13 Getting to Know Me

Dinner was only a bit strange. As a girl, I was apparently expected to help Mom serve more than I had as a boy, something I had simply not noticed previously. I had always helped anyway, but now Tina was making it clear that I was to do more. The Tina I remembered had apparently expected her big brother not to do as much as she did, and I had simply not noticed.

It wasn’t until well after dinner that I was finally alone; alone for the first time since this… change had happened. As long as Tina had been with me, I hadn’t had to face what had actually happened, not really. I had been focusing on what I was going to do, planning my portrayal. In some sense, it had almost felt as though I was rehearsing a play, or more accurately, an improv. I had worked on techniques, on characterization – it had been very easy to see it as completely fake. But now I was alone, and I had to face reality.

I was now wearing a female body. Nobody knew the real me, the male me; everybody only knew Marsha. I was still here, of course, wearing the body and pretending, but nobody remembered me, and only Tina and Chad even knew that I was present. Obviously, I had been stupid. If I had read the papers on the experiment, would I have had a chance to back out? Possibly not, given the apparent number of other victims. But at least I would have known what to expect, and maybe I wouldn’t have reacted the same way. If I had been prepared, maybe I wouldn’t have made that boast about being able to carry off the portrayal for two-and-a-half months.

If I hadn’t announced my intentions, if I hadn’t promised to wait, I would simply confront the people who had done this to me as soon as I got back to school in a week. A quick interlude as a girl might be interesting, but a week would probably be enough; however, I had announced to Tina that I was going to wait, and to give up so easily wouldn’t be manly. And given the feminine fleshly costume that I was wearing, I needed to find something manly about myself.

Not that there weren’t some compensations, of course. The chance to do a leading role in an Alvin Tomlinson production was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it had just been handed to me out of nowhere. And given my relationship difficulties, it could do me a lot of good to get to know what being female was like in a way that no guy really ever could.

This all left the question of how I was going to deal with the body itself. The clothing wasn’t an issue – I had little choice on what I had to wear, after all. Marsha’s wardrobe was pretty uniform – modest skirts and dresses. But as for the body… I was certainly not unfamiliar with the female form. I had been intimate over the past few years with several different girls, and while I enjoyed female nudity – a lot – I wasn’t so curious that I felt a real need to play with the new parts that were now completely in my control. The thing is, while I had full access, it wasn’t my body. It was a girl’s body, and I’m not a girl – I was wearing Marsha’s body, and she was sort of my sister, and if I were to touch the body in certain ways, well, that would almost be like groping my sister, which was really creepy.

At the same time, I couldn’t completely detach myself. I felt what this body felt, and I had to manipulate it. I had to touch it, even the intimate parts, to clothe it and bath it, and I had to touch its private parts when going to the bathroom. Sitting down to pee wasn’t itself a major deal; I had done so on occasion anyway, but it was inconvenient having to do it all the time. In a way, it was fortunate that I was wearing skirts and dresses – it served as a reminder that things were different as soon as I started unfastening my clothing. Showering was odd, too, if only because the water tended to take rather different paths on Marsha’s body than it had on my own. I tried not to think too hard about exactly where it was going. And the hair! I couldn’t believe how much work it was to wash and dry hair this long. Tina pointed out that I didn’t really have to wash it every day, which helped.

Marsha’s bedtime rituals didn’t seem all that much different than mine. Like me, she had picked out clothing the night before and then dressed for bed; I had to ask Tina, though, how to select an appropriate dress for the next day. I wasn’t quite clear on which ones were appropriate when. She also warned me that I would have to remove “my” make-up before going to bed. We were going to start make-up lessons in the morning.

The next morning began, as the previous one had, with Tina yelling through my closed door, “Marsha! Get up… We have a lot to do today!” I groaned and tried to sit up, but the tension of the previous day had apparently found its way to my lower back and belly. Either that, or I was having a reaction to Mom’s good cooking, after subsisting on the institutional food they served us at school. In either case, getting out of bed was a real effort, and the prospect of my impending girlification lessons was not an incentive for action.

But I knew I had to do it; I only had a week before I had to start portraying Marsha in school, and there was way too much I needed to learn. So I forced myself out of bed and opened the door. “Just give me a sec to get dressed, OK, Teen?” I said.

“Actually,” she answered. “Why don’t you wash up first? You’re going to want to let the moisturizer soak in for a while before we get started.”


“Uh huh. You need to moisturize your skin for ten minutes before you put on makeup.”

“Wait. How long is this make up thing going to take me?”

