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The women's movement had intrigued me from its inception. Could things really be as bad out there as the Sisters were saying? My male friends pooh-poohed this notion. "That women's lib is just a bunch of dike agitators," they explained. Yet I wondered.
I sat alone in my New York apartment one night last March, pondering. A chill breeze parted my curtains, carrying with it the bouquet of fresh dog wastes. "Shit," I thought, "the only way to find out for sure is to become a woman."
I decided I would do this.
I chose San Francisco as the logical starting place for my experiment. Was it not the City of Love, the very birthplace of Consciousness III? If women were free and equal anywhere, would it not be here? Ultimately was it not the only city in the United States containing a doctor who would inject my chest with silicone?
"I'll bet I'm the only guy in the country who still does this," the doctor remarked, slipping a hypodermic beneath my left nipple as if trying to pry loose a bottle cap. "The cops would like to get me but good."
"Can you make me fairly…Rubenesque?" I asked.
"Fella, give me two weeks and I'll have you lookin' like Blaze Starr." He nudged me slyly and switched nipples.
In my hotel room I began learning the rudiments of femininity. I practiced the application of makeup, tried on mini-, midi-, and maxi-skirts, rehearsed sitting down and crossing my legs. My hair was already long; I now learned how to style it. I had never realized how complex a process this was. It took an hour merely to figure out the difference between conditioner and rinse. Then it developed that I had split ends. But by the end of the first day I had actually gotten my hair to swing and bounce every time I turned my head, just like in the Clairol commercials. Pleased, I went to bed. So far, woman stuff was kind of fun.
I would rue this early naïveté. Following my third set of shots, I had to begin wearing a trainer bra. It hurt. Garter belts were uncomfortable and the little clip things pulled my leg hairs. As the novelty of applying makeup wore off, the fun of learning a new skill was replaced by a pained awareness that for women this wasn't a game. They actually had to put stuff on their faces 365 days a year, year after year, all the while keeping track of the steady stream of new stuff being regularly released by the cosmetics companies. And the decisions! Which lipstick was blotproof? Should I wear false eyelashes on my lower eyelids, or just on the upper? Was there really a foundation that would conceal without covering? What the hell did "hypoallergenic" mean? No: achieving femininity was no cup of tea. To further complicate matters, exhaustive reading of back issues of Sisterhood Newsletter, Rags, and Cosmopolitan indicated that women themselves were confused about the true nature of femininity.
One thing that seemed to link all the women, however, was the ritual of menstruation. I resolved to experience for myself, at least approximately, this most universal of all feminine activities. Ironically, for I did not yet appear female, that decision led to my first gut contacts with male sexist oppression.
Though I had memorized the brand names of all our nation's various menstrual devices, Cosmopolitan had indicated that girls in the know preferred "tampons" and that only older, uptight women still used your sanitary napkins. I went to a small drugstore and, accordingly, asked the clerk for Tampax.
"Ya want the Regular, the Junior, or the Super?" he shouted back. Behind me in line, several young men in motorcycle jackets began to snigger and nudge one another.
He slapped the unmistakable blue package down before me and took my money. Ears flaming, I quit the store, eyes averted from the now guffawing toughs. I felt embarrassed, intimidated, repressed…repressed! Males had repressed me!
Happily, I returned to my room, where I opened the package and thoroughly read the instruction folder.
Oh well. I withdrew a tampon, placed the vaseline near at hand, and seated myself on the toilet. Relax and take your time, the instructions had advised. All right. I generously greased my coal chute, relaxing and taking my time.
Some time later, still breathing heavily, I got back to the tampon, which proved to be a short cylinder of absorbent cottony material contained in a pair of telescoping cardboard tubes with a string hanging from one end. It looked like an exploding party favor.
Which much twisting, bending, and cheek-spreading, I finally got it up my ass and pressed the inner plunger tube, extruding the tampon snugly into my colon. It felt like a soft, unobtrusive thermometer. Soon I had forgotten all about it.
I spent the rest of the day studying the movies and gestures of women on television, paying particular attention to "A Brighter Day," "Search For Tomorrow," and commercials for detergents. About six o'clock I felt a bowel movement coming on. Not until I was seated on the toilet did I remember the alien matter blocking my rectum. If I recalled the instructions correctly, the string was supposed to be hanging out of me. I ran a finger up the smile of my bum. No string. Growing alarmed, I snatched the instruction folder from the trash. One of the "Answers to Questions New Users Sometimes Ask" said: "In a squatting position, the tampon withdrawl cord is always within reach of the fingers." Very well; I squatted and probed. Yes, there was the string--the little rascal had crawled right up inside me! Greatly relieved, for the need to take my dump was now fierce, I gave the cord a sharp tug. It pulled free easily. The tampon, however, stayed where it was.
