To those of you who have visited here before, it may be apparent that I am not a boy, er, I mean man. I am quite far from it. I have written about leg and armpit shaving, PMS, my husband – none of these are definite proofs of my biological sex, but they have been enough to convince my readers of the fact that I am female, or at least I assume so. I have probably gone so far as to call myself a woman outright.
I assure you, I am completely certain that I was born female, because that’s what the Catholic nun nurses pronounced me and the Catholic doctor agreed and both my parents concurred based on their experiences with human genitalia when I was handed over for the traditional toe and finger counting. When I was old enough to take notice of what appeared to be a clear difference between the accepted two human sexes, despite my extremely limited experience with genitalia, I also concurred with the predominant belief in my femaleness. It is not a difficult deduction. My vagina kind of gives it away.
Oh, I know that there are many who crisscross the boundaries somewhat. Biological intersexual-ness-ism-ity (which is it?) is more common than most people would assume, although there are no clear numbers due to its still being hidden socially for the most part. One intersexed person was disqualified from an athletic event over what was called “sexual identification problems”. I have not been ousted from anything for being sexually ambiguous, so I am fairly certain that I am not intersexed. In fact, I am completely certain that I’m not. I figure this is something that would have been noticed much earlier on in my life, like, you know, before my thirties.
Now that I’ve cleared that up – my 99.99% certainty that I am biologically female – I will get on with my problem. Hair, when it is distributed over certain areas of the body, is identified as one of the secondary sex characteristics. According to what I have read, I am supposed to have less facial hair, more fat around the buttocks (I hates that word, I does) and thighs, and smoother skin. Thank heaven that we’re not keeping score, because I would totally be losing lately. My skin has been less cooperative than usual, breaking out in those deep pot-boilers that keep me guessing for days when they will erupt close enough to the surface to be relieved of their internal pressure. I have been applying an ointment usually reserved for hormonal high school kids that smells like burnt human flesh which seems to have little to no effect. My thighs do gain some fat successfully, but my butt just doesn’t grow to any bootylicious dimensions. Even when I was thirty pounds heavier, my butt stayed proportionally small in relation to my ballooned everything else. My moneymaker lacks the chutzpah – my spirit is willing even if my flesh is not.
And lastly, this: I have whiskers. No, really, it is indeed true. They’re on my chin. Yes, they. In my early to mid-twenties, I had a single blonde whisker that sprouted on the right lower quadrant of my chin. I was immediately horrified and scrambled for the tweezers in order to pluck the offending thing out of my face. I had heard of this occurring in women before, but the reality of such a thing had never confronted me. I was now a girl with a whisker, and I didn’t know what to do except go into some sort of denial about the whole incident. It did not return for a long time, and then when it finally did reappear, it began to show up infrequently but more often as the years drew on. I adjusted to this fact and consoled myself with the knowledge that it was blonde and inconspicuous and easily removable.
As time advanced, though, the whisker made more and more frequent appearances, and by about the age of twenty-eight or twenty-nine, it had company. This company came in two colours, both blonde and black. The single, inconspicuous, occasional visitor had ceased to worry me, but the slowly growing numbers were definitely becoming a bigger issue. I took to religiously scouring my chin for the offending, prickly interlopers and plucking with a sense of deep satisfaction. If it was a battle, I could at least feel victorious for those short moments in front of the magnifying shaving mirror.
Now I find myself in my early thirties, sitting at my desk and staring off beyond the window while I try to figure out what account I should be using for a particular constituent. Do you know what I am doing while I ponder the minutiae of my job? I am absentmindedly fingering the pointy tips of two errant whiskers that I must have missed during my last search and destroy mission. I am mortified. I am not as mortified by the whiskers these days as I am by my habit of fiddling with the sudden upstarts that occasionally pop up here and there. Whisker-fiddling is an activity best left to old, wizened men, which I am fairly certain I am not.
Fairly certain, yes.
Definitely not a boy, not wizened, not old, no.
Oh yes, definite as definite comes.
I think I may have caught a gender identity issue from my rabbit.
No, no, don’t worry about me. My boobs are very reassuring.
Look! A dog with no front legs!
Kudos to Europe for funding environmental innovation projects.