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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Massages in Kathmandu

If you knew me when I lived in Nepal for a few months then you probably heard this story or read it on my travel blog. But, I think it deserves its moment in the sun on this blog too, since it was quite a He's A Lady moment. Here's the post, reproduced as I originally wrote it:

About five days ago I started getting the same awful cough that Meredith has had for a while. She was still pretty sick and was going crazy from the dog barking and metal grinding that surrounds our house 24/7. We decided that we would move to a hotel for a few days for some peace and quiet. We found a place called Kathmandu Peace Guest House which is just outside of Thamel (the really touristy part of Kathmandu). Then we went to do Meredith's favorite thing in the world: get a massage.

I've only gotten three professional massages in my life prior to traveling to Nepal. One was free at a pole vault meet and the second two were from massage students in Alburquerque and Los Angeles. I had gotten a massage in Kathmandu at a resort near our apartment, so I knew that the Nepali massages included a "breast massage." Meredith enjoyed me squirm as the female masseuse lightly tapped me and said: "Breast massage?" Errrr...I struggled for an answer and then asked the masseuse if Meredith was getting one. Meredith shouted at me: "Yes, just get one!" So, I did and it was fine.

Anyhow, we went to a spa to get another massage and this time we were in separate rooms because I was getting a 90 minute massage so Meredith could get do 30 minutes of sauna. My male masseuse entered and gave me a damn good massage (including the infamous "breast massage" - not as fine this time but whatever). Near the end we started talking and he asked me if I was married. No, I wasn't I replied. We chatted some more and then he asked me for my phone number. Since I was naked, I said "okay, but I'm naked - let me put some clothes on and then I'll come out and give it to you." As I was dressing I realized that he probably thought I was about to put on some girly clothes. Oh man, I hope he dates dykes. Well, turns out he doesn't:

Him: Oh, I see you wear boys clothes.
Me: Yes, yes I do.
Him: Only today or everyday?
Me: Every day.

He was totally heartbroken. He didn't even have the heart to just pretend he still wanted my number. No more breast massage for me.

Okay, just a quick clarifying comment on this post - I hope it comes across as sarcastic when I said "I hope he dates dykes" because I wasn't actually hoping that.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Brothers and Sisters

Let me just start by saying this:

That's my brother Eric and me. And our beloved family dog, Bodhi.

And now we can rewind to my junior year in high school when I was gradually switching from nondescript frilly tank tops and long hair in buns to over-sized shorts and (the unfortunately named) wife beaters. I asked my friends if I should cut my hair and they all said No. But I cut it anyways down to my chin and it looked like a poofy triangle. I cut off the bottom parts of the triangle and it became a top-heavy poof sitting on head. Finally I took some clippers and the hair and poof was gone.

My parents saw my aesthetic changes and probably knew what was happening better than I did. But I never really wondered what my younger brother thought until I came home on spring break from my first year in college. My parents showed me an essay my brother had written about me for school. It talked about how I defied socialized gender and sexuality norms and bucked the mainstream ideals in favor of a unique identity -- but in 13 year-old words: "My sister doesn't care what people think about her and I'm proud of her for that." I appreciated his pride, but believed I didn't deserve it. I was just trying to fit in with the queers I knew and was willing to take the shit that went along with that preference.

Despite the fact that he wasn't the one who had made any decisions, my brother has to deal with people's perceptions and reactions to me. Eventually he probably got sick of being made fun of for something he didn't have any control over and developed less pride and more frustration. I don't know if he still does this, but one time he told me that he would carry around a picture of us and show it to his friends and ask them if they could figure out which one was him. I know I should be super offended by this (and I am to some degree), but I'm also just happy that he brings me up to his friends.

Before my parents moved away from my childhood home, I would go visit and run into my old neighbors who would shout to me from across the street: "Hi, Eric!" I would wave back enthusiastically, not wanting them to think my brother was rude.


(HEY. This blog post was kind of a downer, hasn't anyone been mistaken for a dude in a funny way recently? Please submit before I make everyone depressed.)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Angel On The Train

If you need a private detective, I know one. I met him on the train. His name was Angel.

