My friend Jenny Turner invited to me join her for dinner if I ever came to England for a visit. After my first outing, I couldn’t wait until Wednesday evening. I worked all day and normally I would be dead tired. In fact, I was but as soon as I started getting dressed and putting on my makeup, I was wide awake and excited as a bride on her wedding day.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I remember how hidden and buried Paula was. I never thought in a millions years that I could experience the world as a woman, but here I was going out for dinner in my classic Jones New York suit on the Thames River in the English countryside. A spritz of Channel and I was off like a prom dress, out the door and down the elevator.
With my mind racing in anticipation, I was caught off-guard when the door opened and a middle-aged gentlemen in a business suit stood there. I saw his eyes quickly look me over before he smiled and I smiled back. He motioned with his hand “After you Miss.” That was the first time that I had ever been checked out. I’m sure cisgender woman tire of this objectification, but to me it felt very validating.
Across the plaza I went and saw Jenny’s black Honda parking in front of the hotel. Jenny and I have been flickr friends for awhile and know each other well. We both felt very comfortable with each other as soon as we met and had an immediate rapport.
Jenny has known she was transgender since she was a child and has been expressing her feminine side since then. She has been married to a wonderful accepting women for many years, has three wonderful daughters and served her Queen and country as a member of the Royal Marines for 27 years.
I often find it ironic that so many of us follow careers that are perceived as macho. Nevertheless, she is quite the lady and has an internal ladylike presence that signals a feminine aura and confidence. She wore a pretty flowered dress and I teased her with my feigned resentment about her girlish size 7 shoes. She had on the cutest sassy Mary Jane’s.
What was especially wonderful about this evening is that I forgot I was transgender and found myself out with another woman like myself as we talked about family, careers and hopes for the future.
We navigated an overcrowded parking lot bustling with commuters, stood in line at the parking ticket machine, strolled the shoreline of the Thames, took pictures, and greeted others, all with a unique and magnificent mundaneness.
A few tables away a group of rough-looking men were eating drinking and laughing raucously. I am always wary of be read while in public so I always watch out of the corner of my eye for signs and whispers or sideway glances. These fellows were totally unaware that we were transgender women. It’s nice to be perceived as one perceives one’s self to be.
After dinner, we drove to a scenic old church along the Thames and took some wonderful pictures. Jenny was an ideal hostess and guide as we drove through the English countryside pointing out landmark prep schools, cricket clubs, and Tudor villages with thatched roofs that seemingly came to life out a storybook. England is a beautiful land, rich in history, culture and customs that gave much to our world.
So many of my business colleagues cynically wait out their time off in the hotel bar and complain about the inconvenience of business travel. Thanks to this fabulous English lady, I not only saw the beauty of the English side, I got to experience it as something and someone special: a woman!
Wearing Warehouse (dress), Massimo Dutti (necklace), Kew (belt),
New Look (bangles), Marks & Spencer (bag) and Russell and Bromley.
Young contestant in an unidentified womanless beauty pageant