Saturday, July 31, 2010

Comfort Zone

Things that I am or am not comfortable doing change over time.

I suspect that I am not unique.

It wasn't that long ago that I was not comfortable with the idea of Meg driving away from my house, or even going outside at all. Now, it's not on par with "breathing" but it's pretty natural to do so.

It took weeks of convincing myself between the time I bought a women's shirt (in a man's style) and I wore it out of the house. Same thing with women's socks ~ now most of my socks are flowery or patterned in another non-masculine way. Same with my charm bracelet.

I'm going to quote myself, writing about my first time out:

I was with Wanda, the makeup artist who had just made me up and helped me choose my clothes, accessories, shoes. We were driving the a shop and she said "let me hear what your girl voice sounds like." I declined to try, because I was embarrassed by my voice. I was driving and thinking "wait a second. I just let this woman make up my face and I'm dressed as a girl and I'm out in public and I'm embarrassed to let her hear my voice?" But I didn't feel comfortable doing it. Weird, I know.

Gradually, I overcame that. I'm not happy with my voice but I'm not mute either.

Other things that have moved from outside to inside my zone of comfort: shaving legs, shaving arms, having mall makeovers, going out alone, getting a pedicure (with colour) in drab, trying on and buying a wig, buying girl clothes or shoes or makeup at all!, walking into a smaller women's shop (didn't want to talk to the saleslady), dealing with men (still a bit outside), and lots lots more.

On this trip I got over my fear of encounters with people when I didn't start it. A year ago, in a casino in Las Vegas, someone asked me the time and I was shaking so hard I could barely see my watch. On the plane someone asked, and ~ no problem. No problem with TSA or strangers who spoke to me (never happens when I'm not Meg!) or anyone else. I was ready for unexpected encounters, if that makes any sense!

There are two activities that are still outside my comfort zone. I did neither, although I could have. I think I figured I was doing enough and I could save these for another day.

I haven't had a forced FFF (feet facing forward) episode. That is, I did not use the ladies' room. I used a family restroom to change in Fair Oaks, one in Dulles airport, the airplane restroom, one in Kansas City. At the time, I thought it best to avoid the ladies'. Now, I'm thinking I should get comfortable using the women's restroom. That's a goal for my next time out. I need to think about the worst that could happen (HELP POLICE! THERE'S A PERVERT IN THE LADIES' ROOM) and expect it. This way, I can be pleasantly surprised when it doesn't happen.

I also did not eat alone in a restaurant. I've eaten with other women (gg's) on a few occasions, but not by myself. In Topeka, you recall, I bought takeaway. I'm not sure eating out alone is something I'll embrace. I'd feel trapped in a booth ~ I need to get over that feeling before doing this. I also need to be comfortable using the ladies' room before eating out. :)

Maybe I should get dressed, go to a restaurant, eat dinner, use the ladies' room, and come home. That would cover everything. :)

One other thing I haven't done is shaved so I can wear a dress with a low back, or a sleeveless dress. That's not really on my list, although there are some really nice dresses I either own or would like to own that I can't wear out.

There are also "outside comfort zone" things that I don't care to bring into my comfort zone. I want to experience what women experience, but going on a date is not on that list. It's outside my comfort zone, and outside my interest area. Most boy-girl interactions are outside my interest area. Dancing is. Dating is. Physical contact is. Flirting is a borderline activity I haven't indulged in.

I know of some gurls who love to smoke when dressed ~ also not in my interest area (although seeing lipstick on a glass is one of my odd pleasures). I might be interested in meeting another gurl when only one of us is dressed ~ sort of a play date, and if you asked me a year ago about doing that I would have said "outside my comfort zone and interest area". So who knows.

Friday, July 30, 2010


I don't really like that word. I'm not here to lead, although some readers have said I'm a role model. I really really like that. I've never been a role model before. I'm more like a bad example.

I've been trying (unsuccessfully) to change the word "followers" on the widget. The closest I got was to change the title which you'll only notice if you look hard ~ it says "Friends and Friends I Haven't Met Yet". I considered and rejected "Current and Future Friends" as both more concise and more presumptuous.

There are a few classes of ladies who are in my [potential] friends list. I say ladies, because I haven't any evidence that there are any men reading this blog. If I'm wrong, speak up!

There are women I've met (Amanda, Kim) who are on the friend's list and others (Shirien) who aren't.

