OK, it's been decided. I am now a woman. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know - it's alright for some. I flounce off for months without so much as a by your leave and then waltz right back in - wearing a FROCK no less - transformed into the divinest female form and demanding your IMMEDIATE attention as if nothing had happened. I know, I know, and I really am sorry but, y'know, that's literature. I can't choose the words that write me any more than you could have chosen not to be born or to be born any other way than the way that you were. So deal with it, OK? I know I am.
And yes, before you ask, I DO have some idea of what I'm letting myself in for. I read the papers too you know. I know I could be on a hiding to nothing here - a second class citizen with my glass-ceiling-pummelled-brain in my tits. And I'd be good for only the one thing if you guys out there hadn't suddenly decided - en masse it seems - that it can be just as much fun to beat the shit out of as it is to fuck me. The two manouvres seem indeed, in some minds, at times to be interchangeable anyway. So, go on then loverboy; get my battered face tattoed on your cheek if it makes you feel a real big man, but don't you DARE think that you are going to stop me.
So you can think of this as you will - a cry for help into the wilderness? Almost certainly. A last great plip-plop of insanity tossed out into the binary firmament? Mmm hmm. A doomed literary experiment? Perhaps and probably. You see, the ball is pretty much in your court here. I can't really do this on my own. I don't need a man (necessarily) or a woman (necessarily) to complete me, obviously. But I do need YOU. I need a reader just as much as you need air in your lungs and the sweet scent of bourbon on the breath. You will make me whole. You will make me breathe. You will bring my sighs and yelps to life, breathe fire into my rages. You will, one day I hope, make a woman out of me. Because, if I can be frank here brothers, sisters, right now who on EARTH would want to be a man?
Men need to change. OK, that didn't hurt, did it? Let's say say it again - all together this time: MEN NEED TO CHANGE. OK, group hug over, everyone back to their seats. So, Mr. Elephant, meet Ms. Room; we've said it: *men* *need* *to* *change*. It can be done. It should be done. It will be done. We are changing too - and that's great - but it won't be enough. It hasn't so far. So come on guys, show a little imagination for once. Let's do this thing!
So there we are - and yes, I suppose you'd have to call us a we now. Not in the royal sense, obviously - well, not YET. There was him and now there's me. And there, floating up above it all somewhere, another me makes three. A perfect pair.
For Lucy Ellmann.