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Category Archives: Attempted Humor

9 Unexpected Side Effects of Gender Transition

Hair in doorIt’s been an appropriately long time since I rolled out the last list and that one went over like a wet log rolled over an angry Rottweiler. After all of 4 people read it, I decided the jig was up for my droll little attempts to interject nearly nonsensical humor. Just yesterday it just occurred to me that I missed doing these because I enjoy writing them, so why on earth would I stop? It’s not like anyone is paying to me to do this. Although I delight in seeing my stats rise and when new readers subscribe, it doesn’t really buy me much.

So, no disrespect to you dear readers, especially those of you who read and lend insightful comments to my more serious fare, but sorry, today’s just not going to be your cup of tea here in Michelleliannaland. I guarantee that if such a land existed geographically, no one would spell or pronounce it correctly, so best it stays in my head. If you like to laugh, or better yet, like to laugh at me making a clumsy attempt to funny and coming off as an insufferable doof, then let’s get this pig a squealin’.

The following represents as many reasons I can think of in a short amount of time of things one might be expected to be surprised by when undergoing gender transition. I’m not admitting that any or all of these happened to me, but let’s be honest here. My ability to extrapolate to the theoretical is not exactly tip top.

1. Hair Trap: After years of keeping a high and tight haircut, or worse, enjoying a crushing descent into looking like Larry David, you probably want some hair that looks a little bit more feminine. Often times, this means length. For the blessed, this means years of letting it grow out and suffering through the awkward in between style where everyone is making you uncomfortable by constantly asking why you haven’t gotten a haircut. For the rest of us, it means buying a wig. After a lifetime of shorn follicles, getting used to longer hair can be an adjustment, specifically when it gets caught in stuff or worse. To date, I’ve now had my neck pulled after having it caught in car doors, my purse strap, the door to the house, and the dog. Worse, I had the ends and 4 inches up frizzled beyond repair after sticking my head in a way too hot oven. Every single time, I was surprised.

2. Breast Spillage: While still making appearances as a young gentleman, I was schooled that one wisely puts napkins in the lap when eating. A spillage of vanilla pudding on the crotch area is just something best avoided, regardless of the unlikelihood that I would ever order anything but chocolate. Now ensconced in female life, it seems apparent that placing a napkin on the lap does exactly jack shit towards preventing unsightly stains because it’s essentially the same as putting a drip pan underneath the oven instead of on the bottom rack. Not being always cognizant of this, the chance of walking around for the rest of the afternoon with a big glob of mayo in the old décolletage is a far better bet and much more noticeable.

3. Getting Hosed: Aside from dresses and skirts, the other article of clothing many of us associate strongly with femininity are pantyhose. The idea of walking around in them seems like it should have a very womanly appeal. Reality, however, has debunked this soundly. Other than trying to look a tad more formal and presentable at the office and events, or more likely to cover up ghost legs or the fact you haven’t shaved since Monday, they are something to be avoided. Rather than making one feel feminine, they instead convey the feeling of being a sausage. The waist band rolls down under your FUPA at the very start of long meetings, your feet won’t stop sweating, and getting a mid morning run will induce embarrassed anxiety until you waste your lunch hour running to the store.

4. Don’t Call Me Al: In spite of being on the “don’t fricking call me” list, I still get plenty of unsolicited calls due to the “charity” loophole. Apparently buying a new vacuum sight unseen from some doofus who can’t read a script over the phone is now a charity. They always ask for ‘Michael’ without fail. “Yes, I’m Michelle” This causes confusion especially since many of them are not legally allowed to solicit to anyone not on their golden list of names and a stalemate ensues. If I were smart, I would simply hang up the phone, but instead finding myself awkwardly explaining that “Michael” is no longer here, but Michelle is, without giving too much away. Out of frustration, I generally end up giving the whole story to this disinterested dingleberry I have no intention of giving money to.

5. That Time of the Month: If sources local to my vicinity are to be believed, I now go through stretches of a few days each month where I come across “a little bitchy”. Personally, I prefer the null hypothesis which posits that everyone around me during those periods has suddenly turned unaccountably stupid and annoying, including inanimate objects that pick just that time to rebel and refuse to heed my wishes. Lacking a uterus, ovaries, and menstrual cycle, I found the concept to be preposterous before starting this transition, but the results seem to be speaking for themselves. As my hormone doses are very steady state, I have to assume that the universe found one more way to give me the finger, hopefully right before giving it a rest for a while.

6. All Fired Up: Without question, ‘Chicago Fire’ is one of the best new shows to debut last fall and I immediately became an ardent follower. At some point over the winter, however, it occurred to me that I really shouldn’t be getting that excited because a show about firemen was on. I asked around at work to see who else watched it, and the answer always came back “no” or “yes because my wife does” from all men, and “yes” from a lot of women. Of the latter, a discussion of whether one liked Casey or Severide better was not uncommon. The fact that I was able to add to that discussion came to a surprise to me. This little change of mine is having more effects than I anticipate. And are you crazy? Severide! I mean look at him.

7. And In The News Today…: I really should have seen this coming, but ever since I came out, any time trans anything is mentioned in the news, multiple people send me links to the story, or in the case of more old fashioned people, cut the article out and mail it to me. “Did you see Dateline last night? One of your people was on there!” Don’t get me wrong, I think this is incredibly sweet and it touches me deeply that people think to do this. I just have to wonder if this happens to any other demographic. Did this happen to gays before they became part of the normal landscape? If I came down with Lupus, would I get a dozen emails telling me someone with Lupus was going to be on Letterman that night? Very thoughtful, but still a bit of a surprise.

