An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board
Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed. Women somehow deteriorate during the night. When women are depressed they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking. A man is a person who will pay two dollars for a one-dollar item he wants. A woman will pay one dollar for a two-dollar item she doesn't want. --Nicholas Terrze
"Stop now!" she says. "You're such an idiot. Driving around in circles. Just stop and ask someone."
"Don't give me that," I reply. "One more veiled just like a man crack and I'll crack you one. Would that be masculine enough for you?"
It's the day before Thanksgiving 2005. My cousin Marsha asked me to drive her to pick up some garlic from Trader Joe's. "The only store in Marin with decent garlic," as if anyone could tell decent from indecent garlic. Marsha's sense of direction is as bad as mine and that means less than chance.
But I've got this feeling we're getting close. By the time we stop, ask someone, get half-baked directions, forget them, and ask again, we'll be there. Girls think it's some special pride or other ego problem that boys don't ask directions. Girls are wrong. It's time. Asking directions is a waste of it.
Pop culture calls asking direction a gender issue. Pop culture calls everything a gender issue. That gender bat has hit me over the head enough to knock me out.
Do men really strike matches toward themselves and women away? Do men really look at their shoe bottoms from the front and women from behind? Do men really look at their fingernails from the palm and women from the back of the hand? I've ALWAYS looked at my fingernails from the back.
Long-time readers know my feelings about sex and gender. For new readers, I'll explain that except for a very few body parts, I don't believe in gender difference. Or rather, I believe in infinite gender difference. Each person is a unique gender, some unique NON-man, NON-woman. It's only semantics and society's requirement to be one or the other that forces our perception of MAN and WOMAN. Rarely people can be in-between-- but never "none of the above."
That said, as one who gets pegged as a MAN, there are things I can never know. What kind of changes a does a body go through when there's another little body inside? What goes on once a month that makes girls so bitchy?
This is outside my realm of experience. It's like trying to understand the erotic thrill of Eskimos rubbing noses. There's no way I can ever know. Other realities are not so clear. Maybe they're woman. Then again...
It's the teacher's lounge. I sit in a corner gobbling down my Chicken Wrap. Melanie, an attractive blonde about half my age, sits across from me reading an astrology book. In walks May, pert breasts under a white fuzzy sweater. Her ample buttocks have the good taste to spread backwards, rather than out to the side.
Melanie looks up. "May," she says, "that's such a cute sweater. Where'd you get it?"
"Oh, it's nothing," says May. "Pure thriftshop chic."
"What thriftshop?" asks Melanie.
Break's over. We pick up our books and for the next hour and a half, teach Japanese guys how to talk good.
Blam! I'm out of the classroom back in the teacher's lounge, finishing my lunch.
Rachel sits there. She's arrived early for her next class. She reads one of those free newspapers you get on the way to the subway.
"Yo Rachel," I say. "How 'bout that Johnny Damon deal? Amazing the kind of haircut someone will get for a few million, huh?"
She looks at me like I'm speaking Japanese.
"Is that some sort of Wall Street merger?" she asks. "I really don't know about business."
At this moment, Yukiko, one of the school's attractive Oriental receptionists, walks into the lounge. She's just arrived at school, wearing a long red coat and fluffy white hat that looks like a miniature liberty bell.
"I just love your hat," says Rachel. "It's so cute and goes just right with that coat. Red and white, it's my favorite."
"Oh, it was a gift from my mother," says Yukiko. "I think she bought it in Japan. Do you really like it?"
"Oh yes," says Rachel. "I wonder if you can get one here."
OK, I get it. It's a ritual. In this culture, boys are supposed to greet each other with sports talk. Girls are supposed to say something nice about each other's clothes.
Not one to follow rules, I wait until the next class break.
Christian is at the water cooler.
"Yo Christian" I say. "That's a cool sweater. I love the way it bunches up at the shoulder and sort of flops down in the back."
"Hey, Mykel," he says, "cut it out. This sweater belonged to my grandfather. He died last month with almost nothing. This sweater is all I have to remember him. And you're making fun of it?"
"I wasn't making fun," I tell him. "I was trying to be nice."
"Fuck you, Mykel," he says and stomps off.
Fast Forward: I'm standing in line at the A&P. My cart carries half a dozen HEALTHY FIXIN' TV Dinners, 2 six-packs of Brooklyn Lager, and 4 cans of MONSTER. Ahead of me two girls, probably college kids, thumb through PEOPLE Magazine.
