Becoming a Lady

By C. G. Medina


I’m 6 years-old. I am a girl, but I am dressed like a boy because my clothes have to be passed to my younger brother afterwards. When I have lice my father decides that he will cut my hair very short. The next day I go to school looking entirely as/like a boy. My classmates laugh. They say I just put my head under a grass cutter. Somehow I have come to terms with it telling myself that short hair is easy to maintain and boy’s clothes are all-terrain.

More than 20 years have passed. I am still wearing comfortable unladylike clothing. I still have the idea that clothing has to be replaced only if it’s broken.

I am the latest addition to a department in which we are all ladies except for one man. They call him by a female nickname, Jasonella. One day they make braids of his pony tale. Another, they paint his nails red. After that they put a tampon soaked in fake Halloween blood in his drawer. If they are looking for some unfashionable person to reform I will be the next. I’m terrified.

I overhear a colleague saying she is feeling depressed and she needs a new handbag. Some of them propose to go shopping after work. I decline saying “I don’t need that” as if they are offering me an addictive and dangerous drug. Some weeks later, when they invite me to the sales, I am about to say yes but that would mean to give up my pride. So I say I’m broke.

I can’t help noticing my 22-year-old colleague Wendy knows how to make basics and all-terrain shoes look feminine. Although I maintain the ‘I don’t care about looks’ attitude, I am secretly checking her outfit when I see her entering the office every day.

One day, as I am finishing my working shift I see Wendy preparing herself to go on a date. She has changed into a red dress. She is doing her make-up and hair using the window glass as a mirror. She bends down, shakes her head and applies some hair spray in a duck-like move. When she stands up again she is a glamorous lady. I’m impressed. As I start making how-to questions she looks at me in surprise. She says

– I am your guru!

I sigh, surrendering

– You are – I say.

I feel as if I am in some karate kid film and I have just found my kung-fu master. She is Asian, so I do an Asian nod to close the deal. She smiles.

I am officially ready to be converted into a lady.


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