CHICK FOR A DAY by Fiona Giles


What Would You Do If You Were One?
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A one-trick collection of essays, short stories, poems, and one-liners, each of which, turning the tables on Giles’s previous

anthology, Dick for a Day (not reviewed), has men imagining becoming a woman for one day.

Some of the 38 talented contributors bear such familiar names as Andrei Codrescu, but most will be better known to

alternative-press readers. They become female by having an operation, taking part in a government experiment, using a magic

wish-fulfilling machine, or experiencing a miracle. Their initial reaction is usually surprise and intrigue over their new body; some

writers stew over picking a perfect name for their vagina. Many feel empowered, wanting to achieve an orgasm as quickly as

possible, either by sex or masturbation or, in Bayard Johnson’s case, by horseback riding. Others tackle difficulties women can

face, from harmless nuisances (getting unwanted looks and passes) to being raped or physically abused, as in South African writer

and director Ian Kerkhof’s "Sometimes It Ain’t Easy Being a Gal." Bernard Cohen remains a woman long enough to give birth,

while Bruce Bauman offers insight into a woman’s experiencing "the loss of ego and confidence that comes with the inability

to have a child." Another poignant piece is Bill Buege’s poem, which explores being an old, lonely woman with "turkey-wattle

arms." Although Gerald Locklin does not relish the idea of being female ("Actually, I would probably kill myself"), John

Vanderslice’s character is so pained by the feeling of loss after being transformed back to a man that he has to call in sick to

work. In the end, most characters find their experience "a day to love my vagina for giving me the power of a new manner of

feeling and compassion and wisdom."

Diverting and at times amusing, yet not particularly thought-provoking.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-684-85517-8
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2000