False Start 1 and 2

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False Start
A New Year’s Resolution Story
By Melanie E.

After a less-than-stellar time at their employer's New Year's party, Courtney returns home with a new drive to prove to the world just how much of a man she -- err, he -- truly is.

If only they can avoid the temptations of cute clothes, cute shoes, cute... boys? And other trials.


1. Auld Lang Syne

I took a long swig from the bottle of beer I’d opened and grimaced at the taste.

The truth is, I don’t like beer. I’m much happier with a nice glass of wine or even something like a margarita – you know, something fruity and playful, with brighter notes to it.

What I liked wasn’t what was important, though.

What was important… was masculinity. And, as far as I’m aware, a real man faces his problems with beer, and stubbornness, and….


I wracked my brain, trying to figure out what it was that real men did when they had problems they needed to sort out.

Watch sports, maybe?

I’ll do that tomorrow, I promised myself, feeling a little better about my masculinity immediately, even as another sip of the beer in my hand made me flinch away from the taste.

I left the TV remote where it lay on the coffee table, on top of a stack of bridal magazines and tabloids, and consciously kept my legs splayed as I slumped onto the couch. I considered putting my feet up on the coffee table, just for good measure, but couldn’t bring myself to do it – masculinity be damned, I really liked the lace cover on the coffee table, and if anyone tried to put shoes on it, I’d….

Well, they’d get a stern talking-to over it, that was for certain.

I tried to take another sip of the beer, but like with my feet, I just couldn’t, so instead, I set it on a coaster – one of the ones with a puppy on it, not a kitten, because dogs are more masculine – then leaned back and closed my eyes, taking a deep breath and only recoiling a little at the lingering taste of the alcohol.

What a disaster!

Hamilton Packaging was a great company to work for, in no small part because of how seasonal our business was. It was always a rush to get orders out in the months leading up to the holidays – custom gift boxes, packing materials for fancy “artisanal” internet boutiques, things like that – but outside the occasional rush order, we were almost always slowing down by the start of December, and we were always caught up enough to earn our company-wide three weeks off.

With no need to go anywhere or do anything until the second week of January, I’d done like I always did any time I had vacation available and immediately plunged myself into my femme persona the moment our time off started.

As office manager, I tried my best to keep a professional appearance at work, so it was always a joy to slip out of my (mostly) boring male work clothes and into something more comfortable, doubly so when I knew I had no rush to change back, and I’d been doubling down on my diet and yoga for the two months leading up to our vacay to make sure I could fully enjoy some of the outfits I’d picked up for the occasion.

I’d spent the last two weeks in heaven. No need to try and man up to appease anyone, no need to watch how I spoke or moved or strip off my nail polish or double-check I’d gotten all my makeup off (though I did anyway because a good skin care regimen is important.) No need to keep my hair tied back or make sure my lingerie didn’t show through my clothes or anything of the sort.

Nope. Just two weeks of comfort and relaxation… right up until the thirty-first and needing to get ready for the office New Year’s party.

It had been a rough and stressful day, from the bath with the less flowery soaps to replacing my polish with a clear-coat, then having to psyche myself up to put on my drab work clothes for the party, but I’d done it, and more or less gladly. I liked the people I worked with, after all, and my boss had told me he would be disappointed if his favorite organizer wasn’t there.

It had been a surreal night, from being “ma’am”-ed at the door and when the bartender checked my ID – Courtney isn’t that unusual a name for a guy! -- to chatting amiably with a lady who worked for one of our distribution partners, only for her to mention that she and her wife were looking for a third girl for a special New Year’s celebration, and realizing she thought I could be the girl.

For chrissakes, I was wearing wing-tips!

The boss’s son asking me to dance with him had been the last straw, and I’d quietly excused myself, promising my boss I’d had a good time and just had a busy day planned for the first.

And now here I am, sitting on my couch, another twenty minutes to go ‘til the ball drops, and all I wanna do is change into some of my cute winter jammies, hug my teddy bear, and cry.

I took another deep breath and shook my head.

This is ridiculous. I’m twenty-four years old. I shouldn’t be doing this. I should be….

