Vox Populi

My second big mistake was going to school in a skirt the first day after coming back from hospital with a broken bone. It was stupid but it was so much easier a way to deal with the cast.

Of course my first big mistake was to break my leg. I’d have liked to say that I was a victim of unfortunate circumstances or I that I had done something heroic. The simple truth was that I had tried to do something really stupid. I failed. It hurt.

It hurt almost as much as missing Mid-term Week. No, we don’t have a week off at my high school but Mid-term Week is awesome! Teachers take it easy and try to stress whatever is fun in their subjects. Except Miss Grey of course. I’m not sure she has grasped the concept of “fun”. Apart from that there are the student council elections (a few years ago the powers that be decided that seniors should concentrate on their final exams so student councils were elected from spring to spring) and referenda. The same powers had the idea that the student body should participate as much as possible. However, most of the issues coming up for vote were quite silly. What I really regretted missing was the big school dance and all the spontaneous mini-parties. Now I had spent the week in bed playing games and watching dance videos. Please don’t tell anyone! In my school a junior boy is not supposed to be interested in dancing. I’ve never taken any classes. I’ve always been too embarrassed to bring it up with my parents. I’m not a bad gymnast though. Of course if I had come back to school during Mid-term Week nobody would have given a *** about me wearing a skirt.

Now they did. If I had thought about it I should have realized that I’d get lots of grief. I didn’t.

Most of my fellow students were really nice to me. I wasn’t used to that. Oh, I’m not the usual bullying victim or anything like that. It’s more like I’m invisible. I don’t excel in academics. I’m not part of the popular crowd. I’m not one of those boys mothers warn their children about. I’m certainly not a jock despite being a second string gymnast. If anything I’m “petite”. Not handsome but some girls call me cute. I have some friends. One of them is in the football team and most likely to be the Quarter Back next year. Mike and I used to play together when we were younger but when he became a big sport’s star and popular we started to drift apart. The nice part was that he never disavowed me. He always remained friendly and protective. Sometimes I caught him looking at me in a funny way that I couldn’t really figure out. No matter, he was there waiting for me that first morning back to school. He helped me around. At first I thought it was only because he was around that the others were nice to me. Then during the first break when I was going to another class-room Mary B. slammed me into a locker. This was totally unexpected. Mary B (B for bitch) was the leader of the popular girls. Extremely conceited, extremely popular, extremely powerful, extremely bitchy. So far I had been beneath her notice. Now she slammed me into a locker? Even more strange; the other students took my side, helped me up and told her off. Some of them I remembered as usually seeing in her entourage. Pete, a really nice but very shy boy, despite being the outstanding athlete in school (sprinter at state championship level) helped getting me to class. When he left me there he gave me a shy smile and left.

The rest of the day I noticed some definite changes in school politics. Something must have happened while I was away. Not only had Mary B. lost her power. Apparently she had broken up with her very socially conservative boy-friend as well. If I had thought things through before coming to school in a skirt I’d had expected him to be one of the people to attack me. Now that crowd was invisible. On the other hand my friend Mike had somehow been elected student council president. I knew he was popular but I hadn’t expected that. Well, that meant he had lots of things to do so while he tried to spend as much time as possible with me, almost in a touchy feely way, I still had to fend for myself most of the time. Not that I was alone. There seemed to be no end of people that wanted to befriend me and Pete was always there for me whenever I needed help.

Obviously I was excused from PE. I had expected to sit in the library catching up. No such luck. A couple of cheer-leaders grabbed me and brought me to their practice. It was fun! Their enthusiasm was contagious. They were friendly. With my gymnastics back-ground (and all those dancing videos I watch) I could come up with some ideas. Even though I was limited in what I could do myself I found that I could get my ideas across and to the surprise of all of us it turned out that I had a gift for coaching. As I said it was fun! Until the end of practice when they started to drag me into the girls’ locker room saying that there is no one else around except us girls. Fortunately the school secretary came and asked me to come to and see the Principal.

