Sunday, 8 May 2011

In Her Shoes - Chapter Two - The Subject

Chloe Bright, budding journalist, was happy because her colleague and best friend, Fiona Harrington, had come up with the brilliant idea of running an article in the womens' page of their paper based on the experiences of a man living as a woman.

It would be a sure fire hit.

"And I know just who to ask to be the subject" said Chloe, happily. "There's a guy I know. His name's Desmond - during the week anyway! - at weekends, he goes by the name Desiree!"

But Fiona was shaking her head "No. You don't want a tranny. The whole point is to get a man, preferably one who has never worn womens' clothes before, to live as a woman and recount the whole experience. What it's like to wear earrings for the first time, that sort of thing. A tranny's done all that already".

Chloe looked a little dispirited "Oh, I see...then, who can I use?"

Fiona waved a hand around to indicate everyone in the packed bar "Take your pick. The world is full of men!"

Chloe's delicate features reddened slightly "Oh, but I couldn't...just ask a complete stranger". Chloe thought for a long moment and said, almost in a whisper "I wonder if I could get my Steve to do it?"

Fiona almost choked on her wine. She spluttered and coughed. Chloe's boyfriend, Steve, topped six feet in height, had rippling muscles and obscene amounts of hair coming out of places where Fiona didn't think it would be possible to grow any hair. Besides, his ego had been badly dented by the fact that Chloe had recently overtaken him in earning power. It was unlikely he would co-operate.

Chloe banged her friend's back. Once Fiona had recovered her composure, Chloe said "OK, bad idea. How about your Gary?". Fiona's husband, Gary, was five foot six, with rather delicate features. He would probably make a good looking woman.

Fiona gave her a hard look.

Chloe recalled that Gary had recently lost his job and was now financially dependent on his wife. He was depressed, despondent and resentful.

"Ok, not Gary" Chloe racked her brains to think of someone. Then, Fiona exclaimed "Oh, no, quick hide!" she tried to pull Chloe down to hide behind a couple of big men swigging pints.

But it was too late. "Damn, he's seen us!" Fiona cursed.

Chloe wondered who she was talking about and then inwardly groaned as Leo Cavendish confidently swaggered towards them.

Leo was six foot tall exactly, but he had a slender build. He was handsome and he had a thick mane of blond hair and a thick moustache. He was physically attractive, but he was also insufferably full of himself and made no secret of the fact that he had a low opinion of women as co-workers. His background was impeccable. Son of a baronet, rumoured to be distantly related to the British Royal Family, educated at Eton, graduated from Cambridge University and he had held a short service commission in the Grenadier Guards before embarking on a career in journalism. He had done well and now covered the current affairs section of the same paper that Chloe and Fiona worked for.

Chloe reflected that she and Leo could not be more different. She was barely over five feet tall and tiny of build. She was pretty, but not stunning. Chloe was modest about her abilities, but hardworking and passionate about her job. Chloe had grown up on a council estate with her mother and several other siblings. She didn't even know who her father was. But she had been clever academically and won scholarships. She had managed to graduate from Oxford University and had entered journalism. Chloe currently wrote for the womens' page though, nowhere near as glamourous as current affairs.

"Evening Ladies" said Leo in a posh upper crust accent "Can I offer you a drink? I'm celebrating yet another success. Quite a scoop!" he said jubilantly.

"Evening, Leo" Chloe and Fiona replied, in a less than enthusiastic tone.

Leo insisted on buying them another bottle of wine and regaled them for an hour with every single, tiny detail of his scoop. Chloe quietly despised him for his good fortune and self-obsession, and the two women rolled their eyes at each other as Leo recounted his achievement. Chloe's irritation with Leo grew steadily, threatening to explode.

When Leo had finally stopped talking, Chloe began to gather her things "Sorry, but I have to go".
Leo looked disappointed "Oh, don't go yet. There's over half a bottle left to drink yet! And your laptop's still on!" Leo began to read what was on the display "What's all this then? The Invisible Man - How Feminism is slowly and gently rubbing the modern male from society.....interesting".

"It's just a load of AFB" explained Fiona.

Leo looked bemused "AFB?"

"Anti-Feminist Bullshit. And it is, it really is!" snapped Chloe "Now, could I get to my laptop please?"

Leo wouldn't move. He insisted on reading the "AFB". Fuming, Chloe reluctantly accepted another glass of wine from Fiona.

Leo chuckled as he read the article. Finally, he turned to the women and said "It's appallingly written, really it is! but there's truth in it".

"Don't tell me you actually agree with that tripe" Chloe said coldly.

Leo waved a hand expansively "Well, ladies, you have to admit that you've never had it so good. The article says so. Girls are doing better at school, women are doing better in the workplace, than us men".

It was Chloe's turn to almost choke on her wine. She exploded. "We've never had it so good? Yes, we're doing better than we were, but most politicians, businessmen and scientists are still men! And they're the ones who still make the really big decisions! And women are still paid less on average than men. And the glass ceiling is still impenetrable. And it's us women, as always, who have to make the tough decision about whether to pursue her career or stall it in order to start a family! It's not easy being a woman, you know!"

Leo laughed "It's totally easy! All you have to do is flutter your eyelashes or wiggle your bottom and you'll be up to your armpits in men declaring their undying love for you. You'd be set for life, pampered and taken care of while us men work for you".

Fiona gazed at Leo with intensity "So you're saying that our lives are easier than yours?"

"Yep. I mean, we men don't have much of a choice do we? We can't have babies, so we have to work. You ladies can opt out of work whenever you want, to have babies, or a 'career break" or whatever whilst we men are still on the treadmill".

"OK, Leo" Fiona said "As it happens, Chloe here is writing an article...."

"It's called In Her Shoes..that's the working title anyway!" Chloe interjected.

"Yes" continued Fiona "Chloe is writing an article about a man who gets to live as a woman for a month. Sounds to me like you'd be an ideal candidate. You can experience for yourself how much 'easier' life as a woman is! Come on, admit it, you're fascinated by the idea....."

2 comments:

  1. Well, how many candidates are there. Anyway the result will be the same. ;)

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