So Andy saves my day. It felt more like "saves my life", at the time. He just seems to know when to talk about himself, when to ask about me, and when I need him to just be quiet while I soak things in. It's a lot like Tony used to be – only Andy didn't take 15 years to figure it out. Turns out he's a CPA. Well, yeah, probably about the most boring job that exists – but it's hard to get, so I'm impressed anyway. Oh, and his last name is Kinsey. As in "Kinsey Report", which made me chuckle a little.

He's checking out my apartment like an inspector, asking me about every little thing. When he sees my bedroom, he kinda gives me the Evil Eye because my bed's not made, and yesterdays clothes are still on the floor... But even if it is an Evil Eye, I still think it's sweet. I make sure to go to the bathroom before he does, so I can clean it up. Toldja I wasn't an idiot. We talk all evening. By the time we go to bed, we're too tired for anymore sex anyway.

I naturally take up the... uh, well, I put my head on his shoulder, put it that way. The feminine role. We'll get into that shortly.

And by now, yeah, I definitely am in love. Ye Gods.

At work, everyone notices the change in me, man... it's a little embarrassing. But they're all avoiding using any pronouns when referring to him, and it's kinda funny how far they'll go to keep from saying "him". Like, "So, Kenny, what are you and... uh, what are you two doing next weekend?" Except for this one new guy in Documentation. At a company-sponsored lunch one day, the conversation gets around to how different I seem, and they're all joking about how I must have finally gotten laid, and this guy asks, innocently, "So, what's her name?"

Everyone kinds shuts up and stares at their food. It's funny. I mean, they all know, but they're not absolutely sure, y'know? Because I've never actually said. I kind of enjoyed their suffering in awkwardness for awhile, before I say "His name is 'Andy'". Now they're all really feeling awkward. It's great! But I let the new guy off the hook – he's blushing, it's so fuckin' cute – by sort of chuckling and telling him that it's okay, everyone knew but him. Then I ask him what department he works in and stuff, just to get the conversation going again. Ya learn how to do that after a while. Most people are pretty cool with us homos, but they're still a little self-conscious when they actually meet one. Cherry's still in the closet at work, by the way – but that's her business, I figure, not mine.

Anyway, skip forward a few months of gay bliss. Oh, and by the way, I finally got to suck a dick! Yeah, I dunno why I'm mentioning it to you... but it was a big deal for me, anyway. I'd always wanted to – even back when I was "straight", but, well, y'know. Ya just don't get much opportunity for that sort of thing until you actually have a gay lover. Well, I suppose you could, but it's just not done, y'know?

I'm only gay, y'know, I'm not a perv.

Seriously, I'm probably about the most un-pervy guy I know. Even my dress-for-success boyfriend is pervy-er than I am. And no, I'm not gonna list his kinks for ya. You can just wonder about that, ya sickos.

So everything's just going great, okay? I even e-mail Tony to tell him about my new boyfriend, and things get a little better there, too.

But when your huge, life-shattering, I-just-want-to-die problems finally go away, the little ones get magnified to make up for it, y'know? It's like we (or I, anyway) have this need to have a Major Dramatic Problem in our lives. And I suppose, looking back, it would've happened eventually, but here it is:

We were watching this movie, The Crying Game. It's about - well, it's partially about – the relationship between this straight Irish Republican Army guy and a gay transvestite. By the way, not all transvestites are gay, I should add. But anyway, the guy who dresses up as a woman is really, really cute when he does it. Andy keeps going on about it. How cute he was. So I get the idea that maybe I could cross-dress for him. Y'know, just for fun. In private.

There's a problem with this idea, but I don't know that yet, so I get pretty excited about it. For now, suffice it to say that I'm fairly cute myself – I could pull it off. I can't wait to surprise Andy in drag.

There's another, littler, problem too, of course. I don't actually have any women's clothes. And furthermore, women's sizes are a whole different world, y'know. I have no fuckin' idea what size dress I take. Even their underwear is all different. I need help. So I ask Cherry if I can take her to lunch one day...