There are gurls I've chatted with for a while (Deb). There are gurls whose blogs I read (Stana).

There are gurls who joined from (Penny, Lisah), and gurls who'd rather comment than follow (Pat).

There are others I don't know at all (Emma, Mari, RachelAnne).

What I'm saying is, I don't know most of you. I introduced myself ~ I'd really like it if you all would do the same. You can drop me an e-mail at if you like. I'll write back, unless you ask me not to. You can just add a comment to this post and I won't know your e-mail address. If you want to write a private note and not give me you address, send a comment with DO NOT POST at the top and I won't. I read every one before I post them.

Don't be shy ~ I've bared all, and I'd just like to know who I'm baring all to.

I have a couple of more trip posts and then I think I'm done and I'll close up and go home. I posted this now so you'd have time to respond, if you so wish.

My wish is that you so wish.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

(The Real) Part Ten ~ Out of Sight

I went up to my room, and put down my luggage, laptop, dinner, and purse. My room was very close to the elevator and the elevator was very close to the ice machine so I got some ice ~ all I really wanted with dinner was cool water anyway. I ate, checked my e-mail, got everything ready for the next day's work, changed, and went to bed. The takeaway was pretty good. In fact it was better than expected. If I'm ever in Topeka again, I'll stop back there.

That's it.

But, really, that's not it.

When I shut the door and put everything down, I felt euphoric. I've spent two weeks trying to figure out how I felt and I still don't have the words or anything to compare it to. It felt like I just won the Indy 500? Maybe. I've never tried. Like I just took some major illegal drug? Dunno. I've never done that either. I felt GREAT. I felt like there was nothing I couldn't do, and I still feel that way two weeks later. I thought of going back out that evening since the mall was right across a parking lot, but knew I didn't have to, because I can do that Any Dam Time I Want.

I could barely stay seated. I kept noticing I was walking around the room, just enjoying how I felt and blowing off excess energy. Usually, I get home after a Meg day out, and I feel let down, not pumped up. I would kick off my shoes, take off my girl clothes, take out my contacts, remove makeup and nail polish (even though that could stay on at least overnight), and take that wig OFF.

That night, I did not want to change back. I never wanted to change back. I couldn't sit still and focus on my work, but with unusual foresight, I had done most of what I needed the day before. But I didn't want to change back and go to bed either. I felt good, I felt comfortable, I felt RIGHT. I did take off my shoes when I got in, but I put my heels on instead. I went more femme instead of less.

When I finally did change, I carefully hung up my top and skirt and put everything else away neatly in my luggage. I felt like, these things were good to me, I need to be good to them.

I wasn't planning on any more Meg outings this trip. I only brought the one outfit, and everything needed to be washed before going out on me again. But my wig and makeup and accessories were good, and there was a mall with Macy's, Burlington, JC Penney, and other large stores, plus a lot of smaller stores. If I was so inclined, I could get something new. If I was really so inclined, I could hand wash some undies, take out my outfit for an hour or so and try on something new to wear. I could walk back to the hotel, change into my new clothes and shop some more. Or at least try on some shoes (there was a Payless in the mall [and another across the street!], and see yesterday's post about Deb). I knew this was unlikely ~ I had a lot of work to do and not much time to do it.

I'm almost done. I'd love to thank everyone who's taken time out of their life to read this. I see about six more posts and then I'll shut up.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Part Ten ~ This Should Be Easy

The next part should be simple and straightforward. I know what I want to say, but I'm having trouble expressing it the way I want. If anyone has a spare muse, send her over.

Meanwhile, I made a discovery: women's shoes are flatter than men's shoes.

When I was talking about finding comfortable shoes a while back, I mentioned that I have to put band-aids around my little toes to prevent blisters. I think this is because I really should be wearing 10-1/2s but I get 11s since it's impossible to find 10-1/2s at a reasonable (ie, really low) price.

I also mentioned that my big toenail on my right foot hurts when I wear women's shoes for a while. I thought it was high-heel-related, but I had the same experience when trying out my flats.

It turns out my toenail is very curved. It is curved to the point that the edge is digging into the toe. Normally, this is not a problem. With the flatter women's shoes, the shoe presses on the nail and the result is a limp.

A woman with a limp is not the image I wanted to project.

So the day before traveling, I carefully cut the edge of the toenail so it wouldn't impact the toe, knowing that I'll pay the price when it grows back. Also knowing if I mess up, it's going to be very bad flying the next day. I didn't mess up.

