From the New York Post, we have an article of a woman who went disguised as a man in order to walk a mile in our shoes. I find her description of dating as a "slow, front-lobe lobotomy" as quite hilarious and very apt at times.
January 8, 2006 -- As a woman, New Yorker Norah Vincent was used to being stared at by men she passed in her Village neighborhood. It's a way men "assert their dominance," she says.
But she often wondered what was behind those stares. So she conducted an experiment.
Like John Howard Griffin, who disguised himself as an African-American in the South of 1959 for "Black Like Me," and Gregory Peck playing a writer posing as a Jew to investigate anti-Semitism in the Oscar-winning "Gentleman's Agreement," Vincent went undercover.
With makeup, workouts, wardrobe and a voice coach, she became a man and plunged into a world she had only known from the other side.
The result is a book, "Self-Made Man" (Viking, $24.95), in which Vincent, a journalist, tells how she used her childhood nickname, Ned, and joined a men's bowling league; went into the woods with nearly three dozen guys for a touchy-feely retreat; got a job with a testosterone-fueled sales force; and hung out with her guy pals at strip clubs.
She even went out on some dates with women, although Vincent revealed her true identity before things went too far.
To transform herself into a convincing man, Vincent, who's gay, glued tiny clippings of synthetic hair to her face for a 5 o'clock shadow, and got a flat-top haircut. She bound her breasts with a cupless sports bra and wore loose-fitting clothes and layers, lifted weights and consumed a lot of protein.
She even wore a prosthetic penis in a jockstrap.
In the end, Vincent was surprised by her stereotype-defying discoveries, which included:
* It's men who frequently suffer rejection — and supposedly emotionally in-tune women are extraordinarily self-absorbed.
* Although men are supposedly the dominant species, it's women who dominate most dating conversations.
"I listened to them talk literally for hours about the most minute, mind-numbing details of their personal lives," Vincent writes. "Listening to them was like undergoing a slow frontal lobotomy."
* Women are responsible for some of the hostility they encounter while playing the dating game.
"The women who were hostile to me made me mad," she writes, "and that made me want to be hostile to them. I can't imagine men in the same position not reacting the same way."
* Women could learn a lot about sincerity from a man's handshake.
On her first night of bowling, Vincent's team's captain, Jim, offered his hand in introduction. "There was something so warm and bonded in this handshake . . . It was more affectionate than any handshake I'd ever received from a strange woman. To me, woman-to-woman introductions often seem fake and cold, full of limp gentility."
Vincent was also surprised to hear manly, muscular men complain about being "objectified."
Toby, from the men's self-help group she joined, "was built like an English bulldog, with wide lats, burly shoulders and a tiny waist." But he moaned, "Every time I come into a room or restaurant, especially with other guys, I can see the fear on their faces, like they think I'm going to hurt them. They assume I'm violent because of the way I look."
Vincent compares that to men presuming all blondes are bimbos.
Even the sleazy strip-club culture should not all be blamed on men, Vincent now believes. After observing a strip joint as a man, she decided it wasn't only a place men visited "to be beasts. It was also where women came to exercise some vestige of sexual power in the most unvarnished way possible."
What Vincent hated most about being a man, she wrote, was that society expects men to express limited emotions.
"As a guy, you get about a three-note emotional range. That's it as far as the outside world is concerned," she writes. "Women get octaves, chromatic scales of tears and joys and anxieties . . . but guys get little more than bravado and rage."
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