If you live in New York City, you have your crazy train stories. People throwing up, starting fights, cat-calling you or your girlfriend, the offensive preachers, talented buskers, the pretty girl you swear was making eyes at you, the old woman who had a stroke and the people who just watched and did nothing, ETC ETC.

One night I was on the C train riding from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I sat down on one of those two seats that faces three seats. Here's my crappy diagram, I'm not an architect:

Those little blocks are seats.

Anyhow. There I was, reading A People's History Of The United States. The train doors open at 14th Street and in walks my story. Two inebriated men. The first guy is small in stature and loud in voice. The other is the opposite. Small in Stature (SIS) is just itching for a fight. I could tell the moment he entered that car. He's shouting and laughing really loud and just asking people to look at him for too long so he can start some shit. If I could, I would've moved cars, but I didn't want to draw attention to myself.

So, SIS and Large in Stature (LIS) sit down here:

And I think to myself: Fuck.

And that was an appropriate thought because SIS starts spitting the largest spitwads man has ever known into the seats right next to him. He took his time gathering all the spit he had in his small body to ensure that the entire seat was covered. Nothing that Howard Zinn was saying could distract me from large pools being created. I was terrified.

The strangest part, well one of the strangest parts, was that when new people got on the train and would almost sit down on the Spit Seats, SIS would warn them against sitting down. He would put his hand up and say "Don't Sit There" and then he would shake his head in digust as if some other psycho had spit on the seats and he was protecting the innocent.

I knew it wasn't long before SIS got bored of his seat watching duties and turned his attention to me.

That's when he looks at my book and asks me what I'm reading. I can barely speak, so I just show him the cover. He says: "Naw, don't read that shit." My defense against aggresiveness is to giggle quietly, so that's what I do. But he's serious: "No seriously, put that shit away. Don't Read It." He wants to start something with me, and I have no idea how to get out of this situation. So, I close the book and look at my phone for a second, acting busy. Not wanting to look like a complete chump, I start reading again after a few minutes. He notices.

"What did I say? Don't read that! You can learn that shit on your own. You don't need no book."

I'm kind of startled by the fact that he has some reasoning behind his command and as if he's capable of more reasoning, I say: "I didn't learn about this in school, I have to read it now." SIS is not convinced by my argument and he pushes my book closed and reminds me "Don't Read That Shit."

LIS, who has been silent up until this point, tells SIS not to bother people. "I'm not bothering this guy." He turns to me "Am I bothering you?" I just giggle quietly. "See I'm not bothering him."

"Her," says LIS.

SIS doesn't hear this, and I turn quickly to LIS, catch his eyes, and shake my head, pleading. Let's not get into this territory, my book is already making things really difficult. LIS doesn't push the issue. We start chatting and I'm granted a short reprieve from SIS's troublemaking. LIS tells me he's a Private Detective and gives me his card just in case I need someone followed. We shake hands and he introduces himself as Angel.

I guess in the midst of our conversation, SIS realized I wasn't a guy. "Oh, you ain't a dude" he exclaims. "No" I say. "You think I'm sexy?" He asks, very seriously. I giggle quietly, while inside I'm crying. He asks me again, this time louder. More giggling. He looks around to see who's watching this interaction and catches some dude staring at us. He stands up to confront the dude. The train pulls into my station. I rush out as I thank Angel for his card.

Friday, March 11, 2011


I'd love to say that it's only the straight world that gets confused by the combination of my clothes and my body, but that's just not the case. Especially in certain cities, like Los Angeles, I will go to queer clubs and be confused for a dude. Once, I went to a frighteningly packed bar and this gay guy bumped into me, winked, grabbed my crotch, found no guy-junk, and angrily scoffed at me. Sorry?

I went to a bar in Brooklyn a few months ago with two really good friends K and S. My heart stinging from a recent breakup, they decided I should make out with someone. K narrowed in a girl dancing with a very cute twink of a gay guy.

You Have To Dance With Her, I'm Not Taking No For An Answer, K said.