But I am paying the price. Ow. But it's a small price, really, and I'll get it taken care of at some point.

Women's shoes really are flatter. I have two pair of New Balance that I bought recently, one men's, one women's. Both fit well. The women's presses down on that toenail; the men's doesn't.

One more shoe item: On my last night in Topeka I went into the mall (in drab) and into a store called Deb. It was filled with very inexpensive clothing (like, single digits for tops) and shoes. It was geared towards teens or early 20s. I have been in stores like this before and am always disappointed to find they do not carry size 11 shoes. I looked anyway.

I found three pairs of heels, all similar shape and probably something I'd wear. (As much as I like pointy toes, I have way too many toes to wear one.) I found this, this, and this. I looked at the stack of shoeboxes under each and at the very bottom of each stack was a box labeled 11. 11W is better, but I'd try an 11.

I didn't see any prices, and the shoes that were out seemed very narrow, and my luggage was very full, so I didn't buy any.

Of course, I was just making excuses. Back in my room, I started thinking about those shoes, but it was late and the shops were closed. I planned to go back the next day before going to the airport, if I could, and get a pair. Or two if the price was right.

I didn't get a chance to get them. I stayed late finishing some of the work I came to do, and couldn't take the extra 45 minutes it would take to go to the mall, buy shoes, get back on the road to Kansas City.

They do have them on-line though, obviously. I don't like to shop on-line because I don't like packages coming to the house. But it turns out there's a Deb in Manassas, about a half-hour away (without traffic. With normal Virginia traffic, it's about three days).

I think I need a reason to head west to Manassas. Well, I have a reason. I think I need a different reason.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Me Flying Home

I hope to wrap this up tomorrow. It's been a long day.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Part Nine ~ Just a Long Drive. And Dinner

I followed the signs, not my GPS to get out of the airport and point towards Topeka. For some reason, they usually conflict. Once I'm on the main road it's pretty much a straight line to Topeka, then a short off-highway drive to the hotel. There is a toll road where you have to get a ticket and pay at the other end. A different GPS sent me in a slightly different way last time, but I could kind of figure out where I was. now I got my ticket, paid my toll, asked for a receipt, said thank you and that was about it.

No tires blowing up.

No cops stopping me for speeding.

No car breaking down.

No truckers honking in appreciation as they went by, or drivers staring. Or whistling. :)

No-one annoyed me badly (cutting me off and such). I have vehicular Tourettes which I'm trying to overcome. It's not very Meg-like.

No allergy attacks ~ fairly often, I get an allergic reaction to SOMETHING that makes my eyes water to the point that I have to pull over and that would really mess up my makeup. Another of my fears, unfounded.

Just a long boring drive.

I decided to stop and get takeaway, my compromise between not wanting to eat by myself and being Very Hungry. I made a poor choice.

I stopped at a Chinese restaurant (which I had trouble finding and I had to loop around until I did find it) a mile or two from the hotel. I think it was called the Jade Garden. I asked for takeaway and a woman behind the counter handed me one of those styrofoam containers with three compartments. The other woman looked thoroughly amused. This is OK ~ I like to make people laugh. Not one of my fears.

I was confused. I asked if they had a menu, and she said yes and handed me one. I looked around and saw a buffet. I guess most people get the buffet. $8 and fill the tray to the brim and go eat. I said "I think I'll look at the buffet" and did. I came back and said "I'll have the buffet". I think at this point I may have broken Meg's record for Most Words Spoken to One Person In An Uncontrolled Environment.

So poor choice: I could have sat down and not had to interact with a waitress. If I kept a low (quiet) profile, I'm sure I would have passed. (If you asked me eight hours earlier I wouldn't have been so sure.) I should have stayed, showed myself there's nothing wrong with eating alone and there would have been only one thing still outside my comfort zone.

I made sure I had some sauce and plasticware and napkins since I knew the hotel didn't. I drove the four or five blocks to the hotel and checked in.

I never enjoyed checking in to a hotel as much as I did that night. There was a man and a woman behind the counter. They were busy; the woman became available first. I'm sure she read me when I spoke; I don't recall if I had to give her my driver's license or just my credit card. She did exactly what I wanted: she treated me as she would any other woman. She made small talk about the weather, asked if an upstairs room was OK, and chatted about this 'n' that. The only thing that would've made me feel better at that moment would be if she complimented my outfit or earrings or something. I didn't need an elevator to get to my room. I just floated.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Part Eight ~ The Worst is Over

The worst fear, I mean. I was worried that I'd be sitting next to someone highly objectionable for the flight. I've had that experience before, and I'm sure seatmates have said that after flying with me, but today it's different. Hell, today everything is different. I want a flawless experience.

