You wake up as the opposite gender. What are your immediate reactions? What do you notice that’s different, and how do you experience the outside world differently?
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Having fathered five girls and being the only male in a family of seven, one would think I would have no trouble generating as many words as you’d like on this subject: Gender Swap. But it’s not that easy. Maybe I spent many years defending myself rather than imagining what it would have been like to have come into this world as a female.
It’s winter, or nearly so, and I guess my first concern would be having to roll out of bed and sit on that cold toilet seat. Then there would be the routine of preparing for the day. I’m reflecting on my oldest daughter’s statement:
“You men have it so easy.”
“You don’t have to worry about your face. No makeup. No hair to curl. These things take an hour of every day,” she complained.
“Let it go. What’s the matter with the face you were born with? I mean, you don’t have eighty freckles to cover. As for the hair. Cut it off. Keep it a manageable length.”
She rolled her eyes.
Then there was the period thing. It was never an isolated event. If one person was on, everyone was on. War was declared at dawn.
The boys started hanging around the house before they were old enough to drive. Life was manageable, but expensive. Food. We raised them. These kids ate us out of house and home. And they never heard of drinking water to quench their thirst. It had to be milk (If we’d had a cow I could have sent them out to do the milking).
Eventually, the boys came of age and they all had cars. Life grew more complicated and I sprouted gray hair overnight. When their gas money ran low they were forced to hang around the house and I became a parking lot attendant.
Hmmm.This writing exercise was supposed to focus on my being a female.
I guess I failed at this GENDER SWAP. I must have been too busy putting out spot fires and avoiding potential disasters.
Somehow, I neglected to mention that two of our girls are identical twins. I continuously mixed these two up until they were about fourteen. The phrases “I’m Tina. She’s Sonya,” still echo in my head because I heard it a zillion times. But that is another story. And a large one.
One more thing before I go. A young man who worked at an all-I-could-eat place keeping the food line clean was madly in love with Tina. He tripped over his own feet each time he saw her. For months he saw Tina and Sonya one at a time, until the day we went there as a family..
For the first time I realized there were two of them. He forgot he had a job.
The last girl was married about thirty years ago. AND ALL FIVE ARE STILL ALIVE AND HEALTHY.
Word Count: 400 … 518, actually