I went out en femme Wednesday evening wearing my new purple sweater dress (see photo right).
An Aside of Staci --- Making up, I used a mascara with a built-in vibrator, Maybelline's Pulse Perfection™ by Define-A-Lash® Vibrating Mascara. It was the second time I used it. The first time, I was a little hesitant and I really did not let it loose, but on Wednesday, I felt more confident and now I am raving about it.
The vibrator does a more thorough job of painting my lashes than I could ever accomplish applying mascara manually. It even painted lashes that I did not know I had!
Usually, I apply mascara at least three times before I am satisfied. With the vibrating mascara, it did a very thorough job the first time; the second pass was gilding the lily.
A Tip --- If you use a vibating mascara, don't turn on the vibrator until you have the mascara brush positioned on your lashes. After each sweep away from your lashes, turn off the vibrator, then restart it only after you have the brush positioned on your lashes again. This method worked very well for me; your mileage may vary.
All girled-up and out the door, my first stop was my favorite Dress Barn, where I shopped for a new winter coat and a new dress to wear to the formal I will be attending next month.
I found nothing in coats that I liked that fit, but I did find a great dress to wear to the formal. It is retro (like me). As soon as I saw it, I imagined Christina Hendricks wearing it on Mad Men and then I imagined myself wearing it to the formal. It fit like a glove, so I bought it.
My second stop was Avenue where I tried on some sweater coats. Nothing really interested me enough to make a purchase, so I left Avenue empty-handed.
(Actually, I was very unimpressed with the selection of clothing in the store. It was my first time shopping there and I don't think I will go out of my way to shop there again.)
My third and last stop was a Four Points Sheraton hotel, where I would meet my female friend, Holly, and go to a conference she invited me to attend.
The conference was a sales pitch for The Landmark Forum. I knew this going in, so it was not a bait and switch scenario.
It was all very intriguing and I am seriously considering attending the forum. The only drawback is that it is expensive, but I may be able to convince my employer to pay for it.
Speaking of my employer, after we were seated in the conference room with approximately 150 to 200 other attendees, I noticed a woman seated two rows ahead of us, who happens to work with me and is someone I consider as a friend.
Immediately, the gears in my mind begin spinning.
She does not know I am trans. However, about a year ago, shortly after she started working at my place, she stopped by my cubicle and literally checked me out, concentrating on my face. Then she said something like, "I wanted to see what you look like."
I was very puzzled and then she dropped the other shoe: she heard I did drag on Halloween and wanted to see what I looked like en homme. Satisfied, she left my cubicle.
I went to work en femme for a Halloween contest back in 2003. I was surprised that five years later, people were still talking about it. I was curious, so later in the afternoon, I visited her to find out who spilled the beans.
It seems she was in a meeting and joked that the company should have a cross-gender day where all the women come in dressed like men and all the men come in dressed as women (sounds like a great idea to me!). Someone else in the meeting, who has been with the company awhile, chimed in about how well I did drag.
She asked me what I wore and I told her about my pinstripe suit and auburn wig. Then, I told her I would e-mail her a photo, which I did immediately.
She responded that I looked very good, had good taste, and maybe I could do it again if the company decided to have another Halloween event.
I responded that I might wear a costume on Halloween whether there was a special Halloween event or not.
She responded, "Why not."
Since breaking the ice with her then, we have become very friendly and chat frequently. She has become my best female friend at work, but she does not know I am trans.
I wondered if she saw me walk into the conference room Wednesday evening. Even if she did see me, I doubt if she recognized me because I look very different from the photo I sent her, but you never know.
While the sales pitch went on, I considered coming out to her. I know she is very accepting and trustworthy, so I felt I could share my secret with her. Also, since she is the administrator for my division's president, I thought she might be a good ally to have in case I decided to come out at work.
But as soon as there was a break in the sales pitch, she left the conference never to return.
I am on vacation this week, so I will not see her at work until Monday. I will be surprised if she says anything because I don't think she recognized me. I will keep you posted.
Getting back to the conference, over half the attendees were graduates of the program and they were very friendly and outgoing. Some of them were acquaintances of Holly and came over to speak with her. Holly introduced me to each one of them and I joined the conversation if I had anything to add.
No one reacted to me in a negative way. They all were very willing to engage me in conversation.
One woman went out of her way to come over to say to me that she "loved my shoes."
Another woman came over during the break and told me that she knew me. I was sure I did not know her. She listed the possible venues she thought she knew me from, but I was not involved with any of them, so she concluded that I looked very much like another woman. Needless to say, that was very affirming.
At the beginning of the sales pitch, the speaker asked the graduates of the program to volunteer to tell why they invited their guest. Holly raised her hand each time, but she never got called upon. After listening to about 15 graduates tell us why they invited their guests, the speaker told the rest of the graduates to tell their guests one-on-one why they invited them.
Holly turned to me and warmed my heart when she told me why she invited me. She said I am one of her heroes not only because I go out en femme, but more broadly because I persist in expressing my truth in a world that provides very little affirmation for what is true for me.
I still feel a glow when I think about what she said. It made a wonderful evening so perfect!