Monday, November 28, 2011

Don't Ask, Can't Tell

(this is it: my 600th post!)

"So, what did you do last weekend?"  "Saturday, we had some friends over for a barbeque.   And Sunday, I went to a Transgender Day of Remembrance" event at a little church in Fairfax."  "Really?  Why?"  "Well, I'm transgendered, and it's sad and scary how many other transgendered women have been assaulted or killed or lost their livelihoods just because of how they dress and who they are."

Yeah, right.  Like that water cooler conversation is ever going to happen.

Often I chat about a variety of things with friends or co-workers.  I'm sure you do as well.  And I'm sure we have the same problem.

We have to filter.

The other day, we were talking about airport security and problems we had going through.  I could top them all, but I couldn't say "I went through security dressed as a girl."  I couldn't even say "I have a better story than any of you but, alas, I can't tell it."

There are lots of thing I can't, or at least shouldn't, talk about.  Even simple things like "I always read (whatever) blog."  "Well, my day isn't complete if I don't catch up on Femulate."  Not gonna happen.

Sometimes, I talk fashion, or women's clothing, when the topic comes up.  When someone (invariably male) says "you know an awful lot about that" I say "it's a hobby."  I think they assume learning about women is my hobby.  Well, it is.  If this ever goes further, I'll write about it here.  I suspect ANYTHING I say would be considered a joke, and laughed off.

But I can't really talk about the clothing swaps.  We were talking about car problems and I told about my tire blowing up and me calling Geico and the manufacturer refusing to honour the warranty.  I didn't mention that I didn't change the tire myself because I was wearing a nice dress and I didn't want to mess it up.  That really makes the story, I think, but... can't tell.

I was talking to K, who works in my office, a few days ago and after we were done talking shop, I commented on her shoes.  Snakeskin, very high heel, very pointy toe.  She said they were very comfortable.  I said they wouldn't be for me; my feet are VERY wide.  She said her toes stopped here and she touched a point before the skinny part started.  She said she used to be a tomboy and she had to change just three or four years ago, when she took this job.  I told her that I thought that was scary, because it means I could become a girly girl in just a few years, if I had a mind to.  I know, I said "scary," but I meant "exciting."  Can't tell.  Must filter.

She said that the hardest thing of changing her wardrobe was having to wear heels to work.  I said I wore heels to work once.  She assumed I meant like boots with heels and started describing what she thought and I interrupted and said "no, shoes like yours."  She gave me an odd look and I said "it was Halloween."  She asked no questions, and changed the discussion to how she takes Halloween off, because traffic is always horrible that day.

A few days ago, I noticed she was wearing a Jockey camisole, under her shirt.  I recognised the lace pattern; I have a few just like it.  I really wanted to say something, but... well, even as just a guy commenting on clothes commenting on what's really underclothes is sort of off-limits.  And to say "isn't that a Jockey cami?" is definitely in the can't tell category.

Stana posted my picture on Femulate recently.  I felt like a celebrity, except it's more like I committed a horrible crime.  I had something to brag about, and couldn't.

I mentioned not long ago that I wanted to get something from Freecycle, but didn't request it because my wife and I knew the offerer.  It would have been wonderful to say "if you have any more castoffs in my size, let me know!  And I may have some things you'd like."

I typed my real surname into Facebook.  There were a bunch of people I'm somehow related to but have never met.  I was mulling how stupid it would be to join the group and say "my last name used to be *****" when I saw my wife's picture with a "I married a *****" next to it.  Heavy sigh.

I'm sure you all have similar stories: things that were funnier, stranger, more surreal because you were dressed when it happened.  And now you can't tell anyone, outside of our little circle.


  1. Great post, Meg. You capture the frustration so many of us feel when we have to filter so much of who we are.

  2. This was such a good post that I needed to read it several times in an effort to try to organize my thoughts.

    I often feel as if I am two people sharing one oversized male body. I see the world around me both as a male and, on occasion, as a female. I do note what women wear and how they present themselves and I often transpose what I see and hear onto how I feel about being a CD. This happens every day and it is often necessary that I filter things.

    I remember one occasion when I had purchased a pair of sandals with a 3" heel. They had just arrived and I had tried them on but had never really worn them and my wife had not seen them yet. I was in town and saw a lovely young woman wearing the exact same shoes. The urge to tell her how much I liked her shoes and that I had the same pair needed to be curbed.

    I know that my wife is very sensitive when we are in mixed company and I pass a comment that she picks up on as being too feminine.

    All I can say is that sometimes the filter works better than at other times...sometimes it is clogged and most of the times I just wish I did not have to filter out and hide that part of who I am.

    Regards and kudos on this milestone.



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