8. Gender Amnesia: This is a little embarrassing, but sometimes when people refer to me in my presence as ‘she’ or even ‘Michelle’, I don’t understand they are talking about me right away. I put forth an enormous effort to transition, throw an internal hissy fit any time someone uses the wrong pronoun or name, and then come across as a huge ditz when people comply with ease. “Let’s go over this… you are going to set up the meeting and she’s going to present.” Wait…who is going to present? “You are the only woman here…” Right…right. I hope this will clear up in time, and before the general consensus drops my IQ by 30 points.

9. Waterworks: For 2 decades I operated under the assumption that my tear ducts had been uninstalled during the Regan administration. As it turns out; not so. While I’m not yet at the point where I can cry at paper towel commercials, I did burst into tears just this past weekend because my Kindle wouldn’t turn on. If I’m watching anything on TV where something bad happens to a child, forget about it. How was I so callous and jaded before to just sit stone faced when really sad things happened to imaginary people? I have no idea. I am, however, now terrified that my old belief that no one at work has the power to make me cry is simply untrue. I really need to see about working from home.

I’m certain there are at least another 9 surprises I’m either not thinking of, or are just waiting to bite me in the ass in the near future, but this this will do for now. Please feel free to share in the comments section that I have taken a sacred vow to catch up on very shortly.

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10 Super Keen Milestones of Gender Transition

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Now, I’m not one to go ragging on my sisters all the time (shush you, “all” the time is a little extreme you know), so I thought today would be a good time to start looking at some of the really great positives that we get to experience in transition. Almost every one of us who went down this road got to the starting line, looked at what lay ahead, and simultaneously lost today’s breakfast and yesterdays dinner at the same time. Wouldn’t it be nice then if we made it easier on our sisters who still go by ‘mister’ by highlighting some of the really great things they can expect? Normally I tend to churn out a laborious 3 paragraph intro to these, but today I’m just going to get to it.

1. Prognosis – Not Psycho: One of the first great milestones in this long and lonely road is having your therapist look you dead in the eye and say, “well… I don’t think you are psychotic…”. Mine said it exactly this way and made a great show of providing me a letter that spelled it out word for word. Yeah, it also said this person is known as “Michelle” blah blah blah, she probably looks weird to you yadda yadda, is transgender, and definitely not a psychopath or con-artist. Being officially designated as ‘transgender’ in the sort of letter of introduction people carried in 18th century novels is swell, but it’s the absolution of being a raging maniac that makes it special. I’m still planning to frame mine since I’ve long since stopped carrying it.

2. Lonely Leaves You Alone: This one can be a little tricky to be honest. It might be the very first person you come out to, or it might be dead last. Chances are though, you already have a pretty good idea about who is going to be super supportive and who is going to wig out and somehow make it about them. Try and go with the former for your first stab at it, or the second is going to be all the harder. Early coming out, one on one with someone and having them get all excited and happy for you is the best feeling. It’s even more validating than the letter and instills a blossom of hope that maybe you won’t have to move to Norway in the near term.

3. They Love To Watch You Strut: If you are reading this, chances are you are familiar with peering out the front window at twilight to scan the neighborhood for any signs of activity so you can run to your car and attempt to navigate down the street with your head in the passenger seat. This gets old real fast. It comes as a pure delight then to finally stroll to your car leisurely at noon and motor down to the nearest cross street without taking out garbage cans or that cat that keeps shitting in your vegetable garden. The real difference is that you really kind of don’t care anymore providing there is at least a degree of separation between your neighbors and everyone else you know who still doesn’t know. In Buffalo this is nearly impossible, but understanding that it’s no biggie anyway is just a slice of heaven.

4. Permission to Juice: There is a good chance that your therapist sees a great divide between determining you are not psychotic and determining you are ready to start making some changes. Sometimes it’s a really big divide, but understanding who you are finally will make you cross this hell or high water. Mine was under some kind of impression that hormones can be catastrophic and I picked up on this vibe early on and left it alone. Eventually though it’s enough already and time to pony up. Where the first letter feels like, “well, at least I’m not crazy”, this one is pure validation that, “I am who I know I am, and everyone agrees”. Welcome to mood swings, weight gain, tender nipples, crying at movies, and needing 11 trips to get all the groceries in. Bye forever, oh cursed morning wood.

5. Yes, I Would Love the Hanger, Thanks: Let’s be honest here. You have been shopping before, but not without a big old sack of high octane anxiety to go along with it. Oh, it was fun and all picking out new clothes, but trust me, you are never going to miss doing it with a red face. Not to mention fake lists from your “girlfriend”, asking for bullshit gift receipts, never getting quite the right size, outfits the blind wouldn’t wear, and dumping everything in a mad panic behind a Frito’s display because you could swear that woman who just looked your way used to go to your mom’s church or something. Welcome to relaxed outings where your only anxiety is sticker shock at the register, everything fits, and you never bring single shoe brought home you have to wonder how the fuck you are going to walk in anyway.

6.  Screw You, Clark Kent!: I’m sure you know the worry of having a sneaking suspicion that your co-workers often wonder why they never see you and femme you in the same place at the same time. Trust me, they don’t, but you can’t help wondering. Best cure in the world for that is to leave the glasses and suit in the phone booth you changed out of them in and never looking back. Just imagine the joy of noticing that is your boss in line in front of you at Mighty Taco, and they only reason you hope he doesn’t notice you is because you promised to have that thing or whatever done last Tuesday and just now remembered. A double life is a half life sister, and they day you decide to just be you and no one else is just like warm apple pie.

