A few words from Norah Vincent’s first chapter of Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Year Disguised as a Man – I already can’t stop reading it:

“Finally, a word of method. It will become clear to you if it is not already that I deceived a lot of people in order to write this book. I can make only one excuse for this. Deception is part and parcel of imposture, and imposture was necessary in this experiment. It could not have been otherwise. In order to see how people would treat me as a man, I had to make them believe that I was a man, and accordingly I had to hide from them the fact that I am a woman. Doing so entailed various breaches of trust, some more serious than others. This may not sit well with some or perhaps most of you. In certain ways it did not sit well with me either, and was, as you will see, a source of considerable strain as time wore on.”

“As I lived snippets of a male life, one part of my brain was duly taking notes and making observations, intellectualizing the raw material of Ned’s experience, but another part of my brain, the subconscious part, was taking blows to the head, and eventually those injuries caught up with me.”

and on her first time ever going out with fake stubble on her face, on the reaction from the men she passed on the street:

“But that wasn’t quite all there was to it. There was something more than respect being communicated in their averted gaze, something subtler, less direct. It was more like a disinclination to show disrespect. For them, to look away was to decline a challenge, to adhere to a code of behavior that kept the peace among human males in certain spheres just as surely as it kept the peace and the pecking order among male animals. To look another male in the eye and hold his gaze is to invite conflict, either that or a homosexual encounter. To look away is to accept the status quo, to leave each man to his tiny sphere of influence, the small buffer of pride and poise that surrounds and keeps him.”

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