The Male Cross-Dresser Support Group

( 3 )

Overview

She's Pamela Trowel, a New Yorker, single and singular: holed up in her swampy basement apartment when she isn't peddling guns and ammo ads for Hunter's World magazine. Pamela attracts Manhattan's wrongest kind of men: the cinematographer-exhibitionist Alby; her masochistic, creepy, boss-of-all-bosses Daniel; her cross-dressing psychiatrist Martin, who conducts his pracice in a bar. Pamela is batting zero - until she meets Abdhul, a wise your urchin who follows her home from a ...
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Overview

She's Pamela Trowel, a New Yorker, single and singular: holed up in her swampy basement apartment when she isn't peddling guns and ammo ads for Hunter's World magazine. Pamela attracts Manhattan's wrongest kind of men: the cinematographer-exhibitionist Alby; her masochistic, creepy, boss-of-all-bosses Daniel; her cross-dressing psychiatrist Martin, who conducts his pracice in a bar. Pamela is batting zero - until she meets Abdhul, a wise your urchin who follows her home from a pizza parlor, and worms his way into her heart.

Abdhul has no past and Pamela has no future, so together they pick up and run - form her bosses, the authorities, and New York. But when Abdhul disppears, Pamela is forced to return to Manhattan, disguised as a man. At last, she experiences the twisted city from the other side of the gender fence, discovering wild, unexpected popularity, and fierce, abiding mother love. The Male Cross-Dresser Support Group is Tama Janowitz's tour de force - a hilarious romp through the curiousity of motherhood, sexual identity, and family values in the 1990s.

In this New York Times Notable Book of the Year, the author of A Cannibal in Manhattan offers readers a hilarious romp through the curiosities of motherhood, sexual identity, and family vaules in the 1990s. A little boy follows a single woman home from a pizza parlour and works his way into her heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Janowitz's witty and hyberbolic tale about seamy, disaffected New Yorkers poses serio-comic questions about gender and identity but is flawed by a misdirected plot. (Feb.)
Library Journal
The protagonist in the latest novel by the author of Slaves of New York (LJ 6/15/86) is a young woman named Pamela Trowel, who finds herself swept into a truly bizarre melodrama involving a fine cast of gritty New York characters. Pamela leads a single-woman-in-New York life of drudgery; she's got a lousy job, an out-of-control social life, and a love/hate relationship with her mother, who is always intruding by way of long phone calls. Then Pamela is followed home by a street urchin (who seems to be eight or nine) whom she finally allows to sleep on her couch, but only if he leaves in the morning. He doesn't leave and has soon become an important part of her life. When things at work really go wrong (a horrific comedy of errors involving bosses, boyfriends, and shrinks), Pamela and the boy flee the city, launching a new series of outrageously unlikely but hilarious events. There's a bleakness below the surface cacophony that makes laughing at the story a bit painful, yet the writing is sharp, edgy, and ultimately a joy to read. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/92.--Jessica Grim, Oberlin Coll. Lib., Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780737233599
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/1994
  • Pages: 314

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt From Chapter One All day Sunday I lay around in my dirty sweatpants and shirt until finally I decided to go to the store. Normally I made an attempt to put on some makeup, to avoid public contempt, which I wasn't imagining. People really did give me strange looks, and some even burst into laughter. It wasn't that I cared, but when I went out I wanted to avoid mockery. This time I didn't bother. There was a man standing in front of the building. He had a bicycle with a basket containing a little white dog. When he saw me, a strange expression came over his face, as if he had just lost a filling.

"Excuse me," he said. "Do you know any apartments in this area?" His question was innocuous. Yet I had an idea he had been waiting for me. I was a bit suspicious. He was too handsome, a St. Tropez type with fawn-colored hair, a crisp white shirt, corky tan, and vaguely foreign accent.

"I think there was somebody in the building moving out," I said. "There's a terrace, too, which would be nice for your dog."

"Bubbela," he said.

"What?" I said.

"Bubbela," he said. "That's the dog's name. I call him Bubbie. It's Jewish for Little Grandmother. My name's Alby, by the way."

"I'm Pamela Trowel," I said. Now I was sorry I hadn't fixed myself up.

I thought of my eyes, without mascara and shadow -- small reddish berries with glutinous pulp. And how my mouth was gray as a curled snail, topped with thin, black, glandular hairs.

"I travel a lot," Alby said. "But I really like this neighborhood, and I wanted to find a place for when I'm in town."

"What field are you in?" I said.

