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290 pages, Hardcover
First published January 1, 2006
"At the beginning of the project I remember thinking that living as a man and having access to a man's world would be like gaining admission to the big auditorium for the main event after having spent my life watching the proceedings from a video monitor on the lawn outside... the real deal live and three feet from my face, instead of seen through a glass darkly. To be sure, there was a time in America when this would have been so, when boardrooms and a thousand other places were for men only... But for me getting into the so called boys' club in the early years of the new millennium felt much more like joining a subculture than a country club... [It] seemed in certain ways a lot like how it feels to interact with other gay people in the straight world."
"I know that a lot of my discomfort came precisely from being a woman all along, remaining one even in my disguise. But I also know that another respectable portion of my distress came, as it did to the men I met in group and elsewhere, from the way the world greeted me in that disguise, a disguise that was almost as much of a put-on for my men friends as it was for me. That, maybe, was the last twist of my adventure. I passed in a man's world not because my mask was so real, but because the world of men was a masked ball."
"I rarely enjoyed and never felt in any way fulfilled personally by being perceived and treated as a man... On the contrary, I identify deeply with both my femaleness and my femininity, such as it is, more so after [my alter ego], in fact, than ever before."
"As a guy you get about a three-note emotional range. That's it, at least as far as the outside world is concerned. Women get octaves, chromatic scales of tears and joys and anxieties and despairs and erotic flamboyance, and now after black bra feminism, we even get vitriol, too... But guys get little more than bravado and rage. Forget doubt. Forget hurt. They take punches. They take care of business. And their intestines liquefy under the stress.
I know mine did.
Yes, it's true guys get good stuff, too. Sometimes they still get a special respect and deference and a license to brag. I found this in the workplace. I got the power to exaggerate, to believe in my 'nine-inch dick' and my '180 IQ,' illusory or not... 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 I 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. It's the biggest gift you get, compensation for the rest, as if the culture were telling you, 'We're going to cut out your heart, but we'll give you legs and a VIP pass to make up for it.'"