I won't get into the details of what followed. Suffice to say that it took an hour of hard work with pliers and a kitchen fork before I had unplugged my exhaust. If a woman had designed that erstwhile tampon, I told myself angrily, this never would have happened. Shoddy design of menstrual aids was a more subtle facet of male repression than the tauntings of the drugstore toughs, but repression nonetheless. I was beginning to understand.
As the treatments continued, part of me began to resist my onrushing womanhood. I found myself avidly following televised football and scouring the downtown pornography shops, realizing that soon I would voluntarily forfeit these male prerogatives. Increasingly, I came to cherish my time in public men's rooms. When no one was looking, I swore and spat.
But my womanhood was becoming harder and harder to ignore. I was acquiring quite a set of jugs, for one thing. Obviously I couldn't let myself be noticed while in sexual midstream, but how might I reasonably hide myself?
The solution was as simple as it was inspired--a life vest! I purchased a large, military-surplus "Mae West" and, chuckling inwardly all the while at the irony of this appellation, began wearing it everywhere save my hotel room. To those who asked, I explained that I feared the San Andreas Fault.
"I'd make this the last set of injections if I were you," advised the doctor. "Those knockers are already big enough to drive someone up to his ankles in the pavement."
I looked down at myself. Indeed, I had become what the Jewish faith calls zoftig. The nipples were a little underdeveloped, perhaps, but that was a minor consideration. Undeniably, I was built like a brick you-name-it.
The doctor now injected my vocal cords with striacaine, a tautener. When the anesthetic wore off, my new voice was high and squeaky, even "cute." Greatly pleased, I reached to wring his hand, but then, remembering my new role, gave him a peck on the cheek instead.
Leaving his office, I was confronted as usual with the giant likeness of bous grandeur upon the marquee of the topless club across the street. "Poor oppressed Sister," I thought. "I too shall know the grinding heel of the male Amerikan boot this day. From now on, I am one of you."
It took two hours and several razor blades to remove the fur from my legs, arms, armpits, and the vast new three-dimensionality of my chest. Last to go (and not without a sigh) were my moustache and sideburns.
The concealment of my rather large, substantial member was vital. I had experimented with several brands of G-string, but these delicate underthings could not suppress that telltale bulge. Now, reluctantly, I looped my genitals beneath my crotch and stuffed them between the cheeks of my buttocks, securing them there with adhesive tape.
Next, clothes. I had decided it best to dress in some inconspicuous current mode, to be "just one of the girls." Accordingly, I donned filmy black panties, tight jeans, and a "Keep On Truckin'" T-shirt. Finally, I brushed my hair and anointed each earlobe with just a trace of Shalimar.
Only then did I allow myself to look in the mirror. I blinked. Staring back at me was the face of a stranger--and not bad stuff, either! The reflection contained no hint of maleness. No, this image led back to pink frilly dresses, dolls, Home Ec classes, sugar and spice. I was a newly created woman, and it was time to leave the safety of my hotel for a new life.
With extreme self-consciousness, I stepped into the street. Lunch-hour crowds surged this way and that, and at first nobody noticed me. The knife edge of my paranoia had just begun to dull, when I collided with a construction worker crossing Market Street and was knocked sprawling.
Naturally, my first instinct was to demand, "Hey, ya stupid pig bastard, where ya walkin'?" The words froze in my throat as I remembered what I was. I wasn't allowed to talk that way anymore. My new persona had no idea what to do. I grew flustered and began to hiccup.
Abruptly the great hairy arms of the man were around me and I was being lifted to my feet. Of course: passivity! And he was being a "gentleman"! Well, not bad, I thought, and went to brush myself off. It was then that I realized his arms were still around me.
Our eyes locked. I simpered. His gaze rolled down, then up, but not as far as my face. I could actually see his pupils dilate. Women friends had told me about the "lust stare"; now, in my first hour as a woman, I was receiving one. Why, the crude billy goat! I pulled free and walked rapidly away.
My first need was a job. I found an employment agency and took a seat beside the desk of a small, birdlike woman.
"Can you type?" she asked me.
It was time to test my major gambit. Fixing her with a sincere gaze, I said, "But surely there must be something…for a Sister?"
"Don't give me any of that Lesbian stuff," she replied. "No openings."
I sighed. "Now you're being defensive. Don't you realize that the reason we women compete with and resent each other so is that men make us despise ourselves? What we need is solidarity! Now if you could find a job for me, it would certainly be a move toward--" I broke off as she raised her paperweight threateningly. Poor brainwashed Sister. I left hurriedly.