"So, Cherry, I was wondering if you'd be free to go shopping with me this Saturday... I need some... clothes" I say.

"You need my help to buy clothes? Oh! You're going to buy a suit! Planning something special or what? C'mon, you can tell me..."

"Well no... not a suit, but it is something special... uh... It's just that I don't know a lot about... uh..."

"You gay men are supposed to be fashion experts, y'know. You set the trends. The rest of us just have to follow blindly along... and it makes us a little mad sometimes. I just know that mini-skirts were some gay guy's idea. Anyway, what kind of clothes are you looking for?"

I look down and hide my eyes with my hands, I'm so embarrassed, "Uhm... girl-clothes..."

I thought she was going to choke on her Diet Pepsi for a minute. By the time I dare to look at her, she's covering her mouth with her hand. I can tell she's got shit-eating grin going on behind it, though. I tell her about the movie and my idea, just glad to have something to say. Her hand is up there the whole time. I can feel my cheeks burning...

"Yeah, okay," I say, "I'm sure it's all very funny. Are you going to help me or not?"

She finally drops her hand. I was right about the grin. She says, "Oh, of COURSE I'm going to help you! This'll be great! I've ALWAYS wanted to do something like that – not necessarily to you, I mean, but – oh, this is gonna be so MUCH FUN!"

I wasn't exactly expecting her to react like that... I should have been more suspicious. From then on, she's talking a mile a minute. About wigs and push-up bras and garters and stuff, asking me what did I have in mind – cheerleader skirt or evening-gown? - and so on. She's actually scaring me a little. Man, I shoulda known, right then.

I'm supposed to meet her at her house Saturday at 11 am. We'll go to the mall together in her car, she says. I was a little too flustered at the time to question why we didn't just meet at the mall...

So I show up and ring her bell around 11 that Saturday. Some woman I don't know answers and says, "Oh! You must be Kenny! Come in! We're expecting you. Oh, I can tell right now that you're gonna be so cute by the time we're through with you!"

Well, I'm kind of in shock now, dazed, and I just sort of let this woman lead me into the living room. There's all these women sitting around, and suitcases opened up, with dresses and underwear and wigs and make-up stuff all over the place... I mean, I didn't know what to think. Had I interrupted something?

They're all smiling and saying hello while I just stand there, probably with my mouth hanging open. In comes Cherry and Tanya from the kitchen with a bowl of Chex-Mix and a pitcher of iced tea. I look at her questioningly, like "What's up?"

"Kenny!" Cherry says, "The man of the hour, late as usual! Come on in, find a seat, meet my friends! This is gonna be so much fun! That's Cynthia," she starts pointing to them, "she's in charge of Hair and Nails, Amanda next to her is going to cover Poise – she'll be teaching you how to walk in heels, how to sit, stuff like that. Chrissy is doing Underwear – she has some trans-girl friends that she borrowed some stuff from – and we're all going to take turns-"

Having figured out what's happening – that they're making a party of turning me into a girl – I get really, really mad and... well, hurt, too, and yell, "DAMN it, Cher!" and turn around and stomp my way out of her house and slam the door behind me. I take off as fast as I can, man. There was no fuckin' way I was up for that. I felt betrayed and humiliated, as well as just plain fuckin' mad. And a little scared.

Toldja we'd get to this.

See... like I said, I'm on the short side. And I'm blonde. And I'm fairly slender. So... well, I'm not exactly the most macho-looking guy around, y'know? I mean, even my facial hair is blonde, so I can go without shaving for almost four days before anyone can really tell. I used to get teased about how I looked in grade-school. Y'know, when the boys are starting to notice that the girls are different. My brother used to tease me about it too. So naturally, I over-compensated.

I took up Karate, first, and worked my way into more... offensive, combat-oriented martial-arts. For awhile there – people have told me this, and now I believe them – I had a bit of a Napoleon Complex. In my early teens, I absolutely hated how I looked. That probably has something to do with how I "discovered" computers, and a way to entertain myself with no one around. I just felt uncomfortable with... well, everyone, but especially "the guys". I just wanted to be tough and macho, y'know? Like all the other guys were.

