Monday, January 14, 2013

It Doesn’t Matter Anymore

By Paula Gaikowski, Femulate Guest Blogger

Buddy Holley aka Buddy Holly grave

After my last successful girlcation, I needed a respite from razor burns, high heels, and firm control panties.

Did I really say that? What am I thinking!

All kidding aside, I was going to Lubbock, Texas, a small rural town located in the Texas panhandle, a place where they really wear cowboy boots and hats. In the end, I’m glad I didn’t leave my girly stuff home because I would spend an extra day here due to a flight cancelation.

Lubbock is the hometown of Buddy Holly (“Holley” was his real last name, “Holly his stage name) and without much else to do, I headed over to the Lubbock city cemetery to visit his grave. Many people may think this is odd, but I am a firm believer that it’s all about the journey and not the destination. Besides the Buddy Holly Museum was closed on Mondays.

I was born on February 3, 1959, the day the music died. If you know the Don McLean song American Pie, he sings about the “the day the music died,” which refers to the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper. So it was only logical that I make this pilgrimage and investigate any mystical connection there might be between this transgender women and that tragic event. Perhaps there had been a rip in the space-time-gender continuum that day?

What to wear when visiting the grave of a celebrity? I decided on a black suit, hose and heels, accessorized with a black scarf, gold jewelry, and of course, dark glasses. All I needed was a pillbox hat and veil and I could have been cast as the widow in 1940’s B movie.

The clerk at the hotel reception desk smiled politely and gave me directions to the Lubbock cemetery. After asking for a bottle of water and having it charged to my room, a light bulb lit over head making it clear that she understood that this woman and the man who checked in earlier were the same person.

As she handed me the water, I smiled and she looked at me and said, “Wow, you…you’re the… you look fantastic!”

After scouring the ancient gothic cemetery in all the wrong directions, I started to get spooked. The place was huge, old with giant tombstones and long shadows being cast by the afternoon winter sun.

I finally found Buddy’s grave, which was being attended by a young woman. Now I won’t say she was crazy or a nut, because some people may say that about the likes me, but (and my journalism teacher taught me that the word “but” erases everything you write before it) she had adorned his grave with New Years decorations, was dancing away to his music and having a conversation with ol' Buddy.

She was friendly enough, and I got an insiders’ tour of Buddy Holly. She shared all the gossip about Buddy Holly and his surrounding family buried there. One thing I was amazed to learn is there is huge list of famous musicians that came from Lubbock and the surrounding towns.

I spent about 30 minutes with my new friend and slowly made my way off, cautiously checking my back. I couldn’t help but wonder what she thought of this tall, suited woman.

Having my nights free, I decided to do some shopping in drab. I needed to buy a new tube of Dermablend leg cover, so I went off to Dillards in the South Plains Mall. I was graciously assisted by a southern belle who was quite the cougar. Dressed beautifully, makeup, hair, jewelry, perfume and heels, <sigh>, “Why not me?” Better yet, with style like that she would have made a great crossdresser! She helped me find the product and then matched my shade.

I dropped about a million hints about being transgender and dressing en femme, but I don’t think it was within her realm of reality that I could be anything but male. She seemed to think that I wanted to cover some blemishes and would not take the allusion to my intended gender illusion. I said a few things like “I’ll probably need a few other things, soon,” "I’m just learning about makeup,” etc.

I thought about pushing the envelope and blurting out something like “I like to dress as a woman!” but of course, better judgment ruled and I did not.

The last time I bought Dermablend in the progressive Northeast, I just told the clerk I’m transgender and need Dermablend leg cover. She didn’t flinch, but I imagine Miss Julia Sugarbaker here would have turned pale and fainted. That said, I still think she was a sweetheart; don’t change honey. The truth behind all of my teasing is that I am just jealous and wish I was a beautiful glamorous woman like you.

The other interesting episode was perhaps meeting another transgender person in a group of customers. I was introduced to what at first seemed to be a group of men. “Sam” was dressed as a man with the exception of earrings, was heavyset, didn’t appear to have breasts, and acted like one of the guys. We hit it off and had a kind of connection.

When I received an e-mail afterwards, I noticed her legal name was Karen. But she was called "Sam." Made me think it seems like society is more tolerant when the gender line is blurred toward the blue rather than the pink.

It’s OK to be a tomboy; often we hear women proudly discuss their tomboy past or even present, but conversely society uses derogatory language such as "sissy" for a boy who does not fit into the masculine paradigm.

Last but not least, I did venture over to a Lane Bryant the last day there when I was in drab and was helped by two very nice sales associates. One directed me over to the sale rack, where I found the sharpest career dress. It was black and white and cute as could be. It was marked down several times to $20, I was dying to try it on in drab, and I’ve done this before with no problem at Dress Barn and Fashion Bug, but I wasn’t quite sure how it would go over in the conservative heart of Texas.

After showing interest and asking a few questions about the dress, I was hoping to hear, “Would you like to try it on?”

I said goodbye and was heading toward the door when the sales associate asked, “Not buying anything today?”

Our eyes met, I wanted so badly to try on the dress, but found myself unusually anxious. In a knowing way she smiled and waved me over, “Would you like to try this on, honey?”

I let out a nervous laugh and said, “Thank you so much, I was afraid to ask?”

We hit it off wonderfully; I tried on about six dresses and tops and bought the black and white dress and a new skirt. It was peculiar in the way that the sales associate acted like there was nothing unusual about a man trying on dresses. I am constantly surprised by the positive reception I get when out.

Goodbye, Texas, Hello, black and white dress, back to the cold and snow.


  1. Paula,
    "American Pie" would surely be one of my top ten picks. It tells so many stories of so many of the artists of the great musical muse period.

    Your reports on your adventures tend to show that the primary thing that we have to fear about femulating out and about are our own fears.

    I am glad that you were so well accepted down in the red part of a rather red state. You should not be surprised. The hotel clerk, your graveside girlfriend, Ms. Sugarbaker and the clerks at Lane Bryant may all have been calm and secure conservatives. Comfortable in their understanding that freedom and liberty are for all to share. This conservative/libertarian mindset may have been at work in apparent ease with which the business folks accepted Sam/Karen.

    Your experiences as well as many that have been related by others show that as long as we do not dress or behave in an obnoxious, destructive or outrageous fashion that we will be generally accepted out at about. I think this is the case whether we fully and completely pass or if we merely blend or even if folks are uncertain of the gender of the person under the dress.


  2. Wonderful story -- you really were The Woman In Black.

  3. Sounds like a great trip, kudos for visiting Buddy's resting place.

  4. Paula -

    Sounds like a much better trip than expected!

    BTW - Which stores carry Dermablend? I have had to mail order it most of the time....


  5. I'll be visiting in Texas in early April, but won't have a chance to dress, darn it. I'll keep an eye open for any Texas girls though, seems to be lots of them. ;-)