7. Goodwill Humping: Remember that cute little trend back in the 80’s when women wore neckties and suspenders like a 40’s era newsman? Yeah, me too, and I’m going to be so pissed if that comes back for some reason. One of the greatest joys that goes hand in hand with #6 here is voiding your abode of every stitch of clothing that may have been purchased at Men’s Wearhouse. No more ties, wingtips, pit stained undershirts, dress pants with real no-shit pockets, and anything that buttons on the wrong side. For the first time ever, there is no worry about anyone going through your stuff and wondering what you are supposed to be anyway. The garbage bags are full up, and it’s time to take a sweet ride to the donation center.

8. Buying Tequila: You look freaking amazing tonight and never once got the freaky nuts hairy eyeball. Well, that is until your bottle of Chilean Sea Bass infused vodka hits the scanner and the inevitable request for ID comes. Oh, the humanity. Your weak joke about having a bad hair day that day fails to amuse the cashier, who politely asks you if you would like paper or plastic for that, Mr Schnitzel. Yeah, going through the bureaucratic nightmare of swapping out your birth name and gender is a huge hassle, but the day your new license comes is nothing short of amazing. Almost as amazing as the feeling of smug satisfaction you feel every time you present it to suspicious lady at the checkout and watch her smarmy little grin just fade away.

9. There Can Be Only None: Terrifying, exhilarating, dreadful, onerous, and then never ending. How the hell did you get to know so many fricking people over your lifetime anyway? Family, friends, co-workers, casual acquaintances, old school chums, military buddies, and of course the 900 people you never met before who ended up as your Facebook friends. Given enough time, however, even someone emptying Lake Erie with a thimble will get to that last drop. Going to bed and knowing there isn’t a single person out there who you ever said boo to who doesn’t know brings with it a deep and dreamless sleep. Well, until you suddenly realize that those cousins on your dad’s side you never ever see don’t know yet, and they are probably going to show up to the next funeral. Hold on a sec, I’ve got to paw through my old Rolodex and draft yet another damn letter…

10. Speaking of Letters: It’s been at least a year since you maintained even a semblance of a male identity, and by now you are hoping that those around you finally forgot what you ever looked like with a five o’clock shadow and George Costanza haircut. You wish anyway, if not for the ten zillion photographs still floating around that seem to be everywhere. It’s been a long time coming since you were declared sane-ish and given permission to put some chemical ice on the dried up old boys. Finally, finally, you managed to clear every arduous wicket and qualify for the big golden ticket. So to speak anyway; it would be a cold day in hell before I traded my GRS letter for some tour of an obscenely dangerous candy factory. Whether you can afford it, or are medically qualified, there is nothing like knowing that you have done everything necessary to secure permission to proceed to the final frontier. Just a couple more months, and I’ll tell you what it’s like. Trust me, it’s going to be the best one yet.

10 Fun Little Ways to Avoid Transition

Sandheads

As a rabid procrastinator by nature (I know, I resolved to discontinue this practice in my New Year’s resolutions along with that other stuff I haven’t touched yet. Go on, throw it in my face. I’m not afraid to cry you know. Jerk.), I applied my philosophy that tomorrow doesn’t really exist to recognizing my gender identity. It’s not such an easy thing to do, but one does find ways when truly motivated walk in circles around an issue that is much better once confronted. Be that as it may. Today’s list is therefore dedicated to ways one employs to avoid admitting they are trans and doing something about it. Some apply to me, and some don’t, and remember, I only do these little lists when I’m in a tongue in cheek mood, so reader beware. And so…

1. Join the Scouts: A great way to surround yourself with wholesome young men with nary a hint of homosexuality around is to join the scouts. Well, so the handbook indicates with the Rockwell painting of strong boys and men in the wilderness in crisp ironed uniforms and not a minority even on the horizon. Yeah, even at 11 I thought that was weird, but signed up anyway. Aside from learning knots only useful for hardcore bondage enthusiasts, I also learned what it looks like when you cross ‘Lord of the Flies’ with ‘The Hunger Games’. It was pretty clear, I was just never going to get boy culture.

2. Join the Team: Nothing in the world so manly as running around with a bunch of other boys, getting good and sweaty with a lot of ass slapping camaraderie, showering together, and whipping each other with towels to make one appreciate having testicles. I suppose if I had been a latent homosexual man, this would have been super, but I’m reasonably sure any woman, cis or trans, would find this deplorable, as did I. Plus it didn’t help that I generally warmed the bleachers next to the cheerleaders, and had season record of total points scored of 2.

3. Grow a Beard: Any latent ideas that you might be just a tiny bit feminine seem easily conquered simply by putting down the old razor for a while. Looking in the mirror each morning it’s easy to see yourself transformed by the various stages of beard-dom: recently unemployed, rescued hostage, terrorist, Uncle Jesse, and finally mountain man. The added bonus to growing a beard is that you have zero temptation to dress how you would really like because nothing is more ridiculous than a person with a douche-bag beard in a dress. Eventually, however, the Gillette ads get the better of you and the heartbreaking shaving routine begins again.

