|At twelve I did more chin-ups than anyone else in my class, and the boys came running jubilantly across the playground and caught me up like a sports hero. The girls were exhorted to manage one chin-up. That was considered sufficient. I looked at the other girls' arms and knew I was a different animal. It did not seem possible that I could ever have wound up with arms like theirs, no matter how religiously I abstained from climbing, swinging, sawing wood. The scant flesh lying so mild over the bone, the slender arms, as uniformly tubular as sleeves. The thin wrists, the soft knuckleless hands. I couldn't admire them, nor could I despise them with any passion. Does the moose despise the antelope? My arms are an anatomist's fantasy, muscle and bone in a thin sheath of skin.
Weirdly, popular opinion has voted for my kind of body. Women train to look like me, and now and then come up to ask for tips. What do you do to look this way, they ask. Nothing, I say, I was born this way. I get a worried look in response. They think I'm lying. Well, I'm pretty active, I say, to help them out. I roller skate, I play tennis. They call me lucky. It is a quiet revenge for years of incredulous shrieks in bathrooms and dressing rooms. There's a boy in here! Groups of girls stand around in conference, throwing glances at me. I do my best to look indifferent. Finally a spokesperson is elected, comes up: Are you a boy or a girl? The rest cluster around. My breasts, which I would just as soon hide from the world forever, are adduced as evidence. My clothes are plucked, assessed. Sometimes the interrogation is merely curious, sometimes it is hostile. It is all horrible to me. I wish I could keep my body out of the running, go to a third restroom, the one for monsters and hermaphrodites.