One of my most unfortunate qualities is that I have trouble telling men from women. (Believe me, it’s led to some embarrassing moments.) Even now, when I look closely at Visual Kei artists, I am utterly baffled.

Apparently, I’m not alone. I found photos of gender-bending J-rockers and enlisted Ronan (from the venerable Committee) to guess whether each person is a woman or a very pretty man. You can play along too! Give yourself one point for every correct answer. Cue game show music and flashing lights… audience bursts into applause… and we’re on the air!

Gothic Lolita La Carmina with small crown hair accessory.
RONAN: Are those one person?
CARMEN: No, it’s three different people.
RONAN: Oh god, this is a tough one, even for me. The trouble is they don’t have ankles or hands clearly visible.
CARMEN: They have sizeable hands.
RONAN: I’d be able to tell in person. My best guess… Can I use a lifeline? Can I poll the audience? Mommy!
CARMEN: I don’t think your mom can help you with this one.
RONAN: I’m going to guess… All men.
RONAN: Score!

Gothic Lolita La Carmina with small crown hair accessory.
RONAN: These ones are more convincing, so the fear of the trap is all the more heady.
CARMEN: Ah, yes. The danger of the tranny surprise.
RONAN: I’m going to call tranny surprise on all of these lovely she-men. Male, male, male, male.
RONAN: Male.
CARMEN: There you go. And the answer is…. ALL MAN, ALL THE TIME!
RONAN: Oh I am good! Take that!
CARMEN: Try this one on for size.

Gothic Lolita La Carmina with small crown hair accessory.

RONAN: 2 and 4 are definitely men.
CARMEN: Is that your final answer?
RONAN: Let me look one more time. Again, we have obscured critical traits, like necks, wrists, and ankles. Yes, I’m going to call weener on 2 and 4.
CARMEN: Certain wrists are indeed delicate here.
RONAN: Ah! A clue, a clue!
CARMEN: So, 2 and 4 are men, and 1 and 3 are women?
RONAN: I didn’t say anything about 1 and 3 yet. I’m doing this one piecemeal.
CARMEN: Wait, you want me to answer those first?
CARMEN: Hm… I think you can’t do that.
RONAN: I make the rules as I go, byatch.
CARMEN: You’re afraid of failure! Of staring into the laughing faces of our blog readers!
RONAN: Don’t start flaunting your authoritah with me!
CARMEN: Ok, I’ll tell you because it won’t make a difference. Everyone in this picture… meow meow meow! All kitties.
CARMEN: Dum dum dooooooonnng.
RONAN: Nooooooo! Okay I’m… I’m recovered a little.
CARMEN: This is what you get for trying to game the system. But I will be nice. I will give you two out of four.
RONAN: Sniff. Thanks Carmen.

Gothic Lolita La Carmina with small crown hair accessory.
RONAN: Okay, we’re doing this one at a time, left to right. Umm… I almost said girl, then noted something. I may have just saved myself from the brink.
CARMEN: What did you notice?
RONAN: A certain lack of hip.
CARMEN: The audience oooohs.
RONAN: I don’t know, I had a sudden pang of doubt.
CARMEN: To play devil’s advocate… everyone here IS Japanese.
RONAN: Ahah! A fair point, emcee.
CARMEN: A lack of hip is not unusual.
RONAN: I’m going to say… Boy boy on the first two.
CARMEN: You are on the brink, this is for sure. This time… You didn’t fall in!
RONAN: Yes! Hallelujah! Kiss the children for me Marie Jean, I’m coming home with the big prize after this!
CARMEN: Don’t be too sure, my friend. Let’s finish the other two. What sayeth ye?
RONAN: I call boy on numero tres. I see crotch bulge.
CARMEN: I think your eyes are playing tricks on you.
RONAN: What… what!?! It can’t… be!
CARMEN: It isn’t. It is a folded piece of fabric. Still…. it’s a BOY!
RONAN: YES! I’m weeping. My keyboard is moist with tears of joy and agony.
CARMEN: How about sweet Mar on the right?
RONAN: This is the big kahuna. This may be my Waterloo, folks. The deception is immaculate. The contents of the dress… inscrutable! Still, we have a trend here. I’m going to say… boy.
CARMEN: Oh dear. I will show you a video of Mar. And then you can tell me for certain.
RONAN: Video evidence!? Mein gott. A new wrinkle entirely.
CARMEN: Hahah we make it up as we go. That’s how this blog works.
RONAN: A new crease in the suspiciously bulging loins of this exercise, if you will.

RONAN: Ahah! The deception crumbles instantly in motion and decent lighting.
CARMEN: Not to mention you hear Mar TALK at the end of the video.
RONAN: The entire challenge here derives from airbrushed, obscurely lit stills. I’m sorry, but boy number four fails. I call vas deferens on him.
CARMEN: I don’t see a bulge… but I see an Adam’s apple. The audience erupts! We’ve got two more….

