Meanwhile, a doctor begins to research Desdemona’s longevity, theorizing that the Mediterranean diet she eats has caused her to age more slowly. Callie becomes convinced the same diet is preventing her from maturing and argues with her mom about eating Greek foods.

Summary: Chapter 16: The Wolverette

A judge declares the Detroit school system to be illegally segregated and orders busing between affluent suburban and impoverished inner-city schools. Callie starts attending an all-girls prep school because Milton doesn’t want her going to school in the city. Callie plays goalie on the school field hockey team, the Wolverettes, because despite her ineptitude with sports, the team needs players. Callie often feels physical pain in her abdomen, but she doesn’t know why.

After losing a game when the ball hits the side of her mask and deflects into the goal, Callie goes as slowly as possible to the locker room because she doesn’t want to face her classmates while changing. The most frightening are the “Charm Bracelets,” wealthy white girls who have attended the school since kindergarten. Callie feels superior to them because they’re unintellectual but also intimidated. Next are the unremarkable girls who Callie thinks of as the “Kilt Pins” for being necessary but not memorable. Callie’s place is with the “ethnic” girls. Cal, as narrator, wonders why the Charm Bracelets weren’t considered ethnic because they also had their own lingo and rituals. Nevertheless, they make Callie feel unamerican.

Chapter Eleven has been attending college at the University of Michigan. Over the summer at home, he learns he might get drafted and panics. Callie, watching her brother listen to the draft numbers anxiously on the radio, wonders which sex is considered truly expendable. Fortunately, the draft number Chapter Eleven receives is far too high to ever be called.

Finally, Callie starts growing, but she begins to exude traditional masculinity. Her voice deepens. Her classmates respond to her as if she’s a boy, and she becomes temporarily popular. However, this masculinity soon turns unattractive. Callie starts growing the hair on her head long in order to maintain some semblance of control over her body. Her hair is coarse, like Zizmo’s, instead of silky like Desdemona’s, and it gets everywhere. However, Callie insists on keeping it long because it hides her face.

Analysis: Chapters 15 & 16

As Callie grows up, she notices that two things set her apart: her body and her heritage. In Chapter 15, Callie’s growing awareness of herself as different from her classmates in her physical appearance becomes conflated with their differences in cultural background. Like her intersex body, Callie’s Greek heritage is something inherited that she cannot control. These two differences coalesce in the locker room—a place of both social segregation and nudity. Her Greek heritage, not her interests or social skills, determines who she gets to hang out with. Furthering her isolation, she never allows herself the same quick, casual nudity that her classmates can experience in the locker room, even denying herself a post-game shower because she hates her underdeveloped body. When she blames the Mediterranean diet for her slow development, she blames her Greekness—the difference whose cause she understands—for causing the physical difference whose cause she doesn’t understand. Callie’s anger at her family’s Greek customs and her desire for American food are representative of her wish to be what she thinks of as normal.