"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Monday, February 5, 2024

Hybrid Sex And Electric Cars - Our Indeterminate, Flimsy Age

Jan Bossey was well into his sexual transition, feeling a bit dodgy and off his feed at times, but the hormones had kicked in nicely, and that Springtime, feminine feel that he had so long been waiting for, had finally arrived.  He put on his Easter bonnet – yes, he knew it was too early, but he simply felt like it, and his new self gave in far more easily to whim and fancy than his old self had.  

When he was a Senior Vice President at a major consulting firm on the Route 128 tech corridor, he had been decisive in his attitude, peremptory and unforgiving in his management, and absolutely determined and goal-oriented in his life.  He was a feared supervisor not because of the harsh punishment meted out to laggards, but because of his stature.  There was no one in the firm with more intelligence and resolve than Jan Bossey.

It was a complete surprise when it was learned that he was unhappy in this premier macho role and had opted to transition.  During initial psychological counselling his feelings about femininity were probed, and while he was not exactly asked to pick from a Chinese menu of options, it amounted to that.  Like everything else in modern genderism, there was a spectrum, ranging from tough Bernal Heights flannel and jackboots tough girls to sweet, frilly, pretty things and everything in between.  Of course, the counselor noted, gender transition was not yet an exact science, no bulls eyes, only approximations.

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Jan, feeling if one was in this thing, then one had to be all in, he opted for the frilly end of the gamut.   His mother, like him a romantic and vaudevillian at heart, looked like Toulouse Lautrec’s Jane Avril, all feather boas, black stockings, petticoats, and dancing shoes. 

 “I feel pretty, no matter what anyone says, especially your father”, she said to young Jan who was always her most attentive audience, sitting on the plush dressing room divan waiting for his mother to emerge.  All that anticipation and delight when she finally threw open the door and danced before him had taken hold at a very early age; and despite the many years of suppressing it and becoming an ur-macho Simon Legree, it never went away.  So the choice of the girly-girl persona was easy enough.

Yet, as he proceeded in his transition, he felt that there was something wrong – a niggling sense of incompleteness and dissatisfaction.  He was stuck between second and third gears, he thought on his last trip up and down the Strip in his hemi Dodge Charger.  This too will pass, advised his transition counselor.  One does not simply pull out all that nasty male stuff in one go.  Soon enough he would see the changes he was expecting, and today, the day she donned his Easter bonnet and headed for St. Maurice’s church to flirt with the men talking golf with Father Brophy, the change was secure.

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Or almost.  As much as the counselor told him to dismiss his persistent, recurrent dreams of pursuit and penetration, he was always a man in them.  What was this all about?  Despite his current demission and removal from the psychiatric pantheon, Freud’s insights could not be totally dismissed.  Psychiatry was not all behaviorism and drugs, but the psychological potpourri of genes, hormones, childhood, and their weird dynamics.  

If he was chasing women in his dreams, it had to mean something.  Perhaps ‘that nasty male stuff’ his counselor referred to was not just a flimsy thing easy to extract, but something more permanent and resistant to the daily doses of progesterone injected every day.

This middle state, this inconclusive, changeable period of neither here nor there was not unpleasant at all, for what man or woman could feel both male and female?  The very pleasant calm before the storm, the final explosive burst of pure sexuality at the end of the transition process.

Jan had always liked cars, and the Dodge hemi was but the last in a line of muscle cars he had had ever since he turned eighteen.  There was that reconditioned 65 Corvette; the 64 GTO, 389, Hurst three-on-the-floor transmission, racing tuned double carb beast; the chopped and channeled Camaro which tipped out at 150 without so much as a groan or a shimmy.  

He went to car shows and admired the cars he could never afford – Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis.  He liked to hang around body shops, garages, and racetracks.  He bought a TR-3 for $500 dollars back in the day, took it to Lime Rock and raced in the short track at the foothills of the Berkshires, did his own tune ups, lubes, and brake jobs.  Cars and men were one.

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On that very Sunday when he went out in his Easter finery, he noticed a number of hybrid cars in the church parking lot.  Now what were they? he asked permitting himself a moment of doubt.  Of course he knew what they were – little underpowered four-wheelers designed to save energy, to turn on and off, gas and electricity, and designed to get you there without much fanfare.  It was the idea of a hybrid that piqued his now highly sensitive metaphysical interest – something, like him in his current transitionary stage, that was neither this nor that, neither here nor there.

He had never had much patience for Teslas until Elon Musk’s designers made one that would go 0-60 in under two seconds and was one of the fastest production cars on the market.  Musk never got on this neither fish nor foul hybrid bandwagon.  He went all in for electric, and he would make Tesla the peer of the fastest Ferrari on the road.  A macho car despite its batteries and plug-ins.

The hybrids were delicate little nothings that flipped on an off, never made a fuss, and were nothing but shows of environmental purpose for the leafy neighborhoods of Northwest Washington.

So wasn’t he a hybrid? A neither here nor there male/female?  There was no technique for scraping all the XY chromosomes from his DNA and replacing them with double X’s.  Not like sparkplugs or alternators.   He would be an XY male for the rest of his life, like it or not, Easter bonnets notwithstanding. 

But doesn't nature trump nurture in these behavioral days?  It was what you believed you were not what you actually were that counted, that made a difference.  If you truly believed that you were a woman, and that the belief could be augmented by a shot or two of female hormones, then you were a woman, no questions asked.

Yet the hybrid image stayed with Jan and he couldn’t shake it.  He was becoming what he never intended to be – a she-man, he-woman, a sexual hybrid.

The hybrid cars and Freudian dreams put the brakes, so to speak, on Jan’s transition.  He could wear an Easter bonnet whenever he wanted with all his equipment intact, or revert to Dodge Charger hemis; retake the fifth floor of his old firm and rule the roost like he once did, or join the secretarial pool.  

The transgender, gender fluidity advocates had a point.  Sexual expression was a matter of preference, so go with your personal flow. Where Jan got off the bus was denying genetic determinism.  As many frilly dresses as he might wear, no matter how many high heels, handbags, perfume, and eyeliner were his, he would always be Jan Bossey, tough guy.

Sigmund Freud - Wikipedia

He went overboard on the return – full beard, heavy drinking, Harley Hog in the garage – but soon settled back into his own particular maleness.  A few friends asked where he had been for the past year or so, but he demurred – family business, personal affairs and that sort of answer – but soon enough that hiatus had been completely, absolutely forgotten.

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