To pinpoint the precise moment I knew I was George Costanza reincarnated as a woman is not a simple task.
I can tell you when my parents knew and that was the minute my bald head appeared, crowning my mother’s vagina. Because, fun fact: from the ages of 0 to 3-years-old, I was a dead ringer for George. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Me? Resembling George Costanza? Far cry. But to those naysayers I say: the proof is in the pudding! Go ahead; take a gander at the below photo and tell me that face doesn’t have “George” written all over it.
In 1988, George was just a budding character in Larry David’s mind, which is probably why my mother referred to me instead as David Crosby. But I have no doubt that if I was born just three years later, it wouldn’t be little David Crosby that my mother was burping and dousing in Rogaine, but little Georgie.
They were scared and, honestly, can you blame them? One moment you think you’re giving birth to a baby girl, and the next moment out pops a miniature-sized truck driver—bound to be frightening for anyone. My parents will never admit it, but I’ve seen the photos, and I’d have to be blind to miss the unmistakable glint of horror in their eyes as they’re cradling a baby me.
But to pinpoint the moment I knew I was the female George Costanza? Well that’s hard to say. Perhaps it was the time I saw my own midget-sized breasts in George’s chubby, limp man-boobs. Or maybe it hit me the other day when, going on hour-six at work, eyes haggard from looking at the computer screen all day and brain dozing off, I instinctively slid off of my chair and found myself trying to squeeze into the nook under my desk for a catnap.
All I know is, cognizant of it or not, by age 7 George had crawled his way into my DNA and securely implanted himself into my double helix. My figure may have developed into an awkward, gangly shape more in line with Jerry, but my mind was all George. For, how else to explain my crippling hypochondriasis that began at such a young age? While girls around me were concerned with their Lisa Frank stickers, I could think of nothing else but the bumps growing on my areolas that I was sure were cancer. Or the AIDS I likely contracted from that knee-scrape I tended to 10 minutes too late. “AIDS?! Is it AIDS?!” My doctor will usually hear me scream when listening to my heartbeat on the stethoscope, in a tone not unlike George’s when referring to Lupus.
When the neuroses of a middle-aged, overweight, bald and unemployed man is trapped inside the body of a pretty little girl, shit gets weird! 8-years-old and I had already developed George’s habit of lying. On days I knew I had a doctors appointment, I would call my dad from a blocked number, pretend to be Dr. Traster’s secretary and cancel my appointment that afternoon, as well as all future appointments, indefinitely. And that tendency has only grown into a passion for large-scale deception. For instance, I love feigning chillness to guys I have just started dating. And then it’s always super fun when you get comfortable with him, forget about the whole “chill” act you’re putting on, reveal your intensely neurotic nature, and then get dumped.
Except for the whole dumping part. Not because it hurts, but just because, like George, I don’t enjoy confrontation of any kind. I don’t like being confronted with an incurable illness, nor do I particularly enjoy being confronted with my own bleak reality. And so, being the selfish kinda George gal that I am, I will go to great lengths to avoid anything slightly resembling a tête-à-tête.
Boss wants to fire me? Boyfriend wants to break up with me? Just pull a George, season 8, episode 15, and discreetly avoid them. Call them, so they don’t think you’re avoiding them, but make sure the calls are calculated for times when you know they won’t pick up. Because how is your boss supposed to fire you—or your boyfriend supposed to break up with you, for that matter—if he can’t reach you? That’s right, they can’t.
But my apprehensiveness towards confrontation doesn’t stop there, no siree! Like George, I am only human. So yes, this phobia of mine bleeds into all aspects of my life. It can even be something intangible, like an unfortunate event or a feeling that I’ll aggressively try to avoid. Too much love, for instance, and I will run away from you while vomit is spewing from every orifice on my person. Because, you see, I don’t like the pressure of others’ high hopes, and I don’t like being pigeonholed. It’s the 21st century and, like George, my single, child-less state is no accident. It’s a calculated decision that allows me to prolong my terminal egomania for the foreseeable future.
An emergency is another type of situation I do my best to avoid. Put me in a contretemps and not only will I think of no one but myself, but I am also liable to worsen the situation. It would be another couple years before George’s harrowing brush with death—when he trampled over elderly women and kids no older than 5 in an exemplary and triumphant escape from a fire (refer to video below)—but that didn’t stop me from knowing how to act in emergencies. In 1995, when a mouse was found scurrying across my parent’s living room, little Georgie was right beside me (or, more accurately, growing within me) giving me the strength I needed to persevere. And so I did what any little budding coward would do: I ran my 6-year-old ass straight to my bedroom, locked the door behind me, and then started banging on the door in a state of fury, for good measure. Perhaps that was when my mother finally knew she had given birth to a female George—when, three hours later and mouse long gone, she found me in that exact position, voice hoarse, still screaming.
The truth is, I have never been in control of my emotions—at least not since the birth of my conscience, when my parents took hold of my neuroses and never loosened that tight grip. I’m not…how do you put this…“fun” to be around, which is why I haven’t made friends since the 2nd grade. Much like George, who hasn’t made a friend since the 8th grade (presumably because he becomes less and less likable with each passing year), I only have friends because I held on tight to those couple girls I won over in 2nd grade after showing them my tap dance routine and letting them touch my sister’s bras.
Sometimes, after a fancy haircut, a thorough lip wax or a simple catcall while walking down the street, I’ll forget my unshakable likeness to George Costanza. And, real talk? It’s unsettling. Because the only thing scarier than having excess sweat and a perpetual racing heart is being mistaken for a self-possessing, respected woman. In such cases, fate will find its way of inserting itself back into my life—perhaps my weave will get caught in a fallen branch, or maybe I’ll have a nasty fall on a treadmill—reminding me that I am truly, an inescapably, a female George. And I can finally breathe a sigh of relief.