Gothic Lolita La Carmina with small crown hair accessory.
RONAN: I have no doubt that the top three are men.
CARMEN: Men on top? So heteronormative!
RONAN: The telling murmur of testosterone sings in these veins. What can I say, I’m a traditionalist.
CARMEN: Right, you don’t wear pink dresses on the weekends.
RONAN: Don’t assume too much about my weekend activities. Number five gave me some hesitation, but the size of hand clinched it. It’s a man, baby. Two times.
CARMEN: Feathers, long hair, skirts…. and you call the bottom two MEN?
RONAN: I’m an old pro, Carmina. I’ve learned the wisdom of caution.
CARMEN: If you keep this up, you’ll never end up with a surprise package under the skirt. These two got meat!
RONAN: I hope I don’t have to go under the skirt to find my prize.
CARMEN: You may not emerge alive… or unsoiled.
RONAN: And still I fight on. For you and the children, Debbie Jean.
CARMEN: I thought her name was Marie Jean.
RONAN: Erm… Debbie… Marie… Goes by many names. cough
CARMEN: By the way, folks, this blog is read by over five million viewers. Ok, last round! If you prevail… you may score higher than ALL the readers who are playing along! So far, you’ve only called two lovely ladies manly. How about this group?

Gothic Lolita La Carmina with small crown hair accessory.
RONAN: Okay, this is tough. Soft-focus lighting. A deadly obstacle to success.
CARMEN: Unless you’re in a dim nightclub trying to score. The clock is a-ticking. A-tick, a-tock.
RONAN: Oh boy. I’m at a loss here. The faces are too distant, too foggy! Throw me a bone, people! Jennifer Leslie, I may never make it back to you now!
CARMEN: Good grief, how many she-males are you juggling? I will throw you a crumb. How do people signify if “it’s a girl” or “it’s a boy”?
RONAN: Yin and Yang? I’m into the Asian aesthetic here.
CARMEN: It’s throwing you off.
RONAN: Your hint is too obscure? Am I right audience?
CARMEN: The audience knows! They’re whispering amongst themselves! J.Lo is in the audience and even SHE is scoffing!
RONAN: J.Lo can cram it, she’d have just as much trouble if she were up here, subjected to the glare of the spotlight!
CARMEN: Time to choose: Man or Woman? Or the prize goes up the skirt forevahhh!
RONAN: Okay. Girl in the very front. Boy on the right. Boy in the back in gold. How am I doing, people!?
CARMEN: I already gave you not one, but TWO clues already!
RONAN: On the left in green, the face says girl, the hand says boy. I’m consulting a lifeline on these last two. I’m calling a friend. Merle is getting on the phone right now.
Brrring! Brring!
RONAN: Merle is uncertain!
CARMEN: J.Lo is getting up and walking out.
MERLE: Green is a boy, black is a girl? Though possibly a boy. ASIANS ARE TRICKY.
RONAN: Merle, you are not helping matters! But it looks like my lifelines are all up. Green boy, black girl it is.
CARMEN: J.Lo just had twins. One was a boy, and one was a girl. And people tell babies apart traditionally… by the colors they wear!
RONAN: Green and black do nothing to help, however.
CARMEN: Merle is right. Asians are tricky. And they’re not strictly dickly. But in this case…. except for the one in pink… they ARE!
RONAN: Woah. So how’d I score?
CARMEN: 23 out of 26.
RONAN: Hey! Not bad! Do I get the prize? Hallelujah Lisa Elizabeth, I’m comin’ home! I won the big one!
CARMEN: It’s under the skirt! And it’s getting bigger by the moment!
RONAN: Hoo boy. Let’s not go there today, shall we?

ANNOUNCER: Today’s featured Visual Kei bands were Blood, Phantasmagoria, Danger Gang, Sectmateria, Versailles, and Onmyoza.
Roll credits!



  1. Sarah
    Posted May 23, 2008 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Great blog…. and i picked up some tips

  2. Sarah
    Posted May 23, 2008 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Great blog…. and i picked up some tips

  3. aya
    Posted July 9, 2008 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    eeer . . its just . . the video you posted . . its Shiyu of serialNUMBER ^^ he himself said “Shiyu desu” ^^

    but other than that i likes this ^^

  4. aya
    Posted July 9, 2008 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    eeer . . its just . . the video you posted . . its Shiyu of serialNUMBER ^^ he himself said “Shiyu desu” ^^

    but other than that i likes this ^^

  5. atching
    Posted October 10, 2009 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    oh gosh!how can i answer
    it's answered already

  6. Anonymous
    Posted October 10, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    oh gosh!how can i answer
    it’s answered already

  7. atching
    Posted October 10, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    oh gosh!how can i answer
    it's answered already