Tuesday, July 18, 2017

On Masculinity

Even before I could walk, I knew I was 100 percent heterosexual boy, to whatever small extent a person that age knows what sexuality even is. I grew up in a typical Jewish family. Pop spent his days letting his beard grow and pondering passages in the Talmud or playing gin rummy with his fellow scholars, while Mom did her best not to let me and my sister Chantelle grow up to be cowboys. The triplets came along just as the civil rights movement was gaining momentum, and in solidarity with our African American neighbours were named Jamal, Rashid, and Rayshawn. I was never close to any of them, as they took after Pops,while I was more interested in stereotypically boy things, like learning to tie a variety of different knots and setting lady bugs on fire with a magnifying glass. 

Handiness came quite naturally to me. When the refrigrator, washing machine or even family car, a pre-owned Buick Regal, needed repairing, it was always me to whom Mom came with a hopeful look in her eye. By the time I was 10, I could fix just about anything you plugged in or used batteries if you gave me some chewing gum, a butter knife, and some ice. I lost my virginity at 11, though my principal erotic focus was on my Scoutmaster, Mr. Johnson, who was later sent to prison.

In high school, I excelled at all the masculine subjects — math, science, driver training, and auto shop — while doing terribly in the feminine ones, including English, French, home economincs, and drama queen. The fellows I hung out with all reeked of cigarettes and antifreeze. At lunchtime, we’d congregate in the student parking lot, where we’d open each other’s hoods and sniff disparagingly at what was revealed, or in the faculty parking lot, where we’d break off our favorite teacher’s aerials or side mirrors, or pour sugar in their gas tanks. 

I’d have been the quarterback of the varsity football team if Coach Thompson hadn’t been having an inappropriate relationship with Colt Collins, whom he felt had a more butch first name than my own. I got my revenge by having sex with his daughter, Connie, and getting her pregnant. We married at 17, and had four beautiful children together. Connie thought it would be cute to give all of them names that began with a K, but I said no fucking way and, because ours was a traditional household, of course prevailed. I bravely defended our American way of life in both Iraq and Afghanistan, while Connie homeschooled the kids, and have the missing limb to prove it! It’s mounted above the mantel. What a conversation-starter!

It was only after the youngest of the kids, Buddy, graduated from college that I allowed myself to admit that I’ve always felt as though born into the wrong body. Connie, of course, was discombobulated at first, but then the doctor explained to her that if my testes were surgically removed, I might be less of a hothead, whereupon Con got on board with the idea in a big way. 

Nowadays, you’re a lot more likely to find me arranging flowers or trying out new recipes than changing our cars’ oil, and even the next-door neighbour whose nose I broke back in ’09 for having an affair with our older daughter Shaniqua agrees I’m much less an asshole than before.  Ask your doctor if a gender reassignment surgery might be right for you.

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