Advance Praise for She's Not the Man I Married

Wow, Kate Bornstein liked it, too!

This is the first public voice of a new identity in the world, whose story includes and goes far beyond boy meets girl, boy meets boy, and girl meets girl. How stunning is that! The author’s courageous vulnerability makes her tale accessible, moving, and pee-in-your-pants funny. She pulls no punches, and she’s blessedly kind-spirited; which encouraged me, thrilled me, and scared the hell out of me.

— Kate Bornstein, author of Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws

4th Preview of She's Not the Man I Married

Excerpt from Chapter 4 – Snips & Snails & Sugar & Spice:

Gender variant heterosexuals often are the people others gossip about, the ones that people mumble are just closet cases married to each other. Those slightly feminine older bachelors who everyone assumes are gay are probably at least occasionally crossdressers. Some of them are perhaps surprisingly het—as Betty and I both were to many people who knew us, including our families. But we exist. (I like to joke that Betty’s parents didn’t care so much that I was a liberal because they were so relieved I was a woman.) I would imagine not a few of us just learn how to get by; Betty hid her gender variance from a young age because of how huge the taboo against being a sissy is, and I was free to be a tomboy until puberty. We both got a slight break in the androgynous ’80s, and we’re both very thankful for that bit of cultural good timing. But once we were both in our twenties, we tried very hard to perform our respective gender roles properly. For Betty that meant pretty much avoiding relationships, and for me, it always felt like playing a part. My guess is that we have both now begun to acknowledge our gender variance because we have found a place to do so: the larger LGBT community. Since the T has been added, we have effectively been welcomed into the only subset of American culture that acknowledges gender variance. We are those mysterious “queer heterosexuals” that are starting to get mentioned in academic journals and LGBT papers.

Wouldja Look At That?

Completely unbeknownst to me, She’s Not the Man I Married is now listed at No cover image yet, almost nothing at all yet, but there it is, and yes, you can pre-order it if you’d like.
That said, if you’re in the NYC area, you can get a signed copy in March when I’m doing publicity. Or in Philly in April. (Those are my only confirmed post-pub date events, so far.)

3rd Preview of She's Not the Man I Married

Chapters have indeed been switched as I expected they might be. This excerpt is from what used to be Chapter 3: Confessions of a Grown-Up Tomboy (but is now Chapter 2: Confessions of a Grown-Up Tomboy. Chapters 2 & 3 switched places.)

My experiences with Betty trying to figure out what exactly she’s after in wanting to be a woman is completely confounding for both of us. I feel like someone who lives in a rainforest who’s trying to understand why Eskimos have a few dozen words for ice and snow. I once found myself trying to explain to a Burmese monk how cold it would be in Tibet, where he was going on a short visit. It’s very difficult to explain how cold snow is to someone who feels chilled in 70 degree weather; he didn’t understand how a human being could physically survive being that cold, though by the end of the conversation I had convinced him he couldn’t wear sandals and should bring every article of clothing he owned. My sense of gender is similar to that monk’s sense of cold: they tell me I should wear these kinds of shoes, and these kinds of clothes, and I might not ever like it, and in the end the idea of it will probably be more fascinating than the reality.

Photo Betty

Today we went to our favorite photographer’s studio and took a bunch of photos – one of which will become the cover of She’s Not the Man I Married. I don’t have any previews just now – we’ll get some of the photos tomorrow – but it was a very interesting experience. Our favorite salon here in Brooklyn did hair and makeup, and quite wonderfully: even my flat, straight hair seemed like it had body. Betty looked truly beautiful.
At one point when we were nearly done, and Betty was still in the make-up chair, and a few other women were waiting around, the makeup artist said something (accidentally) about “Jason,” clearly indicating she was talking about the woman in her makeup chair, and I watched the double and triple takes on the parts of the awaiting ladies.
But I do want to confirm that Betty does not enjoy having her picture taken. The photographer and I had our work cut out for her us trying to get her to relax. Afterwards, when we were going to dinner, I laughed at how obviously physical her tension had been, because her jaw was in a different place than it has been for days.
Betty tried three outfits; I tried two. We’ll see: fingers crossed.

