The Experiement

Yes, she would try. It would be enlightening, challenging, possibly upsetting, and, she hoped, also fun. She was tall, which was a good thing, and relatively straight up and down. Her hair was short – would it pass? and she took size 7 shoes. She would need to change her language, really think herself into the part. She had heard actors reading aloud and had been amazed at the way in which they could persuade you that they were a dozen different characters, with different background, moods and ages. Her NLP training should help with that.

She dressed carefully, binding her breasts with a long cloth, then putting on a borrowed suit and waistcoat, a shirt and tie, and her most masculine shoes. She drew a faint shadow round her chin and along her upper lip. That was hard, and she needed several tries with different eye shadows. The voice – maybe she would get away with a few gruff words? The less she said the better.

Then she began to think herself into the persona of this young man. She found herself taking longer strides, putting her hands in her pockets. She was aware of a strange feeling in her chest. She felt strong, confident. Was she caricaturing a man? Well, there were plenty of confident men in the world, and, after all, she was only being one man. She could choose what sort. Her experience with a lesbian affair should help. She knew what it was like, loving a woman. Suddenly she perceived herself protecting her partner, wanting to challenge the world that might hurt her. She had never felt like this before. She thought further. Could she behave to a man in a different way? Standing beside him, being like him, without any hint of any other element?

Then she found herself thinking in clich├ęs. She might talk about football, even say ‘her indoors’. My goodness, she had a long way to go. Slowly, she took off the suit, the shirt, the chest binding. She was not ready. But she had seen herself in a different light, and it was empowering.

Lindsey March, 2010

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