Apparently, I was starting to sound resistant, and I got the look from Tina again. “That depends on you, Marsh. But it’s going to take forever if you don’t get started.”

So I shut up and followed her into the bathroom, where she coached me on the proper way to wash my face in the morning (it seemed that the way I had always done it wasn’t good enough for some reason), and then had me put on this lotion which was supposed to do something to my skin that was somehow important.

It’s not as if I’d never worn make up before. When you’re on stage, you have to wear it or look totally washed out, and part of the ritual before going on stage through middle school and high school had been sitting in front of a mirror while the girls made you up. I just figured that it was the same thing as what they did every day. Apparently not.

“One big difference, Marsh,” Tina explained after I had dressed and was back in the bathroom, “ is that stage makeup is intended to be seen under very bright lights and from very far away. Regular makeup is seen from just a few feet away or sometimes even closer.”

“Closer?” I asked, at this point not sure I understood anything at all.

My sister blushed a bit and answered with a dreamy smile. “You know, when you’re getting cuddly with a boy, and he’s looking into your eyes…”

“I think we can skip that lesson,” I told her hurriedly, finding myself blushing even more than she had. “That, at least, is something I know I can avoid.”

Girls’ make up turned out to be lots more complicated and time-consuming than I had anticipated, and there was room for plenty of variations. I hadn’t actually watched my girlfriends when they got ready for the day; I had just always had the impression that it took them an eternity. I was starting to see why. In the end, we compromised. Tina taught me the basics, including the way she remembered Marsha wearing her own makeup. She also insisted on teaching me an ‘evening out with girlfriends’ version, but I drew the line at ‘date makeup.’ I knew that she was trying to turn me into the sister she remembered, but I was just acting, and I had to draw the line somewhere.

Still, it was a lot to take in. The base wasn’t too bad. We’d often had to apply our own base for plays. But Tina had me applying something she called concealer under it. Then I had to put on powder, whereas with stage makeup, that was the very last step. But we were just getting started. There was blush, and shadow, and mascara… there was just no way I was going to be able to manage this properly. Tina promised to write it all down for me, but I had a feeling it was going to take me at least an hour each morning, especially, since I couldn’t easily start over without washing all of the base off.

After make-up practice, we went back to heel-walking, so that I could tackle walking up stairs. Tina said that there were different ways to do it, but that Marsha had taught her always to use just the balls of her feet, just as with going down stairs. The trick here was actually stepping on the edge of the steps so that the heels didn’t catch. It meant that I couldn’t do my usual two-steps-at-a-time run up the steps; but then again, my legs didn’t really feel long enough for that now, in any case.

I really wanted to take a break from all of this Marsha practice and relax – or at least do some of the EuroLit reading, or something, but Tina had school, and Sunday was my last chance to get her coaching full time for a week. We did take a short break just to talk – she wanted to know more about Marshall’s life, and wanted to tell me more about things she had done with Marsha, which I suppose I needed to know. This would all have been so much easier if we could stretch it over a month, especially if I could relapse to being myself in between.

So we worked and worked, and the tension in the pit of my stomach just seemed to get worse and worse.


  1. von says:

    Sitting down to pee wasn’t itself a major deal; I had done so on occasion anyway, but it was inconvenient having to do it all the time.

    Well, of course he had. But (depending on how much he still has his old habits) it won’t be his routine. He will instinctively stand up… and then remember and curse himself etc. And I don’t know, but I imagine it would feel very different.

  2. Maiden Anne says:

    Wait, Dinner? Is this the evening meal? And if so, what happened to the noon meal?

    >> I was apparently expected to help Mom serve more than I had as a boy, something I had simply not noticed previously

    That sentence and the one following are confusing. After studying it for a moment, I believe you Marsh is saying that he had not noticed before that his sister helped at the table more than he did.

    >> Showering was odd, too, if only because the water tended to take rather different paths on Marsha’s body than it had on my own.

    If you want to, you could mention something about hair here as well. Women don’t tend to wash their hair every night, and when they do wash it, it is a big deal, or at least, a long deal.

    For me, the whole make-up thing passed off too easy. Isn’t Marsh going to really struggle with anything? I’m not sure even a girl could learn make-up with that little problem. Does it feel weird? Does it take hours for him to put it on? Does he mess up badly? Or does he merely learn it well, but find it intellectually different?

    >> but then again, my legs weren’t really long enough for that now, in any case.

    This statement is just not true. (Although he may think it is true) I am just 2 inches taller than Marsha, and I can run up three stairs at a time, no problem.

  3. Russ says:

    Some more updates applied, especially in expanding the makeup issue.

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