My conversation with the Principal did not start well.

Principal: Now that you are a girl we need to make a slight change in your schedule. When you get well you can join the girls’ aerobics class …

Me: What?! I’m not a girl!

Principal, confused: Mike said … you wearing a skirt … always kind of girly …

After about five minutes of complete mutual incomprehension we finally came to the conclusion that we, well, actually really I, was the victim of a hoax perpetuated by Mike.

One of the referenda in Mid-term Week had been whether I was to be recognized as a girl. Mike had told the Principal and everyone else that I was transgendered and wanted to use the referendum to be accepted as a girl as a short-cut. The Principal had had no objections. He had got the impression that Mike was acting on my behalf. Mike had organized quite the campaign. He had had some significant help from some other popular students. The Principal had been surprised to see how engaged Pete had become but the crucial one had been Mary B. If I understood the Principal correctly Mary B. had done it more as a joke. Turn the pretty little no-account boy into a girl. Well, it had cost her her boyfriend. The result was Girl: 89%, Boy: 6%, Blank votes: 5%. This meant that that as far as the school was concerned I was now a girl. Then I had been elected Junior Prom Queen.

That was why Mary B. hated me. I, the “ex-boy”, had beaten her. The Principal showed me the numbers. In any but a straight yes/no vote the school used a Single Transferable Vote system. The first choice votes had been
Mary B. 41%
Amy (that’s me the Principal told me): 29%
Lucy Cooper: 18%
Greta Schroeder: 12%
Final result:
Amy: 57%
Mary B. 43%

It was quite obvious what had happened. I hadn’t really won. I had just become the natural focus for the Anti-Mary vote. Mike and Pete had been very active in this vote as well though the Principal thought they acted independently. Mike had obviously used me as a pawn to take down Mary B. He had been elected Junior Prom King and as a result of how badly Mary B. had reacted to losing to me he had easily won the student council election.

The Principal realized the situation this put me in. Or rather the situation he had managed to put himself in. After some consideration he thought the easiest way out was for me to remain a girl for the rest of the semester and come back Senior year as a boy. Academically there was no change. The Principal also let slip that he believed that Mike really was in love with me. WHAT?!!

Me: What about PE? You just moved me to the girls’ aerobics class. I can’t change with the girls, can I? And rest rooms?

Principal: I see no problem with that.

Me: Even if the “Will of the People” is that I’m a girl I’m still a boy, a teen-age boy. I like girls. I will get a reaction to seeing them naked.

Principal: What’s the problem? So does Lucy Cooper. And if you want to I can put you in another PE group. One with less pretty girls than the aerobics class.

OK, the Principal had a point there. Lucy was blatantly lesbian. No hiding there. At the same time she was funny and always nice about it and the rest of the girls had no problem with her. Having said that, she sure ogled pretty girls. No way I could be worse than her!

Come to think about it wouldn’t be too bad to be with the pretty girls in the aerobics class. People liked me as a girl. I was popular for the first time ever in High School …

Then the girls’ coach came in and gave the Principal a note. Smiled at me and left.

Principal: Sorry, I can’t put you in the aerobics class.

Bummer! What did the note say?

Principal: You have been drafted to the Cheerleading squad and as they say that’s an offer that you can’t refuse. Until you get better and can participate yourself you are as of today their auxiliary coach.

A cheerleader? Junior Prom Queen? One of the popular girls?

Who am I to question the Will of the People?

I was feeling conflicted about Mike. He was in love with me? He had made me popular! He’d done all this without asking me. Effectively tricking me into becoming his girlfriend.

I was grateful!

I was absolutely, totally furious!

I decided that I’d go to the Junior Prom as the Queen. I’d dance the obligatory dance with the Junior Prom King. I’d devote myself to my date.

I had no doubt I’d get Pete to ask me to the Prom. He’s nice. He’s kind. And …. He’s a HUNK!



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