"Oh he's so cute," says one of the girls, a blonde with a wide flat face and acne poorly concealed by something that probably says Flesh Colored on the bottle.
"No wonder he got Angelina," says the other one, a short pretty girl with a dyed-black crewcut. "The both of them are just... you know... I'd like to see the movies of them making that baby."
They giggle and turn the page.
"Me too," I say, butting into their conversation. "Don't you think that's the trouble with porn? The guys are so ugly. Hairy, fatter than your dad. Awful."
The girl giggles stop. They put the magazine back on the rack and suddenly pay deep attention to the yogurt they need to unload on the conveyer belt. It's as if I disappeared.
I don't get it. Girls can compliment each other's clothes. Boys can't. Girls can talk about girl's bodies-- and guy's bodies. Guys can talk about girl's bodies with other guys, but can NEVER talk about guys' bodies. Girls who are bitchy are just having female troubles. Guys who are bitchy are permanent assholes. Girls can get laid at the drop of a pantyhose. Guys have to pay-- either in cash, a meal, a movie ticket or something. Girls can dump guys and in a minute it's over. BLAM! Guys carry it to their grave. I'm missing something.
ASIDE: Okay, let's talk about values. There is a cliché I read a long time ago. It says, Boys think about principles. Girls think about values.
For example, I believe people have the right to defend themselves. If someone attacks, they have the right to fend off the attacker. I also believe in equality. People have the right to an equal chance to get along in life. Those are principles.
If I'm 5 foot 3 inches tall... (and I AM 5 foot 3 inches tall)... and a 6 foot 8 inch football jock attacks me-- I lose. The only way I have a chance to exercise my right to self-defense is with a gun.
Guns are also equalizers. If my monster-sized attacker and I both have one, we are equal. My principles of equality and the right to self-defense lead me to support gun ownership.
Principles are fixed. A is good. B is bad. This is what we do here. We do the same thing there.
If I believe in the principle of free speech, I believe in it for Nazis as well as anarchists. People with principles think people with values are hypocrites.
I have principles: free speech, anti-work, pro-sex, anti-coercion. These are policy principles that guide me in deciding what's right or wrong, good or bad.
I also have personal principles that guide me in deciding what to do with my life. If it's routine, it's bad. If it's new, it's good. If everybody believes it, it's wrong. If everyone thinks it's wrong, it's right. If it makes me smarter-- teaches me something I didn't know before, I should do it. If it doesn't, I shouldn't.
On the other hand, someone who has values might look at it this way:
Human life has high value. Protection has some value, but it's worth less than human life. If there is an attack and guns are involved, it is more likely that human life will be lost. Guns may protect people, but they also kill people. Since human life has more value than protection, a person with values might oppose gun ownership.
Values are sliding. They require relatives. This is worth more than that. In every situation, Values People have to see which side is heavier on the values scale. Which side will benefit in this special case? That's the side they support. In another case, these same values might lead them to support another decision. People with values think people of principle are narrow-minded. END OF ASIDE
"Come on, rim me! Please!" I beg her.
"Mykel," she says, "I'm not going to lick your asshole. I fucked you, isn't that enough?"
I'm holding onto Grace. Her black hair nearly covers her face. We lie naked in bed. We've just done the deed, and I'm looking for a little prompt to get ready for a second go.
I brush back Grace's hair, revealing her half-closed eyes, tiny pert nose, and thin schoolmarmish lips.
I bend forward and kiss her. She breaks off and turns her head away.
"Come on," I whisper in her ear, "all the guys do it. If you do me, I'll do you."
"I don't want you to do me," she says. "And I'm not a guy. It's disgusting. If you were a girl, you'd feel the same way."
"I would not," I tell her. "Being a girl wouldn't change me at all."
"Yes it would," she says.
Like a flash without red-eye reduction. A single BLAU! A POP of recognition. Yes! Yes! Yes!
If I really have the principles of NOVELTY, KNOWLEDGE, NON-CONFORMITY and SEX, there's a step I need to take. If I live my life for adventure, then I have to do what's necessary for adventure.
I'm 64. Two thirds of my life is over. I've had my fun in boy drag. Fucked my share, played with enough tube to float a supertanker. Why not try something else? It'll be for 25 years... 30 if I'm lucky.
What's most important in my life? Adventure! Novelty! I want to see something I've never seen before. Go someplace I've never gone before. Eat something I've never eaten before. How can I live NOW and NEW, if I'm the same gender my whole life? How can I discover gender truth unless I live it?