I still get carded at bars. I'm 25 and I get carded.

It doesn't stop at how I look though, and I'm sure you've noticed that. For some reason I didn't understand at the time, whenever I was "with" a man, I always ended up taking the feminine role. At first I made up excuses: I'm the shorter one, I'm the "cuter" one, I'm the younger one. It would just seem weird for me to... be the other way. In gay circles, we call ourselves "tops" or "bottoms". I'm a "bottom". Yeah, we label ourselves, too. But we all (us fags) know what we mean – there are infinite shades of grey, and some of us are more one than the other, and some of us take turns, and some of us don't believe in those labels at all, and some of us change as time goes by. Anyway, I tried to tell myself that it was just a chance thing, for the reasons I said before.

But the truth was that I liked being the bottom. It... sort of came naturally for me, it seemed. I just didn't like that I liked it.

See... boys and girls are kept separate, in some ways, all our lives, right? We have our bathroom, they have theirs. We have our clothes, they have theirs. Us and them. Maybe it would have been different if I'd had a sister, I dunno, but I didn't. So I sort of still thought of it as Us versus Them. They're supposed to be feminine, we're supposed to be masculine. So, in a way, I was like a traitor to my "side". Look, I know it seems dumb to some of ya – maybe most of ya - but that's how I felt at the time, okay? And it was humiliating to admit that I wanted to "be" on the other side, or at least, y'know, dress up like them.

I was scared that I might like that, too. Alright, truth is, I knew I'd like it. I was scared to prove it to myself. I didn't want to be a drag-queen.

Now, I gotta stop this right now – my ego demands it – and tell ya that I'm not a drag-queen. Not that there's anything wrong with... oh, hell. Well, look - suffice it to say that I'm not a trans-sexual, all right? And I know because I did wonder about it, and I did do research on it, and I did take tests. You can imagine I was kind of nervous about the tests... I've even talked to TG (trans-gendered) people about it, and... well, I'm gay. I'm not a "girl inside". Thank god. I don't mean "thank God" because it would be embarrassing or anything, I just mean that those people – the TG people – have to go through some tough shit, man. I wouldn't wish that on anybody. Look it up sometime. Imagine living like that...

So yeah, I do like cross-dressing, and both me and Andy get a kick out of going out in public as boyfriend/girlfriend, and sometimes we even do it with Cherry and Tanya (Tanya goes as the man) and sometimes even other of her friends who get into it. It's fun. It's naughty. Sometimes, me and Cherry will even flirt and kiss – both as girls. It's hilarious how people react. Andy thinks seeing me in drag kissing Cherry is just the hottest thing ever, it's so twisted. So we have a lot of fun with it, okay? And it does make me feel sexy. Sometimes, y'know, ya just gotta get the fuck over your hang-ups and decide how and why you feel about things. Hang-ups are caused by other people, not by you. So remember that.

Uhm... anyway. So the whole idea of looking "feminine" was kind of a big, personal deal to me. I was willing to put up with the humiliation in front of Cherry – and only Cherry – for Andy's sake, but man, to make a fucking party out of it, with all these women I didn't know... well, fuck that, man. I hated her for doing that to me. Making fun of me being a traitor, is how it felt.

I don't talk to her for a week. She tries to apologize, but I don't wanna hear it, man. Not from "the enemy". The enemy who is what I think it would be so much fun to be. At least sometimes.

She brings me this duffel-bag full of women's clothes, says I can try it out in private if I want. Well, I don't want. It pissed me off that she even knew that I'd considered it. It wasn't just about her, of course, I was mad at myself too. For wanting to.

Well, I guess she figures she's got nothing to lose, so she tells Andy what happened.

Which pisses me off even more, for awhile, and humiliates me in front of Andy. It was all I could do not to run off to the bathroom and lock myself in. But, y'know, that's the kind of thing a woman would do, and so I had to tough it out – pretend to be all manly and shit, all pissed. Pissed at him, now, too.

