didn’t plan it, I swear. I don’t know how
these things happen, but the past three books I’ve read
have been stories where the author changed their identity, dressed
up like someone they weren’t and successfully fooled everyone.
be a bore, giving titles and authors; I’ll just list the
deceptions. Rich East Coast snob woman picks up a dish rag and
fits right in with the permanent underclass, taking a bunch
of shitty, demeaning service jobs across the USA. White guy
goes to 1960s New Orleans, takes a medication that turns his
skin black, and travels through the Deep, scary-ass South as
a just another down-on-his-luck Negro. New York City lesbian
and newspaper columnist lifts some weights, tapes a fake dick
to her thigh, and spends 14 months hanging out with guys in
strip clubs, bowling alleys and monasteries.
All of them
were decent, so-so reads. But they all raised a pretty serious
question about some of the most significant elements of human
identity – race, gender, class – which none of the
authors dug their claws into. That question is this: what does
it say about how different men and women are if you can dress
up like the one you aren’t and pass yourself off? Same
question goes for black/white, snob/slave.
On one hand,
the answer affirms the most noble of sensibilities that feminists,
civil rights heroes, and anarchists have pushed for: more than
the idea we are all equal, we’re all the same. But it
also makes a fag, a nigger, and a serf out of me, or at least
the equivalent. And no one really talks about that.
grunted and moved boxes with a female transsexual office manager
who had her tits sawn off and took male hormone pills so she
could grow a goatee. People didn’t know for months that
it was a woman. And I’ve caught myself drooling at the
sight of a luscious sashaying ass of what turned out to be a
way these deceptions can work is if the differences between
men and women are broachable by a matter of a few nips n’
tucks and a costume change. If they are, and they are, then
the truth is that the monkey male and female are physically
hardly different at all. Somewhere between lions (easier to
distinguish) and house cats (harder).
part about this is that many of the female qualities I’ve
popped boners for – soft hairless skin, big soft lips,
thick and flowing hair, shapely legs and ass – are fairly
minor, looking at the big picture; the whole body. Not only
this, but do an honest appraisal of, say, a typical Asian man’s
body, and you’ll find many of these same qualities or
capacities for them.
are different in other ways, right? Like their moods, and that
stuff. Maybe so, but ever since I started treating them like
they were exactly like me, like a guy, they’ve been a
lot easier to talk to, understand, get into the sack. There’s
no mystery at all about Woman. And the only thing that made
me believe there was one was the idea I grew up with: that we’re
office manager finally told me she was a woman, she laughed
out loud at my months of suckertude. I remember her saying,
“Don’t you see what a hilarious game you’re
playing as a ‘guy’? It’s a pretty thin veneer.”
I didn’t agree with her at the time, but she was right.
told a lot of women that my radical new take on feminism isn’t
that we’re equal, it’s that we’re the same.
Most of them recoiled at first in horror, and then conceded
that yeah, there’s not much difference.
the gender stuff that’s left me wondering how gay I am,
the rest is pure affirmation of our democratic instincts. If
you can blend in with the poor but are rich in real life, what
is it exactly that distinguishes you from those folks who ain’t
got what you got? Same goes for race. Human theater and circumstance,
best as I can tell.