4. Join the Marines: If anyone can make a real man out of you, it’s definitely the Marines. Semper Fi and all that jazz (they never add that last part, but should). How on earth can being sent to Parris Island to be broken down, built back up, have a second penis installed (the one for fighting, not for fun), and be put on a ship with men in white sailor suits to compare yourself against fail to make a no-shit man out of you? Actually I don’t know, possibly very well, but I joined the Air Force and that failed miserably, but at least I didn’t end up with a neck the size of a Sam’s Club size jar of mayo as a result.

5. Join a Biker Gang: I never tried this myself, but a good friend did, and never a more feminine woman trans woman have I met. While wearing more dead cow than a leather daddy and scooting around with a big hot machine between your legs intimidating people has its charm, it may not be right for you if you find yourself constantly resisting the urge to paint it pink to match your nails. Where we all live in fear of discovery, it somehow seems much worse to have to fret about your little secret coming out in a dingy bar surrounded by angry, beer guzzling Haystacks Muldoon look-a-likes. She said they were much sweeter than one might think, but still.

6. Be a Stud-Muffin: Yes, I did resurrect that term from the late 80’s. I’ll be perfectly honest; this was never going to happen for me. Some latent trans women are able to capitalize on what they were born with and parlay that into an endless stream of promiscuity that allowed society to label them as real studs instead of the usual labels for their true gender such as ‘slut’ and ‘whore’. Unfortunately constant contact with body parts one secretly envies for themselves in no way alleviates this condition in the slightest and leaves former partners wondering if they had a faux-mosexual experience or not.

7. Get Married: “Son, there is nothing like the love of a good woman to set you straight.” Wonderful advice if you have a son instead of a secret daughter. Anyway, we buy it hook, line, and sinker. Whatever feelings I may have had in past were nothing more than the idle musings of a lonely soul and will be burned away forever in the fire of endless love, companionship, and perhaps even fatherhood. Oh, it works for a while, but before long you realize that the itch of wrongness is back beneath your skin, but now with someone essentially up your ass 24/7.  Any attempt to utilize ‘Freaky Friday’ type methodology such as wishing on stars, seeking out bottle trapped genies, or futzing around with creepy old electromechanical coin operated wizards will not only fail, but likely initiate the mother of all fights.

8. Develop Wacky Distractions: Nothing you do may ever make you feel like a man for more than a few months, so the in-between time needs to be filled. Personally, I went with somewhat manufactured obsessions. Comic book collecting, obsessive eBaying, time capsule construction and internment, finding new and useless ways to categorize my digital library of 8000 songs, finding and reading books about Siberia, and blogging (not this one, my old blog). Having a good obsession is an excellent tool for procrastinating what appears to be an exceedingly unpleasant task.

9. Chow Down/ Go Diet Crazy: If you aren’t comfortable in your body, it seems like a good idea to start playing around with what you have and see if you can’t make your accommodations more bearable. I started with food and lots of it. Very hard to feel too bad while in the process of cramming a huge cheese steak hoagie with a side of loaded fries down your gullet every night. Close to 100 lbs later, it finally dawned on me that I was actually more uncomfortable arriving out of breath and soaked with sweat just walking up a flight of stairs to my bosses office. I went in the wrong direction! So, I focused everything I had (see obsession) into taking it off by meticulously calculating everything I stuck in my mouth. I got in the best shape I’ve ever been in, with a growing sense of unease that I was still totally uncomfortable.

10. Hit the Gym: Many manly men like to affirm their masculinity by donning tank tops and way too tight bike shorts and pumping iron at the local gym or California beaches. After all, what says ‘dude’ like ripped biceps and lycra covered bulges, right? It’s natural to lack confidence in this area, so setting up an expensive home gym to avoid the recurring cost of a gym membership seems like a good idea. You may even end up utilizing it until you look in the mirror and realize that bulging upper body musculature is totally, totally not you. Eventually this expensive equipment will be sold at a fraction of the value on Craigslist, but not before it takes up much needed space because your significant other likes the never to be exercised options it presents.

11. Go To Therapy: If anyone can get to the bottom of this general malaise, dysphoria, and body issue downward spiral you found yourself in, it’s a good therapist. You quickly discover that avoiding your gender identity becomes increasingly, ridiculously complicated when you are subjecting yourself answering deep, introspective questions that all seem to land in areas you have made every effort to avoid. Game over chica.

9 Reasons Transgender Isn’t a Choice

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Would you believe even today, widespread belief exists that people actively choose a homosexual lifestyle or gender transition? Of the former, there is plenty of dialog, so I’m not going to bother going there. Trans people face this level of malarkey just as frequently, so I thought it couldn’t hurt to put together a few talking points. This shouldn’t be too hard, because seriously, who in the world would do this if they didn’t have to? Yes, I’m going to focus on the MtF side of things for the moment, but I would love to encourage any trans guys to weigh in with their reasons.

1. Lookie-Lou’s: I suppose there are a few odd ducks out there who don’t mind a smidge making their way through the mall gauntlet of “what the hell are you supposed to be anyway?” stares. Yes, yes, we all like to claim it doesn’t bother us, but really, wouldn’t you be way more comfortable ordering the venti frappachino knowing for sure no one was going to holler at you  when the time came to send it on to its final destination? This is why we are willing to go through hellacious expensive procedures to achieve the maximum level of passability. If it didn’t suck, many less would bother.

