By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
By Jeff Balke
By Angelica Leicht
Except that Kathryn McGuire doesn't look like a man.
Her voice is slightly higher than the one recorded on Huberman's preoperative documentary, and her feminine mannerisms are better practiced. She drawls like a Texan, prefers her stories tall like a Texan and is so immediately charming, in a boisterous way, that you want to like her even before you inevitably do.
Ours is the first interview she has done since leaving Houston. She went to Prague and lived there for two years. She and a partner had planned to open a Mexican food restaurant there, but by the time they got their ducks in a row, the Eastern European mafia had moved in and rents had skyrocketed.
So Kathryn moved to Amsterdam where she met a Turkish man to whom she became briefly engaged.
"The Turk wanted me to go to Ankara and carry his children. Right. We were gonna live with his parents till we get enough money to get a house of our own. Right."
The London surgeons did not cut off Kathryn's nose for a deal.
After Amsterdam, she returned briefly to Houston for the last time, gave one more interview to the Post and moved to Philadelphia for a year, where she spent several months parking cars in an attempt to learn the business of parking garages. She had thought she might buy one, but she never did.
And then she moved to Atlantic City and lived on the beach for a year.
"When you're a girl you got to try out your bikinis and your bathing suits and everything."
Kathryn ends almost every story, almost every sentence, with a giggle that threatens to get beyond her control, and often does. She likes to laugh.
She says she got engaged in Atlantic City, too, but that didn't work out either.
By the time Kathryn packed her bags for New Jersey, where she now lives, James had already been living in New York City for seven years.
"He had been in mime school in Minnesota or some place out there," Kathryn says, and he went to visit New York with a ticket she gave him as a graduation present, bought himself a suit of clothes at the local Goodwill, got a job as a host at a restaurant and never left. If he was going to make a run at the theater world, James had decided, he would have to be in New York.
"I thought that was ingenious," says Kathryn. " I still think it's great. I'm still proud of the way he moved to New York."
While James unraveled the secrets of the big city, Kathryn continued trying to weave a normal life as a woman.
There was so much to learn.
"You have to learn the body language: how to act, how to walk. The first time I ever douched I thought I was gonna die."
For the record, Kathryn says it was Houston television personality Jan Glenn who taught her how to douche.
"Guys can sit like this," she says, stretching an elbow over the seat back in a masculine version of the come-hither pose. "You don't see me sitting like this. You don't spit."
"And the multiple orgasms are great. You can't imagine. It comes from way up inside of you."
Again for the record, Kathryn learned about multiple orgasm from the plastic rod she had to insert into her neovagina daily for five months after the operation to "keep the hole from collapsing."
"So maybe three weeks after the operation, I'm feeling pretty good, getting a little sexually aroused, and -- I never will forget that as long as I live -- I had this plastic thing up in me, and I thought, I wonder what would happen if I moved it back and forth a little bit? And all of a sudden [I got] this burning sensation in my stomach; I said, Gawd, it shot up, my face felt like it was on fire, Gawd" -- there's more than a little Meg Ryan in this scene -- "and then after that I did three or four or five at a time. It just keeps getting better and better and better.
"You have to remember," says Kathryn, explaining how different life has become, "Charles was always busy. He worked hard. Kathryn don't work so hard. It's just kind of nice not to do nothing but sit there and do what I was doing. Instead of worried about whether 5,000 tons of stabilized sand is going out today, or whether it's gonna rain and I'm gonna lose this highway out here tonight."
She lives a quieter life in New Jersey now, she says, in a two-bedroom apartment with an eat-in kitchen and a living room and a landlord who pays for heat and water. It's not much, she says, but then she doesn't pay a lot for it, and though she's coy about her income -- she has worked only sporadically since leaving Houston -- she'll allow as to how there are advantages to a modest life.
"If you're just a working-class girl, there's lots more guys in the working-class people."