Sunday, June 23, 2013

Paula Visits Toronto - Part 2

By Paula Gaikowski

The following is the conclusion of Paula's account of a trip she took to Toronto in December 2010.

Paula in Toronto I am seated in the restaurant and after about five minutes an Asian man with a strong accent who was seated near me comes to my table and begins asking me something. At first I think he’s asking me if I am alone and would I like company. Becoming a little flustered I finally realize he is asking me if my name is Yvonne. I politely answered no, but then realized later when a female colleague (tall and blonde like me) joined him that he was waiting for someone he hadn’t met before.

Wow - he actually thought I was a woman! My office girl look was authentic enough for him to think that I was his colleague. It just floors me to think that I passed. I know we all say it’s not important, but it’s good to know you are being seen as a woman and not a caricature. I enjoyed my meal, had a couple glasses of wine and went back to my room and slept sweetly.

The next day, I was busy at work, it was very cold, and I was tired. I went out for a good Italian meal at Anna Fazolies and called it a night.

The next night I was still tired and almost didn’t get dressed up, but after I showered, I just had to get out. So I put on my favorite print skirt, my dark jacket, a nice pair of low heels, my new wool coat and off I went. I passed a man in the hallway and he smiled and said, "Hello." I drove to the mall and had to walk a long distance in the snow from the parking lot because of the Christmas shoppers.

I often wondered what it felt like to be out in the freezing cold with pantyhose. Years ago when I worked on Wall Street, I would watch and envy the women coming to work in their pantyhose and heels. When the weather became extremely cold, I would wonder how cold it must be for them. I remember thinking to myself that I would gladly endure such discomfort to be made a member of their sorority.

It was a melancholy thought because deep down I never thought that day would come. But here in the bitter cold of Canada, I felt a connection with those sisters of so many years ago as the Arctic winter winds drifted over my stocking-clad legs. One final note, my legs in pantyhose were no colder than pants.

Whenever I enter a mall for the first time, I’m always a bit apprehensive and wait for that moment of truth. How will everyone react? One step, two steps, 50 yards, 100 yards, and I am moving through the mall without a care and without drawing any attention.

I wanted to find Laura’s, a popular ladies store in Canada and buy a top to go with my new skirt. After wandering the mall and checking several directories, I finally stumbled into a Laura’s. The sales associate was about my age and very helpful. I told her I had just lost a lot of weight. We talked about how good that felt and how much fun it is to buy new clothes. I tried on several tops, but didn’t find anything I liked.

My next stop was MAC to find a lip pencil to match my lipstick. The store was very busy and a sales associate said she would be with me shortly. As I walked around the store, I kept checking the mirrors to see if any of the customers were reading me. Nobody seemed to notice a thing. It makes me feel good to be able to shop and blend in as a woman; it is something that never stops bringing me joy.

The sales associate came over and we tried several shades. She complemented me on a bracelet I was wearing. “Where did you get that --- it’s lovely,” she chimed.
Caught a bit off-guard, I wasn’t sure how to respond and came out with, “Oh thank you. It was a gift... from my husband.”

“HUSBAND,” I shouted in my mind. I couldn’t believe I said that; it sounded so odd, but it also evoked a whimsical reflection of what might have been.

When I went to pay, I fumbled with my purse and it nestled itself quite naturally on a shelf. I noticed for the first time that there was a little shelf on the counter to put your purse as you opened it. As a man, I never realized why that was there, but when paying as a woman, my purse naturally rested there --- just a cute observation seen from the other side of life.

I went out into the mall and slowly window-shopped appreciating my remaining time as a girl. I stop in front of a bridal shop and admired a gown in the window. Lost in thought, I then noticed a sales associate looking out at me. Our eyes met and we smiled at each other as women do.

I finally trudged back to the car through the snow and drove back to the hotel. Two businessmen rode the elevator with me and got off on the same floor, I got off the elevator first, smiled and said, "Thank you."

Back in the room, time had once again run out on this modern-day version of Cinderella. She quietly stepped out of her magic slippers, pulled off her mane of beautiful hair and heartbreakingly turned back into a pumpkin.



Robert Caso

Actor Robert Caso femulating in the 1993 film The Naked Truth.



Source: Belle & Clive

Wearing JB by Julie Brown.


  1. Touching and cute story,brings out lot's of memories of my own.
    just keep using the majic slippers and enjoy.

  2. Paula,
    Thank you for the two posts. They were pleasant to read and good to see more affirmation of T folks like us getting out and about and mixing with the civilian population.
    Stana, Thank you for bringing Paula's experiences to the rest of us.

  3. As a Torontonian (yeah, that's what we call ourselves) and therefore a resident of the least-friendly city in Canada, I'm proud to say that people here are nonetheless _very_ accepting of trans people. And while I do (every now and then) come across jerks who just want to humiliate us in public, for the most part, Toronto is an awesome city to be transgender.

    Let's just call this an invite for all trans people to come visit "TO" (aka Hogtown, aka The Big Smoke) and have a great time here!