2. Ka-Ching!: Yes, there are many other expensive ailments out there that can leave you a financial ruin. Many of them, however, include a significant chance you aren’t going to make it and therefore not have to worry about the bills rolling in. If you do make it, heaven help you. No one ever accuses ol’ Uncle Barney of developing that tumor just to be different or to fuck with the family a little bit because the personal and monetary cost is just too prohibitive. Yeah, pretty much the same thing here, which is why only the well heeled and trans populations are willing to pay for complex plastic surgery.

3. Effective Habits of Highly Unsuccessful People: The vast majority of the population wants to do well and achieve some measure of success whether it be in the service industry or the board room. People go back to school, work extra hard, kiss much ass, and read books with titles much like that of the title of this reason. The day you start showing up in a dress, pay close attention to the crane installing a glass ceiling measured to be right about your height. That’s if they keep you of course. In many instances you are looking at dozens of uncomfortable job interviews where they politely try to figure out if this is a joke or not.

4. You Got Some ‘Splainin’ To Do: You know what sucks worse than telling people you have a terminal illness? Telling people you are trans. With the former you get that sympathetic look and maybe a gratifying tear or two. With us it’s more of a deer in the headlights kind of thing as they struggle to comprehend and react. Sometimes the reaction is really bad. Sometimes it starts good, but then turns bad after they had a chance to think about it. While the telling itself is enough of a deterrent to dissuade anyone, the not knowing if the relationship exists or not is the icing on the cake. In a world where no one gives bad news unless they absolutely have to, this falls well within the field of unavoidable.

5. Have You Heard?: The number one reason people give for not doing something that they really want to is, “I would love to, but I really don’t want to have to hear about it.”. People hate hearing about it, and do anything they can to avoid it. On the flip side, it’s a highly effective means of controlling what someone else does. When you transition, you will hear about it. A lot. People think that in making you constantly hear about it, you might “come to your senses” or realize what you are doing is not worth the business you are getting as a result. It changes nothing of course, but dear lord how they try. For that reason alone, no one would do this.

6. Reasonable Alternatives Denied: When faced with having to do something insanely difficult, people often try to scare up some reasonable alternatives to save themselves the pain. By the time we transition, we have typically gone though the whole gamut and are left with the last final option other than suicide, which 47% opt to try. People often like to approach us, usually under the auspices of #5, to see if they can fix this issue real quick. Have you thought about just “doing this” on the weekends? What about therapy? Can’t you just be happy with what you have and make the best of it? Yes thank you, I never thought of these things I’ve been doing for decades in that light before. If I’m spending my lunch hour shopping for another goddamn pair of pantyhose because a dog put a run in them, I’ve pretty much exhausted all other options.

7. Congratulations! Your Travel Arrangements Have Been Downgraded: Looking for ways to make the world a harder, scarier place where you have less rights, options, and safety? Be a woman! Want to work harder for less pay and less respect with fewer prospects? Be a woman! MtF transition is like rising from your comfy reclining seat in first class, poking the flight attendant, and asking for the middle seat way back by the rear bathroom. As someone who has flown enough to win treasured Platinum status, I can say for certain that I’ve never, ever seen this happen.

8. Campbell’s Soup For One: By and large, it’s a very prevalent part of the human condition to want to partner up. Security, love, shared times, and even sex. Sure there are problems, but the rewards are incentive enough to keep this kind of business going for the foreseeable future. If you ever want to see a big group of lonely single people, simply go to a transgender support meeting. People into women generally prefer the variety that came that way out of the box. “Oh, reconditioned? Yeah, I’ll pass.” Sure, there are tranny chasers out there, but I think there are more of us than them, and many appear to have specialized interests that often make us uncomfortable. No one buys the lifetime membership to the Lonely Hearts Club unless there is no other choice.

9. De Pain Boss, De Pain: Take one of your nose or beard hairs and pluck it out with tweezers. Fun, yes? Now imagine the same thing with electricity 70 to 100 thousand times over the course of a year and a half. Then imagine the prospect of doing the same thing downstairs on any skin that is going to be on the inside (some nice surgeons spare you this and will cauterize it for you). I think even the most adamant ‘Choicer’ out there would have to pause on this one. Going once, sure, but going back again and again and again knowing exactly what kind of torture you are in for? Even the most hearty masochist would give this a pass.

Well, I was going to do ten, but you know, nine is way cooler and I don’t feel like I’m aping Dave Letterman’s schtick.  If you have more, feel free to add in the comments!

Weird Trans* Symptomology (Or Is It Just Me?)

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As if we aren’t considered weird enough already (no, it’s true, an old friend even commented here to tell me what I was doing is “inherently insane and weird”), I’ve noticed in comparing notes with other trans folks that some of us share some additional peculiarities. Let’s talk about that for a minute because I can’t help being curious about this. Something coincidental with trans* worth looking more into, or just my usual ramblings? I am thinking of creating a bona fide poll if I can figure out how to do so, but this post will serve as a fleshed out version for the mean time and at least a good reference point should I figure out the poll thingie. The examples, unfortunately, all come directly from my personal experiences.

Please indicate if you experience any of the following symptoms and whether you consider yourself to be trans* or not (it’s not in me to exclude anyone from participating):

1. Every Day is Yesterday Syndrome: Do you have an atypical memory that allows you go back 10, 20, 30 years and more and recall the minute details of some event or conversation? Do you often embarrass the hell out of old friends by recounting blow by blow some incident they desperately hoped everyone forgot? Are you considered to be a huge pain in the derrière when you constantly correct the personal memories of others making them doubt their own sanity? Whether you use this power to annoy the living shit out of everyone around you, or keep it confined to head shakes and quiet eye rolling sighs, you may have this.

