I cheated with my friend Justin Martz. If I had not done so, I would have walked out of my house looking like the male version of Nora Desmond.
'No," he advised, brushing away the eyebrows, pork chop sideburns and beards I had bought from Features Costumes, 'You need to be subtle."
The process was sensual. Undeniably sensual. Martz used an eyeliner pencil to fill in my arched brows. He grudgingly allowed me a small soul patch goatee under my lip. With a brush, he gently swept black powder across my jaw line to emulate a 5 o'clock shadow. Instructed in the proper way to use Royal Crown Men's Pomade, I slicked my long hair back into a ponytail.
Finally, the moment of true pain — the female version of 'tucking" — I forced my 44-DD breasts out from the center, pressed them down into a too tight body suit, changing my form from Mae West to Danny DeVito.
'I don't think my dick is big enough." I had used a female condom instead of the stuffed male prophylactic that many drag kings use to enhance their pelvic region. A female condom is about three times as wide as a male one, and it gave me the sort of girth I thought might be taken seriously. A strap-on dildo wasn't workable because it provided appearance of an erection.
Martz eyed my package seriously. 'Oh, it is big enough. You just have it in the wrong place."
'I still don't think it's big enough."
'It isn't about the size," he said. I wanted him to whip out his for a practical demonstration, but my buddy Martz doesn't go for boys, much less this gender montage now in front of him.
Worse, I'm not my idea of the male ideal. I'm stocky. I'm short. To cover my femininity, I opted for a sort of Guido-like urban look culled from Wal-Mart sales racks.
Martz told me I look like I've been working on a car. That I'm the type of man he would avoid socially. That I look like trouble.
So much for young Elvis. So much for getting lucky.
Feminity is an act. —J. Alexander, runway model consultant
Carol has 80 pairs of shoes. This fact may ruin her marriage, though her wife often complains, "Why is it as Dave you don't care how you look but as Carol, everything has to be perfect?" They don't share clothes. Carol's life as a woman is separate from her wife's life with Dave the man. Carol's wife married a man and she loves Dave but allows him to be Carol about three times a week.
Carol's darkest moments have been trying to find girlfriends. She romanticizes women's friendships. She idealizes their warm, quick intimacy. While Carol has been active in local and national transgender groups, she felt she needed more. Female friendship is the sort of connection Carol believes will help her grow into the woman the rest of us women take for granted. The nurtured female.
Her first attempt at friendship ended badly. The girlfriend told her, "Wherever, whenever, a girlfriend can drop another girlfriend for a man. The men always come first. For anything, anywhere, any time."
Frankly, having lived with this rule and lost girlfriends most of my life, it never occurred to me women had another code with each other. My best friend in high school became pregnant and got married without ever telling me. Without ever talking to me again. Women are like that. Aren't they?
Actually, a study by McGill University showed that both men and women believe that women make better friends. While men relate side by side focused on an event or activity, women face each other, relating quickly, sharing feelings and thoughts.
One of Carol's girlfriends, Doe Hewitt, describes a good girlfriend as 'someone who cares, unconditionally. Carol is one of the best friends I ever had. She has taught me that I can love again. She has taught me to feel from the heart, to get below the outside appearance."
Carol's ideal of female friendship is so high, I begin to rethink my low expectations.
My idea of being a man is so skewed, I can't get past my own homemade male penis' inadequacies, which says a lot about my own.
The truth is, this isn't the first time I have cross-dressed as a man. My measurements make it is impossible to be androgynous. The first time I dressed was in Charlotte, N.C., for a friend's bachelor's party. The groom-to-be was dressed in a long blond wig, tight sweater, mini skirt and go-go boots. He wanted to get over the desire. I still remember driving through that dark, deep Southern night. There was a surreal moment where I, a woman dressed as a man, made catcalls at streetwalkers out selling cut-rate blow jobs to men dressed as men, driving home to their wives who believed these scenes only happened on Jerry Springer.