Nervous and awkward, I gradually danced closer and closer to them with K and S by my side. I couldn't believe it, they started inching towards me too. Could this happen? I'm never successful at these kinds of things. But K is the master of dance-floor hook ups and she pushed me even closer and encouraged me.

Be A Man And Just Dance With Her! K said.

Before I knew it, they were both facing me and our knees and arms would graze each other as we danced. K and S faded off into the distance. I looked over at them, my eyes saying: This May Happen. They looked back at me and said with their eyes: Great Job! And then, someone made a move: the guy put his hands around my waist, his leg between mine and smiled at me. I looked at him and saw those familiar words written across his face: I think you are guy.

Do you think I'm a guy?

Aren't you?


And then we danced a little more and I felt good that someone thought I was attractive, even if it was the wrong someone.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Turistas Go Home!

Here's a story by Andie, about an incident during our trip to South America:

Lauren's favorite stories seem to mostly be about children who are confused about her gender but the child in this story wasn't confused at all. She knew exactly what Lauren's sex was: male. That was not up for debate. A nine-year old girl (read: 18 year-old frat boy) approached us in a small tourist town in southwest Bolivia and wanted to play our ukeleles. While manhandling the ukelele as Lauren cringes, we shoot the shit about mini-guitars and life in Bolivia. I refer to Lauren as she or, "ella," from time to time and she corrects me. No, "el es un el, no ella." He is a he, not a she. I assure her she is mistaken, but she had collected all the evidence she needed. She pointed to Lauren's over-sized hipster sunglasses as the first piece of proof and then to her chest. "See. Flat." This is where I start to get a little offended because frankly that is just not true. Lauren flattens her shirt out (I was kind of surprised she did this) to show her how wrong she was, but even so, the gender police was unimpressed. Sad.

Something in our interaction led a light-bulb to go off in her little girl head. "Oh. Lesbianas... Well if you are Lesbians then KISS." Meanwhile two other little girls have accumulated and it's starting to feel like that awful summer after my sophomore year at BU that I don't really like to talk about. We really threw this little angel for a loop when our male friend we were travelling with who likes to bend his gender very slightly the other way strolled up with his tall blonde bombshell fiance. He's got long hair, and PURPLE glasses. Umm will the real lesbianas please stand up? She pointed at Carwil and called him a girl, citing the purple glasses, asserted that he and his girlfriend were lesbians, not Lauren and I, and then insisted that they kiss...which they did.

No we are not gonna make out for this girl, but I get distracted and after a few minutes of us making fun of the situation amongst ourselves inevitably Lauren does something adorable and I kiss her. Frat boy (read: closet baby lesbian) wants more. We say no so she decides to remind us that we will not be able to have children. I ask her if she is aware of how babies are made and she says yes but that it is too dirty to talk about. I told her I can get the "materiales" needed for baby production from a man and then have a baby at my leisure and on my schedule. Knowingly she exclaims, "that's true! You should just get a boyfriend and then get the baby and then LEAVE the boyfriend!" FULL CIRCLE! Somehow this girl is now batting for our team. Needless to say I don't think her mother will ever let her hang out anywhere near tourists ever again.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mr. Mister

Guest post from Ez:

Every first year law student takes torts, a class that has nothing to do with pie, and everything to do with personal injury lawsuits. My torts professor, Mr. H, had been tenured since 1970. He was about as psyched to be teaching an 8 am class as we were to be taking one, an achievement considering that on the average Friday morning at least 50% of the class was hungover. So there you have it.

Anyway, in the first month or so of school I was minding my own business in the back row of the 80 person class when the Mr. H says “Mr. Cukor, can you explain. . . blah, blah, blah liability ”

I open my mouth and I start talking and halfway through I notice Mr. H is turning bright red. I think to myself “poor guy, he’s embarrassed he pronounced my name wrong” - but I don’t want to go through the whole “Cukor is pronounced like its spelled ‘Sukor’ ” spiel, because this was the first time in law school I’d had the right answer. So I say “don’t worry- we’re cool” and keep talking. I hope Mr. H was as amused by the whole thing as I was.