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Thomas Page McBee

SELF-MADE MAN #6: Observer Bias

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I am in a good mood when I meet a woman with a severe, sophisticated haircut for a business lunch on a sunny patio in Back Bay. She asks about this column, about my manuscript. It seems that some people are more at ease when they know I’m trans, some less.

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SELF-MADE MAN #3: Stitches

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I walked in on Rob (not his real name), an ex-jock and Affleck-like Bostonian during a covert, one-man photo shoot in the men’s room at my new job this summer, and now—due to some untold mathematics of manliness—he’s my first uber-dude friend.

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SELF-MADE MAN #2: Old Stories

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Look, it’s an old story, masculinity; usually discussed in terms of brutality and honor, power and powerlessness, and occasionally a highlighting of the tender underbelly that rises up no matter how much you try to push it down, like a grandfather spotted weeping into his hand in the kitchen.

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SELF-MADE MAN #1: The Truckstop

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I am in a public restroom off 95 in southern Maine, wondering what makes a man and also if I can muffle my piss stream with balled up toilet paper so as not to draw attention to myself. Will I ever be able to walk into a bathroom and not think about the sound of […]

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