Canada
4 min

Failing to explain The Man With a Pussy

When perfect answers elude, there's always cable

This morning in the Ottawa Valley was crystal blue clear and cold, a nipple-y minus 32 degrees Celsius if you factor in the wind chill, which I have learned it is always best to do.

I had just gotten home from the road, and was still a little jet-lagged, my body and mind hovering blearily somewhere on the clock between West Coast and Eastern Standard Time.

I was definitely not prepared for what was about to happen.

I stopped by the old corner store for a coffee just after eight this morning, on my way into the city for my office hours. Most of the regulars were already there, bundled up and breathing bursts of white warm air in the frigid back room, drinking drip coffee with their gloves still on.

There was the usual round of hellos and catching up to do when I get home from a road trip, and then Dan, the salesman, cleared his throat and fixed his gaze on me.

“Hey Ivan, have you ever heard of a guy by the name of Buck Angel?”

I flipped through my mental rolodex, and felt my heart speed up a little. I had, indeed, heard of a guy by the name of Buck Angel. The problem was, I didn’t really want to discuss Buck Angel in the backroom of the only store in my small town at eight o’clock in the morning.

But I know Dan. Attempting to change the subject when questioned about a subject such as this one would only draw more attention to the subject I wish had never come up in the first place.

Dan is a really nice guy, with a 13-year-old kid and a wife battling ovarian cancer. He likes classic rock and his surround sound stereo system and comic books and golf. He is not supposed to know who Buck Angel is, and I am not supposed to have to be the one to explain it all to him.

“Uh, yeah, I think I have,” I said, my voice cracking just a little. I silently cursed the Internet, and all that it makes available to everyone, no matter how far out of town they are living.

“Are you referring to Buck Angel, the transsexual internet porn star?” My face and ears felt like they were about to spontaneously combust.

Dan picked up the ball and rolled with it. Everybody but me leaned in close around the old wooden table, fascinated. “I saw him on Sexcetera, that show. He’s bald and tough, all full of muscles and covered with tattoos, a real scary looking dude, I’d never pick a fight with him anyways.

“And then…” he waggled all 10 of his digits in the air in front of his face for emphasis, then raised his eyebrows and aimed both index fingers in the direction of his crotch. “Bingo bango, there it is. Dude has a vagina. The Man With a Pussy, he calls himself. Totally freaked me out.”

There was a round of exclamation points and guffaws of disbelief.

Men with pussies was big news out here in the country. Only two of us at the table were noticeably silent on this matter, namely Patrick, one half of the only gay couple in town, and myself, who was seriously considering bolting for the back door. The only thing keeping my ass in my chair was the fact that running from the topic at hand would probably look bad.

I swallowed what little spit I had left in my mouth and said nothing. Clayton, the beef farmer, broke the moment of silence for me.

“So tell us Dan, was he hot or not?”

Another round of hysterics broke out. Gwen, the office administrator, had sat down halfway through the story, and she looked a little confused, and narrowed her eyes at Dan.

“What the hell have you been googling this time?” She too, blamed the Internet.

Dan shook his head; his palms held up, empty, pleading innocence. “I saw it on the television, I swear to God. There was also a bit on the same show about the technique of fellatio. Fascinating stuff.”

“Oh, so it’s like an educational program?” quipped Pete, the guy who takes care of the skating rink. “Well good for you Dan, always seeking out knowledge. I’m proud of you.”

“Fellatio instructions, heh? On television?” Brian, the fireman, raised his eyebrow. “So, Dan, are you getting any better?”

Dan blushed. We all laughed.

“And here I had to go out and learn the hard way.” This of course, came from Patrick, and almost caused poor Pete to spray coffee out his nostrils.

And just like that, the topic shifted, and we moved on.

As I drove into town later, I pondered the whole ordeal, and second-guessed my panicked reaction. Maybe I should have seized upon this excellent learning opportunity, and taken it upon myself to educate my neighbours about trans issues.

But it was eight o’clock in the morning, I argued with myself on behalf of myself, I hadn’t even had a full cup of coffee yet. Besides, here I was, living my life with my head held up and making no apologies in a town without a gas station, much less a gay bar. Wasn’t I already doing my bit?

It only made sense that I would naturally be the one to come to with questions when it came to topics such as burly men sporting tattoos and vaginas, but I couldn’t be expected to have rehearsed and memorized all the perfect things to say all the time, could I?

I consoled myself with the knowledge that whenever I failed to come up with the right answers for my new neighbours’ questions, they could always turn to the internet, or at the very least, their cable TV.