This week, two people (one was my son) told me I looked like a lesbian (not that there's anything wrong with that), and several others called me Sir (not that there's anything wrong with that either).
I began life as a tomboy and bloomed in the flower-power era and never progressed beyond my hippie style. I never permed or straightened my hair or shaved any body parts or mastered makeup or found the perfect bra. And the bohemian look worked (at least I thought so) until I got breast cancer.
But without my breasts and my wild-'n'-crazy hair (it grew back sparse and gray after chemo), I no longer have the usual female markers. So I've been working harder to broadcast accurate gender information. I've been strapping on breast prostheses (seriously uncomfortable) and applying makeup (not very expertly) and wearing girlier clothes (pink shoes!). It's been a lot of thankless work, and I'm sick of the whole charade.
I was whining to my friend B this weekend about my efforts and my failures. "You don't need all that stuff," she said. "All you need is earrings." Wha?