Disguised as "Ned," Vincent entered an all-male world in which she joined a bowling league, dated women, worked as a door-to-door salesman, spent almost a month in a male catholic monastery, visited strip clubs and, to put the cherry on the top of the cake, joined a men-only therapy group.
I her book, Vincent creates rich, experience-proof portraits of all the men she met in all these places and managed to describe male behavior in a very pictorial way. One should not forget though, that being a lesbian, she successfully separates sexuality from gender issues. It is fascinating how Vincent describes the internal reflections of this experiment on her self image. The result from censoring her emotions, while hiding under the mask of a male, was a deep psychological breakdown, a crisis of identity, which threw her into the depths of depression.
Vincent's first daring act as a newborn male was to join a bastion of male friendship - she became a member of a local bowling team in a typical working-class Pennsylvania neighborhood. Her major problem was that she was a terrible bowler. Astonishingly, the men accepted her in the team. From this point on, her observations on the male world could begin. Among the first things to notice were the amazing generosity and support that they had. The bowling experience turned some of Vincent's perceptions about men being cruel and rejecting and women being warm and welcoming upside down. After nine months with the bowling team Vincent gained entrance to the inner sanctum of the masculine world. She found out that cursing and what seems to be verbal aggression among men is just a way for them to show affection for each another, without being too intimate.
Her in-depth exploration of male friendship doesn't stop here. Unveiling the mystery of boys' nights out is one thing, but explaining the explicit nature of male sexuality is quite another. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the male sex drive, Vincent visited several strip clubs, accompanied by a male friend. She describes this experience as hellish. According to her, it was very demeaning for the strippers, but even worse for the men. Vincent says that the activities she witnessed there describe the essence of pure, male sex drive. Men who visit these clubs are completely depraved of any meaningful interaction, although naked women are dancing in their laps. Though she is attracted to women as a lesbian, she could never get sexually aroused from these visits. Vincent realized that there are major differences between male and female sexuality. According to her, female sexuality is a mental experience, while for a man, it is physical urge.
This primitive urge can be a great disadvantage for men in modern society. Vincent claims that the act of simply hearing "no" from a woman can devastate a man. Women don't have to cope with the humiliating part of fighting for female approval. Men have to gather a lot of self esteem and courage, in order to cross the room and to introduce themselves to a total stranger who can easily degrade them in front of everybody by rejection. Saying the first words is a task which men are expected to fulfill and it is not a simple task. In most cases, she found out, saying those first words is very hard without sounding like a total jerk. If the opposite side is cruel enough, consequences can be very harmful