Thursday, November 1, 2012

Woman at Work: What’s Normal?


I was relieved that power was restored Tuesday night and I spent the evening getting things back in order. (It's amazing how quickly things get out of order when you lose electricity.)

It was bedtime when I finished and as I lay in bed, I realized that the next day was Halloween (and what was I going to do about it).

I had assumed that we would be without power for days. As a result, I did not prepare anything in advance for dressing up Halloween morning. But I wondered if I could I do it all in the morning and be out the door in time for work?

Considering everything I had to do, I determined that I could do it all if I got up early enough. I set my alarm clock for 4:30 AM and I beat the clock waking at 4:15.

It had not occurred to me that making up every morning for a week at Fantasia Fair had accelerated my makeup routine. As a result, I was ready to go almost 30 minutes before I had to hoped for.

My wig was "Stacie" by Noriko, "a flirty hairstyle that has a wispy layered cut with flipped ends and swoop bangs." My dress was the Ponte Heart Print Dress from Julian Taylor (via Shoes were my old reliable black patent sling-back open-toe platforms; they are beginning to show their age, so it is time to find a new "old reliable." "City beige" thigh-highs, black watch and bag and silver necklace and earrings completed my outfit.

To kill time, I styled my wig, then I decided to leave even though it was too early. It was raining hard and still dark, so I thought I could use the extra time to drive slower and safer.

When I arrived at work, there were two cars in the parking lot. I knew they belonged to co-workers who worked on the east side of our complex. That meant I would be the first person on the west side (first person turns on the lights and makes the first pot of coffee).

I did not have to run far (in heels) to dodge the rain because I was able to park in the closest spot to the entrance.

After I dropped my computer bag and purse in my cubicle, I used the ladies' room to check my makeup, then I took a deep breath to face the day.

The kitchen is next to the restrooms, so I decided to start a pot of coffee first, then turn on the lights. Coffee brewing, I left the kitchen and the lights turned on; somebody beat me to it.

That somebody came around the corner, saw me, and greeted me as one would greet a stranger.

I said, "Happy Halloween," but he was still clueless and continued on to his office.

As other people filed in, I greeted them and most figured out who I was because I was in or near my cubicle and my reputation proceeded me. Nonetheless, they were amazed at my appearance.

By the way, I went all out. I did not hold back in order to cling to any shred of my male self. I was certainly not a "man in a dress."

When my boss arrived, I made a bee-line to her cubicle, saying "Happy Halloween" as I entered.

I took about a half minute before she recognized me and she was ecstatic. She checked me out and gushed over my appearance.

"He shaved his legs."

"He even did his nails."

"I hate him --- he looks better than me."

"I want your dress when you are done with it."

She took my photo and e-mailed it to some of our colleagues in our other facility. Throughout the morning, she brought people to my cubicle to show me off.

I never saw her act like this before. She was enjoying my femulation as much as I was.

My boss also suggested I play a trick on our president's administrative assistant, so when she showed up, I went into her office and said, "I am the new receptionist and you are supposed to train me."

She was completely fooled. She said that no one had informed her of my training, but she was ready to have at it.

Before it went any farther, I asked, "Do you know who I am?"

She shook her head "no," so I confessed and she was absolutely floored! She confessed that she really had no idea who I was nor that I was a male.

Returning to my cubicle, I heard the voice of a female co-worker who I have known for 16 years, so I paid her a visit.

"Happy Halloween," I said as she looked up without any sign of recognition, then she recognized me. After she stopped gushing over me, she said that when she first saw me, she thought I was a former co-worker woman. She said the resemblance was striking.

At 10 AM, I had to attend a meeting (a "gemba") concerning a new product. I walked into the middle of ten engineers standing in a circular fashion for the gemba, said "Happy Halloween" and they all smiled and took my appearance in stride except one engineer, who was shocked. A couple of the guys admitted afterword that until they heard my voice, they had no idea who I was.

Another friend asked if he could take my photo sitting in his cubicle. I gladly agreed, he took it with his smart phone, and sent it to his wife claiming I was his new administrator.

After his wife learned the truth, she replied, "“OMG!!!!!!! That is soooooo funny! He looks really good as a woman. I don't want her sitting in your cubicle.“

Five co-workers took my photo throughout the day and graciously e-mailed me copies.

One co-worker said he was "speechless," then added, "You missed your calling... you should have been a female impersonator."

During lunch, I drove to the nearby Lowe's home improvement store to get a replacement part for a piece of plumbing that failed after the storm. I had no trepidation about going to Lowe's and I found my trip very revealing.

Whenever I go to Lowe's or Home Depot in male mode, I have to find and ask a store employee when I need help. Today, I had a male Lowe's employee practically at my beck and call. When he saw me looking lost in the plumbing department, he asked what I needed and directed me to the exact location where the part was displayed. After I found what I needed, he came over and compared it to the old part I had brought along to make sure I got the right part.

That's the power of a short skirt and high heels!    

Speaking of high heels, I wore them all day long (over 9 hours) and my feet felt fine. I guess sitting about two-thirds of the day helped. I did bring flats just in case, but I only put them on when I drove home.

After Lowe's, I visited Walmart to buy some pet food and coffee. I noticed a few gents checking me out, otherwise, the Walmart trip was uneventful.