"I'm a cinematographer," he said. "Listen, is there a chance you're free later? For dinner or a drink?"

I hesitated. "Well, we could have a drink," I said at last. "I, uh, I could tell you about the neighborhood, and stuff. Where should we meet?"

"I'll pick you up," he said.

I fixed myself up, which took a while: red lipstick, white powder, black short skirt, high heels. After a while I looked out the door. Alby was standing with his bicycle, holding the little white dog. I grinned to myself, imagining the look of delight on his face when he saw me looking so much better.

"What did you do to yourself?" he said in a shocked voice.

"I got dressed," I said, annoyed. "When you saw me before, I was just running out to the store."

"You looked better before," he said. "Now you look terrible. Geez."

I scurried to keep up with him as he started to walk. "Your little dog is so cute," I said in what I hoped was a placating tone. "Is it a poodle?"

"I don't know," he said. "I found Bubbie on the street, in San Juan, when he was a puppy. The veterinarian, he say he have distemper and put him to sleep, but I nurse him back to health. He comes everywhere with me." He put Bubbie down on the sidewalk to show me how the dog still had stiff legs. "Walk, Bubbie," he said. The dog was almost completely catatonic, more of a stuffed toy, really, with button eyes. He tried to follow Alby, but it seemed like his batteries were low, and he had an unnatural, zombie gait.

A block or so away was a bar; Alby chained his bike in front and smuggled the dog in under his jacket. Bubbie made no protest whatsoever, and promptly passed out under Alby's stool on the floor. The room reeked of sour beer and the high pitch of sugary, spilled Coca-Cola gone bad. The place was nearly empty, but Alby liked it, he said, because they showed the ballgames on TV. Two screens broadcast the Mets. "You like baseball?" he said. He was a baseball fan. In the mornings, on weekends, he played for a softball team in the park. "When I saw you, earlier in the day, I wanted to invite you to watch me play. But if you came the way you look now, my friends would laugh at me. Where are your glasses?"

"I'm wearing contact lenses now," I muttered. This whole business was backward; it was when I didn't wear makeup that people laughed.

"Why you do this to yourself?"

I squirmed on my bar stool, trying to ignore his question. "Where are you from, Alby?" I said.

He gave me a disgusted stare. "Why you ask this?"

This stopped me, momentarily. "I -- I'd like to get to know you a little," I said. "It's called a conversation."

He shrugged. "I grew up in da Bronx," he said. His accent suddenly became a sort of ghetto Marlon Brando. His parents were French, he said -- although it took some questioning to drag this from him -- but he had grown up in the Bronx. He was the only white child in the area. When pressed, it seemed he hadn't worked in several years. How he survived, his income, where he lived -- he grew more and more uncomfortable at being asked any questions. "I'm trying to watch the game on TV," he said when I wondered aloud why he didn't want to talk to me. During a commercial he conceded that he would answer my questions just this once, since it was our first date.

"So what kind of apartment are you looking for?" I said, hoping this was a less sensitive subject. There was no response. I got up to leave. The game wasn't half over. It was strange, because I really had the feeling -- when I saw him outside my door -- that he had deliberately materialized there, just for me. "Where you going?" he said.

"I'm going home," I said. "I'm tired."

"I'll walk you," he said, puzzled. He stood and stuffed Bubbela back under his coat. "You don't have to go straight home, do you?" he said. "Bubbie needs a walk. Come with me just for a minute to the little park, to give Bubbie some exercise."

The park was just up the street from my apartment. We walked slowly while Alby wheeled his bike. In the early evening gloom he leaned his bike against a broken lamppost and took my hand, abruptly pressing it against his penis, which he had slyly taken out of his fly. It gave me a bit of a jolt. It went down halfway to his knees, of the thickness of an infant's arm and half-erect. "I want you to be my girlfriend," he said.

"Look, I have to go," I said.

"Why can't I come in your house?" he said.

"I don't know you," I said.

"We can just cuddle, we don't have to do nothing. It's been a long time since I was with a woman. I'm forty-two years old, but I been saving myself, for someone like you."

Without thinking I shoved his organ back in his pants and nearly zipped it up. "Bye-bye," I said and started to walk home.

He followed me, talking in an angry tone. "You leading me on," he said. "You don't have to play no games with me."

