THAT WAS FUN! 7 April 2018

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I went out to dinner with a friend last night at a winery. There was a marvelous jazz band. Loved it! Just loved it!

I was wearing what I think was a terrific little gray dress with pumps and some red jewelry. I think I looked pretty darned hot! My friend was in a suit and tie, which made us one of the better-dressed couples in the bistro.

Torn jeans and flip-flops in a classy winery/bistro? Seriously?

The jazz was mostly music from the 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s. I understand that genre is called American Standard. The band had transcribed some big band stuff and made it suitable for a small combo. They were excellent!

I would have loved to dance, but it was a restaurant venue that wasn’t set up for that. I was having such a good time laughing with my companion and enjoying the music and the great food and wine–since this was a winery, I had one of my rare alcoholic drinks, a Cabernet Sauvignon produced locally, which was excellent!–that I didn’t much care since I was able to chair dance instead!

As a usually-non-drinker I really felt the wine!

Did people at other tables think the older blonde was too into the music? Making a fool of herself at her age? Maybe. Did they clock me? Maybe. Do I care? Absolutely not!

Going through transition I learned that there is no way to survive coming out as trans and those moments when you don’t pass unless you can get over being easily embarrassed.

The less you care about the opinion others have of you, the better your life will be.

Just a useful tip from your transgender neighbor!

Something else I have learned is that if there is joy available you had better grab it no matter what someone else thinks! Other people don’t get a vote. I appreciate and am grateful for every moment of happiness I am granted.

Buy the red pumps, wear the cute dress, eat the too-rich chocolate dessert, laugh and dance and be who you really are.

Why would you want to live in any other way?

 

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Transgender Holiday Party 2017

Beraud au cafe

Last night I attended a dinner at an Irish pub—we rented a large, mercifully heated and enclosed patio at the back of the restaurant—for the staff and volunteers at an organization for the transgender community in the state where I live and do some volunteer work. Some of us drove in from other towns in the region. We were encouraged to each bring a guest. As my date, I brought a transgender man who is a good—strictly platonic—friend of mine with whom I sometimes attend concerts and such.

Most of us femme types showed up dressed to kill. I certainly did my best! Except sometimes for church and classical music concerts at night, I don’t often have an excuse to wear my fancy skirts, tops, and heels. In heels, I am exactly the same height as the current and immediately prior First Ladies in their bare feet. I love the tapping sound my heels make on hard surfaces!

(Film noir: the echo of high heels on the wet pavement of a darkened, empty street . . .)

At the height of the evening we must have made up close to a third of the people in the crowded, Friday-night restaurant. To get to the patio in the back, you had to walk through the main dining area. The diners there gave no sign of noticing anything unusual. There is no reason they should. We looked like a perfectly ordinary large holiday office party.

Surveys have shown that most cisgender folks think they have never encountered a transgender person.

We think this is hilarious!

A few members of our party were cisgender folks, some of them married to transgender people, at least one mother of a pretty and articulate transgender teen daughter—they were seated a couple of places down from me—and the cisgender male spouses of a couple of straight women who are employed by our non-profit as social workers.

I was introduced to those men. They looked terrified to be walking into a crowded room where 90% of the people were transgender. One of them, when we were introduced, got all wide-eyed and stared at me with his mouth open.

Just stared.

I don’t think I was what he was expecting.

I am a gentle, physically slight, well-read, soft-spoken woman, a classical music enthusiast, who lives with her cat and sometimes gets asked whether she is a high-school English teacher. I have had polite and well-educated straight men ask me out, one as recently as last weekend.

Not exactly the fiendish serial killer in Silence of the Lambs. The mass media where most cisgender people get what little they think they know about transgender folks mostly portrays us as dangerous freaks or as the butts of hateful “jokes.”

What was our dinner conversation? Mostly we talked about what we have been doing over the holidays, how our kids—yes, some of us are raising children—are doing, plumbing problems, the weather, recipes, health issues we are coping with, difficult relatives, where we bought that great top or dress we were wearing, and, for the unattached, whom we are dating.

We’re just people, not monsters, whatever the religious right tells you, and mostly you don’t notice us even when we fill several tables in your favorite restaurant.

The image is a painting by Jean Béraud entitled Au Café.

Everything is Luminaria, 2017!

DCF 1.0

Last night I went to a Christmas Eve party at the home of some friends. They live in an area that is largely Hispanic, and even those who are not have picked up the custom at this time of year placing some sand with a candle inside a small paper sack and lighting the candles in the evening as a decoration. These little lights are known as either luminarias or farolitos.

My hosts had thrown their home open to friends and family from just before sundown to 10:00 pm, and set out an impressive spread of hot food, snacks, wine, and soft drinks. Guests could briefly drop in during those hours or stay as long as they liked.

One of my hosts has both a brother and sister living within walking distance with whom they are very close (pun intended!), and they and their spouses turned up last night. Extremely sweet people!

I stayed for most of the party. I would guess that at any given time there were at least 25 people in the house standing or sitting around eating and drinking and laughing and sharing stories.

I knew almost no one there except for my hosts. They know I’m transgender. Neither they nor I made a point of sharing that information because they are very polite and considerate and on my part because I’ve learned that if someone learns I’m trans the conversation becomes all about that, and I’d much rather listen to the experiences someone else has had and seek common interests to discuss.

They have fascinating friends! I had conversations with many of them. There was a lovely older woman who has been living in a Buddhist community and just radiated tranquility and benevolence. There was a young couple who just got back from Burma/Myanmar. He is a photo journalist; she is a humanitarian activist.

I talked with a physicist about writing books. We compared notes on the differences between writing novels (me) and writing a textbook (him) on using x-rays (I have a decent, educated layperson’s knowledge of science but did not fully understand everything he was telling me!) to assess the tensile strength and other properties of different materials. He has been much more of a literary success than I since his book is now in its second printing.

I’m waiting for the movie!

I met a family of Americans who spent the last several years living in Switzerland where the parents insisted that the kids speak only German at home, except when talking to their mother, who spoke to them only in English. They just got back and are in serious culture shock!

I contributed to the party by washing and drying dishes, which went on in spurts all evening because my hosts just didn’t have enough dishes, bowls, glasses, and silverware for everyone, so everything had to be re-washed for each new wave of guests. I don’t mind doing useful work!

Around nine o’clock, most of us went out to walk the area to admire the luminarias that surrounded or were on top of most of the houses in the neighborhood. By that time, while it was still above freezing, it was definitely getting quite chilly.

The only thing I miss about testosterone–I hate that stuff and the horrible things it did to me!–is that when it disappeared from my system it took my tolerance for cold with it. I was wearing a long-sleeve top and sweater with my skirt, tights, and boots, which would have been fine had I just needed to hurry between my car and a warm building, but was not nearly enough to cope with prolonged exposure to December weather.

I was shivering to the point where one of the guys–who says chivalry is dead?–noticed and offered the little lady the heavy jacket he was wearing. I declined his kind offer, but I must say I loved that moment! I went back to the house before walking the whole neighborhood because I feared hypothermia. (Yes, I am a hypochondriac!)

So that was my Christmas Eve evening. Whatever you do this time of year, I wish you all the very best!!