Monday, March 28, 2011

Work is a Bitch

Well just yesterday I do a blog entry expressing my concerns relating to my job, and today fate decided to fuck with me. I'd call it irony, but as an English major I know this isn't all actually ironic, just a big cruel coincidence. Anyways, for those who didn't read yesterday's blog I basically whined about how I feel like I have to be more careful at my job than I have in any of my past employments. That feeling made me feel more closeted than I have in the past and basically it kind of sucks. But as of yesterday it really was just a feeling, now it's a reality.

I had the misfortune to overhear my boss use the term "queer" to describe something she didn't like. In the big scheme of things I know this sounds extremely minor but honestly when I heard that my heart sank into my stomach and stayed there the entire day. The fact that she was talking to my co-worker conversationally but felt the need to more or less whisper that particular word served as confirmation to me that she really did mean it in the manner I never wanted to hear. Trust me I'd love to explain it away, I know that "queer" can just mean weird, and if she'd just said the word in the same tone of voice as the rest of her conversation I might be able to tell myself that was the case here. But her whipsering it meant that she knew she shouldn't be saying it, which means to me that she meant in the way that she knows isn't really ok for her to mean it. It was devistatingly revealling about the character of my boss. It's not even really about the word, it's about what it says about my boss (and the person she said it to if not most of the office.)

While I don't flaunt my dressing or drag performance I've never had to go out of the way to hide who I was, until this. It's really bizarre how one little word can suddenly change the entire vibe of the office for me. I'm well aware that I'd be within my rights to talk to HR about this and say that I was felt uncomfortable, but I doubt I'll do that. I'm not mad at my boss, I'm not out for revenge or want to see her disciplined by Human Resources. I'm saddened and depressed by what this revealed about the person I directly answer to, and I'm now stuck with that for as long as I work there whether I report it not. No amount of formal complaints will restore the comfort level I had before.

So where does this leave me? About a foot deeper in a closet that I never was in before. That's what's most frustrating about all of this, it's a massive step backwards for me. Actually it's more than that, it's not like it's falling back to a level I'd moved past: I NEVER had to deal with this before. I had been fortunate enough to basically skip over all this crap and reach a level of acceptance early on, and now that all feels completely gone. I'm hoping that a good night's sleep and enough time past without hearing anything else like that will help me regain some level of comfort. But until then I'm not looking forward to going to work anymore. Because of one stupid little word. God damn it.

No picture today, just too damned messed up over this.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

One Foot in the Closet Part 2

The last time that I talked about feeling more closeted than I used to it was in relation to living in a small town. Now I'm sad to report that another area of my life is feeling somewhat clamped down on, and that's my job. To put this in some form of context I was never completely out and open at my job in New York. I never came into work in drag nor did I talk about it brazenly with anybody in the office. However some of my co-workers who I considered friends were aware (some even came to see me perform) and that made it feel like I was never hiding anything. That's not the case anymore. There's a few things I think contributing to this closeted feeling as far as my job goes. Again I'm not one to flaunt, because while I have no shame about who I am I also feel that it doesn't define me nor is it really anybody's business. However regardless of whether or not I choose to tell anybody I hate the feeling that I can't. Feeling like the choice just isn't there anymore is what's getting me down at this point.

Photo by my wife Laura.

For the first time I find myself working at a company that actually makes something. So while I work in the office it's attached to the warehouse and the production line. These places are home to much more blue collar type workers than I'm used to being around. I hate to generalize and make it seem like "these people could never get me" but speaking bluntly it's far less likely that they would. It's also more likely that somebody out of the lot would be angered by somebody like me. Even in the office the co-workers in my immediate proximity are a bit more... rural than I'm used to at this point. The kind of folks who say "git-r-done" seriously. Nothing wrong with any of them, and I'm enjoying working there for the most part but it's definitely out of my personal comfort zone at this point. I didn't have this issue at my last job, because even though I never came out to anybody there I had the comfort of the fact that there was a very obviously and very openly gay employee. Just knowing he was there was a relief and kind of took the pressure off my mind. I don't have that cushion now and it gets me down sometimes. I don't expect to be able to prance around my job in a dress. I don't even really want to tell these people. I get along well enough with everybody but they're not the kinds of people I'd become friends with outside of work therefore not the kind of people I'd let into this part of my life. But for the first time I feel like I actually have to truly hide it and keep a lid on it. In New York a fair number of people know, at my last job they didn't but if they found out it wouldn't be a big deal. The idea of people at my current job finding out actually scares me, and that's a new feeling. One that I'm not enjoying. I'm sure some of you will think "Then get a new job." Except that setting this issue aside I like my job, I like the work and the people are pleasant. Besides where I'm living and in the economy we've got going I'm fortunate to have found work at all, so I'm not about to look that gift horse in the mouth. Just wish it's a gift horse I didn't fear was going to throw me off.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Maintenance (aka Shaving)

For many dressers there's a fairly basic question in regards to how far do they take their commitment to dressing. It really comes down to one thing: to shave or not to shave? Obviously I'm not just talking about the face here. For many dressers who are in the closet it's something they choose not to do for fear of discovery. While this is a genuine concern I think in many ways it's a fear that is a bit overblown for many dressers. I've known more than a few who were convinced that if they ever shaved their legs that everybody would know they cross dressed. In all honesty though I think it's only a concern if it's something you're keeping from a person you're intimate with. Because the general public either isn't going to see your legs at all or even if they do is unlikely to jump to that conclusion. With the popularity of "man-scaping" and the fact that people who are seriously into swimming will body shave it's doubtful that people will spot a many with shaved legs (say at the beach) and think "that guy wears dresses!"