I also stopped at Dress Barn and bought nothing after perusing the racks.

I returned to work, ate lunch and felt tired; the 4:15 AM wakeup was beginning to take its toll.

I visited the two women in Human Resources who know about my transgender. The HR woman, who is approximately my age, was enthusiastic and said I looked "great," while the 30-something HR woman acted as if nothing was unusual and said nothing about my appearance.

Another female co-worker I have forever stopped by my cubicle in the afternoon and said I looked "sparkling." She also commented that I looked better than she ever did even when she went to the prom. She wondered if anyone at work had busted "my chops" and I happily admitted that no one had.

Except for folks stopping by to look and/or take photos, the afternoon was quieter than the morning.

Overall, I had a great day at work en femme. Not a discouraging word was heard; instead, I received a lot of compliments.

This was my third Halloween at work en femme. The first two times were in 2000 and 2003. About one-third of my co-workers were with the company back then, so they are aware of my preference for women's wear on Halloween.

I assume a few co-workers suspect that there is more to it than Halloween, but no one has broached the topic with me. If they did, I would tell them the truth.   

Thursday morning, my boss saw me and remarked, "Thank, God, you're dressed normal today."

I responded, "What's normal?"


  1. sounds like a great day Stana. People will think what they will think but you handled things with grace and class and showed them what a trans person is really all about...bravo!!

  2. Great story, Stana, and congratulations. You really look great!

  3. Dear Stana,

    What an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING and WONDERFUL day! I'm so happy for you. Your co-workers (both female and male) sound lovely. Maybe you can start a new trend, and work "en femme" EVERY holiday, including Arbor Day, Walt Disney's Birthday, Chocolate Eclair Day, etc. LOL.

    You have generously shared your marital situation with us, so I suppose you will not transition 24/7, but your co-workers certainly seem like they would accept you 100% if you we're to work "en femme" more often.

    I'm sorry you were unable to attend SCC (Southern Comfort Conference) in Atlanta - I would have loved meeting you as girlfriends there. If you ever will be anywhere near the Tampa Bay or Orlando areas (they're just 80 miles apart), please let me know in advance, and you and I and some of my T-girlfriends can meet.



  4. Stana, a really great story to be re-told as often as I can, if I may!

    You look stunning in a most business appropriate dress! Congrats on a fun filled day.

  5. Wonderful Stana!!!! The next step will be when they start adding an "s" to the "he" word when they talk about you!

  6. Stana
    Great event that you handled wonderfully. It really seems that most people are fine with however others dress.
    As for us aging TGs it seems that we do get a bit bolder as we age. As we move past the caring about what others think of us phase a lot of things get easier.

  7. Have you thought about just talking to HR and working full time as Stana? You only live once!!

  8. So, nobody said "You've done this before...."?
    Well done sounds like a great day with a prett accepting bunch of people, what woudl happen if it wasn't halloween?

  9. Stana - Congratulations!!! When coworkers don't recognize you, you've passed a big test. Now to work on your voice, so that speaking in a female pitch and mannerisms (for lack of better words) comes as naturally as male speech. And then you can put on something which always reminds you what mode you are in, so that you are programmed to respond accordingly, without thought for that mode....

    Great job!!!!!


  10. Billie --- You and everyone else are welcome to repeat my story.

  11. Cyrsti --- I was called "she" a few times yesterday.

  12. Joanna --- HR already said they are ready for me to go full-time whenever I am ready. The only catch is my spouse.

  13. Paula --- More than one person did say "You've done this before." But they stopped there and did not drop the other shoe.

  14. You had a great day, I am so happy for you. This is a story while unrelated to halloween means a lot to our transgender community. If you did not see the show "What would you do?" recently you missed a nice human interaction involving a tgirl and a bigot jerk. Chris, later Christine works at a diner, transitioned and continued to work at same diner. Jerk comes in and says you look familiar, realizes he it talking to a tgirl and goes off on his jerk speech how she is this and that. All negative.
    The wonderful part is when the general public all came to her defense including one guy who sat right next to him and was ready to take him outside (remember the jerk is a movie star). Then John Quinnonnes came in and saved the day.

    The nice part was the public looks so much more accepting of us than ever before. Sure lit my eyes up and warmed my heart. May be there is hope after all.

  15. Stana, a wonderful experience , you are the envy of many of your faithful followers. Just got power back here in NY so I'd be rude not to offer my comment on your wonderful day. Once again your ability to beautifully describe the details of your day en femme. Your pic shows a very confident and professional woman!

    I especially liked the comments on shaving your legs and doing your nails! I could just imagine how wonderful you felt upon hearing them. And the comment from your co workers wife is precious.

    Once again, thanks for your wonderful blog, so many of us live vicariously through it.

  16. Good for you. I remember the first time I did it and a coworker fell out of her chair when she saw me... lol. After that, my femme side was no longer a costume, so I went to work enfemme, in a costume after that.

  17. Such a great story! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Wonderful story Stana! I find it very impressive that in an office that seems to be as large as yours is that there were no negative comments. It's too often that those with negative things to say also lack the filter on their mouths that would keep their comments to themselves. Kudos to you on a great day.