"Good night," I said. "Good-bye." I shut the door. I could hear him kicking his bike into the street and then retrieving it. His parents, he had said earlier, had escaped France during the war. They fled to Argentina before making their way to the States. Was he mentally retarded? A drug dealer? His clothes were clean, and reasonably, casually fashionable. It was my own fault for thinking I could open my door and find a knight on a shining bike waiting to rescue me from my basement existence. My mother had always encouraged me to look upon life in New York as an adventure. It was, sort of -- only now this creep knew where I lived. But I was fairly certain he wouldn't come back again, not after I had so blatantly rejected him.

Still, I felt agitated. I hadn't eaten, either. I waited until I was sure he had gone, and then I went out to get a slice of pizza. There was no one ahead of me on line. The usual three men were shoveling pies topped with canned, spongy mushrooms and pink, curled discs of pepperoni in and out of the ovens. I took a tray and put a plastic fork and knife on it. "Hello," said the man who liked me. "How are you?" He had one gold tooth and a mustache, tawny skin and black wavy hair. He considered himself very attractive -- he was attractive -- but I couldn't stand the way he looked at me, with an air that indicated he pitied me but was still willing to show me a good time. The other men exchanged imperceptible winks and nods.

I went to Genero's fairly frequently, and once allowed myself to be drawn into a conversation with gold-tooth after a longer than usual absence. "Where you been?" he said.

"Oh, uh, I've been busy," I said.

"You have vacation?" he said. "I go on vacation soon. Home to see my family."

"Where are you from?" I said.

"Afghanistan," he said. "I work hard, send money."

A great light and joy came into his eyes every time he saw me after that, causing me to recoil with dismay. All I wanted was to read my book and eat a piece of pizza in peace, and -- though probably I was overreacting -- I thought it was only a matter of time before he took his break and came over to join me while I ate. That I was no longer friendly wounded him greatly; there was pride in his blood, his gold tooth bore testament to that, and now it was up to me to reestablish relations, which I couldn't bring myself to do. "A slice of spinach-mushroom," I said, "Hassim." He was wearing a white plastic name tag. This was something new.

"Spinach-mushroom!" he shouted to the man next to him. Already his face had fallen, that I had let another opportunity go by for ending the cold war. He gave me a cool stare. In my country, I could tell he was thinking, a woman such as you, past her prime, would be worthless. I opened a book and looked down while the pizza heated. It was awful, being able to read people's thoughts, at least some of the time. This wasn't at all supernatural. Many people, however, thought very loudly. The day before I passed an elderly woman, in a brown, fake-fur coat -- in the middle of summer -- with a cane, she could barely move, and when I got close the woman stopped, and, giving me a sharp glance, she thought, Go ahead, honey, look at me all you like but in fifty years you'll be the same as me!

"Spinach-mushroom!" Hassim snarled again. The other man, dwarfish, with a leaden, Aztec face, took a slice from the oven and passed it over to me on a piece of foil. I got a Pepsi, carried my tray over to a table, and sat down. I looked at the slab of pizza, leathery, coated with red flux, embedded on its bier of crumpled metallic aluminum. The cafeteria was nearly empty, too late in the day for the high-school students who came after class, and too early for those eating dinner. A burly man mumbled in a nearly inaudible voice the recent facts of his wrongful arrest to a woman smoking a pale-lilac-colored cigarette, end tipped with gold paper.

I cut off a piece of pizza with the plastic knife and fork. The tines of the fork bent backward as I tried to carry the bite up to my mouth. A dot of grease glistened in the center. My mouth tasted like horseradish steeped in milk; I no longer had an appetite.

Across the room a woman bellowed, "Abdhul, stop kicking my seat!" She had a dome-shaped head and face the color of yellow chalk; after yelling about the seat she belched loudly. The man who was out on bail turned to stare in the middle of his sentence. She weighed at least several hundred pounds, her features, small and mealy, were embedded in flesh: and somehow, wrestled improbably around her head, was a violent, tropical scarf, ends tied up in knots like a squid or starfish.

None of this would have been particularly unusual except that the woman was surrounded by a group of kids under the age of ten or twelve. There was a large square box before her on the table and from time to time she opened the lid and took a bite of some farinaceous substance -- anyway, half the time her mouth was open and whatever she was chewing was white and oatmealish. The children watched her eat in silence. "Abdhul, stop kicking the seat!" she said again, and gave one of the kids a halfhearted slap across the ear.