It was late afternoon. My feet hurt and I had to pee. Everywhere I went men turned and gaped, many of them giving me the "lust stare." I began to sweat. Though perspiring as a male had never particularly bothered me, my new self was horrified. How could I be a woman and smell like a gym sock? So lonely and oppressed I felt!
At least I could do something about my bladder. I entered a book store and asked the clerk the location of the rest rooms.
"Sorry, no ladies' room. Try the shoeshine parlor next door."
How sad, I thought. The man was not, of course, relating to me but rather to societal imperatives against my gender. Though something primitive and male in me wanted to kick his smartass nuts, I lowered my eyes submissively and walked next door.
"Could I use your senorita's room?" I asked the manager.
"¡Ay!" he replied. "¡Joo got some tetas! ¿Joo need job?"
"In a shoeshine parlor?" I asked, surprised.
"Si. Thees a topless shoeshine parlor." He drew back the curtain that separated us from the interior of his emporium, and I saw a long row of Sisters shining shoes with their tits hanging out!
"No thank you!" I spun on my heel and left.
Not until some days later did I recognize the sociological validity of working in such a place. After all, I realized, where better to experience the casual minefields of minute-by-minute abasement they make you walk through when you're a woman in Unkle Sam's more-yin-than-yang pig Amerika? Moreover, as I had been unable to find other work, it was topless or starve. Returning to the shoeshine parlor, I accepted a position at a dollar a week plus tips.
They dressed me in a pert Naugahyde miniskirt and entrusted me with an empty chair. Next in line was a shoe-shiner named Trixie, whose rather droopy mammae were dappled black, cordovan, and oxblood.
I gave her a small self-deprecatory smile. "Hi, Sister," I whispered.
"Don't give me any of that Lesbian stuff," she replied, and refused to look at me again.
A poor start. Things got worse when my superior mammary shelf attracted long lines of men and I was made number one in the shoeshine line. Though I felt sadness at the jealousy now displayed by my Sisters and shock at the extent to which they had swallowed the male line that large milk glands make you ipso facto a better person, I nonetheless accepted with gratitude the generous tips of my customers. I mean, a girl has to eat.
In the days that followed, there were other subtle shifts in attitude. At first I had resented such reminders of my second-class status as having doors held for me, my cigarettes lighted, my arm held while walking across the street. To my surprise, I soon came to like and expect these things. Crossing the street alone had always frightened me.
In almost any problem situation you can name, I found that all you have to do is look alone and helpless to attract packs of straining, helpful males. When you cross streets against the light, male drivers screech to a halt instead of running you over. You discover that you can make things happen merely by batting your eyes, which seemed to me infinitely more pleasing aesthetically than the male-preferred approach of batting one's antagonists.
I began to comprehend the subtleties of cosmetics, how lavender shadow made my eyes seem larger and Strawberry Slicker set off my nipples. Several real nice guys started buying me drinks and taking me to fancy restaurants. I had to begin diet lunches to maintain my figure.
I even came to appreciate women's rest rooms. Apparently, women have been culturally conditioned to sit while peeing. Of the literally hundreds of ladies' rooms I have used, not one has contained a urinal. At first, this enforced bending-of-the-knees made me feel degraded. Soon, I came to appreciate the opportunity to get off my dogs for a while.
And my bankroll was growing.
Things might have gone on like this indefinitely, but less than a month after beginning my job I overheard by chance a conversation that was to end my lucrative hiatus. I was sitting at a lunch counter, wishing I could allow myself something other than fruit salad and cottage cheese, when the words of two robust, amiable gentlemen seated behind me impinged on my thoughts. They were discussing the larger fellow's car and the pesky transmission that was making his life such a situation comedy.
I felt a sudden chill. My mind, filled with recipes and fashion advertising, could scarcely remember was a transmission was. How thoroughly my female role had taken me over! Fun was fun, but enough was enough. I decided it was time to end my little ruse, crank out a book, maybe do a few talk shows, then relax and take things easy for a while. I ran outside and hailed a cab.
At the doctor's office I found a debt-retrieval agency carrying off the doctor's equipment. The doctor, they had told me, had left town suddenly.
Panic wove its magic fingers inextricably into my intestines. Without the doctor I would have to live the rest of my life with these fleshapoid balloons entering every room before I did. Then I remembered the redheaded stripper I had seen a few times in the doctor's waiting room. Could she know anything? It was a slim chance, but I was in no position to pass up long shots.