What should I be doing?

That question was jarring enough I sat up and gave it a good thunk.

It wasn’t like people thinking I was a woman bothered me. If anything, it was very flattering and kind of fulfilling since I worked hard at it.

But I definitely didn’t want them doing so when I was trying to look like a guy.

The problem was that being a guy was hard work, and I really didn’t like having to do it.

Maybe it’s time I tried harder, though.

I thought again about the lady from the distributor and the bedroom eyes she’d been giving me when she mentioned her wife. There was a part of me that had been intrigued by the idea.

Then again, there was a part of me that had felt thrilled when the boss’s son had asked me to dance, too.

The lady from the distributor’s office had been a tall brunette wearing a classy black dress with some very cute kitten heels. I’d loved the dress but thought that her lipstick was wrong for her skin tone combined with the dark hair and dark material – she’d chosen a bright pink when a darker red would have played better with her coloration.

The boss’s son, Tony, had been wearing a well-cut blue suit that hung nicely on his fit frame. With his dark brown hair with hints of red in it and the crinkles at the corners of his blue eyes, he could have talked any girl at the party into a New Year’s kiss.

If I’d been there in my cute baby blue A-line dress – the one with the boat neck and the white beaded details – I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell him no, either.

But I wasn’t there in my cute dress, or a pair of kitten heels, or lipstick that actually worked with my winter coloration. No, I was there in a black pantsuit, with my hair tied back and barely even any foundation to help take some of the shine out of my complexion.

Okay, so I was wearing a cream silk blouse under the suit. None of my men’s shirts had looked nice enough, and with my tie on, nobody could tell the buttons went the other way anyway.

Still, I didn’t think I looked that femme.

Did I?

I left my unwanted beer sweating on its coaster and walked through my neat little apartment and into my bedroom, stopping in front of the tall antique mirror I’d inherited from my grandmother to give myself a thorough look.

I just saw me: Courtney Martin. Twenty-four years old as of October.

Blond hair past my shoulders, getting a bit shaggy now since I’d been growing it out for my vacay plans. Slim frame, with maybe a bit more shape than was normal for a guy, thanks to some careful yoga and toning exercises and a family history of fantastic asses. My nose was a little beaky, and my brows were maybe a little weak since I’d gotten a bit over-enthusiastic with the plucking before the holidays began, and eyebrow pencil could only help so much.

I turned sideways a bit and looked again, pulling my jacket in to highlight my trim waist, the square shoulders of the jacket and the drape of the cut giving me more of a silhouette than I would have without it, but not too much more.

I suppose I look a bit girly, I admitted, frowning just a little at my reflection.

On a whim, I pulled the low, loose scrunchie out of my hair and shook my head, then reached up to finger brush the hair into a bit nicer style, flowing around my shoulders and framing my face. Checking myself out again, I definitely looked even more feminine, but couldn’t help but smile at the image, tilting my head just a bit so the silver studs in my ears could catch some of the light.

Ugh! Don’t smile at it! I reprimanded myself, scowling at the pretty reflection in the mirror instead. Not that it helped much: with my eyebrows and hair, and finally noting how the suit jacket was just a bit too big in a sort of cute tomboy way, I wound up looking more like a pouting Taylor Swift than a defiant Chris Hemsworth.

Not that I’d really want to look like Hemsworth: finding heels in his size would be way too hard.

Not that that mattered.

Because I’m a man.

I huffed at my reflection one last time, then huffed some more as I huffed my way back to the huffing couch, toeing off my shoes on the way and kicking them into the corner where all my other guys’ shoes were since I needed the space on my shoe rack for my heels and boots and sandals and girl tennies.

I plopped back on the couch and crossed my legs, finally picking up the remote and turning on the television. It only took a moment to find the channel showing Ryan Seacrest and his Rockin’ New Year program, and I still had a good five minutes until the ball was set to drop.

I looked down at my toes and admired the bright red polish on them, gleaming even through the material of my stockings.

“Gah!” I exclaimed, flinging myself back into the cushions and sliding down into a slump.

What was it with me and girly things? Why were they so irresistible?

