Giselle Storm on what she’d do if only she had the balls…
The other night I had the tragic realisation that I will never experience the sensation of having balls. Not that I particularly want balls as a permanent aspect of my life, but more that they’re something so fundamental to a man’s biology but something that I will never be able to fully participate in. I am exiled from the balls club. I mean, I wouldn’t mind having balls for a day, just to see what it’s like. For that matter maybe a beard too, a few inches of extra height, might as well throw in a penis as well if we’re going down this road. To experience a temporary membership to the balls club, in the words of Beyonce, ‘if I were a boy, even just for a day’….
Firstly I would have a wank. Definitely. Not to be crude, but I feel like if I’m going to get into the male psyche a wank is definitely in order. Utilize my new balls to their full extent, enjoy the penis which I have just acquired etc. Once I’ve got out the way I can start my day as a man and start to reap the benefits of the patriarchal society I have so long been excluded from. Balls club here I come.
And here I am, sitting on a tube at rush hour, have I crossed my legs with lady-like decorum, trying to maximize space for other stressed commuters? Hell no! I am man spreading with all the flexibility I can muster, I am doing the splits, stretching across three seats, I am letting my new balls breathe and I don’t care who knows it. I have this new sense of authority and power, I’m a short girl so feel I’d probably be a shortish man, but even at the towering height of 5ft 8 I have an innate masculinity. I am unbarged as I strut through the city swinging my handbag because I have not mastered the art of fitting my life into one small wallet. I wolf whistle at some builders as I stroll by, partly because I can but mainly just to undermine stereotypes.
I get to work, I imagine myself working in an office, maybe some accountancy firm, but a trendy one with glass walls because they don’t believe in boundaries. My male alter ego probably lives in Clapham and wears chinos, drinks craft beer and excessively uses the word ‘banter’, he probably reads the LadBible too… God I hate him. At work I blare some Cyndi Lauper from my cubicle, I get some strange looks from other banterers and wonder if maybe I am undermining my masculinity? But, my first challenge, maneuvering the mysterious social niceties of using a public urinal. I walk in, there is another man there, should I stand next to him? Something in my man psyche screams no, not okay. I don’t choose the one furthest away either, don’t want to exclude him, centre middle seems the only reasonable choice. I unzip, realize the difficulties of aiming and vow to never get angry at my male housemates again. The awkwardness is overwhelming, I have to break it, I look over and give him the ‘sup nod which I practiced in the mirror this morning. Oh god, did he think I was looking? Maybe I should look, maybe that’s what’s expected? Is this what the boys learn when we were all segregated for Sex Education in primary school? How to interact with other men while peeing? Does it come naturally to them?
A board meeting and I am more vocal than I think I have ever been. I am domineering, I am in charge, I am the boss of this situation and I will be listened to. Will I get called a bitch, arrogant? No, others will quake at my authority, admire my confidence; my female coworker is swooning. Maybe, or maybe she just called me a tosser under her breath. I remind myself this is not an episode of Mad Men and get a grip.
Finally the long day of staring at a computer and publicly peeing is over and I realise that I have earnt an average of 30% more than I usually would. What to spend my new found fortunes on? A trip the pub is in order. I stand at the crowded bar for no less than 20 minutes trying to catch the bar tenders eye. I consider batting my eye lashes in his general direction but remember this may not have the intended effect. Finally he gets around to me and I order a Scotch whisky. On the rocks? No. Straight! I love whisky, and lager too for that matter, but am forever met by incredulous looks by men who seem to find it inconceivable that a girl could have the audacity to enjoy drinking anything that isn’t pink with an umbrella in it. Speaking of pink with umbrellas that’s actually really what I fancy, but can I order it? I feel overwhelming waves of societal expectations in my choice of beverage, the bar tender looks at me expectantly and I bottle it and get a Stella instead.
As I turn around I accidentally knock into another man who promptly spills the best part of his drink. I apologise demurely but this doesn’t seem to be enough. He sways threateningly at me, gazing at a spot about 3 inches above my eyes – am I about to get into a fight? Is this what’s about to happen? I was not prepared for this. He slurs at me, probably something about by mother until luckily his mate grabs his arm and removes him from the premises.
It’s late now, dark too, I consider a taxi but then think no! I am a man and I shall walk home unimpeded by threat. I clasp my handbag and stroll off into the night. There’s a woman walking in front of me. With my new found height I am in that awkward position where I am walking quick enough to catch up but not quite fast enough to overtake her. I don’t really think of it, until she starts to speed up. I continue at my pace, but she speeds up again. I see her fumbling in her bag, the unmistakable glint of keys between the knuckles. I suddenly feel an overwhelming wave of guilt and annoyance, I consider calling after her ‘I’m not following you’ but then think that’s probably exactly what someone who was following her would say so instead I cross the road, and attempt to look as unthreatening as humanly possible. The handbag helps.
Finally I am back in the safety of my home, my stubble itches but the place where my bra would be feels wonderfully liberated. As I drift off to sleep I consider my balls and my day. I can’t say the sensation of balls was particularly exciting, I noticed them for the first 10 minutes but afterwards they just kind of got in the way. I missed people being polite to me and realize that intentionally or not people just tend to be nicer to women. I feel lonely and wonder how acceptable it is to call my friend and be emotional at them down the phone. Probably not very. I enjoyed the authority, the new found assertiveness of being a man, there is a sense of freedom that being part of the balls club allows you, but when it comes down to it I wouldn’t give up my vagina for all the balls in the world.
Follow Giselle on instagram: @GiselleStorms
Illustration: Patrizio Anastasi