Summary: Chapter 23: Looking Myself Up in Webster's

After two weeks, Dr. Luce calls in Milton and Tessie to discuss his findings. Dr. Luce explains that Callie is a girl who has too much male hormone. He proposes giving Callie hormone injections and performing cosmetic surgery on her genitals. Tessie and Milton agree to Dr. Luce’s proposed course of action because he assures them it will give Callie a chance at a “normal” life.

Meanwhile, Callie sits at the New York Public Library doing research on the words she heard the doctors say. The word “hypospadias” leads her to “eunuch” and finally to “hermaphrodite.” “Hermaphrodite” suggests “monster” as a synonym. The dictionary offers her not just definitions but evidence of social conditions.

Dr. Luce tells Callie that she’s a girl whose clitoris is larger than other girls’, which can be fixed with surgery. Callie wants everything to go back to normal and feels relieved that Dr. Luce can make this happen. A receptionist calls Dr. Luce out of the room. Callie finds her file on Dr. Luce’s desk. The file clinically describes Callie’s biological gender as a male and examines all of the factors of her life and family on her gender. The file concludes that the surgery is the only way for Callie to fit in as a woman, but it will result in a loss of sexual pleasure.

That night, Tessie and Milton want to take Callie to a Broadway musical, but she claims she’s too tired. Callie packs a suitcase and leaves a note for her parents telling them that Dr. Luce lied: Callie’s a boy. He intends to go where no one knows him.

Summary: Chapter 24: Go West, Young Man

Callie, now going by Cal, arrives by bus in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He buys a suit at a Salvation Army to start presenting himself as a boy.

Cal goes to a barbershop to get his hair cut. The barber jokes that girls will like him better with short hair. Cal sees Callie in the mirror for the last time. He worries that Dr. Luce was right and closes his eyes. When he opens them, he notices how his long hair had hidden the masculine nature of his face. However, he still feels feminine inside. He knows he’ll never see the Object again.