I found her in a dressing room at Total Nudity from Twelve Noon! At first, fearing that I was an informer in the pay of male sexist police, she wrapped her robe tightly about her and refused to tell me anything. I considered beating her bloody with my purse, but gritted my teeth and stayed in character instead.
"Wahhhhh!" I told her. "I jus' hafta find him."
She began to soften. "Aw, yer just a kid, aincha? Come here, honey, an' putcher head on my chest."
I went. "Awww," she said, and pulled me into her lap, laying my cheek against the freckled overswell of her left breast. My tears merged with flesh and ran in tiny trails to the vee of her robe, mingling with the natural moistures of her cleavage to emit a combined perfume that wreaked musky monkeyshines on my olfactory centers. "Awww," she crooned, and began stroking my hair. I decided to allow myself to be consoled for a while.
"You'll give me the doctor's new address then?" I asked at length in my best little-girl voice.
"Awww," she said, and switched from my hair to my inner thigh. Beneath my miniskirt, beneath my black-lace panties, I felt alarums and excursions. An erection? I'd forgotten all about them! And it felt terrific! I began slowly to part her robe, marveling at the creamy pink of her nipples and the way they gathered and focused themselves beneath my fingers. Her nails trailed further up my thigh.
Then, with surreal slowness, my adhesive tape began to tug loose, each tug parting a pubic hair from my scrotum with a tiny, silent pop of pain. Adhesive tape? Abruptly, I remembered my role, and, in so doing, realized just what kind of a woman I was dealing with.
"Don't give me any of that Lesbian stuff," I said. I leapt from her lap and snatched up the purse.
"Los Angeles!" she shrieked. "Pico and Alverado!"
I beat it back to my hotel, packed my few things, tucked my bankroll in my panties, and started for the airport. It certainly wasn't my day. While searching for a cab, I was accosted by a large generous-lipped third worlder who claimed he wanted my pussy but was more than delighted to find my cash. Penniless, I was forced to hitchhike.
I was picked up immediately by a man in a suit who moved his briefcase to let me sit. We headed south. My mind whirled with plans, pique, and panic. Gradually, I became aware that my driver was talking to me. I shook my head to clear it.
"Tell me," he was asking, "is it true that women ejaculate?"
Though today I realize that his questions were merely a sad, twisted attempt to get close to me, at the time I was appalled. I moved as far away from him as I could, pressing my back to the door.
"Sorry, I don't mean to offend you. It's just that I'm curious. You see, I'm really on your side: I believe in the women's struggle. Y'know?"
"Yeah, well, I'm not offended, but just knock off the sexy questions, okay?"
For a few minutes we drove in silence.
"Ah…I was wondering…if I pulled behind a gas station, would you rate the size of my penis?"
"Stop the car!"
He did. Believing that I had been picked up by an isolated nut, I began hitchhiking again. But no, there were to be more than a dozen rides, all from men, each worse than the one before. They seemed to assume that in the presence of a woman of such formidable bosom no pretense of dignity or self-respect was necessary. Some were shamelessly open ("Say, how do you stand up?"), others shamelessly subtle ("May I, heh heh, have a closer look at your love beads?"). Many breathed heavily, a few drooled. This was Man the Oppressor? In fact, this was Man? I felt contempt. I decided to try an experiment.
"Hee hee, you're cute! If you drive me all the way to Los Angeles, I'll let you jerk off between my tits."
"Gosh! You bet!"
There it was. I had sought the truth and found it, and now I felt stunned. All the while I'd thought men were the oppressors. But that couldn't be--not if I could make them do anything I wanted merely by inhaling. The discriminatory laws, the institutionalized condescension, the degrading lavatories…all must be elements of a ruse. The entire women's movement with its bizarre rhetoric and carefully staged suggestions of incompetence, was but another element of the camouflage. While men strode about doing the work and thinking they ran things, the women sat back and coolly ran the men, controlling them like laboratory animals with electric-pleasure promises from the grottos of their vulvae. Had my last my last driver not been so preoccupied with my gazongas, he might have wondered at the cold laughter that now bubbled from the soft inviting lips of the "sex object" sitting next to him.
When we reached Los Angeles, I let the yokel have his fun, wiped myself off with the doctor's address, and threw it in a litter basket. Then I sold my credit and ID cards, my last links with my former self, to a black-market credentialist for fifty bucks. I let him bounce my boobs for a few minutes, and he made it another fifty. I put the entire sum into new clothes and a visit to the beauty parlor.
In the past year I have acquired control of three hotels, a nightclub, a bowling alley, and a small housing development. I own a Lincoln and a Bentley, and my chauffeur is an upper-class Bulgarian. I am about to open a numbered Swiss bank account.
Sisterhood is powerful!