Sitting next to me is an older woman (like, around my age) who just stares straight ahead when I come down the aisle. Even when I sit down she doesn't look at me, just stares straight ahead. She looks out the window a bit as we're taking off, but other than that... nothing. She doesn't take out a book, or look at the in-flight magazine, or acknowledge that there is anything going on around her.

Across from me is a mom with a young son. He's maybe five and sitting at the window seat.

About an hour into the flight, the woman next to me looks to the woman across the aisle and says something ~ it sounds more like a grunt than a sentence, but the woman across says "gum? You want gum?" the woman nods and the mom across the aisle digs through her bag and passes a small packet to the older woman. I guess she had some sort of physical or mental problem. Maybe she's deaf and didn't want to talk with a stranger, but that wouldn't explain her doing nothing. Maybe she had a stroke or something. I'll never know. I'm guessing the older woman is the mother to the woman across the aisle. The young mom, at one point, asked me what time it was and I told her. I couldn't think of anything that would keep the conversation going so that was that. If I was more comfortable with my voice, I might've said something about her little boy and how I used to have one.... Asked how old he is, does he like sports, compare him to mine.... I really need to work on my voice. I think I'd pass with more people, or at least longer, if I could sound like a woman.

The plane landed a bit late. At the baggage carousel, well, it was just a baggage carousel. I did a bit of people-watching, but no people-interacting.

My bag arrived almost immediately as did the shuttle to the rental cars. a man sat down opposite me and said to me "fancy meeting you here" and he sat down opposite me. I gave him a big smile and thought of saying "it's the 'in' place to be in Kansas City". OK, it's not the cleverest line but it's something. BUT I speak softly and the bus was underway and dam this voice!

I think he thought I was as I appeared at that point. I wondered if he would try to chat me up, or help with my bag as we left the bus but he hurried off through the front door (we were sitting behind the back door). I think at some point he figured me out and wanted to make tracks. I think that is the typical worst reaction I will get ever, and I'm good with that.

There were three or four people in front of me at Budget. When I was almost at the front of the line, I noticed a screen behind me with a IF YOUR NAME IS ON THIS SCREEN GO DIRECTLY TO YOUR CAR sign above it. My name was on the screen, so I went to section 1 as it directed. Except there were no cars in section 1 so I walked back to the rental place and now I was fourth again. I didn't like that. I did like the fact that I was ma'am'd at the counter although the woman didn't blink at my driver's license photo. I was offered the choice of a Ford Focus or a Kia Forte. I said it didn't matter. She told me which spot the car would be found, and there was a largish SUV there. I had asked for a compact, but I'll take what they give me. I checked the key anyway and the tag number was not for that car. My car was a compact two spaces away. It was the Kia, and I think it was made for smokers. The trunk was about large enough for a carton of cigarettes. Maybe two.

Before I left, I wanted to find out how to get back to the rental car place when I returned so I went back inside and asked the man behind the desk. He was helpful and I was ready.

Getting back in the car, I pulled out of the spot and then remembered I had my GPS in my luggage. I got out the GPS, programmed it for the hotel in Topeka, re-adjusted the seat, plugged in my mp3 player, and a Budget guy came over and asked me if everything was OK. I said I was just making sure I knew where to go. He said "Just checking, ma'am" and I felt a bit better about Budget. The man at the exit booth had nothing to say about my ID or appearance. I asked him how to get to the main highway, just to ask. I was on my way.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Part Seven ~ I STILL Hate Flying

At around 3, the plane was coming to the gate. I sat in an unoccupied section of the gate area. I wonder why people sit so far apart in airport terminals. In bus terminals, people sit right next to each other. In airport terminals, they seem to sit with two seats between people. I don't know why.

Anyway, there were two facing rows of about eight seats each. I sat near the window, because I like to sit near the window. I brought today's newspaper with me, and I proceeded to read. Over the next 15 minutes, three men joined me in that section. Each was occupied in his own world ~ one had a laptop, one was reading a paperback, and the other is on the phone. I look up often (I said I like to people watch). None of them seem to notice me. I wonder if they sat in that section because they saw a nicely-dressed woman there.