Seacrest’s voice caught my attention, and I found myself watching him as he said something or other, just meaningless drivel as everyone waited for the ball to drop. He gave the camera one of his toothy bright smiles, and I felt my heart skip the tiniest of beats. He wasn’t as handsome now as when I was little, swooning over him while watching American Idol, but he still had his charm, and just the memories were enough to give me a warm feeling in the pit of my stomach.

“Gah,” I said again, tearing my eyes away from the screen and wrapping my arms around myself in defense against the girly thoughts.

Nobody understood how hard it was. Nobody. How much effort it took, day in and day out, to try and figure out what I was supposed to do, how I was supposed to act, to be the guy everyone said I was supposed to be.

Sure, you search the internet, and it’s full of folks saying to just be yourself, showcasing their comfort in being a guy who wears makeup or cute clothes, or a girl with a mullet who wears flannel all the time, or all of that stuff, but that’s the internet.

In the real world, people judge you not for who you are but for who they think you’re supposed to be. And when you don’t fit that?

I shuddered, remembering bullies, both child and adult, past.

So, I tried to keep my feminine side limited to home. I tried my hardest to be who people expected me to be, seemed to want me to be, when out in public, at least as much as I could.

If I needed a little time to myself to dance to cheesy pop music while feeling pretty, then who did it hurt?

But it was getting harder and harder to just keep it at home.

I’d known the silk blouse was a mistake, just like the stockings, and not stripping the polish off my toes. I’d promised myself I’d go to the work party in full guy mode, but I’d broken that rule on all of those fronts, and it’d made it that much harder to keep up the charade.

The cute, lacy lingerie set I’d bought myself for New Year’s and worn under the whole ensemble probably hadn’t helped either.

“TEN!” Called the crowd of voices on the television, as the camera settled in to track the ball.

I can’t keep living like this.


Being one person out there, one person in here….


I can’t change the world. I can’t make it more forgiving.


But can I change myself?


What choice do I have?


I don’t want to be some weirdo, and I don’t want to stand out like those people I see on the internet.


All I want is to just be left alone to live my life.


But all of this just makes it that much harder, doesn’t it?


I can’t change my biology, so I guess that settles it.


I need to stop all this nonsense and just accept that.


I watched the television through the swelling tears in my eyes, watched the people crying out in joy as the new year dawned, bringing with it new hopes, new dreams, and new goals.

New resolutions.

Maybe that’s what I need.

I pulled a tissue out of the box on the end table and dabbed at my eyes, then walked over and grabbed my abandoned beer. Steeling myself, I took a huge swig of it and almost managed not to wince as I forced it down.

“I, Courtney Martin,” I said, raising the now almost half-empty bottle over my head, “do so solemnly swear that my resolution for this year… is to finally start acting like a man.”

As if in approval of my resolution, the crowds on the television cheered again, Auld Lang Syne echoing out through their numbers.

I felt a welling of pride in my chest. With this new conviction, I was sure that I could change things and finally be the man I’d always been told to be.

All I needed was a plan and a good night’s rest.

It wouldn’t hurt to wear one of my flannel nightgowns just one last time, though, right? It’s supposed to get down in the low forties tonight.

I assured myself it wouldn’t, and with a spring in my step, I headed to bed, ready to tackle the next day with a plan to find the new, manly me.


2. Stuffed


I turned from side to side a bit, checking myself out in my mirror.

It would have to do.

I’d gotten up a bit later than I’d have preferred for my first day in All Man Mode, at least partially because my blankets and nightgown were so nice and warm, and I hadn’t wanted to brave the chill air of the room just yet. That reticence was doubled by knowing that I’d have to forego my pink bunny slippers when I did get up because – toasty warm as they might be – pink bunny slippers just weren’t manly enough for the new, more masculine me.

When I finally did feel like I could handle it I gave my teddy bear D’Artagnan one last nose kiss and hug, knowing that it would be the last night I could hold him as I slept. He would be okay – he was a tough little bear, after all – but it was still a sad moment and made me glad I’d said goodbye to my other stuffies the night before, packing them safely into a suitcase and promising that I still loved them, I just couldn’t have them out anymore, because guys didn’t have stuffies on their beds.

