I look forward to One Big Event. It is always a fab affair. Everyone dresses to impress with guys in tuxedoes and gals in cocktail dresses and evening gowns. And this year, the event moved to a new venue, the beautiful and relatively new Connecticut Convention Center.
I started getting ready at 2:30 PM on Saturday in order to show up at the event when it opened at 6 PM.
I wore false eyelashes. I rarely do and as a result, I am not adept at putting them on. The self-adhesive strips of the Revlon eyelashes I used were not adequate and I had to use eyelash glue to batten down my lashes. As a result, it took longer to do my makeup (about an hour compared to the usual 30 to 45 minutes).
I also wore stick-on toe nails (Kiss brand) for the first time. Turns out that they are just as easy to put on as the Kiss stick-on finger nails. It just took a little time to match the various sizes of fake nails to my real nails.
I dressed: undies, nude thigh highs, purple ruffle dress, silver jewelry, and silver strappy sandals.
My hair was up in the air. I grabbed a half dozen wigs from my wig drawer and tried them on individually to see which one looked best with my makeup and outfit. After messing around for about 15 minutes, I decided to go with my short dark auburn wig, which I have owned for about two years, but have only wore out once.
I examined myself in the mirror and thought I looked very nice!
Last step was to put on my stick-on finger nails. As I did, I noticed that the nail on my left thumb did not seem right, but I did not give it a second thought. I put on my fake lynx fur coat and began the 35-minute drive at about 5:15 PM.
Fifteen minutes into the drive, I glanced at my left hand and "Oh No!," the fake nail on my left thumb was missing! I rummaged around the car to find the errant nail, but it was a no-show.
I've lost nails before and survived, but I wanted to look perfect Saturday night, so I considered my options. If I took a 10-minute detour, I could get another set of nails at CVS or Walgreen, so that is what I did.
I was way overdressed for CVS, so when I walked into the store, I received a lot of attention from the other customers. But I did not pay much attention to their attention: I was a woman on a mission and I headed straight for the cosmetics aisle.
I found the nails and discovered that CVS was having a buy-one-and-buy-the-second-at-half-price sale, so I bought two sets of nails for $10 and change. (Every cloud has a silver lining.)
Back in my car, I slowly opened the box of nails because quickly opening the box usually results in nails flying all over the place. I applied a new nail to my left thumb, drove to the nearest entrance ramp to I-84 and headed northeast to Hartford. Despite the detour, I arrived at the Convention Center at 5:55.
I parked my car in the parking ramparage and walked to the entrance of the Convention Center. Inside, a woman was directing folks up the escalator. As I walked by, she asked how my feet were holding up in my “fabulous sandals.”
"So far, so good," I said and I was telling the truth.
Three escalators later, I was on the top level of the Convention Center where the event was happening. About a hundred people were already milling about drinking, schmoozing and looking at the items that were up for auction.
It was CVS all over again. I received a lot of attention, but now I was appropriately attired.
I checked in at the registration table to get a program and find out where I was sitting (lucky table #38). Then I bought a glass of wine and began milling about.
I quickly found some of my friends and schmoozed, took some photos, schmoozed some more, posed for photos (including one for the Hartford newspaper), looked at all the auction items, and looked at the all the beautiful dressed-to-kill women.
On my way up the escalators, a woman on the way down said she loved my fake fur coat. I ran into her again while I was milling about and turns out that she was a singer in the band. We chatted briefly and as we went our separate ways, she said, "See you on the dance floor, beautiful."
After an hour or so, my feet needed a rest, so when they opened the doors to the dining room, I headed to table #38 and sat down.
There were ten people at my table: seven transwomen (most I have known for years), the spouse of one transwoman, and a gay couple who were co-workers of another transwoman.
There were a few other transpeople in the room, but the majority were seated at my table. In all, there were about 500 people in attendance including U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra.
Dinner was excellent and a far cry from the rubber chicken they often serve at such massive events.
The only disappointment was the sound. The acoustics of the room and/or the sound system were poor. Everything sounded muddled. It was a strain trying to understand what each speaker was saying and it negatively affected the music, too.
As a result, the music sounded far away and did not move me to dance. I did dance to a couple of tunes, but I spent the majority of the time chatting with my friends and people watching.
My feet held up amazingly well as long as I did not stand for long periods of time as I did when I first arrived. Sitting for a spell revived my feet each time and I was able to walk around and dance. And even though I had a pair of flats in my car, I drove home wearing my heels.
One Big Event is a fund-raiser for the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, so I found it odd that they had a sign in the hall indicating where the "Transgender Bathrooms" were located and where the non-transgender "Bathrooms" were located. I don't think any of the transwomen at my table used the "Transgender Bathroom." I know I did not; I made a point of using the "Women's" bathroom when needed.
During the evening, I caught a couple of women checking me out. In each case, when our eyes met, I smiled and they returned the smile. I also caught a few guys checking me out. Go figure!
As I exited the Convention Center, I passed a group of young women, who admired my fake fur coat. One of the women asked if she could feel the "fur" and I said, "Go ahead."
After she felt the fur, she said, "If I owned that coat, I would wear it every f***ing day."
I took that as a compliment and said, "Thank-you."
Then she added, "You look amazing!"