Transgender persons are in the news so much lately that they’ve almost forced sinister college fraternities and ISIS off the front page. Media coverage of the transgender issue has been attention-getting, positive, and (please raise my consciousness if I’m somehow making an insensitive pun) uplifting.
I like attention as well as anyone of any gender. And I am—as are the subjects of many stories about gender transition—in my sixties.
So I thought I’d try it. I don’t tell my wife. From what I’ve seen on TV, not telling your spouse about your gender until it’s too late to avoid major drama is an important step in the transgender journey.
I look in the mirror. I suppose androgynous middle-age flab is a start. I could probably fit into a bra size 46A. Five days of stubble isn’t helping. But I have it on good authority that where I live, in New Hampshire, many women give up shaving over the winter when nobody ever gets out of their Under Armour anyway. Besides, what’s the most significant difference between men and women, now that age has somewhat banked the fires of passion and the baby-having is done? Women smell good!
I eschew the bar of Lava soap I normally use to shower and shampoo. Surveying my wife’s bath products, I choose the pineapple bath gel, the jasmine bubble bath, the four kinds of citrus-scented shampoos and three kinds of berry-scented conditioners, the coconut exfoliant, the mango body scrub, the tea tree body wash, the vanilla body moisturizer, and the almond body butter.
I still don’t smell as good as my wife. Maybe it has something to do with my cigar. Women smoke cigars. I’ve seen it in Cigar Aficionado. But perhaps not a 52-ring-gauge Montecristo Torpedo first thing in the morning. I’ll buy a pack of Marlboro Menthol Lights.
Cross-dressing is a snap. It’s New Hampshire in March. Everybody wears long johns, ugly big sweaters, fleece-lined L. L. Bean pants, down jackets, muck boots, and ridiculous snowflake pattern knit ski hats with dangling earflaps.
Do these fleece-lined L. L. Bean pants make my butt look big? Or is that a good thing? I need jewelry. Since my wife doesn’t know I’m secretly cross-dressing I can’t borrow hers. I look in my cufflink drawer. I don’t own earrings, bracelets, or necklaces . . .
Aha! My lovely golden medallion from The Loyal Order of the Sons of Erin Marching and Chowder Society on a pretty green ribbon. I put this on under my sweater. As many transgender people say, I feel more relaxed, more like the real me, once I’m dressed as a woman (and have had a shot of Bushmills).
Now, to really live my life as a woman, I take the children to school. “GET THE @#$% OUT OF BED!” I shout (tenderly) from the foot of the stairs.
They require a wholesome breakfast. Fruit is wholesome. Cereal is wholesome. O.J. is wholesome. Damn it, we’re out of milk.
Like any mom, I “multitask”—filling their bowls of Fruit Loops with orange juice while at the same time packing them a healthy lunch. Liverwurst and onion with brown mustard on pumpernickel rye is healthy. (It was my Uncle Louie’s favorite. He lived to 93.) And something for a treat. Where’s that jar of pig’s feet I bought last time I did the grocery shopping . . .
“HUH? HOW IN THE HELL WOULD I KNOW WHERE YOUR MATH HOMEWORK IS?”
“What I meant to say, dear, is that homework is an important responsibility and responsibilities are something we all need to learn to share so, here, let me help you.”
Fifth grade son Buster: “Do you know the multiplication tables?”
Buster: “What’s seven times seven?”
Buster: “No. In Base 8.”
“GET IN THE @#$%*@# CAR!”
The music these kids listen to, it’s . . . Now, now . . . Women are more open to expansion of their cultural horizons, more sympathetic to artistic expression. Except I can’t understand a damn word of this rap junk.
Eighth grade daughter Poppet: “What does ‘I want you to Monica on my Lewinsky’ mean?”
I drop them at school. This is the moment when moms roll down the window and give kids last-minute reminders and advice. “DON’T FORGET TO TAKE YOUR MEDS!”
What next? I’m not “out in my community.” Nix on the beauty parlor.
I come home and look at the bills to pay, bank statements to reconcile, checkbooks to balance, and letters from the IRS. And I feel all fluttered and silly.
My wife does the bill-paying, banking, and taxes. So—I’m tellin’ ya, Mac—I feel @#$%*@# fluttered and @#$%*@# silly.