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Tuesday, December 28, 2004


After I go to the Doctor's office, we're going straight to a birthday party for one of the great unsung heroic leaders of the local PFLAG chapter -- so I was wondering what to wear. I looked good the last time I went, in a black velvet dress and a little black hat, with hoops in my ears. And before that, I was on the kitchen committee and went in a simple blue shift with an apron and a hair kerchief.

But this time, absolutely nothing would do. I'm realizing I'm not as out to the front counter people at the Dr.'s office as I'd like to be, just yet, not to mention terrified of the other patients -- her office is in a small town with a logging background -- but also with Beloved coming along, it makes it different ... she's in a classroom environment today, which means she'll come home in overalls and tired, maybe cranky. If I get her into the car at all, it won't be with me doing the Betty Boop act!

So I fell back on my old standby, a maroon turtleneck and jeans, with a bandanna -- and, sure enough, I feel womanly again, not like that big-headed wide-shouldered thing I saw in those dresses in the mirror.

There's an old joke about cross-dressers can't wait to get home and put on the bra, while transwomen can't wait to get home and take the damned thing off.

It's kinda true.

What complicates things for us when we try to explain about all this to counselors, though, is they have taken classes about telling us apart from the dressers, and it's not easy to do for 2 reasons.

Cross-dressing males dress as women.

Women dress as whatever the occasion demands (think house painting), but usually as women.

So if you have a male body but feel you are supposed to be a woman, you'll do things that look pretty indistinguishable from cross-dressing behaviors.

Which is why the shame associated with shopping, etc. -- we feel the always-potentially-devastating label of sexual deviant hovering nearby.

And so when the counselors ask us how did you feel when you dressed up as a girl? what they're looking for is that moment of hesitation while we decide whether to lie about dressing for pleasure.

And we do fall for it. Which slows down the whole process, because they don't always get that at one time, each of us had to go through the phase of dressing for pleasure because we didn't know what transsexualism was -- we had only heard of transvestism. We were choosing colors that were the only ones available on the palette.

So, now that I know this, I have the feeling I'm not going to be spending much of my life in lacy underthings -- a good bra cami makes so much more sense -- or dresses -- a good pair of jeans is better protection for the knees, and ya can run faster -- and I'm going to be cleaning out my dresser pretty soon.

Because I need the room for clothes, not symbols.


OTOH, yesterday I got out the kayak for the first time in ages, in an effort to get some kind of exercise in this weather. It was sunny for an hour or so in the morning, which suckered me in, so suddenly I'm on middle of the reservoir when a bitterly cold storm front rolled up the valley. These things always appear from the southwest, behind Mount Zion, their shadows spread over the water the wings of a frozen death angel.

I didn't stay long, just enough to say hi to the ospreys and coots and tell them I'd be back.

But the whole trip just made me about as glum as I've ever been on the water. And it wasn't the cold.

I don't yet have anything -- um -- feminine -- to wear out there. So I was in cold-weather guy-kayaking-gear. All that was me about me, to any outward observer, was the color of my fingernails.

Shouldn't bother me, after all I just said above about jeans and symbolism, right?

So here's the deal: I want practical stuff, but I'm not happy in size 32/36; I'm happy in size 14.

That's an internal matter.

So I'm taking these pants and this shirt back to the closet in the storeroom, where the ties and blazers are. I'm going to the doctor's office as me. Then the party, with my tired but brave and loving spouse. Then back here. And I'm gonna plan on taking her up on her offer to go shopping with me for better stuff. Including outdoor stuff.

Real Soon.

And I'm ready for summer, like, Any Day Now ...


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