2. Count von Countulitis: Do you have difficulty doing math in your head? Particularly easy math, requiring you to either use your fingers or break out your iPhone calculator to figure out the tip on a $10 tab, or divide the check 3 ways? Did you end up in a math heavy field like engineering or accounting by spending countless hours on rote memorization and now thank the living stars every day for the invention of Excel so you can keep the illusion alive? If you have an abacus at your desk, and it’s not just a toy, you may have this.

3. Southlefterly Confusion: If the passenger in your car says, “turn right at the next light”, are you equally as likely to do so as careen across 4 lanes of traffic to get into the left hand turn lane? Do you often hold both hands up so you can visually see which one you write with when someone asks you a left/ right question? Do you find compasses maddening? If someone at work says, “come down to the north side of the building”, do you pull up the Google satellite view and hope the NSEW position indicator is there so you can figure out which side that is? If you feel totally turned around at sunset or frequently infuriate your GPS by forcing it to recalculate, you may have this.

4. I’m ADD, Yeah You Know Me: Has your mind wandered more than 4 times since starting to read this post? Do you often read 3 or 4 books in parallel because it’s really no different to you given your mental wanderings just reading one? Has anyone ever stated, “I know to get anything important in within 30 seconds before your eyes start to glaze over? When someone asks, “what did he just say?” when watching TV, do you never know because you were zoned out? If your brain works in 30 second intervals before moving on to something completely unrelated, you may have this. I have found an upside to this condition; I’m never, ever bored.

5. Comparatative Normalcy: Amongst your group of non-trans* friends, do you still appear to be the “normal” one of the group? Has your favorite cousin repeatedly called you a ‘weirdness magnet’ based on the friends you have managed to attract? Do you ever watch ‘Big Bang Theory’ and think, “yeah, I should be so lucky to be Dr Amy Farrah Fowler.” When you are out as a group, are you not the reason for a change that people keep staring at your table? If people like this have found you, and you befriended them because of your unique ability to look past appearance, behavior, and overall lack of conformity to societal norms in ways that significantly differ from your own personal idiosyncrasies, it may be a good indication you suffer this malady.

6. Lois Laneitis: Were you also astounded the first time you saw Clark Kent take off his glasses? Have you ever worked side by side with someone for years and get confused as to their identity when bumping into them at the mall? Did you ever think two people at work were the same person, and called one of them by the wrong name persistently until you finally happened to see them together? Did you ever find a movie super confusing because you thought two actors or actresses were the same character? The medical term for this is called Prosopagnosia and you may have it if you didn’t realize that was an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie until he said, “I’ll be back.”

7. LoTR Type Fixation: Do you really fricking love ‘Lord of the Rings’? Yeah, this one is a pretty simple yes or no. Every trans person I have thought to ask loves LoTR. I know a lot of people do, but this just might be statistically significant.

I’m sure there are probably more, but let’s face it, we all stopped paying attention like 3 symptoms ago, so I see no reason to drag this out further. Now, let’s see if I can figure out this poll thingie…

7 Warning Signs of Post Traumatic Guy Syndrome

No matter what symptoms I plug into Web MD, Post Traumatic Guy Syndrome never seems to come up. I may, however, be at great risk for either scurvy or kuru, even though I eat lots of fruit and hardly any human brains. It stands to reason I guess, since I just made the term up while stepping on the toes of our veterans who have very real, and very debilitating problems as the result of being put in situations of high risk of imminent death. I really think I might be at risk though, and if you are a trans woman, you probably are as well.

If you are a trans woman, or at least know some or one, you may have noticed that some of seem just a little bit off. OK, to be less PC, some of us come off as batshit crazy, or at the very least, went through a long adjustment period as they settled into womanhood. I think the root cause of all this is having to have lived for so many years as a male; an endeavor that was bound for failure, but attempted with great vigor for decades at a time. We like to tell children that they can be whatever they want to, but the reality is that over time, if what you want to be just isn’t you, it’s not going to bode well and you may end up just a little bit fucked up in the process. Prior to the onset of PTGS, there are a number of indicators and symptoms worth taking a look at even though I just made them up on the fly.

1. Sporadic Dickheadness: Guys often exhibit this trait from time to time, and it’s often in good fun. The medical terminology often refers to it as “ball busting” which is known to manifest in the presence of other men, especially when camaraderie is high or alcohol is being consumed. Sometimes the effects are felt by women, but they are often dismissed as just boys trying to be funny. When a woman, particularly a trans woman, shows signs of this, it’s not good. Other women do not lightly suffer this type of crap from other women. As a trans woman, sporadic dickheadedness will probably show up from time to time as a latent effect from male life. Fortunately, the worst side effect is simply being asked out to lunch with the girls a lot less. Secondary symptoms: mild depression and suspected alienation.

2. Minor Adjustments: Until surgical correction takes place, even the very best of restraining methods tend to fail from time to time, or become unbearably uncomfortable at inopportune times. In male life, dealing with this area was simple and expected. A quick look around followed by an over the slacks crotch adjustment, or a more covert hand in the pocket fix was socially acceptable. Women, however, never publically adjust their crotch for a variety of reasons, the least of which is lack of necessity. When discomfort arises, it’s easy to forget you are wearing a skirt and pantyhose, and that grabbing yourself in that area, unless in total privacy, is bound to get noticed. This symptom is unconscious and nearly unavoidable. Secondary symptoms: burning embarrassment lasting for moments to days.

