This is not a column about transgender issues. Nonetheless, I have become a woman, at least in the figurative sense.
Over the course of the past decade, I grew out of my ne’er-do-well twenty-something self and became a man, as I’m supposed to do according to my chromosomal makeup. However, over the past several years I was unable to halt the progress of evolution, and I traveled just a bridge too far, into womanhood. Yep, that implies that women are better than men. We all knew that already.
What makes me a woman? Is this some sexist generalization from an insecure guy with a few embarrassing habits? Perhaps, but hopefully you’ll find it both amusing and enlightening. We have a literary mission here, after all.
My lady-like ways came about surreptitiously at first. I figured out which forks to use and when. I stopped eating fast food. My pants no longer bore pleats. My shoes became suddenly quite expensive. I bought Juicy sweats (they make men’s clothes, too, pal).
I must both credit and blame a certain female coaching companion for this bizarre and startling transformation. She told me what to do, and because I’m a man (at the time), I did it.
Sometimes the instruction was undeniably clear: “You’re not wearing that fucking backwards cap anymore. You’re thirty-fucking-three years old. Take it off, now.”
Sometimes it was more subtle: “This cashmere cardigan would look so much cuter than the lame Polo crap you wear.”
Over time, without even knowing it, I just got it. A female friend will say, “Holy shit, Mr. Hipster, are those Simon Miller skinny jeans?” and I’ll say “I guess they are. Where the hell did these come from?” I then shudder to think how instinctive it was for me to choose the right shop (on a Sunday, knowing the football game would be on at the trendy men’s boutique; I still have balls) and efficiently find some outrageously overpriced jeans that complement my new and fleeting slender physique.
My obsession with beauty products is flat-out disturbing. I get a cockeyed look every time the mail guy at work drops off a box from Beauty.com. Within are the finest well-marketed bottles of goo that money can buy, all promising I’ll look a little younger for a little longer. I eat this shit up. It makes me feel like a better person. Like a better woman.
You know how every flight you’ve ever taken has some crappy romantic comedy showing, both ways? I actually like that. I used to slink down in my seat with sunglasses on and pretend I was sleeping while I was engrossed in The Devil Wears Prada. On a recent flight, I watched Valentine’s Day with pride, and I even cried a little. I thought it would make the woman next to me want to have sex, but instead she just gave me a hug and offered me some of her cookie. “I know, sister, I know. Ashton and Jennifer are just gorgeous together. They will have magical fantasy babies.”
My favorite show is Gossip Girl. You read that right. My feminine TV-watching streak dates way back to high school when I became accidentally deeply intertwined with the goings-on of a certain crew from West Beverly High. My girlfriend made me watch it at first, but soon I was the guy stacking up VHS tapes full of this delightful teenage romp. I realized in college that liking Melrose Place made me irreparably attractive to the opposite sex, and I’ve rolled with it ever since, through My So-Called Life, Party of Five, One Tree Hill, Gilmore Girls…OK, I’ve said too much.
I used to think this was bullshit, but being a single girl is hard. I want to settle down and have babies, and I think this really puts off potential partners. I’m a little clingy. I love poems and nice cheese. I’m always at the gym, trying to firm up those difficult spots (ladies, you know what I’m saying!). My product routine has gotten out of control, what with the green tea wash, the scrub, the toner, the moisturizer, and the finishing gunk. Detox face mask only once a week? There’s no glory in that, try at least three times! I want to glow. We have to wax; we just have to. Guys just don’t know how good they have it, only having to run their fingers through their hair, throw on some jeans and a grimy t-shirt and look all hunky. We have to work at it.
I’m feeling all hormonal now after this introspective journey. I’m taking my pint of ice cream into the bathtub with me and cranking some “Jar of Hearts”. Hopefully soon I’ll have someone with whom I can cuddle and talk all night, enabling me to fully embrace this special time in my life.
I am a beautiful, empowered flower.