makes me so special?"
"Well, you're buying a lot of books for the size of your paycheck - did I mention I looked through your wallet? Cuz I did - you've got a couple interesting movie tickets in there, a Maine driver's license, some random business cards from New York City, a phone message where the name crossed out isn't even vaguely related to the one replacing it... Let's just say I like good stories and you probably have way more than a guy I'd meet in a bar.
"You're also cute."
That last sentence had an effect on me that may not have been quite so definitive as an erection, but arranging to meet for dinner and a movie on Saturday was a foregone conclusion. If nothing else, it's my turn to have some fun after the stories Missy has been telling me for the last few weeks.
-Benjamin, because it's hard to sign a post about getting erections and asking a girl out ''Annette"