I guess my first hint was back in seventh grade when the hottest girl in school, Mary Bloom, got in trouble for wearing a dress to a mixer that was cut too low. Part of me wanted Mary to accidentally push me through a window and visit me in the ICU where her anger would turn into repentance, would turn into letting me rub on her. And another part of me wanted to get in trouble like she had. To be revealing. I’d show off my cleavage, I grinned. That was my first hint.
My family is conservative, but they acted like it was no big deal after I spent two decades getting up the nerve to tell them I wanted a sex change. “Will you still be Paul?” my dad asked. He even accompanied me to my first appointment, where the doctor would perform a routine physical and would outline exactly the changes my body would go through once the treatment began. There were papers to sign. During the physical, I was alarmed by the doctor’s look of satisfaction as he canvassed my body. No one had ever looked from my genitals to my face with any measure of alacrity. “This is going to be a cinch,” he smiled. “You’re basically on the team already. Cheers!” He cracked us open some cans of Dr Pepper Ten. I shook my head sadly at his mistake. He looked at my chart. “Oh,” he blushed. “Cheers anyway. Ten bold calories, one last chance.”
Joe Sacksteder teaches at Eastern Michigan University and the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility. He begs you to check out his Werner Herzog sound poems on Sleeping Fish, The Collagist, and textsound. "Not for Women" comes from an ongoing set of flash fiction / prose poems called Various Boners, all of which are based on corporate slogans. (Photo credit - BJ Enright)