Sunday, July 28, 2013

All Dressed up and Scared to Death

To catch everyone up here in Cyrsti's Condo, I'm putting together a "Ten Greatest Hits" list for my book. This one comes from around 1995:

For the longest time I was treading water and trying not to drown. For the right reasons of trying to discover who I was and the wrong reasons of sneaking around the backs of my loved ones to do it, I made the giant leap of faith into the real world as a trans girl. As you may guess, a very scary proposition. For years I had been testing the waters in gay venues and harmless shopping trips but never had I hitched up my big girl panties and went out into the world.


The place I decided to go was a slightly upscale chain restaurant with a busy bar. I chose it because at that time I managed venues similar to it. I knew what to expect from the crew and management. Company policy would dictate as long as I didn’t create much of a stir, my money was good. Remember, this was way before any discrimination laws concerning transgender patrons in public places. I also had scouted this place and knew the clientele around 9 PM included quite a few single working women just getting off of their jobs at a big nearby mall. To blend I would have to attempt go dress in a professional business attire but not go over the top. Actually a perfect match to my wardrobe of the day.

All of the process was easy until I summoned enough courage to actually do it. I dressed in black dress slacks and a burgundy blouse with flats and my long blond wig I was fond of then.. The place I was heading was nearly 20 minutes or so from my house so the good news was I had a chance to calm down and regulate my breathing before I got there. The bad news was I had a longer time to stay a complete nervous wreck before I arrived. But arrive I did.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I made a futile attempt to find the non existent oxygen tank in the car for breathing emergencies such as this. Instead I pulled down the lighted mirror in the car and made one last stab at fixing my make up and hair. After the 15 minutes which seemed like a life time, I summoned up all my courage, left the safety of the car and headed for the entrance which I knew held the keepers of the castle, the Hostesses. From experience I knew “Hosti” are a finicky and funny bunch. They are the “gate keepers” who in a second could sound the alarm of an intruder in their midst who wasn’t all she appeared to be. My experience also told me though to time my entrance at a moment when they were seating others and then make an end run for bar seating. The “end run” seemed like a mile but I made it to the bar area without falling down or making any other kind of a spectacle of myself.

The bar itself was in the shape of a “U”. The closed end was supported by two columns which went up through the ceiling and ended on the bar. As I approached, I felt like I was back in Army basic training looking for cover. As luck would have it I found a seat next to one of the columns and tried to make myself part of it. After all of the drama though, here I was dressed as a woman in a world full of strangers who oddly enough were not paying me any attention. A person who would was on her way! Without a care in the world she invaded my thoughts with “how are you, can I get you a menu to get started?” Really? Was that it? Wasn’t she going to say “we don’t serve guys in dresses, get out?” No, of course she didn’t and as it turned out she served me drinks and food for over a decade at the same place. I felt like I had arrived as a woman (wrong) but I felt this experience made the list for more than the obvious reasons.

The evening did make the top ten because I did make the gender jump to the other side, or thought I did. But then I had to consider if I indeed could continue to exist as a trans girl in the everyday world, did I want to? I had opened Pandora’s Box and had to decide if I liked all that I discovered. From the outside I was drawn to all glitter and bling but would soon continue to discover a multitude of other contents in the box. I was to discover later I had just scratched the surface with my stick on nails, and many not so pleasant learning experiences were to follow. Plus I had the biggest issue of all, the continuing issue of the effects of all of this on my wife. 

So, at this point I just decided the absolute wrong path was the right one to take - the  status quo. Stay tuned! 

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