Phase 2: Society.
If one morning I woke up and was a man, but with my brain, what would I do?
Phase 2: Society.
I’m on the subway. I’m sitting like I would if I were a female: legs crossed at the ankles, shoulders hunched in, and I’m picking my nails. I realize, as I look at the other men on the car for guidance, that that is not usual. There are some guys picking their nails, but as I look around, most guys are sitting slouched, feet firmly on the floor, checking their phones, listening to music, maybe biting their nails, or staring off into the middle distance. Interesting. Very few seems to want to make themselves smaller, like I’m habitually doing.
I stand up and worry that somehow someone will pick up on the crazy fact that yesterday I was a woman and today I am a man with a woman’s brain. I catch myself looking away whenever I make eye contact with someone. Although, here’s an interesting moment: people now look away from me as well. As a woman, I had to constantly dodge the stares of bold-faced men who would look me up and down from ankle to neck. As a man, however, the energy is different. I experiment.
A woman walks on to the train at the next stop. She looks at me, I look at her, she looks away, I keep looking. It’s that easy!? As a woman, is it that easy? If I keep looking at a man, as a man, am I too bold? I pick a dark haired, middle aged man a few feet away from me and look at him. He looks at me, then looks away. There is not a hint of sexual tension, no wink from him, no small smile, he just: looked away. This is great! If I were me, but like, really me: boobs, long hair, mascara and jeans, and I looked at that man for longer than a few seconds, I might get the wink, the smile, the “look”, etc. Maybe not, but more than likely I would. And then, for the duration of the train ride, I might feel awkward and worried that if I look at him again he’ll “get the wrong idea” about my intentions. As a guy, however, I feel no such thing.
At my stop I step off the train and bump into an older, gray haired woman with a large black scarf wrapped around her prodigious shoulders. She gets gruff, “Watch were you’re going, dick head.” She mumbles, looking at my face. I’m shocked. As a girl, I’m never spoken to in that way. The animosity is palpable. I feel stupid. “Sorry.” I say and immediately cover my mouth with my hand. WAS THAT MY VOICE!? My voice is so deep!! As a woman, I wouldn’t say I have a particularly high voice, but certainly a higher timbre than my male friends! I just said sorry and could feel the deeper tones come through my throat, my more pronounced adams apple moving, my lips forming around the syllables differently. This is TOO COOL! I want to talk more!
I’m Taller! I’m pushing 6’2″ easily. I’m a tall woman, but as a man, I’m one of the taller guys in the subway. I see over most people’s heads. As I approach the steps to get out of the station a young mother is struggling with her small child, a bag of groceries, and a stroller she has to heave up the stairs. Most people pass with barely a glance, all of the women make their way up the flight without a second look. I’m about to as well when she catches my eye and gives me a “Well, are you going to be a gentleman, or not?” look. I hesitate for a minute. Shorter men walk past without a pause, but as the tallest dude around, suddenly I’m expected to help this chick out. I do, relishing the deep sound of my voice as I say, “Would you like some help?” And then pick up her bags and stroller effortlessly. She thanks me profusely when we reach the street level. I feel like a white knight of goodness. As I set down her things I see passerby’s giving me a nice smile, not a sexual smile, a “that is a good man, his mom raised him right to help that lady” smile.
As a treat, I decide to get myself a coffee. I turn in to walk to the nearest starbucks and pause at the entrance. A woman on her cell phone has stopped and is looking at me. I look at her, then realize she’s waiting for me to open the door for her. Oh, come ON. You can open the fucking door I think, using my large hands to swing open the entrance for her. She walks in and gets on line in front of me. I want to shove her. So, just because you’re a girl you can get on line ahead of me?! You’re such a bitch. I think, getting more and more worked up. I think to all the times I have taken advantage of being a woman and getting served first, or getting the last piece of cake or having the first turn or getting any kind of advantage just because the men I am with feel obligated to do so because it is the “polite” thing to do. Wow. That’s fucked. I promise, that if I am a woman again, I’ll try and be more sensitive to that.
The cashier is cute. She takes my order and begins to flirt with me. I’m loving the giggles and winks as she writes my name down on my cup. She writes something else and then passes it along to me after filling it with coffee. “Jane (917) 845-4447″ is written under my name, “Nate.” I smile and look back at her taking someone else’s order. I’m going to give this gal a text. I whip out my phone after leaving the coffeehouse and shoot her a quick no-brainer text (no: should I send this? Will that sound stupid? How do I write something effortless sounding without sounding like I’m trying too hard to be effortless?) Instead I write: “Hey, Jane. This is Nate from Starbucks. Want to get some coffee sometimes?” And then instantly forget I sent the text because I see a big dog coming in my direction and I want to pet the shit out of it.
To be continued…
April 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm by Natalie Allen