D’Artagnan was staying only because he was a very manly bear.

Finally up, I’d hit the bathroom for my normal morning routine – teeth, moisturizer, a quick brush of my hair – and congratulated myself on resisting the urge to fix myself up even just a little bit. I considered shaving, just for the effect of it, but there wasn’t much point, thanks to the electrolysis sessions I’d gotten.

Not that there’d been much there to begin with anyway.

Morning ablutions taken care of, I’d headed to my closet to find something manly to wear….

It was harder than I’d expected.

Being a bit of a homebody, I didn’t really have a lot of clothes for going out on the town or anything, leastways not guy clothes, and most casual stuff it was easy enough to find things that I felt I could pass off as gender-neutral that, over time, I’d just sort of replaced most of my guy clothes with women’s equivalents, and that was coming back to bite me in the bud.

I didn’t want to wear one of my work suits again – I only had two of them, and besides that, I only had one men’s dress shirt to wear with them, and it was a horrible eggshell that always made me feel like it was just a little stained. I’d bought a number of nice women’s blouses that didn’t look particularly femme paired with the men’s suits, but I was still feeling burned by the reactions to my clothing at the party and didn’t have it in me to go through that again.

It was too cold for shorts and tees, with a high only expected in the mid-fifties for the day, so I needed pants, and maybe a sweater, and….


“Oh, geez,” I groaned to myself as I opened my lingerie drawer, looking for something masculine.

Boxers? Nope, they’re women’s boxers.

Briefs? Oop, nope, boyshorts.

Bikinis? Why would I buy men’s bikini’s if I was gonna wear bikinis?

Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.

“Yeegh,” I grimaced, looking at the one pair of men’s underwear I could find, a very beat-up pair of tightie whities that were almost as holy as my lace undies from the day before. “Yeah, no.” Straight into the trash they went.

For a brief moment, I considered going commando, but just thinking about the chafing and the griminess and….


Boy shorts it is, then, I decided, grabbing a plain white pair of cotton ones and setting them aside.

I started to reach for a bra but chided myself because guys don’t wear bras.

Well, most guys don’t wear bras.

Some guys probably should wear bras, I thought, giggling at the mental image of Mr. Liemann from the office putting on a sports bra. He had to be at least a D-cup, I’d wager.

The idea of not wearing anything under my top didn’t appeal to me either, especially with how easily I got cold, so I settled on a plain white yoga top, one of the few I had that didn’t have a built-in shelf bra. It was basically just a tank top, and guys wore tank tops all the time, right?

Plus, it matched the boy shorts, which was always a bonus in my book.

With suitably masculine undergarments sorted, I turned my attention back to the other items in my closet.

A bit of searching found a pair of slouch-y mom jeans I’d bought about a year earlier for work pants while I was redoing the living room and bedroom of my apartment. They still had remnants of paint splatter down them, in pinks and yellows and creams, and should be loose enough to pass as guy pants, at least.

A top would be harder, but I lucked into finding an old hoodie my girlfriend Angie had left behind a few weeks earlier when we’d had a movie night. It was charcoal grey, and I was pretty sure it was her boyfriend’s, since it had some kind of pokey-stabby logo on the front for what I assumed was a rock band, and me and Angie were both Taylor fans. It was more than a little too big, but guys wore clothes too big for them all the time, so it would work, right?

Of course, it would.

Which brings us back to me checking myself out in the mirror, wearing my chosen outfit.

“Hmmm,” I hmmm’d again, not entirely sure about the results.

I definitely looked a bit frumpy, at least, but I wasn’t sure if I really looked manly.

The jeans were baggy enough and wrinkled enough to be properly disheveled-looking, though I wasn’t sure the pastel paint did them any favors in the masculinity department now that I really looked at them, and I’d forgotten about the flower detailing on the back pockets, not that anyone would see them thanks to the hoodie. They were what they were, though.

To my surprise, it was the hoodie that I felt was giving me the most problems.