God... The things people do. Me, I mean. I bet Cherry and Andy both were wondering what the fuck my problem was. You know more about me than they did, see? Hell, you know more about me than I did at the time...

Anyway, it took a long time for me to get over it, and it happened in bits and pieces, a little at a time. All that stuff I told you up there, stuff it took so little time to tell, took me weeks to figure out.

But I eventually come to terms with myself, and I'm ready to try it again. I still want to do this for Andy, y'see. And... sort of for myself, too. So I make it up to Cherry (it wasn't hard, $10 worth of flowers works fucking wonders on women) and she sets it all up with her friends again. I prepare this time by shaving my legs and underarms – my chest is already smooth. It felt weird. So I go back to her house and man, it took every ounce of courage I had to ring her doorbell that day, knowing what was coming. I imagined all these women oogling and giggling at me as they had me try on frilly panties and little black dresses, laughing at me as I stumble around in high-heels... I just knew that this was going to be the most embarrassing thing in my life.

Well, it wasn't. I mean, there was some giggling and laughing, yeah, but... I dunno. They really were just trying to do a good job, to help me out. And Cherry kept refilling my daiquiri so before long, I was really enjoying myself, and them, and my "feminization" - everything. It was actually cool. Hell, it was actually fun!

And holy crap, there was a lot of stuff to remember! Keep your knees together, keep your back straight, how to bend over – keep those knees together!, wait for him to pull out your chair... it went on and on. I just had to fuckin' give up on the high-heels, man. They found some 4-inchers I could handle, so we went with that. I just couldn't deal with 5 inches of heel. I don't see how they can stand it, so to speak. But god damn it does perk your butt up, doesn't it? No wonder they wear 'em. Never was really my thing, women's shoes... always looked stupid to me. The heels I mean. Now I get it.

So eventually I'm all set to show 'em the final product. I'm alone in the bedroom with this woman named Becky. She's the seamstress of the group, and she's modifying this tight, short, little red dress they picked out to fit me, and make it look like I have hips. I'm standing around waiting and getting fitted, wearing a "snuggie" to keep my "equipment" hidden, tap-pants, a garter-belt and hose, and this special bra that's meant to give men some cleavage. It ain't exactly comfortable... The make-up girl finished half an hour ago, and they picked a blonde wig for me to wear (my eyebrows are blonde, so anything else would only look stupid). Becky is the last stage of my transformation.

So finally she's satisfied with the dress, and I put on the wig, and lastly, the shoes and holy fuck man, I'm a BABE! I mean, who is that girl in the mirror anyway? Jesus H. Christ, it was a shocker. I can't wait till Andy sees... this is gonna be GREAT! So after some reminders about my voice and how to sit and so forth, Becky opens the door and I walk out. Trying to be smooth. It's still a little embarrassing, but, it's kind of a good embarrassing now, if ya know what I mean. The fun kind.

The girls... well, the girls liked it. Most of 'em are either bisexual or lesbian – being Cherry and Tanya's friends – so they really like it. There was a lot of squealing. It was cool. They wanna see me walk around, sit, stand, bend over, do all this ridiculous stuff. They wanna hear me say stuff, watch me bat my fake eyelashes... see me toss my blonde tresses... I still have kind of a problem with my laugh, it's hard to disguise your laughter. I was laughing a lot...

Now they have another surprise, I'm to meet Andy at a fancy restaurant. I hadn't intended to go out in public like that... but I guess they knew that I'd get into it, eventually. Cherry and Tanya are going to go with me – sort of a double-date. I'm about to ask where Tanya went – she's not around – when in she comes in her drag outfit. Now, Tanya's not even close to "butch", but she does keep her hair short, so what with the suit, the fake mustache, and something wrapping her boobs down, she does okay. She looks sort of like a really young guy trying to look all grown up by growing a mustache.

She walks up beside me and sticks an elbow out towards me and I just sort of stare at her for awhile until Cherry shows me how to "take his arm". Another new one on me. Like I said, so much to remember!

