Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Journey into Manhood and Back Again

Norah Vincent

Journalist Norah Vincent, a lesbian from New York City, decided to make an experiment of cross-dressing as a man and turn it into a book. And as “Ned,” she infiltrated an all-male bowling league, a monastery, a men’s support group, went on blind dates and visited hardcore strip clubs. I identify well with men: I have more male friends than female, I don’t like to ask directions and I love power tools. But I was irritated with the writing style, the sort of über-feminism I was subjected to in college, and what I considered stylistic inconsistencies, like writing in first person but mixing voice when it didn’t seem appropriate. But then it grabbed me, and my experience reading the book oddly paralleled the journey Norah went through while living for 18 months as Ned. As Ned learned the nuances of men, she and I both had many heart-felt opportunities to delve into our psyches, resulting in Vincent’s eventual nervous breakdown and my staring off into space in wordless-thought. This provocative read works beyond the bumpy take-off and will enrich your understanding of both sexes.