For myself I had started shaving regularly a little bit before I started to go out in public in dress. I had dabbled in shaving while in college but hadn't kept up with it. For myself I know that I'm quite lucky in this department. While my legs and armpits need regular attention I actually have very little body hair to speak of anywhere else. The hair on my arms is not dark and I have almost no chest hair to speak of. There is always the question of whether or not to shave the more private areas and personally I opt not to do that, though basic trimming is something I'd recommend whether you're a crossdresser or not.

Earlier on I used to have a separate lady's razor that I used for my legs. However I've learned more recently that there really is very little difference between a men's face razor and a lady's leg razor (dispite what TV comercials would have you believe.) So now I just use the one razor and it saves me always having to buy two sets of blades, because frankly that stuff isn't cheap. I've also learned that you don't really need any of those shaving creams for women either. I'll grant they help in the early days because it makes it easier to see what's been finished and all that. But once I got the hang of it I found that soap worked just as well (I use Dove so it doesn't dry my legs out the way other brands of soap might do.)

On a random note the thing that I found most surprising about shaving my legs was how cold they got. Part of it was that I first started in winter but seriously you'll be amazed how much warmth that little layer of hair actually gives you, because you definitely notice it once it's gone! I guess that about covers my thoughts on this topic, so until next time.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fictional Diversion No. 1

Well, for lack of anything else to put in here I thought I'd try something a little different. In addition to all my other interest I fancy myself a writer, and not just the bloggy kind either. I like to think I can writer fiction. This is a piece I did a few years back that seemed worth putting up here. Don't expect this to become a regular fixture of the blog but hey you never know right?

Girl Meets Girl

The joint was passed around again, dwindling quickly amidst the mix of smoke and laughter. Cindy passed it on to Faye who had to brush her red hair from her face before taking it. Cindy was too far gone at this point to care if anybody noticed that she was staring at the redheaded girl’s lips as Faye took a puff and passed it to her left. Faye had been brought to the party by one of the guys from the suite across the hall. They had exchanged pleasantries earlier in the evening and Cindy kept finding her eyes drawn to Faye’s lips. Ever so slightly plump with a wonderful defined shape, they curled in such a perfect when she smiled. Cindy wasn’t usually one to fixate on mouths but something about Faye’s lips called out to her.

It took a nudge from the boy to her right to make Cindy realize that the joint had made its way around the room again and was back to her. A few people across the circle laughed but Cindy couldn’t be sure if it was at her or at absolutely nothing. She did her best to shrug it off, took another hit and passed it to Faye. Faye smiled that radiant smile as she took a lingering hit that seemed to happen, at least to Cindy’s eye, in slow motion.

The joint made only made it around the room one more time before being rendered completely useless, but by then the desired effect had taken hold of everyone. Conversations continued, though somewhat more meandering than before. Cindy though kept her eyes on Faye, who was doubled over in laughter at something the boy on the other side of her had said. Cindy kept wanting to say something to Faye, in fact she was pretty sure that she even opened her mouth to speak a few times. But she couldn’t seem to form completely coherent thoughts much less words. Cindy’s mind had enough on its plate reminding her to not leave her mouth hanging open and she continued to stare at the fair skinned girl who was little more than a foot away from her.

As time passed, one by one the various occupants of the smoke room started to disperse. They would stand somewhat awkwardly and wander off in search of further entertainment and distraction elsewhere in the house. Cindy knew that if she didn’t engage Faye in conversation soon she’d lose her to the mindless chatter of the goings on outside of the room.

“Faye...” Cindy heard the name come out of her mouth and she tried to swallow the words back. She wasn’t ready yet, but it was too late. Faye turned to her with an expectant look on her face.

“I… um… how do you know Rob?” Cindy almost cringed as the words escaped her mouth. She’d been reduced to small talk. She might as well give up now. But what happened next surprised her, Faye smiled.

“Well I met him through a friend before he transferred here.”

And so it began, the nearly meaningless small talk. Cindy was delighted to have caught Faye’s attention of was silently cursing herself for having gotten them stuck in such a flighty conversation. But even as Faye continued to talk Cindy was quick to notice that the last of the other occupants had now left the room.

