Monday, December 01, 2008

1st december

I was at the doctor's today: to get my sick line renewed, to stock up with pills.

I particularly needed finasteride, an anti-androgen, which I ran out of last wednesday.

In the waiting room I met an old friend whohas mostly known me as John; and who didn't at first recognise me as Jo.

And then his partner; and we kept bumping into each other in the illness production line from waiting room to chemist.

Soon after I was in the post office to post a book and DVD. There were two men behind the counter. One older, one younger.

I was dealing with the younger one; and just as I was leaving he said: "He (meaning his colleague) wants to ask if that's your own hair or not".

He asked this really offensive question in so straightforward and friendly a way that i was completely dumbfounded, and found myself answering, "It's mine" in an equally straightforward and friendly way. As if it was the most natural question in the world.

And then, predictably, once out of the shop, I found myself thinking "I really should have been just a tiny bit ruder", but in a pleasantly amused kind of fashion. And just as I was going past a queue at a bus time out of nowhere I heard someone saying "Is that a woman or a -?"

I was amazed. It's months and months since I've had these kinds of incidents.
And once the "I really must work harder at my hair" and the "I really must work harder at my make-up" kind of moment had passed, I started to wonder why. Had I reverted back to my male persona in response to my old friends?

Or was it the testosterone that the lack of medication had allowed back into my body subtly but unmistakeably altering the gender signals I sent out to the world?

And this afternoon, working away on the final stage of the second act of YERMA, I found myself feeling discouraged and telling myself how tired I was, in a way that has not occurred to me for many many years. A mood that I associate, in fact, with the difficulties and the discouragements of early stage transition.

In fact, if I think about it, with testosterone. Aamazing how much hormones matter to our sense of who we are and how we feel.


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