unlosing my gender


I sometimes think that I am a transvestite trapped in a woman’s body. Right now I am a woman, plain, simple boring. Considering how interesting every other aspect of my life is, wouldn’t it be more fun to be a man that wants to be a woman? Plus transvestites get to wear those super feminine clothes and mile long eyelashes that no average woman would dare to put on. Oh! those high heels and long nails. Even more interesting would be to be a woman that wishes she could be a man that wishes to be a woman. Confused yet?

On other occasions I think, I wish I was a lesbian. I wouldn’t have any guy problems. Plus I could get a wife, now that same sex marriage is legal in British Colombia. I used to work with this guy Ken, everyday he had this yummy lunch packed for him by his wife. Hey! I would like to have a wife like that as well. Somebody that packs lunches for me, makes dinners, takes care of the kids and cleans the house. Hey Ken! Does your wife have a sister? I used to wish for a person like that in my life for years and finally I was able to hire a wife. When my third child was born, I hired a nanny to stay home with the kids. For years my husband rejected the idea of hiring somebody to do house work. It goes against his principles; he thinks that if you hire somebody to clean your house then you are somehow taking advantage of them. I used to rush from work to go pickup the kids from day care and school. Rush home to cook a dinner in 30 minutes or less, while my kids were whining and hitting each other. Then I would have to give them a bath, then help them do homework, then do the laundry, clean the house, prepare for the next day. I would go to bed completely pooped. When my third child was born, I put my foot down, I need help. So I hired a nanny to stay home with the two youngest. What a difference that made to the quality of my life. Now I come home, the house is clean, the kids are bathed and fed and the laundry is folded. I just cruise in and take over and the nanny goes home to her own family. Wow! what a difference. I feel like I hired a wife …. minus the sex. I have to admit that I am in love with the nanny, she is a god sent. I will really miss her when we have to let her go, when all the kids are old enough to go to school. I think hiring a wife is better that marrying a wife, wives are not what they used to be in the olden days and the hired wife doesn’t nag you. So maybe it is a good thing I am not a lesbian.

I am just kidding; I have no desire to be neither a transvestite nor a lesbian. It’s just that being a plain heterosexual woman is hard sometimes.

As a teen going to high school in Kuwait, we had to learn home economics. This was taught to girls only, the boys didn’t have learn this subject in their schools. One year we were taught baby care. I strongly resented the implication that we would all become baby producers and I resented the implication that the young men didn’t need to know any of this stuff. I made it my mission to make sure I learned absolutely nothing during home economics classes and commit small act of sabotage whenever possible. For child care we were given a baby doll that had realistic life size and weight, we were supposed to use it to practice holding and bathing the baby. While the teacher went outside for a little while. I detached the head of the baby doll and placed it on top of the door. When the teacher walked back in, the head fell on top of her head. The teacher was livid; she couldn’t believe that a nice girl would commit an act of such cruelty. “You are going to be a failure as a mother and a wife”, the teacher told me, she was near tears.

In sewing class, I made sure I learned nothing about sewing. We were supposed to make a skirt as part of the class project. I asked the girl setting next to me to do all the work. In return I helped her in math and physics. Why bother making a skirt when you can just buy it at the store. When our project was finished, our sewing teacher handed each of us our skirt with great bride. While getting home in the school bus, I waved my red skirt out the school bus window, much to the amazement of passers by. I finally released my skirt into the heavy traffic where it flew in the air like a balloon. That moment was the only enjoyment I got out of my sewing class.

I found it hard to embrace my role as woman; it is not that I wanted to be a man, it just that being a woman sucked. Can I have choice B please? Everywhere I looked, I saw depressed women. “My kids are driving me crazy”, “My husband doesn’t love me any more”, “I am so bored with being at home all day long”… on and on the complaints would go. What happens to the happy women? Do they all suddenly die when they get to 21 years of age? I looked around and couldn’t find a single happy middle aged woman. Such is the lot of women in the Middle East. In Kuwait it is legal for a man to beat the crap out of his wife; the police won’t get involved because it is his right. A women’s sole purpose in life is to get married and produce babies, women who fail in their mission are looked down on. Women who succeed in securing a husband and producing a baby become mildly depressed and bored house wives at best, and abused at worst. My only salvation was to get an education and be able to work. If I am financially independent I won’t be at the mercy of whomever I marry.

Then I moved to Canada and started to work at a software company, I found that many of my male co-workers were obsessed with my physical features. You see I had something they didn’t have, curves. One time I was talking to a guy who was staring straight at my bosom the whole time. So I bent my head over to one side so that my head was at the same level as my breasts and waved hello to him “Hello! I am over here!”. It is not that I didn’t like having curves, It is just that I wanted to be treated like a person. A bit of dignity please. So I started wearing baggy clothes, no makeup, hair pulled back. I wasn’t trying to be a man, I was only trying to become a Non Gender Specific Entity (NGSE). I thought if I become unfeminine, people would be able to see me as a person. I would wear grey and black trousers, wide t-shirts, and try to look like the generic geek. Unfortunately, my eye sight is perfect so no eye glasses for me. Dooh!

Years of happy non gender specific existence passed when one day as I was working at a small startup company my boss told me that he likes hiring women, because women have a greater sense on intuition and women find creative ways to solve difficult problems. I think he was trying to tell me that I was doing a good job. It was the first time that I realized that I have something valuable to offer because I am a woman not despite of it. Sometimes you hear a kind word and it transforms you. Later on my friend Justine took me to a flamenco dancing performance at Kino Café on Cambie street. The women dancers were wearing colorful colors, tons of makeup, big bright earrings. They were shaking their hips and stomping their feet forcefully. It was captivating, enchanting and a bit vulgar. I was hooked. You mean a woman can be sexy and strong at the same time? Why didn’t anybody tell me that before? Few weeks later I started going to flamenco dance classes. Few months into the class I started wearing a bit of makeup and I decided to put a bit of color into my wardrobe. For this year’s performance, we are each supposed to make a colorful dress; most of the women know how to sew. I wish I paid more attention at the sewing class back in high school; I will have to find a seamstress to help me out. I can’t decide, should I make a dress that looks like this? or like this? Which one do you think looks better? Hey! being a woman is so much fun, why would I want to be anything else. All this hard work and in the end all I had to do is learn to enjoy the things I already had.

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