09 January 2009

Males and Females in Hibernation

I'm so tired. Today reminds me of a lot of days I had during the regular semester: Too much to do, not enough sleep. In between the comprehensive exam workshop and the class I taught, I went to my office with the intention of doing some work. Instead, I nodded off.

I started to think about my cats: even though it was relatively warm inside my apartment, they could feel how cold it was outside. At least, that's what I sense. So, they are curling up on anything and anybody that has even the slightest ability to be cuddled. That would include me.

And I'm feeling rather hibernatory (Does that word exist?) myself. Cold and gray for days on end does that to some people. Actually, lots of people. As if I were ever concerned with joining a majority!

Anyway, I had another one of those days in which it seemed that every woman I saw was younger and prettier than I am. Of course, those aren't the things that make one a woman, but I find myself wondering whether I'll be attractive and sexy (as if I ever was) after the operation. I know women are judged much more on their looks than men are, but I also want to be the kind of woman that only I can be. Well, at least I hope I'm sui generis. But I still want to "fit in" as a woman.

I'm still thinking about what my brother Mike said last week: I'm not effeminiate. Of course, I should take that with bays full of salt: After all, he said "every transsexual I've seen is effeminate." Now, I know he lives in California. But he's also in the San Bernadino area, which is where lots of LA cops live. So, I have to wonder just how many transgenders he's actually seen. And, of course, I think of what Richard Russo said in his afterword to Jenny Boylan's She's Not There: That he still slipped into using masculine pronouns when talking with Jenny, who, as Jim, befriended him many years earlier. And, Russo said, there were still times when he had trouble seeing Jenny as a woman, even though she "passed" practically from the first time she went out in women's clothes and has morphed into a beautiful woman. On the other hand, Jenny's roommate at the sex-change hospital was much more masculine-, or at least androgynous-, looking, but Russo could never see her as anything but a woman and used female pronouns when addressing and talking about her.

I know all this, and the fact that I haven't actually seen Mike in person in about fifteen years and, for all I know, I may never see him again. Still, his words are echoing in my head, no matter what I do to purge them.

I guess they affect me for the same reason my brother Tony's ending all communication with me, and between me and my niece and nephew, hurts: Nobody can hurt you like your flesh and blood. A cliche, but like most cliches, it attained its status because it's so true and nobody does anything about it. Then again, what can you do about it?

Now I have a question: Do female bears hibernate in the same way as male ones?

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