3. Stoic Silence: When men are not interested in a topic being discussed, it is socially acceptable to remain in stoic bored silence until a conversation shift occurs. Women generally ignore this since they are under the impression that the men will probably not add much anyway. A woman, however, displaying this trait is often written off as being a real cold bitch and someone not to be invited again. After decades of enjoying this symptom without repercussion, a trans woman may be surprised and dismayed by the impression they are giving as being cold, or worse yet, just a guy. The only remedy is getting used to talking in groups about shit you really don’t care about. Secondary symptoms: more depression and perceived alienation.

4. Speaking in Tongues: As a male, it was expected that you know at least a dozen lines each from ‘Monty Python: Quest for the Holy Grail’ and ‘Scarface’. Chances are, you played along unless you are like me and unable to remember movie lines. Hopefully you did, and didn’t just stand there feeling like a schmuck like me. If you were successful, it’s now ingrained and going to come out from time to time. Remember though, you never, ever hear women drag out the infuriating ‘Knights Who Say Nee’ bit. This is good, because no one needs to ever hear that again. As a trans woman there is a good chance you will, and be left standing there feeling like a schmuck as you suddenly become aware of the disgusted and annoyed faces around you. Secondary symptoms: crippling embarrassment.

5. Benjamin Buttonitis: This morning I dressed my 5 year old for school, then came to work and noticed 30 and 40 year old men wearing essentially the same thing. Well, except for Spiderman sneakers that blink. As a male you probably got used to doing this, because aside from formal affairs and high power business, men’s and boy’s styles are virtually indistinguishable. Because of this, many trans women fall into the same trap and think that cute skirt in the junior’s section is perfectly all right to wear. It’s not. Unless you occupy a demographic where dying your hair Smurf blue is all right, there is a rigid age demarcation for clothes. The real kicker is that nobody is going to tell you to your face, because female culture doesn’t lend itself toward making others feel bad about their appearance, so this symptom can persist for a long time. Secondary symptoms: constant paranoia that people are talking about you and judging you, mainly because they are.

6. Space Invader: While never specifically taught, casual observation will reveal that when sitting or walking, men take up the maximum amount of space humanly possible, while women tend to fold themselves into the most compact package, often at the expense of comfort. Think of a man on a couch. Arms spread out over the back and legs splayed open to display his crotch. Now think of a woman. Arms and elbows tucked in, and legs demurely crossed at the knees or ankles. He’s taking up at least 2.5 seats worth of space, and she’s scrunched into three quarters. Trans women easily revert to the male configuration because it’s way more comfortable, but end up looking like a lumberjack in drag no matter how pretty they might otherwise be. Secondary symptoms: more paranoia caused by weird stares and people standing rather than risk sitting next to you.

7. Up In the Sky, It’s Super-Guy!: Men are expected to jump in and solve problems first, and listen second. Women often to the opposite and provide a good ear to listen, and assistance only when requested. This can get confusing if you are used to firing off the means to solve everyone’s worries or worse, jumping into a physical situation. When you do this as a woman, other women get annoyed, because if they wanted someone to go off half cocked, they just would have told a guy about it. With men it’s worse. While they will tolerate this from other men, they really don’t so well with women, and sure as hell don’t want it from you. Secondary symptoms: feeling left out of the loop; sometimes punched.

There are probably a lot more, but these should be a good start to watch yourself for as regularly as you check your breast for lumps. These items along with the secondary symptoms may indicate you are a candidate for PTGS, unless you are naturally an insensitive asshole, and then the secondary stuff doesn’t apply so much. While not fatal, PTGS can leave you depressed and lonely, and wondering if this was all worth it. Caught in time though, a full cure is possible along with a long and happy life as the correct gender.

10 Easy Steps to No Bake Gender Transition

I did a few of these humorous little lists way, way back in the day, like a good month of two ago and then stopped. Many people hated these lists and called them “The trite little scribbling of a madwoman. A puerile attempt to apply troglodyte simplicity and banal humor to a serious and complex issue; far better burned or bum wiped then read.” I then came to my senses and decided to reject my own comment from the approval queue. Besides, I’ve been shoveling out a lot of the heavy stuff lately and I’m really all about having some lowbrow fun while sipping a Lowenbrau. But please, feel free to raise some indignant objections because everyone just loves a big prickly Pete.

1. Decide You Might Be Gay. It’s finally penetrated your brain that none of the dudes you are surrounded by knew how to walk in heels by age 10, and most have never even tried. Clearly, you are some kind of freak. The strong affinity towards femininity leads to only one conclusion. Gay men are kind of like women, so you must be gay. This can be a real conundrum if you are not at all attracted to guys; the tried and true hallmark of gay male culture. Something is not adding up. Either you are atypically gay, or something else all together. The answer eludes you as you practice ballet moves in your room in a pilfered tutu and stuffed bra.

2. Throw Away a Ton of Pretty Shit. There is no problem in the world that can’t be solved with a black Hefty bag stuffed in the bottom of the can on trash day. Well, at least if the garbage men aren’t curious, but as I was to find out later, they are. Now you are whole and complete in your male identity and could die right now without anyone ever knowing that perhaps you were just a little bit fancy. The feeling of heady satisfaction lasts for up to 15 minutes before deep, inconsolable regret begins to settle in. In reality, that pretty shit you tossed and will always miss universally consists of things that you really had no business wearing to begin with unless your preferred look is ‘skanky hooch 60 lbs past her last shopping trip’.

