Sunday, February 19, 2006

Lenny the Late Bloomer

You ever have one of those friends that you knew right from the moment of meeting was a braying ass, but somehow you befriended the person anyway? I've had many, unfortunately, but the one I'm going to center on today is a young man I met in Evil Undergrad Professor's classes. For legal and ethical reasons, I am giving him a pseudonym. I hereby dub him "Lenny" for the purposes of this post.**

Fighting the good fight together against EUP, Lenny and I developed a trench-buddy relationship. As a woman who speaks, I was frequently the target of EUP's nastiness. As a gay man, so was Lenny. We would draw fire from each other when necessary, defend each other's positions, etc. Now, you guys are smart enough to know that "gay man" and "misogynist bastard" are not mutually exclusive categories, right? Good! We move on. Lenny and I should have been natural enemies, but -- following the adage --the enemy of my enemy became my friend.

Lenny was one of those "liberals" the rest of us lament, a guy who could only see how the world treated him poorly and never made the broader connections. He was against gay-bashing, but was convinced that being a white male was what kept him out of the Ivies. (A damned good private education that still resulted in mediocre test scores and scholarship had nothing to do with it. It was that affirmative action, ruining all his entitlement.) He had no problem with black men being arrested for driving nice cars, because "most black guys can't really afford nice stuff. What are the police supposed to think?" He was convinced that women should pretend to be stupid so men could feel smart, at least that's what he wanted me to do. He was the guy you just know would scrap what existed of his professed "liberal beliefs" and become a neo-conman in a nanosecond if the lottery ticket worked out. But, as I said, Lenny and I had a common enemy and spent a lot of time together.

Shortly after graduating, Lenny moved to another country; a really solid country with national healthcare. Not long after the move, when he was a working person enrolled in the system, he began hormone therapy to become a woman. He began pining for a big, strong, blond man to marry him and let him be a house-wife, like women are supposed to be. He also believed he was living as and behaving like a woman when he acted in the way men pretending to be women act. He flirted badly and obviously, he feigned near-illiteracy, he flounced and fluffed and generally made an even bigger ass out of himself than usual. He also began giving me advice on how to be a better woman, from all of his experience.

It seems that because Lenny had been sporting B-cups for about six months, by his own choice, and at age 25, he knew more about being a woman than I did. He knew, for instance, that having men suddenly develop the habit of staring at your breasts while talking to you is a welcome phenomenon to 11 and 12 year-old girls. Because he chose to be gendered feminine at 25, then all young girls, girls still trying to get past the cognitive dissonance of simultaneously believing that boys are both gross and inexplicably fascinating all of a sudden should be happy to have random men ogling them. The bodies they never asked for and were highly suspicious of since the hostile hormonal take-over, were there for the viewing pleasure of men, and they should get used to it. Nay, revel in it. Whether it came from old or young, creepy or non-creepy, these children should be pleased to have attention like this. Even 25 and 30 year-old women who were trying to do their work should enjoy sexual harassment, according to Lenny.

The only reason I remembered my transition into a gendered body with ill-humor was that I, unlike Lenny, was not a "real woman." Having my ass slapped by a guy driving by while I was walking (in shorts and a top) to the pool in my development when I was 11 wasn't painful. The stuff he said he wanted to do *to* me wasn't in any way threatening to a little girl. It was a compliment. If I had been a real woman, I would know that. The group of yard workers who jumped out of the back of a moving truck to harass my 14 year-old niece were just being friendly. My sister who developed ulcers working in a place where sexual harassment was par for the course, but where she needed to work to feed her child, must not have been a real woman either. My objection to work-place and university sexual harassment was because I wasn't pretty enough for such attention: too tall, too brunette and too old besides. I was just bitter because I was 31, and nobody had married me and put me in my proper place.

Lenny abandoned his new country, and his foray into femininity three months later. He is now a semi-closeted gym-rat, attempting to exude masculinity every moment of every day, because he doesn't want to "be the bitch" in any relationship. After abandoning masculine privilege for less than a year, Lenny wants it back, and he wants it back forever. Sadly, last time I spoke with him, a few years ago, he hadn't learned anything. He still thought I would be much happier and more marriageable if only I were willing to "be the bitch," like I'm supposed to be.

**Pseudonym changed from the original to avoid children accidentally linking to this post.


Bardiac said...


And, no doubt, having seen *To Wong Foo...* he knows that all cross-dressing men have a lot to teach women about being women. /nod

Ragnell said...


Ancrene Wiseass said...

Holy cow.

zelda1 said...

Yikes, I remember the security guard at the hospital where I went to nursing school. I was 17 and he was about 100 and gross and a pervert. How can that be flattering? No woman wants that, and for a woman, allbeit a woman in the making, to think the contrary, well, it's a sad day. I'm a female of 51 years, and no one better ever tell me such nonesense. Should be flattered indeed. I wish I were in power, I'd say off with his head.

Anonymous said...

He sounds like a bona fide asshole.

Pet hate: Stress does not cause ulcers.

sexy said...