I did notice that there were more skirts than on my last flight. I also saw some casual dresses, and even a few women in heels. Tennies, shorts, jeans, capris and casual tops were the rule. In my skirt, I was in a clear minority. OK, if you make my group "men in skirts" I was in a minority of one.

If I saw a man dressed like me in the airport, I wonder if I would say something. I saw a sister in the mall once, and after she had passed me, I decided I should say something ~ introduce myself, say how brave she is (I hadn't gone solo at the time) and point out that she was quite passable, except for her walk. That's what drew my attention. I backtracked, but couldn't find her again. I think she ducked into the movie theatre.

But I wonder if a sister-in-drab had spotted me if he would have said something. He'd have to out himself. I know there were dozens of other t-gurls in the airport, just by the number of travellers. Maybe they didn't know what to say. Maybe they want to stay secret. Maybe I passed. I really wish I could read the minds of people, just when they see me for the first time.

I noticed that there were a lot of people in the terminal for a plane that only held about 70 people. I wondered if people were going flying standby and if they were going to overflow into "my" premium cabin. I wondered who my seatmate would be and saw some women who I wished would be my seatmate but I didn't know what I would do or say. I found out while boarding that two planes were using the same gate.

I think the passengers are off the plane. I keep hearing announcements that the "ramp is open" or the "ramp is closed". I get the feeling that "ramp is closed" means that people cannot leave or board. I found out when we boarded what it meant: there was no tunnel for this plane. You went outside and had to walk up a metal ramp to the plane's hatch, like in a small airport or like 30 years ago. I'm guessing when there was lightning the metal "ramp is closed". I don't think I'd want to be walking on that in an electrical storm anyway!

It's raining pretty heavily now.

I think Meg is having an easier time of flying than I usually do. I need to analyse this. Maybe I'm focussed on being Meg. I have to think about how I stand and sit and walk, how I talk, what I say, remember to take that purse!, how I hold my hands, to not touch my face, to not lick my lips (Meg seems to do that).... Meg is not a natural part of me. I need to work harder so she will be, but then I'd probably worry about flying instead of just calmly being Meg. I'm thinking of picking one mannerism (say, walking) and working on it until it's natural and then picking another and another. At first I was worried that I'd be acting more femininely and people might notice. Then I remembered that I don't really care.

I'm not worried about the flight, or the rental, or the hotel, or the rain, or my seatmate, or any of the other things that were keeping me awake for weeks. It's almost 3:30 and raining heavily but the "ramp is open" and they're announcing the oxymoronic "pre-board". I generally ignore the announcements and get on late, and I did that on this flight. The line is shorter, and I never need the overhead bin anyway. I do lose a people-watch opportunity, but that's OK. Maybe next time I'll bring something that has to go in the overhead, just to see if some gentleman tries to help me if I'm struggling with it. :)

I'm in seat 6C, the aisle in a 4-across plane. There is someone sitting in 6A and 6B. Seat 6D is also occupied.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Part Six ~ I Hate Flying

After my walk, at 2:50, we should be 15 minutes from boarding but I don't think the airplane has landed yet. It's also raining and I can see some lightning. They just announced that the plane is here but it can't come to the gate. I'm not sure why, although I found out later.

During my stroll, I saw the United "courtesy" desk. In the past, there were nice people who would pretend to be helpful behind an actual desk. Now there are several screens where you could check your flight, change your seat, and so on, and a couple of women trying hard to not be bothered. I was tempted to check the seats, and maybe change mine if there was an empty row and I had a seatmate, but I didn't. I guess I'm not as anal as I thought I was. Or maybe I just felt like gambling ~ if I had a seatmate, fine. If not, fine. Either way, I'd be... fine.

If the flight is on schedule, it should leave at 3:34 EDT and arrive no laater than 5:30 CDT. I could get my bag by 6, get my rental car by 6:30 (you have to take a shuttle to any rental car in Kansas City), and I could be in Topeka by 8. Hunger will dictate whether I check in or eat first. The hotel has no restaurant, but there are several and a mall with a food court all within a short walk from the hotel. I had had an early breakfast, a cup of coffee in the afternoon, whatever I will drink on the plane, and it'll feel like 9:00 to me. My eyes are also getting less happy with night driving, and I'd like to avoid that if possible. I haven't tested my eyes with contacts recently, and it's been a long time since I did 12 hours of contacts. I was a bit concerned, but not very.