It was some time before I realized that what the woman was eating was fried chicken, possibly some kind of fried chicken patties and this...must have come from some other restaurant; Genero's didn't serve fried chicken and in fact it was in a take-out box. The children -- I counted quickly, there were five -- were not, apparently, to be given any food. They watched the woman's hand descending into the box and then up to her mouth, fingers wiping her chin. It seemed mean and sad, yet such sights were common enough in the city. I hesitated to get involved, and anyway, what could I do? Perhaps the woman was merely the baby-sitter, the children were such a wide range of colors and so dose in age it seemed impossible they could all be hers...maybe for her this was merely a snack, and the children would all return home later for hot suppers, appetites unspoiled.

It was a mistake to stare so intently at her. Surely I had lived in New York long enough to learn something. I didn't think she noticed me, one of her big eyes seemed to go off in a different direction, but "What the fuck are y-ooouu looking at?" she suddenly bellowed, and I was reminded of a big moose with velvet-coated trunk or a grayish hippopotamus, huge pink mouth edged with stubby molars. The boys sat like trained pups, maybe she wasn't even talking to me, but I looked away. "I tole you, Calabash, to shut the fuck up or you're going to get me in a lot of trouble!" she said. I hadn't heard any of the children make a sound. She hunched over the take-out box and plopped another tidbit of food into her mouth with a smack. Even if I hadn't already lost my appetite it would have been hard to eat with those caiman faces, rapacious and patient, waiting for food. I took a swill of the sugary soda and scraped a bit of wax from the cup with my front teeth. Behind the counter the men had collected in a knot and stood muttering to each other. Finally Hassim left and went over to the turbaned woman. "Hey, lady, you leave now," he said.

She turned in her seat and bucked like an animal tormented by flies. "Leave me a-lone," she said. I plucked a mushroom from the edge of my slice. Ominous mushroom, tasting of life in a can or science laboratory. I had borne witness to such lives, anyway similar ones, many times. All around me the city streets churned with creatures of the elemental variety. The homeless and insane chanted the babble of the collective unconscious. I had seen a drunken and violent man tip over an entire block of garbage cans, spewing rotting meat, snot-filled Kleenex. In front of an expensive restaurant on my block late at night a woman stood with a three-year-old child begging for change. At a twenty-four-hour drugstore a man dressed as a clown, handing out advertising circulars announcing discount prices, burst into tears at the moment I passed, and I saw a pool of urine collect on the pavement at his feet, running out from under the billowing red-and-yellow harlequin trousers. Half the time I didn't know whether I was awake or asleep, these were fragments of dreams.

"You eat food here you buy, no' food you bring," Hassim said. But he took a step back as he spoke. Another man came out from behind the counter and stood nearby.

"Go a-way," the woman said. "I'm not bo-thering you." Hassim and the other man walked away to hold a conference. "Now look what you've done," the woman told the boys. "Maurice, stop kicking the seat or I'll slap the shit out of y-oou."

It was too much. Whose side was I on, and in any event what could I do? Poor Hassim, with his trembling, Kurdish pride, perhaps he had been left in charge of the restaurant, it was obviously breaking his spirit to have to work in this sweaty, garlicky pizza joint when he should have been out...prancing up some austere mountain on a tassled horse, scimitar between his teeth, now to be reduced to a shrivel before this gelatinous heap of a woman -- where he came from no woman would ever have raised her voice to him! -- and I could see him muster some kind of warrior rage, his gold tooth glinted from his curled-back upper lip, he would not touch her himself. "Lady, I call police!" he said.

"Beee qui-et," the woman said, though she didn't look at him and something was diffused. After all, she wasn't really bothering anyone, the cafeteria was almost empty. There was no reason why she couldn't have been left alone to eat, and maybe she would have...except for the presence of the hungry boys.

Though it appeared she was completely uncomprehending, she got up to leave, one last plop of chicken into her mouth, which she swilled down with a wash of orange soda from a can. She was nearly embedded between the chair cemented to the floor and the table.... The little boys rose without being told, and without thinking I stood and carried the slice of pizza over and gave it to one of them. "Do you want this?" I said. "I haven't eaten any of it."

He snatched it from my hands in a way that reminded me of a monkey owned by a cousin of mine in high school, a squirrel monkey with a worried face kept in a cage in the basement. Once I had given this monkey a silver bell -- anyway, I had offered it to the monkey, through the bars of the cage. He snatched it from between my fingers with a guilty expression and then tucked it up under his arm as if it were going to be taken from him at any second....

The boy -- I saw now he was wearing a pale pastel sweatshirt, eggy purple -- took the slice and without saying anything began to tear off hunks and put them into his mouth. The woman yanked his arm sharply, but the pizza didn't fall from his grasp. I backed away. Then they left, the woman bawling near the door, "Now look what you've done, I told you kids to be quiet."