3. Admit the Jig is Up. Incredibly, joining the military, a biker gang, or rebuilding the engine on an AMC Gremlin failed to turn you into a man. If you are smart, you gained clarity of thought there. Chances are though, you got married and maybe had kids. At the very least you found yourself cohabiting with a vicious little terrier with severe gender misogyny. Regardless, now you have to figure out what to do and it’s not going to be pretty. If you opted for path A and checked out, I doubt you are reading this unless you got screwed yet again and sent to the wrong place where I hear this blog is proudly featured. Path B is where we really get started on this list.

4. Make Sure You Got This Right. I started by buying Jenny Boylan’s book and highlighting all the passages I thought were relevant to my life. Four highlighters later, it seemed a safe bet there was more than could be chalked up to coincidence. Some start with a support group and sit there feeling like a big bag of douche for showing up in dude mode surrounded by trans who just seem to have it all. Ha! You are still woefully ignorant at this stage, but it’s probably for the better. All roads lead to a therapist, because the AMA decided they were missing out on a goldmine by ignoring the least employable segment of the population. Once again, you will sit there feeling like a big bag of douche as they hammer you with questions to make sure you didn’t skip step 1 while dredging up everything you have ever been insanely embarrassed about. In the end, it all comes down to one little nugget; you are if you think you are. WTF?

5. Draft a Fricking Plan. Without a plan, there can be no attack, and without an attack, there can be no victory. I remember Booger saying that in some movie where he didn’t play Booger, but someone just like him. What a male way of thinking! It’s still not a bad idea, because this is starting to get complicated. Open a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or fish out a lipstick smeared Arby’s napkin from under the seat and start writing some shit down. This will make you feel better and get the therapist off your back, but reality will in no way conform to this half-assed list.

6. Crap Your Pants. The “I yam what I yam” bit only worked on your diagnosis. If you want medical intervention, you have to start walking the walk. This means venturing out in public as your true self, or more specifically, doing something so terrifying that an adult diaper is required. “True self” at this point is a misnomer. What probably seemed like a kickin’ look down in the basement behind the furnace looks absolutely ridiculous in the light of day. If you are lucky, someone in your household will stop you before you head to the Galleria looking like a Sue Heck/ Krusty the Clown/ Genesee Street Hooker joint effort. If, however, they have a sense of humor or burning resentment, they will just say, “have a nice time!”. Eventually you will realize that a whole bottle of Schmear by Maybelline isn’t a single serving, and that the ass hugging leather micro-mini doesn’t help you blend as much as you thought.

7. Lay Off the Blush For a While. Nothing will make you wish you were gay faster than explaining to people you are transgender. Not only do you have to tell people, but you have to explain what it means to every one of them. Holy shit is this mortifying, tedious, and downright irritating at the exact same time and doesn’t seem to get easier per telling. In person is good, because most people won’t hate you to your face, though some will hate you to your ass as you walk away. Nothing makes you feel like a court mandated reporter of a sex crime conviction than making the rounds, especially since you can expect many of the same looks, even though you did nothing evil. Expect plenty of highly personal questions about your genitalia.

8.  Gain Weight. You finally got your hormone letter and waste no time getting some. After so many years of nasty ass testosterone, you are in no way prepared for experiencing the puberty cycle of a 12 year old girl. All of a sudden, all that girl talk about walking by a cupcake and gaining 12 pounds doesn’t seem like such a silly exaggeration anymore. Get acquainted with the salad menu real fast. This is all amplified by your upper body strength tanking along with extremely slow progress in your exercise regime. You also find why women need such huge closets. Having a range of 4 different sizes in there just may save you from wearing shorts in January.

9. Bring On the Pain. There may have been a time you had perverse pride in being able to grow a mountain man beard in less than a week or be mistaken for Chewbacca at the beach. That time is over, and it’s not going to take care of itself. You do have choices. Option 1 is to develop a $50 a week Gillette habit. This just sucks and won’t last long. Option 2 is to slap on lead goggles and experience intensely painful laser blasts to your face and body to eliminate up to 65% of dark colored hairs. Option 3 is to spend up to 200 hours having each one of nasty hairs electrocuted and plucked in a slightly less painful procedure. Option 4 is to join a circus. There are no two ways about it; this is going to suck.

10. Get Banned From Government Offices. You will want to avoid this, but it will be hard. Local, regional, and state governments found a way to save money by having inmates classified as criminally insane draft their name change process and requirements. The bureaucrat you find yourself explaining things to will hold this process so dear, that to suggest any alteration will be like you announced a hit on Santa. “Yeah, ya gotcher forms in triplicate, ID, social security card, and birth certificate, but I don’t see the note from yer mom or an Adelphia cable bill from 1998. Better luck next time, Nancy!” Don’t kick him, he knows not what he does. You can, however, smear a booger on the back of the form as you hand it to him and feel vindicated. In the end, you will no longer get weird looks handing over your ‘Ralph Belly’ drivers license and credit card, unless you are a nincompoop and went with ‘Kelly Belly’.

From this point on, it’s pretty much up to you. Once you log a year in the “real life test” to ensure at least 12 more months of sweet payments to your therapist, you can qualify for a bit of the old ‘snip-snip’. In the mean time you might get some other body work done on your face, breasts or ass, but I can’t speak to that until I decide to go that road. So there you have it, childhood to full time in just 10 steps so easy I’m shocked that everyone doesn’t do it.

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