Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Alter Ego

Lately I've been watching the show Catfish on MTV, where this guy Nev hunts down people who have phony profiles online. At first, I was disgusted by these Catfishers -- I thought they were pathetic, lying losers.

But when I thought about it, I kind of understood why some people would be compelled to create alter egos online. And I could see how easy it would be to get caught up in it. Being transgender, I can't deny that there's a part of me that would love to create a secret male identity online and act that out.

I actually sort of did this a long time ago when I was a kid. I didn't like being "Debbie." And I really hated playing with Barbie. But thanks to Fisher Price and Playskool's Little People toys, I was able to lose myself and become a boy in my original male alter ego "John." Here's a picture of him in his sweet ride.

When I was young, my friends and I would play "People," as we called it, for hours and hours on end. I had a huge collection, which included a McDonalds and Holiday Inn, in a giant box. We'd dump the box on the floor and take turns picking our People, their furniture, dogs, cars and accessories, and build split-level houses using board games and blocks.

I was always "John." It was understood that I owned this guy and nobody (that includes you Caryn Caldarelli) better dare reach for him! John was a good family man but I do remember him hooking up with plenty of girls in the Holiday Inn. Great toy for children, a hotel...

The weird thing is, I played People for a little too long, until I was like 13. I had a really hard time letting it go. I hadn't thought about this until I watched Catfish, and it suddenly hit me. I couldn't let it go because back then I had no other way to express myself as male. I had to suppress all that shit, unless I was playing People.

I think John might have been a life saver in a way for me. And watching Catfish, it's obvious that so many people, who are not even transgender, feel a desperate need to be someone other than who they are. I get that so much. But here's the thing: creating phony personas online is really fucked up. It involves hurting and deceiving other people. So even though it's tempting, I'd never do it in a million years.

I'd rather just bring John out of storage. Maybe my old pal Caryn, who now lives in Texas, wants to come to LA and join me -- I promise John won't take her People to the Holiday Inn...first he'll at least buy them dinner at McDonalds.

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