Kathryn's Blog: Gays, Lesbians, and Transgender

Book Review - “Self-Made Man”

I just finished THE most interesting book I have read in a long time: “Self-Made Man” by Norah Vincent.  The subtitle says it all: “One Woman’s Journey into Manhood and Back.” 

Vincent mastered male disguise and surreptitiously made her way into one traditional males-only bastion after another, all the way from a men’s bowling league and strip joints to a Catholic monastery and a Rober Bly-style men’s group.  And not once for each of these venues, but over and over and over again. 

Both female and lesbian, Vincent was a double outsider in these all-male and mostly heterosexual groups.  Her struggles to master male dress and behavior (and subsequent constant fear of discovery of her female-ness) and her constant surprises as her experiences of these men belied her expectations made for fascinating reading.

Interestingly, Vincent used Internet dating for her forays into heterosexual love (if you can call a lesbian masquerading as a man, trying to date women, as heterosexual love).  The Internet part is rater incidental to Vincent’s main point that dating and love, which she thought would be the easiest for her as a man, were the hardest.  You’ll have to read the book to find out why.

As a Romance Coach working with heterosexuals who are trying to meaningfully connect with each other, I found “Self-Made Man” a page-turner, and am almost ready to say it is a “must-read” for all my clients, female and male.  Vincent’s attempts to span the gender gap, her struggles to fit in, and the realization that she never would, plus her guilt and discomfort with being in disguise and essentially fooling these often endearing men, made for riveting reading.  I think this book can definitely help women understand men better, and interestingly, men have more understanding for women.  Plus help both to gain an increased appreciation for the “unbridgeable gap” between the two.  Five chocolate dipped strawberries!

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord



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