Finally alone together, Cindy leaned in and planted a kiss on Faye’s soft lips, cutting her off in mid-sentence. Faye was surprised at first but quickly let herself fall into the kiss. Cindy parted her lips and she felt Faye do the same. She let the sensation of Faye’s tongue against hers excite and sooth her mind all at once. Cindy had let her hand rest on Faye’s knee and now started to slide that hand upwards.

Faye pulled away from the kiss. “Wait,” she protested but in one smooth motion Cindy’s hand slid up under her skirt and along her bare thigh, reaching Faye’s crotch.

Cindy’s hand stopped dead and she pulled it away quickly, as if she’d just received an electric shock. “Oh… oh my,” was all she could manage to say.

Faye’s face went flush and she clumsily smoothed out the skirt, doing anything not to look at Cindy’s face. “I’m so sorry. I… I should have said something before… but we just seemed to be getting along so well… I just… I’m sorry.”

“No it’s ok… I mean I was just… caught off guard I guess.” Cindy tucked a bit of her hair behind her ear, avoiding Faye’s eyes just as actively as Faye had been avoiding hers.

There was a pause that felt nearly interminable before Faye finally lifted her head up to look at Cindy again. The previously bold brunette now seemed shy and embarrassed, looking down into her own lap.

“Look I can go,” Faye started to look around for where she had set her purse. Cindy’s hand shot up and went to Faye’s shoulder, keeping her from standing up.

“No it’s alright… I just… I just need a few minutes, if that’s ok… I need to sort of… collect myself.”

There were several more minutes of the two of them just sitting on the sofa, not speaking, barely looking at each other. For lack of anything else to say Cindy’s mouth took over without the full consent of her brain. “So how long have you been…?”

“Ever since I was little… I’ve been living like this pretty much full time since I graduated high school.” As awkward as this conversation seemed, both of them felt some relief. It was clearly better than the silence that had preceded it.

“So do you plan to fully…?”

“I honestly don’t know yet… I might. Probably I guess,” Faye said with a shrug. The two of them had finally met each others gaze again. There was another pause, and Cindy was afraid she wouldn’t know how to break it this time. Thankfully Faye took it in turn to speak. “I suppose if you’d known you wouldn’t have kissed me.”

“Maybe if I’d known before I wouldn’t have…” Cindy let the honesty of that statement linger in the air for a moment before. Faye was now looking down at her own lap, somewhat embarrassed to have heard the Cindy’s response.

Cindy placed her hand under Faye’s chin and brought the soft skinned girl’s face up to meet her own. Cindy smiled and said “But I’m glad I didn’t know, because I wouldn’t miss a kiss like that for the world.”

A look of elated surprise spread across Faye’s face and she opened her mouth to speak but never got the chance. Cindy’s lips were once again on hers and this time they would barely ever break contact for the remainder of the night.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Early Days

Ugh... I'm really sorry that I've been neglecting this blog. Part of the problem is that I just get writer's block for what to talk about. Never been great at just talking about nothing, which makes me a bad blogger. But anyways I thought I might reflect on how I got started with dressing. I was putting this one off because there was a specific picture I wanted to scan and use for it that I haven't gotten from my mother yet... but whatever. Another time.

A random shot of my nightstand because... well why the hell not?

I always enjoyed playing dress up, and did so rather indiscriminately as to whether I would dress in boy or girl clothes. For me it was just fun to put on different outfits. When I was around 10 or 11 is when things started to take a bit of a shift. That was the point that I started very deliberately dressing like a girl. I did this completely in private, owing to the fact that I was the son of a single mother who worked full time so I usually had a bit of time between when I got home from school and when she got home. Not to mention that since she was a nurse she had to work weekends every now and then.

At this age, right on the cusp of puberty I would put on feminine clothes and look at myself in the mirror quite a lot. The thing is though at first I was basically looking at myself from the waist down only. Mentally I was cutting out my head and looking at the smooth body in girly things in the mirror. I basically was imagining that I was looking at a girl and we were alone together. I'm not entirely sure at what point this changed but eventually I started to actually see myself as that girl, rather than trying to trick my head into seeing somebody else. It wasn't any kind of sudden revelation, and I didn't think much of it at the time.

I sometimes wonder how things would have progressed if I'd maintained the level of privacy I'd become accustomed to. However my mother got married to a man with several kids of his own and I suddenly found myself no longer having time in the house where I was truly alone. I never had to give up my room, but I wasn't about to dress up in a situation where I thought I would get caught. I didn't really have any inherent shame in what I was doing, it just seemed like a hassle to have to explain it if anybody saw me doing it. So I essentially stopped at that point. It wouldn't be until college that I would start to get back into dressing again. And not surprisingly it wouldn't really flourish until I had a single room and no roommate.

Well I guess that's all for now, I wonder sometimes how many dressers really have much solid memory of why they dressed in their early days. It seems that most of them just have vague memories of putting on dresses and feeling pretty. But in any case, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Until next time.