I’ve read elsewhere of women my age who were inspired to keep notebooks and start their own spy routes, eat tomato sandwiches and leave anonymous notes after reading Harriet the Spy and The Long Secret. At eleven I didn’t particularly like tomatoes, didn’t have the patience to write, and already had a spy route, so I wasn’t inspired to start any of those things. What Harriet did inspire me to do was to experiment with crossdressing. I used whatever money I earned doing odd jobs to buy boys’ clothes on the sly and then went into other neighborhoods to play at passing as a boy. When an old man in a grocery store called me “Sonny,” I knew I had passed some sort of test. It was remarkably easy to to do, and it was as deliciously thrilling as sneaking into Agatha K. Plumber’s dumbwaiter. Over the course of a year, I developed quite an extensive wardrobe of boys’ clothes which I kept hidden at the back of my closet when I wasn’t using it as my own version of a spy uniform.
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