Well, I won't bore you with all the details, but we had a fuckin' blast. I'm gonna have to practice more before I can dance decently in heels, though – that was obvious. Anyway, it was one of the best times I'd ever had. I mean, for one thing, just to be able to dance and kiss Andy in public without wondering who's staring at us is... well, I wish I didn't have to dress up as a woman to do it, put it that way.

Okay, so my story's almost over now. There is one more experience I wanna tell you about though: the homophobe. Oh, don't worry, nothing bad's gonna happen. Ain't it great when nothing bad happens?

Some people just hate us gays, y'know. You hear about it on the news and stuff, but until you really meet one, it's just hard to imagine. And now that I have, it makes me feel really sorry for those of you who have to put up with homophobic parents and relatives and friends (ex-friends, I imagine) and so forth. Homophobes suck, man. I know none are going to be reading this, so I can say that. They just suck rocks. What the fuck is their problem? Well, I dunno, but here's what happened to mine:

I'm the lead Network Admin at work, right? So I gotta give this presentation all about my ideas for how we can implement a new protocol with a minimum of hassle (that means "money", to the bosses). So I'm in the conference room with about 15 other people, my level and above. The Director of our branch is at the head of the table, so I'm sort of presenting it to him. He's this dour old gray-haired man, who's face seems to be set into a permanent frown. His portrait hangs in one of the hallways, him and his wife, and if that's what he considers "smiling" then I'd hate to see the man when he's mad, is all I can say.

Anyway, there's this manager there (that's a step up from "supervisor" which is a step up from "lead"). I notice he's fairly scowling at me the whole time I'm doing my bit. I dunno the guy, but I'm guessing he doesn't like something I'm saying. But, y'know, I do my spiel anyway, and sometimes I see him taking notes – and making it as plain as he can that he does NOT agree with the things I'm saying.

So, I get to the end of my presentation, and when you do that, you have to say "Are there any questions?" It's like a rule. This guy starts right in. He doesn't agree that we even need to implement this protocol, he doesn't like the way I'd do it, he doesn't approve of how I'd test the equipment... he basically finds something wrong with every single thing I've said. He goes on and on about it. Obviously he thinks I'm an idiot – he even uses that word. Several times.

So once he's done, I begin saying why we need to do it and so forth – although this is all exactly what my presentation was about – and he counters (his arguments are incredibly stupid, even for a manager) and eventually the Director cuts him off politely with "I will keep your concerns in mind, Mr. Stovall. Mr. Devin? Please being implementing this protocol according to your plan. I think you have a good idea there."

This really pisses the manager guy off, and he stands up and says to the Director, "What? You're gonna go with pussy-ass boy's plan anyway?"

Judging from everyone's faces as I look around in the dead-silence that follows, they can't believe he said that. But me... I dunno why, but something about "pussy-ass boy" just tickled my funnybone. I'm having a hard time keeping a straight face while I wait for the Director to react.

But the old man is like a stone, "You're excused, Mr. Stovall" is all he says, and the guy gathers up his papers – loudly – and stalks out of the conference room. Later I found out he got fired for that little remark. Sexual discrimination is a big thing in corporations these days – they're serious about it. Yay us!

Anyway, it's a pretty tense room now – for everyone but me. I'm desperately trying not to start giggling. I keep thinking of, y'know, having a vagina for an ass-hole... and the Director is droning on about the upcoming phone-company picnic, like nothing just happened... and finally I can't stand it anymore and I just crack up. I hide my head in my arms on the table and fucking crack up.

The Director stops talking, waiting on me. I'm trying to get myself under control. I lift my head, wipe my eyes, apologize for the disturbance... trying my best to be all serious.

And I almost pulled it off, too. Until Jerry – another comics guy, from Accounting – not quite a "good friend" but a "good acquaintance", anyway, he looks over at me, and I look at him, and he glances down at my chair and says "Kenny, is that seat... comfortable?"

I lose it all over again. Everyone else starts laughing as well.

It's hard to be sure, but I think even the Director smiled.

The End