It's like having teeth filled while under laughing gas. You know you should be concerned but you're just having too much of a good time to really care. I was having a good time.

I did bring my glasses in my purse, and I could leave the contacts in water for a short time if I had to change. I didn't realise that I didn't bring a contact case in my purse. I didn't need it; they felt fine at the end of the day. But my eyes looked really bloodshot the next morning.

I think the plane will be late.

I wish I had cuter shoes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Brief Pause

I want to make a facebook page. But I can't invite my t-friends to my "official" page, and I can't invite my old friends to a Meg page.

I hate that I don't have an answer for this.

Life's getting in my way tonight so you all get a break. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Part Five ~ Early Again

I always get to the airport early. In pre-security days, I've arrived so late that the ticket counter had to call the gate to tell them to hold the plane as I raced through the airport. But now I'm always way early. I think it has to do with the fact that I do NOT like to fly (more in a bit).

I think I was regularly made at the mall. I saw people glance and look away. So either they figured me out, or they were confused, or I looked REALLY hot. I'm going to be positive, give myself the benefit of the doubt, and say they were confused. :)

I'd love to get someone to take my picture but I'm not confident enough to ask someone to do that. I can just hope if I'm taking pictures (with my cel phone ~ I left my camera at home this trip) someone will say "would you like me to take your picture?" Or someone would say to themselves "I think that's a guy" and take my picture ~ if anyone did that, I'd ask if they could take a picture with MY camera too. I was ready to do that. I think they'd be too flustered to not do it. Not surprisingly, it didn't happen. I just passed too well, and no-one wants to take a picture of a 50 year old woman at the airport. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

I've been taking written notes here. There are some outlets but they are crowds around them. I don't know how long my computer battery will last, or I'd tether and do a live update. I tried to take a picture of myself but y'all know how badly that turns out. Stupid me, I should have brought my netbook. It has a built-in camera and I could have uploaded video from the airport! Stupid stupid stupid. I was trying to travel a bit lighter so I'd feel comfortable! This was a bad trade-off. Next time! (Am I really thinking about doing this again?)

Dulles has changed, again. I had to take a little train (new) to the terminal. There was a bit of a walk from about A10 to A1 where my plane was to depart. The terminal goes over an airport road or something, and the geniuses who designed this stopped the terminal at A7. Then you have to go up two escalators and across a section that goes over the road, then down two escalators to gates A1 to A6. I did this and checked out the gate area. I have plenty of time. I could've spent some more time shopping and still been my usual early self.

It's about 1:40 and the plane doesn't leave until 3:34. I'm a bit hot and a bit sweaty, but I'm feeling great and have NO regrets. I'd love to find a decent mirror or some reflective wall or SOMETHING so I can make sure I'm looking OK but there don't seem to be any and I never was any good at those little compact mirrors. There is a family restroom in this terminal, and maybe I'll sneak a peek.

It's time to take a walk. I usually take a walk when I'm at the airport, look at the shops, and people watch a bit. I wasn't sure about getting something to eat or drink. I wasn't very hungry and I didn't want to force a visit to the ladies' room. Although I did see that family restroom.... I did think about maybe getting a fashion magazine (I only look at the pictures). So I walked.

This terminal is large. I think the last gate was B79. It turns out that there are many groups of restrooms. Every second group has a family restroom. There's also a Dunkin' Donuts and I can NOT resist their coffee. I got the caffeine kick and the second kick from seeing lipstick on the rim of the cup. I walked with the cup for a bit, then sat and sipped and people watched. Most people ignored me. One woman at the next table who was having trouble managing a young child looked at me and smiled, a "you've probably been here" smile. I nodded and grinned. It's always good to be part of the sisterhood, even if it's only for a moment.

On the way back I did duck into a family restroom (some gurls have called me brave. No, I'm still chicken) to dispose of the coffee and touch up my lipstick. As I pass over that bridge at A7 again I notice the sky doesn't look good. I'm hoping for no weather delay, but I also don't want to fly in bad weather. I'm a bad flier in any circumstance. I'm not a white-knuckle flier. I worked with a woman who smoked occasionally but chain-smoked when on a plane. When they forbid smoking on flights she took up drinking. I am not making this up. I'm not that bad, but I Don't Like Flying. I'm very glad I like dressing. It sort of balanced it all out. :)

For the record, I don't like heights either. However, I am OK with widths.

