Two weeks ago, I was living full-time as a woman while attending the Hamvention in Dayton, Ohio. Here are a couple of thoughts about that experience that I did not mention in the Dayton diary that I posted here last week.
One Booth Babe to Another
Across the aisle from our booth at the Hamvention was a big booth that took up eight booth spaces in a 4 by 4 rectangular configuration. Stationed at opposite corners of that group of booths were two attractive 20-something women. Both wore very nice dresses and high heels (just like me) and all weekend long, they handed out stickers to people passing by and we exchanged smiles whenever we caught each other’s eyes.
The stickers were those white oval stickers that you see on the bumpers and rear windows of vehicles. Typically, they display an abbreviation for the location that the driver of the vehicle has visited, for example, "MV" for Martha's Vineyard or "PL" for Poland. But in this case, the stickers had "73" printed on them. (73 is ham radio lingo for "best regards" and is used instead of "good-bye" at the end of a contact between ham radio stations.)
The woman stationed closest to our booth wore a killer pair of high heels that I could picture in my shoe collection, but around 3 PM on Friday, I noticed that she switched to a lower heel, which she stuck with the rest of the weekend.
Saturday morning, while foot traffic was light, I went over to ask her for a sticker, which is now on the rear window of my Subaru. She gladly gave me a sticker.
I thanked her and then I mentioned that I loved the heels she had worn on Friday. She thanked me for complimenting her shoes and then we had a short chat about the perils of wearing heels while staffing a booth for 8 hours a day.
She had to get back to work handing out stickers, so we cut it short, but the girl talk was affirming nonetheless.
My carpool buddy at Hamvention witnessed me carry a pair of flats around all weekend and when I drove, he patiently waited while I switched from heels to flats... not only this year, but in past years when we car-pooled at Hamvention. (What a gentleman!)
He has also witnessed me struggle with other aspects of being a woman like a few years ago when I "lost" the keys to my car. (After a panicky 15 minutes, I found the keys hiding inside my purse.)
When we left the picnic Saturday evening, I had a difficult time retrieving my car keys from that same purse because the lining of the purse was caught in the zipper. With my long nails, I struggled for a few minutes trying to undo the zipper, while my buddy stood by waiting patiently.
I was relieved when I finally opened the zipper and was able to retrieve my keys.
With that, my buddy commented, "I'm not sure that dealing with all the trappings of being a woman is worth it."
"You have a good point," I replied.
On the drive home, I thought about my friend’s comment and all the things involved trying to be a presentable woman... not just the trappings of being a woman, but all that stuff both physically and mentally that my guy self has to go through to present as a woman.
Considering everything, I must be crazy to go through it all. But yes, it is all worth it because I am crazy about being a woman.
Sophia Loren, London, 1957.
A beautiful female impersonator photographed in the early 20th Century.