2nd Preview of She's Not the Man I Married

This excerpt is from Chapter 2: The Opposite of 49.
And I should mention I’m not going to say for sure the chapter names are going to stay the same either, or even if the chapters will stay in the same order.

It took me a long while to figure out how gender and power were intersecting for Betty and me. I had trained myself to be more submissive, and certainly worried that my natural ability to wear the pants in our relationship was going to screw things up. I always felt worried about being myself with a guy, because everything told me I wasn’t supposed to be the way I was naturally. It was difficult, to come to terms with out-butching Betty by a long shot. (Granted, I actively try to bring out her native tomboy, if there’s one in there, because I won’t have an “I broke a nail” partner.) Interestingly, when I first started experimenting with saying out loud that I was more the husband than the wife, I got nervous giggles and was corrected a lot. Plenty of people said right away, “But you’re not butch,” or “Betty’s still stronger than you,” or some kind of affirmation of my femininity. Some of my characteristics are feminine, and very innately so, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t also wear the pants. Still, I’ve been a little astonished at the ways in which people have effectively said, “Don’t say that out loud” when I talk about being the one in charge. It’s as if I were embarrassing them somehow. This has been one of many experiences over the past couple of years that has made me realize: (1) tomboys are okay as long as they are children; (2) masculinity in women makes people nervous; (3) heterosexuality was no place to figure out how to be who I am; and (4) most people don’t want to talk about how their relationships are gendered.

1st Preview of She's Not the Man I Married

I thought I’d put up a little preview of some stuff I’ve been writing for my next book. You know, just for fun. I can’t promise anything I put up here will end up in the final, though.
This excerpt is taken from Chapter 1 – Girl Meets Boy:

There’s an old standby in the crossdressing community, a line that crossdressers tend to use on their wives, that goes: “But I’m the same person underneath.” The wife, who is standing there looking at a person who sounds like her husband and who might look like him somewhere under the wig and breast forms and press-on nails, tries to parse what exactly that’s supposed to mean. She’s suspicious that her husband is trying to blow smoke up her ass, the same as a husband who might come up with an ingenious reason why he had to spend his weekend fishing instead of shopping for new sofa upholstery. She might look at him, adjust his wig, and then sigh and take him shopping.
Others just balk.
Some women are just smarter than me, I think, and when they first heard that line, they ran for the hills. Likewise for the ones who hightail it when they hear their husbands say, “I’ve always imagined what it would be like to have breasts,” or “When I was young, I always wished I was Susie Perkins.” They call a lawyer, they get custody of the children, and they wish their future ex-husbands well, but want no part of it. Not me. I didn’t believe in gender; gender wasn’t important.

Quentin Crisp & Sting?

Okay, maybe I’m the only one who didn’t know this, because I never saw Sting’s “Englishman in New York” video, but I didn’t know QC was the friend Sting wrote it about.
Which makes me want to say obscene things to all the people who don’t like Sting or make fun of me for liking him. I think he’s a decent person, & trans-friendly as all hell: remember the skirt he wore at the Victoria’s Secret show? The fact that he cross-dresses in Brimstone & Treacle? Oh, right, and then there’s these lyrics he wrote an album or so ago:
My skirt’s too short
My tights are run
These new heels are killing me

A second pack of cigarettes
It’s a slow night, but there’s time yet
Here comes the john from his other life
He may be driving to his wife
But he slowed down, take a look
I’ve learned to read them just like books
It’s already half past ten
But they’ll be back again

Don’t judge me
You could be me in another life
In another set of circumstances

A friend of mine, he wound up dead
His dress is stained with color red
The next of kin, no fixed abode
Another victim on this road
The police just carted him away
But someone took his place next day
He’s home by Thanksgiving
But not with the living

I mean, I can’t name anyone else who’s written a song from the POV of a trans streetworker, can you?
But I promise, no more 80s music references, at least for a while. Tomorrow, though, the first preview of She’s Not the Man I Married.