Yeah, it's a big step, but I've taken big steps before. I have more regrets about steps I DIDN'T take.
The course is not an easy one. There's two months of psychological counseling. (Give me a break! But thems the rules!) Then hormone shots for six months to get my body ready. Some people get silicone implants to boost the tiny tits they develop from the hormones. I won't. I like tiny tits.
Then another psychological interview. Then THE OPERATION. I've started the process. I started it with the New Year. As I write this (February, 3), I've had my first two injections. I can't say I feel much different. I'm missing my morning wood. Otherwise, the world looks the same to me. No pinker. No sudden urges to go shopping.
This column will come out in April. By that time, I'll be well on my way. My voice will notch upwards a bit. I'll stop having to clear the drain of my ever-falling head hair, and start clearing it of my newly-falling chest hair. I might even have the beginnings of a pair of tits by the time you read this. If so, I'll post a picture of my new breasts on my website: www.mykelboard.com. You'll find the picture as a hidden link connected to the words any different?. I'll change the picture as I... er... develop.
Wish me luck. This will be some adventure. I bet I get another book out of it! What have you done lately?
ENDNOTES: [Visitors to my website: mykelboard.com or subscribers (email to: email@example.com) will receive hot links to some of the topics here. Visitors to my blog (you can get it through the website) can comment on the column... or anything else.]
-->Next month you'll get a report on my trip to Florida. The Goddess and the skateboard wedding. Ho ho! You'll also hear more about my readings, my trip to a Mensa dinner and more. Don't change that channel.
-->Go out with a bang dept: A Houston-based organization, Space Services Inc, charges between $995 and $5,300 depending on the weight. Weight of what? Sending your ashes into outer space, that's what. And that's not all.
The Eternal Ascent Society in Florida will release a small helium balloon with your ashes. Eventually, the balloon gets so high it freezes and shatters scattering your remains throughout the already too-polluted atmosphere. Cost $1000-$2000.
-->Magazine Website of the Month dept: Modern Drunkard Magazine: http://www.moderndrunkardmagazine.com Read it! Then live it!
-->Not like civilized countries dept:
If you live in most of Western Europe you don't need a passport to go from country to country. Travel has gotten easier. Ah, but America-- where 80% of the citizens don't even have a passport.
As of December 31, 2005, air and sea travelers to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Central and South America will need passports. As of December 31 2006: Air and sea travelers to and from Mexico will need passports. And as of December 31, 2007, land border crossings to and from Mexico and Canada will need passports. So that means if you walk to Tijuana for that pre-21 year old drink... PAPERS PLEASE! NO PAPERS, NO MEXICO!!
-->G-d bless activist judges dept: A Federal judge recently blocked a new California law that would have banned the sale of violent video games to minors. Hurray!! It's not a major victory in the free speech war, but it IS a victory.
-->More good news dept: I hate surveys, even when they agree with me. They're fixed. The form of the question determines the answer. Still it's comforting to know that the First Amendment Center found that 63% of Americans oppose a Constitutional Amendment to prohibit flag burning. Up from 53% in 2004.
-->Yet another reason I'm not voting Democratic dept:
John Lapp, on the Democratic Party website answers questions with the official party line. Someone asked about a National Healthcare program like they have in every other industrial country. His answer:
I think our guiding principle should be:
IF YOU WORK, YOU HAVE HEALTH CARE Employer-based health insurance provides coverage for 170 million Americans today, yet 80 percent of the uninsured are workers or family members of workers. We should improve this system, not scrap it.
A majority of businesses already provide health insurance to their workers, and the rest should fulfill that obligation, too. Congress should require all large businesses to provide coverage as good as the coverage now provided to every member of Congress and other federal employees. Small businesses will be asked to contribute to coverage based on their ability to pay.
Yikes! The guy wants to KEEP the current system. Instead of free healthcare, CORPORATE healthcare. How much do the insurance companies give to HIS campaign?
-->I've been thrown out of better places than this dept: The JAD Communications and Security Company announced the creation of BIOBOUNCER. This system consists of FACE RECOGNITION software and a 360 degree TV camera placed at the entrance to clubs. The clubs record your face. Then they enter the picture into a database shared with other clubs (and who knows who else?). If you're kicked out, or otherwise cause a ruckus, the system tags your image and sends it to all the clubs on the network. The result is a national (worldwide?) 86. Sounds scary. I want a hacker to get into the network, send me the pix. I'm gonna start a club that ONLY accepts the rejects from everywhere else.