Hassim gave me a weak smile from across the room, as if hoping for my approval. "This lady, she crazy," he said to the room at large. The woman who had been smoking the lilac cigarette made a glaucous clicking sound with her tongue. "Terrible," she said. "She didn't give those boys anything to eat. Some people -- !"

The man nodded. "So my lawyer said, 'No problem, plead guilty and you'll get a suspended sentence, I know the judge.' So the judge gave me seven years. I was set up, from beginning to end. So I..."

I got up and carried my tray over to the disposal without listening to the rest of what he was saying. The trays stacked on top, chocolate-colored plastic, were flecked and greasy; probably they didn't even bother to wash them but just carried them back to the start of the cafeteria fine. The swinging door to the garbage container flapped hungrily as I shoved my nearly full cup of soda inside. It didn't seem right to throw liquids in there, but I didn't see any other spot to leave it. Hassim had returned to his position behind the counter. "Bye-bye," I said, picking up one of the free local newspapers that were stacked in a pile by the door. But Hassim averted his glance.

The paper was an Upper West Side give-away; I got so engrossed in the cover story I stopped in front of Genero's to read it. The article was about a woman who lived only two blocks away from me, newly married, who had gone on her honeymoon with her husband to stay in a lighthouse on some Scottish island with a lot of cliffs. The first afternoon they had a little picnic, on the bluff, and during the meal her husband began to choke, he stood up, and the woman, wanting to dislodge the food, gave him a slap on the back and he toppled over the edge. I found it fascinating that the woman, who had to return home alone from her honeymoon, lived only two blocks away from my apartment. Maybe I should look her up and befriend her....Because I was so engrossed in the article I didn't see the little kid, the one I had given the slice to, standing next to me by the front door. He gave my arm a tug. "Hi there," I said stupidly. "Where's all your friends?"

He didn't answer. Maybe he wanted money; I rummaged around in my bag, looking for change, and came up with a dollar. My pocketbook was filled with what I considered to be an indescribable amount of filth. I had the habit of collecting cents-off coupons from the Sunday papers for products I would never purchase or use. Various detergents and scrubs that even when marked down fifteen or twenty cents were far more expensive than the generic brands. Ratty bits of paper, old lottery tickets, half-eaten pieces of gum. Still, there seemed to be no sense in cleaning out or reorganizing my bag, when I knew I would only stuff it up again within days. I should have shoved the entire contents into the garbage container, if for no other reason than to listen to the pail's groans of dismay when it realized it was not being fed some delightful crusts of food.

I handed the dollar to the kid, who didn't say anything, and I walked away. Even though it was twilight the street still blistered with heat. The sidewalk and tarmac were like the feverish skin of some hospital patient over which the people walked like ants. "Bye-bye," I called to the kid, who looked down. I noticed he wasn't wearing any shoes. Perhaps he had come from some Caribbean island, where children ran barefoot, but it certainly didn't seem to be a good idea here in the city. Clumps of foamy spit dotted the ground and sticky trickles of urine, human and canine, trailed from building to curb in sparkling mountain streams. Didn't his mother -- or whoever -- know that tuberculosis had been on the rise?

There were other diseases too, and things like spirochetes that could bore their way up through the skin on the soles of the feet, where they would enter the body and cause...heartworm? Although maybe this was something that happened only in tropical countries. I was not that good on medical facts, but still I knew healthwise to go barefoot was not a good move.

Anyway, I had given the kid a piece of pizza, I had given him a dollar, and the stores were already closed. It was too late for me to take him somewhere and buy him a pair of shoes. And for all I knew the kid was richer than me. I had once had a friend, who had sort of...adopted a homeless family in the park, and after a few months, when they told her they had finally found an apartment, she offered them her air conditioner (the homeless girl had asthma) and an old futon to sleep on she had hardly ever used. "Oh, good," the woman told her. "We can use it in our country home." It turned out, that when the family told her they had finally found an apartment, what they meant was, they had found a new apartment. A bigger one.

I started to walk home. I had certain plans in mind, the first being that I would stop at a delicatessen en route and buy an onion roll: this delicatessen had baked goods, one of which was a particular roll with buttery flakes of pastry absolutely stuffed with pale shreds of onion. Then I could eat this, the next morning, for breakfast. A cold bath, paying the bills, watching TV, and bed were some of the other plans I had in mind. But when I got out of the delicatessen I saw the kid standing there. He must have followed me from Genero's down the street. "Bye-bye," I said again.

