The first time I was 15. He had blonde curls, deep blue eyes and an American drawl from his mother that cut deep through suburban London. I told a friend how beautiful I thought he was but did nothing else. It surfaced again from time to time but never with the same simplicity, the shy urge to be close to someone, to touch skin and graze lips.
Decades later it has finally begun to materialise but not as I expected. Last year I realised how at home I feel in female clothing – slithers of lace and silk, straps I can pull taught between my fingers and a metallic necklace that jolts me with confidence each time I touch it. What started as a memory of how beautiful I thought a boy at school was has morphed into a preoccupation with ceding control: degradation by older women, an occasionally urgent desire to give head and presenting feminine all seem to be ways of escaping the pressure of a conventionally male role, of taking the lead.