Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My Friday at Hamvention

Up at 5 AM, I shaved, showered, made up my face and got dressed for the "Big Show," that is, Hamvention  the largest ham radio convention in the USA, if not the world. (How big? Last year, nearly 25,000 people attended the event.)

I wore the same outfit I wore to the transgender conference last month  the white blazer and pencil skirt from Fashion to Figure. I think it is a killer outfit ― "Presidential" as the saleswoman at Fashion to Figure put it; a very professional look that was appropriate for a woman staffing a booth. I could not wait for the civilians to see me, so as soon as I was dressed, I took the elevator down to the hotel restaurant to eat breakfast.

The restaurant was about one-quarter occupied, mostly with business people on their way to conduct some business. None of my group were present, so I parked myself at a table and began breakfasting.

My table just happened to be facing the only other business woman seated in the restaurant. Whenever I looked in her direction, I caught her checking me out. This went on until a couple of male colleagues joined her for breakfast, which was just about the same time that one of my male colleagues joined me for breakfast.

Let me tell you about my colleagues.

I am the second or third oldest person on the board. One board member is about 10 years older as is his wife, who usually travels with him as she did this trip. The rest of the board members range in age from 35 to my age.

Most of them got to know me when I was still presenting as a male, either through my prolific writing in the ham radio world or as fellow board members. In either case, I consider most of them friends and I think they feel the same way. So when I began presenting as my true self, they found that I was still the same person that they knew before, but with a better fashion sense. And they continued to treat me as a friend and from my perspective, I saw no change in the way they interacted with me.

And a few of my colleagues joined the group after my coming out, so they only know Stana and did not have to make any adjustments. And they have become my friends, too.

I usually girl-talk with the wife of the oldest board member and she mentioned to me that when she first saw me on Thursday evening, she remarked how different I looked. We discussed the improvements I made in my presentation, but she thought I overdressed for Hamvention, which brings undo attention to me and was a giveaway that I was (in her words) a "tranny."

My retort.

Whereas most of the female attendees at Hamvention are dressed casually, the females staffing the various booths at Hamvention in general, dress nicer than the attendees, and some even dress as nice (or nicer) as I dressed.

Maybe I am making too much of her remark about giving away the fact that I am trans by dressing too well. She seems to have accepted me in the club, for example, we occasionally go to the ladies' room together as women do and she has interacted with me in other ways that indicate I am part of the club. Perhaps, her remark was due to the fact that she knew me for a long time when I was still presenting as a boy.

Anyway, it seems to me that I was accepted as a woman by most of the civilians I encountered.

There is a lot of foot traffic on the convention floor and at times, the congestion is such that you find yourself stuck in place waiting for movement or looking for an opening… unless you are a tall, well-dressed woman; then the mostly male crowd parts way to let you pass or a male will stop in his tracks to let you use an opening through the throng.

Many males and a few females checked me out. In the past, it was usually middle-aged and beyond males who did the checking, but this year, I noticed that younger males also were checking me out, which was very affirming with regards to my improved presentation. And that probably precipitated the guys who tried to hit on me, as well as the guy who handed me his business card with his personal phone number scrawled on the back; "Please call me," he said.

While I was staffing the booth, a guy stopped by and remarked that he remembered me from the previous year because I had bought an item from his booth. I recalled buying the item, but I did not recall him, so I used my feminine charms and managed to never admit that I did not remember him.

Another guy asked me a question that I could not handle, so I jokingly said, "You'll have to ask him (referring to one of the guys staffing our booth) because I am just a 'booth babe'"

His response was, "And a very good 'booth babe'!"

Speaking of booth babes, the suite of booths across the aisle from us had three young ladies filling that role (just as they had the previous year), but this year, they all wore flats instead of heels. I wore heels, but occasionally went barefoot in our carpeted booth just to give my feet a break. I exchanged smiles with the women across the aisle throughout the weekend and I encountered one of them in the ladies' restroom where she remarked, "How pretty you look!"

My usual routine at Hamvention is to staff our group's booth, attend any talks of interest and tour the convention hall to see what the other booths are showing. Although Hamvention also has a huge outdoor flea market, I usually don't find anything I want, so I hate to waste precious time going up and down rows on a fruitless search.

This spring, I sold some radio equipment I was not using and planned to use the proceeds to join the 21st Century radio-wise and purchase a new radio to replace my 30-year-old transmitter/receiver (transceiver, a Kenwood TS-440S). I had researched the matter beforehand and pretty much knew what I wanted to buy (an Elecraft KX3).

Friday morning, my group has a two-hour forum, so I attended that to take photos for our group's newsletter, which I produce. After the forum, I made a bee-line to the Elecraft booth to buy a KX3.

Arriving at the booth, a gent staffing the booth quickly untangled himself from the conversation he was having with a male civilian to talk with me. I told him what I wanted to buy and he guided me to the area of their booth where sales were being handled and departed only after he was able to hand me off to a sales staffer, a woman who sadly informed me that they were sold out of all the KX3s they had brought. But I could order one with the incentive of no sales tax and no shipping charge.

I would have had to pay sales tax if I took a unit home from the show, so that incentive along with free shipping was very attractive. I took a blank order form, filled it out and returned the next day to place my order. The sales staff remembered me, so I must have made a good impression the day before.

After a busy day at the Hamvention, we returned to our hotel to freshen up before attending my group's annual banquet dinner with another group, AMSAT. Since I had an hour to freshen up, I decided to change outfits and wore my new gray flare dress from Fashion to Figure.

By 5 PM, my face is sprouting some of the hairs I closely shaved away 12 hours earlier, so before I freshen up my makeup, I must tend to the new beard growth. Here is a trick I learned years ago from Hollywood makeup artist, Jim Bridges. Instead of removing my makeup, shaving and then reapplying my makeup, I use an electric razor to go over the spots that have new beard growth. This is adequate for the small amount of hair I have to remove and I only have to touch up my makeup, rather than reapplying it all over again. It also helps avoid getting a shaving burn on my face, which may occur if I shave twice a day with a manual razor.

After getting gorgeous, I encountered a well-dressed couple about my age waiting to take the elevator down to the lobby. After we boarded the elevator, the woman remarked, "It's nice to see another tall woman."

I responded, "I'm 6 feet 2 without these" referring to my 3-inch heels.

And then I accurately guessed, "You look to be 5 feet 9."

She added, "Without these" referring to her heels.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Source: HauteLook
Wearing L.A.M.B.

Actor Woody Harrelson in the 2003 film Anger Management


  1. Loved your post. I remember your post from your first time as Stana at the convention. You have come a long way. I am so proud of you. I can not wait until I can write a post like that. In following you all of these years, I have learned that the journey is part of the fun.

    1. It has been a very interesting trip so far!

  2. It would seem that the wife of the oldest board member has accepted you into the club. You need to know that her frame of reference to style and the word 'tranny' may be reflective of her age. While you and I are of similar age and we both can likely recall where we were when we heard that JFK was shot this lady may have direct recall of the events around the launch of Sputnik or the Korean War. She may even have an actual recollection of the headlines about Christine Jorgensen.

    Congratulations on a great convention.


    1. I have to admit that I remember the launch of Sputnik! LOL