A block or so later I half turned around. The kid was still there, fifty paces behind. He stopped when I did. "What are you doing?" I said. He didn't answer. I shook my head and went on. I did not care to have this child follow me and find out where I lived. He looked short -- maybe nine or ten, though having no experience with children I couldn't be certain of his age -- but it was entirely possible he belonged to some sort of poisonous gang, who would he in wait for me at my door and cosh me with pokers or whatever equipment juvenile delinquents were using these days. My building had no doorman, and my basement apartment, which hated me, would no doubt offer me no protection of any kind.

A block more and I looked back and he was still there. This truncated dwarf with citron-colored skin. "Go away!" I said. A tall man was walking his dog, a tiny hairy animal with lolling tongue and cataract-covered eyes, and both looked at me sharply. The child in the distance gave a nervous grimace but when I started to walk again he did too. Perhaps rather than lead him straight to my door I should keep walking until he grew tired and went away. Still I did not like to be bullied into feeling afraid to go home. I even went so far as to take a few steps in his direction and give him a stem, ferocious stare that caused him to look away and stop, though when I resumed walking he continued, unbowed, along my path...it was a free country after all, although not, I had always assumed, for nine-year-olds.

The streetlights came on, harnessing the greasy leaves of the trees, dessicated in the yellowish glare, and I was momentarily distracted. A few poor wilted London plane trees, blighted by some disease; stubs of young gingkos, newly planted that spring; a flowering pear tree, trunk bashed and hatcheted by some backing-up car -- they were all stuffed into tiny slots in the pavement, in the gray, rock-hard soil. The summer had withered them, the little rain there had been had trickled over their roots and flung itself into the gutter without providing any nourishment. It was a sorry sight, the desperation of the city trees. They had struggled so bravely to breathe in the carbon-monoxide-laden air...

In front of my building I stopped. He was now only twenty paces behind. "Go away, kid," I said. "Where's your mother? Go home." I jabbed my key into the lock of the metal security gate outside my front door. The child took a few steps backward and then stood still. "What is, ah, what's your name?" I said in a rather stuttering voice. I paused waiting for him to say something; when he didn't speak I finished opening the gate, closed it behind me, opened the front door, and went in.

The air conditioner had given up producing any cold air. I jiggled the knob and it moaned, a chain-saw sound. I put my face in front of it and unbuttoned the top buttons of my shirt, huddling for cold. After a minute or so it occurred to me to look out the window; there was only one, located up high by the ceiling. I stood on the couch and peered out. He was still there, crouched on the top step, waiting. There was a patient yet strangely happy expression on his face, like that of some Peruvian laborer munching coca leaves. Though he must have seen me, I quickly ducked down. There was a rich layer of dirt on the sill, nearly thick enough to begin planting seeds. Then I lowered the crumpled metal blinds and turned off the lights.

Copyright © 1992 by Tama Janowitz

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Reading Group Guide

1. What was your first impression of the main character, Pamela?

2. Did your view of her change throughout the novel?

3. How did she change throughout the novel?

4. Did this novel challenge your ideas of gender roles?

5. What made Pamela popular as a man?

6. What did the head found alongside the highway symbolize?

7. How was the discussion of the head at the support group incorporated into the overall theme of the novel?

8. In your opinion, should Pamela have adopted Abdul in such a manner?

9. By the end of the novel, were you left with the feeling that their relationship will endure?

10. What was the overall nature of relationships between men and women in this novel?

11. Do you believe that this is an accurate portrayal of gender relationships in the '90s?

12. What issues of ethics and morality does this novel question?

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2003

    Can't stop laughing about this book

    I borrowed [The Male Cross-Dresser Support Group] nine years ago, and kept my boyfriend (now husband) awake for days with my laughing and reading sections aloud. We still share a secret laugh when either of us says, "no... it's a cabbage!" Crazy impossible story but too FUNNY to miss, and too true! I would read it if I were you. I'm going to find more books by Tama Janowitz...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2002

    Extremely Funny Read

    This is one of the funniest books I have read. I borrowed a copy from a friend but bought my own copy for my bookshelf to share with others. It has you on tenderhooks every page. Definitely recommend!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2009

    Very Distastefully written!

    The author confuses the reader with her writing when using "he said, or she said" after a question, "?". The book was distasteful and written in a slummy fashion as in the slums of New York, with the most disgusting and despicable characters. It is a trashy read for filthy minds and certainly not what I was expecting. I usually like to sale my used books, but this one went straight to the round file when I finished the first chapter. I couldn't force myself to read any more it.

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