I love those commercials featuring ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’, don’t you? There is nothing this guy won’t do. He plays baccarat with hirsute sweaty Moroccans, then jumps on a team of sled dogs to run the Iditarod, and skydives from a military transport over the Deccan Plateau at just the thought of curried eels. And all this drunk and with enough presence of mind to hawk a previously obscure beer at every opportunity. When he pauses to tell a story, stroking his beard to remove the civet coffee chewing’s, by god, we all stop to listen.
It’s not all that unusual for trans people to find themselves in a similar role, but without the sweet royalties spilling in. Some cisgender folks, certainly not all or even most, appear to have a level of fascination with our journeys for the same reason we all do of our favorite bearded malt jockey. It’s truly impossible to imagine wanting to do that to begin with. One day a person is wearily haggling over a lawnmower repair at Sears, and next thing you know they are either Greek wrestling a mujahidin in the caves of Ameristan, or equally likely, seeking corrective reconstruction to their genitals. At least so it seems to the theater going public at large.
The Romans would describe me as being in media res, or in the middle of things, or would have had they not gotten to the end and stopped coming up with clever little phases. As such, I’m still kind of flattered when someone takes enough of an interest to hit me up with a lot of questions. I’m just a little psyched they find my relatively hum-drum existence fascinating enough to attempt to establish my motivations and getting a little chill thrill from hearing what I intend to do about it. I was never asked many questions before about myself, and frankly even find the transition process rather onerous and drawn out. How did you tell people? How did they react? What was laser beard removal like? Are you, you know, going to get…the surgery? Mind you, aside from minor spikes of activity, the vast majority of this was simply going to unpleasant but necessary appointments; little bits of forward action between loading the dishwasher yet again or reading myself to sleep. Still, nice of them to take an interest.
Reading the other excellent blogs out there (check them out, down on the right), it seems the majority get tired of this after a while. I suppose I will as well. I’m sure after a long day of transporting a troop of diapered howler monkeys in a Winnebago, The Most Interesting Man in the World likes to put on his fuzzy slippers, crack his 17th Dos Equis of the day, and chill out without having to hear about it. We are all only human, and humans have a limited capacity for talking about their own shit and maintaining any enthusiasm about it after a while. After some months or years though, the temptation is simply to tell them to just go read a book or something.
If we can do it though, I think we should. I know, I know, we are people to and deserve dignity, respect, and some privacy. Most of us don’t care for someone being “absolutely fascinated” by our genitals unless there is romance in the air. We should do it for two reasons really. Obviously it educates people with information they are unlikely to have stumbled upon on their own and builds up good will. They aren’t asking to give us a hard time; they are asking because they really want to know, and Wikipedia doesn’t exactly pack the same punch as a firsthand account from someone actually sharing an environment with them. Put yourself in their place for a moment and pretend you just found out Sara Mouskawitz in accounting was really the Most Interesting Man in the World. You would be grateful for the opportunity to ask a few things.
We also do it for the next batch coming after us. Yes, I am saying let’s do it for the children. If we can save someone who still has this mountain of crap to go though and probably doesn’t even know it yet, I think it’s the right thing to do. People like Chaz Bono, Jenny Boylan, and Chloe Prince put themselves out there every day – print, TV, etc – and honestly, aren’t you grateful? I source people all the time just to corroborate my own stories, and every time I’m insanely grateful they did this because it makes it so much easier on me. It would be nice to keep that going. Besides, in an astonishingly short amount of time everyone is going to know we aren’t actually the Most Interesting Men and Women in the World and leave us to crack a Dos Equis in peace. Stay thirsty my friends.