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2009mar03. Since Amazon’s tip jar no longer works, I have added two monetary options to this page and they should show up to the left unless their car broke down: a free-form “donate” button, and a $1/month “subscribe” button which is automatic and saves you the drudgery of trying to find me each month to give me a dollar. Can anyone live on $1 a month? No. Why do you ask such silly questions? It is impossible. It is a trifle, a tiny thing. Let us say you spend $280 a month on sex workers. Why, $279 would probably be nearly functionally equivalent. Would you miss $1 of sex work that much? I don’t think I would. The same argument could be made for alcohol, drugs, and health insurance. Don’t insure one of your fingernails, each month. Rotate. There are riders for this. ¶ One day I will draw some of my own buttons, but for now, we’ll go with the canonical shiny horse pill design so loved by everyone.

2009mar13. Friday thing.

2009mar13.

2009mar20.

2009mar22. Excerpts from Self-Made Man, One Woman’s Journey Into Manhood And Back Again (2006), by Norah Vincent.

My tutor went over a few gender cues in our lessons, but it took being Ned for quite some time before I realized just how differently men and women talk and how much damping down I would have to do as Ned so as not to arouse suspicion. My tutor said, “Women tend to bankrupt their own breath.” She described and demonstrated the process by thrusting her chest and head forward when she spoke, and cutting off the rhythm of her breathing as she forced a stream of words from her mouth. [ ... ] Since my training, I have also observed this phenomenon in action at various dinner parties or in restaurants. Women often lean into a conversation and speak in wordy bursts, asking to be heard. Men often lean back and pronounce with terse authority. [pg 14]

Am I transsexual or a transvestite, and did I write this book as a means of coming out as such? ¶ The answer to both parts of that question is no. ¶ I say this with the benefit of experimental hindsight, because after having lived as a man on and off for a year and a half, if I were either a transsexual or a true lifestyle transvestite, I can assure you that I would know it by now. [pg 15]

It was more affectionate than any handshake I’d ever received from a strange woman. To me, woman-on-woman introductions often seem fake and cold, full of limp gentility. I’ve seen a lot of women hug one another this way, too, sometimes even women who’ve known each other for a long time and think of themselves as being good friends. They’re like two backward magnets pushed together by convention. [pg 25]

Beer and cigarettes were their medicine, their primrose path to an early grave, which was about the best, aside from sex and a few good times with the guys, that they could hope for in life. The idea of telling one of these guys that smoking or drinking to excess was bad for his health was too ridiculously middle class to entertain. It bespoke a supreme ignorance of what their lives were really like – Hobbesian – not to put too fine a point on it. Nasty, brutish and short. The idea that you would try to prolong your grueling, dead-end life, and do it by taking away the few pleasures you had along the way, was just insulting. [pg 38]

As men they felt compelled to fix my ineptitude rather than be secretly happy about it and try to abet it under the table, which is what a lot of female athletes of my acquaintance would have done. I remember this from playing sports with and against women all my life. No fellow female athlete ever tried to help me with my game or give me tips. It was every woman for herself. It wasn’t enough that you were successful. You wanted to see your sister fail. [pg 44]

As Curtis and I said goodnight and walked away, I found myself thinking about rejection and how small it made me feel, and how small most men must feel under the weight of what women expect from them. [ ... ] So how must men feel when it’s a true encounter and everything in the game seems stacked against them? They make the move, or the women bluff them – without tipping their hands – into making the move. The guys step out (stupidly, it now seems to me) into the space between, saying something irreversible and frank – a compliment or an outright indication of interest – and most of the time the women step away, or laugh disdainfully, and the guys are left with their asses in the wind. That’s the sport, and men are the suckers. [pg 99]

Yet as Paul, who has spent years in the men’s movement trying to defend it to angry feminists, once put it to me, “It is women who are paying the highest price for men’s dysfunction. We are not in opposition to them at all.” And he’s right. Men’s healing is in women’s interest, though for women that healing will mean accepting on some level not only that men are – here is the dreaded word – victims of the patriarchy, too, but (and this will be the hardest part to swallow) that women have been codeterminers in the system, at times as invested and active as men themselves in making and keeping men in their role. From the feminist point of view this sounds at best like an abdication of responsibility, an easy way out for the inventor, and at worst an infuriating instance of blaming the true victim. But from Paul’s point of view it means that men and women are finally agreeing on something: the system sucks. [pg 271]

Somebody is always evaluating your manhood. Whether it’s other men, other women, even children. And everybody is always on the lookout for your weakness or your inadequacy, as if it’s some kind of plague they’re terrified of catching, or, more importantly, of other men catching. If you don’t make the right move, put your eyes in the right place at any given moment, in the eyes of the culture at large that threatens the whole structure. [ ... ] And that, I learned very quickly, is the straitjacket of the male role, and one that is no less constrictive than its feminine counterpart. You’re not allowed to be a complete human being. Instead you get to be a coached jumble of stoic poses. You get to be what’s expected of you. [pg 276]

I had at times the billy club confidence of pure stupid unwarranted self-belief that I have seen in more guys than I can count. I always used to wonder how they did it. Now know. They did it because a tough front is all you have when there’s nothing behind it but the weakness that you’re not allowed to show. [pg 279]

Even in the thick of the project when I went out into the world as myself, during the off periods when I was writing or taking a break from full-time Ned, people almost invariably mistook me for a man even when I was wearing a tight white T-shirt without a bra. Yet after I had finished the project, detoxed from Ned for several months and reclaimed my mental femininity, people everywhere addressed me as “ma’am” even in the dead of winter when I was wearing a black watch cap and a man’s navy peacoat. [pg 282]

2009mar23.

2009mar28. I wrote a song for you. It goes exactly like this:

Let’s all go to Gimlet Town.
We can let our hair down in Gimlet Town.
Nobody’s a square in Gimlet Town.
Gimlet Town.
Gimlet Town ...
[spoken word breakdown]
It is a drink that is shared, between two people. It is a drink that fosters a sense of belonging. It is a drink of community.
It is a gimlet.
[thunderous orchestra crash]
Well they told me you moved out
And you sure as hell didn’t tell me
So I went home and made some gimlets
And turned on the goddamned TV
I’m in Gimlet Town.

2009mar28.