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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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