Archive for April, 2009


A hunnert persent troo

April 26, 2009

This occurred a few weeks after moving out to New York to transition while living with my best friends; I hosted a party called Farewell Femme, wherein the guests were encouraged to come en femme. There was Drag Rock Banding. And then there was this.

The scene:

I wear a long black evening gown, elegant black satin sandals with six inch heels; my hair is down to my waist. On the chair in front of me is laid out a suit – Black, three-button, with a light purple shirt and a dark grey five-button waistcoat.

I stand in the center of a circle of friends, my head a garden of tiny braids that those friends have made. On the speakers, Bitch and Animal lay down the “Pussy Manifesto”. I hold up the scissors: “Who’s first?”

J’s idea, so she’s it. She approaches with the cheap hair scissors, dulled by casual use, and saws her way through a hunk of my long locks. She holds it up in her fist, triumphant and pleased with herself and proud of me as the cameras flash around us. She gives me a new hug: a welcoming hug. She tells me she can’t wait to get to know me, steps back, shakes my hand. Nice to meet you, Gabriel. Holds up the hair: I’m keeping this forever. I’ll keep this to remember Faith. J is a storyteller, you see. A real one, the classic kind, the kind to whom you want to entrust your history, knowing it’s in good hands and will be incorporated into the stories that shape the future.

One by one they come at me with the scissors, each chopping off a hunk of hair to keep or to give back. We’re creating a turning point in this journey from she to he, and everyone here knows it; except maybe for my cat, hiding in the other room waiting for all these goddamn PEOPLE to leave. Some of the guys shake my hand and promise to induct me into the secret handshake club of gay men (once I’ve gotten in touch with that part of my sexuality, of course.) All right, dude, now hug me like a man. Good ta meetcha, Gabe. Back pats. Hugs that linger, hugs that say goodbye and hello at the same time.

At last the braids are all gone, and I rub a hand vigorously through my short shagginess. I make an announcement.

“I’m going to change my clothes now! Anyone who might be offended by my boobies… well, I don’t know why you’re here in the first place then.”

I remember a conversation from earlier in the evening, and continue,

“Besides, now? They’re not boobies. They’re MAN nipples.”

I am VERY pleased with myself for this witticism, and begin the arduous task of unzipping my very fabulous and fancy sparkly black evening gown. It takes nearly a full minute. This is a LONG time when a lot of people are watching. Trust me. On the speakers I hear B&A singing the praises of “The Best Cock On The Block”. Still struggling. At last I get the zipper down, shimmy out of the dress and shoes, and slip into a rather dapper three-piece.

My oldest friend (no no, not the friend who is oldest, the friend I’ve known the LONGEST) then gets the honor of taking the dull scissors and fixing the chop-do into something presentable, which is something he’s apparently been longing to do for many years. I’ve, uh, never been one for caring about or HAVING good haircuts, you see. He tells me that he wishes he were still in seminary, because this personal ritual I’ve created tonight is exactly the kind of thing that could have given him a thesis topic. Then R – who’s been with me through every stage of this transition from first decision on, and because she’s WAY less dorky than I and knows how to dress a fashionable man she has promised to take me shopping once I’m settled into my new body-image – messes with the lay of the new haircut so it’s adorably mussed and not parted in the center.

I am called alternately “Hitler Jungend — it’s so the fashion right now”, “really hot as a guy – and now I’m a little more gay” and “someone who totally would fit in at a hipster bar in the West Village, that look is very in”. I sip an excellent Bowmore single malt as the evening winds down and people begin to leave, though we continue to talk of gender and games and Roman emperors and orgies far into the night. At last I slip into the guest room, cat at feet and computer at the ready; I ruffle my short hair once more and smile, glancing at my shadow on the wall.

Hey, Gabe. ‘Sup.