Those of us who have transitioned and seen life “from both sides now” as Joni Mitchell famously sang know a truth hidden from most. Men and women live separate worlds separated by cellophane. A few thousandth of an  inch a part. We think we hear each other but so often do not.

If you are a woman you can tell a woman that she looks nice or pretty or has great makeup or a beautiful necklace. In fact, the world of women is greased by such polite compliments .

As a woman it is kind of amazing that for all the inequitable treatment we receive, men will sometimes go through contortions to hold a door open, and will wave us through ahead of them.

A woman has to be extremely careful in showing attention to men as virtually any innocent statement, gesture or action can be taken the wrong way. God forbid you touch a guy on his arm, he might wonder if you want him, and all you were thinking was that he was upset and needed human contact.

A man who pay compliments to women can be seen as a creep for making personal remarks about a woman’s appearance. You expect to be deferred to by women, and for your every word to be listened to with great respect. You are always looking for attention from women and sometimes read more into it than is warranted.

As a man, women are mysterious and never say what they mean. A man doesn’t understand why his girlfriend or wife doesn’t want him to solve their problems, just listen and empathize. It is puzzling – wouldn’t it be better if women said what they mean? It is puzzling – why can’t men understand that we feel awkward being direct because said plainly we would hurt someone’s feelings.

Puzzling for sure. When I was a man I did not  understand women well. Now I’m a woman and I don’t understand men as well as I thought I ought to.

The sheet of cellophane is exceedingly thin. Only a few see both sides of it.


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