Angie’s boyfriend, it seemed, was an impressively built guy because the hoodie hung like a tent on my slender 5’5” frame, the sleeves coming down past my hands if I didn’t keep a grip on the cuffs, and the neck broad enough it kept falling off my shoulder, showing off my yoga top – I mean, my tank top – strap in a way that wasn’t particularly boyish.

Is this really the only guy top I have in the house?

I gave my closet another run-through, just to be sure, and decided that it probably was unless I wanted to change my mind about the suit or freeze in a tee shirt that I’d probably gotten in the women’s section anyway.

I really didn’t want to wear a suit.

As a last detail, I grabbed the black scrunchie I’d used to tie my hair back the night before and did so again in the same low and loose ponytail. That helped a bit, especially since I’d taken my earrings out the night before, so I was clean-faced, with no jewelry on, and wearing the most boyish clothes I had.

“I’d like at least a little foundation or something, though,” I admitted, frowning at how washed-out I felt. “And some eyeliner would go good with the color of the hoodie.”

Could I fake a beard shadow with some eye shadow, maybe?

Winning the fight against my urges, I grabbed a pair of plain white socks out of the chest of drawers – women’s socks, but socks are all the same anyway, and nobody but me would see the pink stitching on the toes – and headed to the kitchen for a quick breakfast, and to finally make The Plan.

Rather than fixing anything big, I grabbed a fruit bar out of the cabinet and sat down in my little breakfast nook, taking the notepad and pencil I kept on the fridge with me.

Okay, where to start….

Unsure of what else to do, I wrote “Courtney’s Be A Man Plan” at the top of the sheet.

Better than nothing, right?

I underlined it twice, for emphasis.

Still not feeling it, I drew a happy smiley face off to the side.

Definitely better.

I sucked on the pencil’s eraser for a moment as I thought about what I needed to do, then smiled as I began to write.



So, here it is, the first 2 chapters (of 6) of my New Year's story that I couldn't submit for the contest due to length! I hope folks have as much fun reading it as I did writing it!

If you want to go ahead and catch up on chapters 3 and 4, they're available right now over on the BCTS Patreon! And the last two chapters should be going up some time in the next week or so, as well. The whole story is complete and edited, so you don't have to worry about waiting for anything to get written -- ya just gotta wait for it to go live!

Thanks for taking the time to check my story out, and don't forget: I appreciate all thumbs-ups and comments, and will do my best to respond to them.

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joannebarbarella's picture

What man would ever write a "Be A Man Plan"? They would be so full of themselves that they wouldn't need to, so I think Courtney's goal is doomed from the start.

I can envisage one disaster after another derailing her every effort.

Also, I've read the next instalment on Patreon, but no spoilers.

No spoilers?! Awww!


But for real, this is a pretty silly little story overall, so you may, perhaps, be right in your expectations.

Test readers have given me a judgement that Courtney is adorable, if that's not too many spoilers already.

Melanie E.


Marissa Lynn's picture

She's already adorably eggy two chapters in, so that's hardly a spoiler. :)

be a man plan

I see that working about as well as it does for Jaci.

(hides in case Jaci reads this)

huggles, hon.


I'll give Courtney a B+ for effort trying to man up

But D- for execution. Somehow, I don't she is going to be able to make headway with her resolution. The cover image goes great with this story. I'll be looking forward to the next chapter to read.

Chapters 3 and 4 are on the BCTS Patreon already

if you don't wanna wait for 'em, and the last two chapters -- 5 and 6 -- will be going up there Monday, at which time I'll bring 3 and 4 over here :)

Yeah, this may be a hard resolution for Courtney to keep. :P

Melanie E.

Being a transwoman myself, I

KateElizabethSuhr13's picture

Being a transwoman myself, I can't imagine why anyone would want to be a man. Yuck. Like I hated being a man as I entered my late teens/20s. I got facial and leg hair removed via laser at Ideal Image and really wanna go back for chest stomach and groin though the last one scares me.

Anyways she's gonna realize you can't just switch off who you are and be a man. It's like when gay guys or gay girls for that matter try praying the gay away. It just don't work that way but once that person accepts themselves for who they are, they can finally feel happy.