By the time I got back to the gate it was 2:50. I said it was a big terminal! My shoes are comfy, and I just feel... right. I just feel normal and right.

I think that's enough for today. More airport tomorrow and I'll see how far I get.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Part Four ~ Meg Does Dulles

Oh, do I wish I had chosen the name Debbie instead of Meg, just for this one post title! I guess I'm not as forward-thinking as I'd like to believe.

There was a bit of a line at the United counter. I could have used their "express" check-in but I never trust things like that. If they can lose luggage that someone is physically handling, I can't imagine where my luggage would end up if it just went into a dark tunnel with the assumption that someone's going to match it with my name. So I waited on line, both ignoring and being ignored by the other line waiters. The man behind the counter didn't ma'am me, and I told him I had one bag. This is one of the counters where you take the bag to the luggage mangling machine yourself. I left my bag there and asked which was the way to the gates. He seemed irritated, which I'll attribute to him doing the same boring job all day long. I can't imagine it had anything to do with his reaction to me. Well, maybe. Nah. Boring job, fight with his wife, something like that.

From there I went on to security, where you have to show your id and ticket forty-nine times. Forty-six people must have been on holiday or called in sick, because I only encountered three of those annoying people gentlemen doing their job to make the skies safe.

The first looked down at my license and up at me and said "is this your ID?" I smiled and said "that's me." He looked down, he squinted, he held it up and looked at me. I was wondering if I should say something, and if so, what I should say, when he convinced himself that either the ugly duck on the license had grown into a beautiful swan, or he was looking at the absolute worst driver's license photo in the history of the world.

I noticed that the second guy looked at the ID of a couple of people in front of me, but he gave me a big grin and an expansive gesture as he waved me past. I've thought about that a lot and I have NO idea what it was about. Maybe he only spot checked. NO idea.

Right before x-ray was my final test (nothing to do with how much an African swallow can carry). I handed the Final Man With Latex Gloves my ID and ticket. He looked and asked "wrong person?" and I said "no, that's me" and he handed them back and pointed towards a security line that was actually closed, but re-opening momentarily. I guess I'm passing.

The metal detector was in the middle with x-ray machines on either side. I put my laptop, laptop case, two cel phones, purse, and shoes on the belt to the left. I waited as the man in front walked through the detector, then it was my turn. I thought I knew what was coming.


I was right.

"Please remove your watch and bracelet." I did. They went into a little tray that looks like a bedpan on the right-side belt.

I knew that that wasn't it.


"Do you have any metal in your clothing?" asked the man waiting on the other side of the detector.

"I have metal stays under my clothes."

"I don't know what that is." He didn't ask, and I didn't explain.

So he had me step into a little plexiglass room right behind him and he called over someone to hand-scan me.

This was a new experience for me, and not just as Meg. I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm sure I was read because I had to talk. But I didn't hear him specify who should come over ~ he just made a generic call for someone (I forget the title he used). This, I thought, could be interesting.

A Hispanic woman, about 35 and 5 feet tall and a bit on the stocky side came over. Let me say that I have a problem with faces. I will introduce myself to people I've met a half-dozen times. I once saw a woman I worked with on a project for a year outside of work. We started talking and she suddenly said "you don't know where you know me from." I guessed. I guessed wrong. The reason I remember this woman is, we grew kinda intimate over the next five or ten minutes. :)

I'd say she was of average looks, but I find average Latinas attractive. I mention this for the end of this little story.

She did collect my shoes and computer and things from the left side, and I pointed to the little bedpan that someone on the other side was holding up as he either looked for an owner or a bidder. I'm not sure he cared which.

She had a script and knew it well. She kept saying the same things as she did similar things, but I knew she was thrown off her guard from the start. My guess is, from a distance she looked and thought "woman. I'm on ." When she came up to me she said that she was going to use a hand scanner to look for metal and would I rather do it here or in private?" I said "here is fine."

That wasn't the answer she was hoping for.

She looked unhappy, swallowed, and paused for a long time. I think her script didn't allow her to say "well, I'm not comfortable doing this here. We're going into a private room." The question was for my comfort, and, really, I was fine.

She explained that she was going to examine my hair (I didn't volunteer to remove it and put it through x-ray. That would have made me uncomfortable). She didn't muss it or push it out of place, fortunately. Every move she made, she explained, even if it was the fourth time she was doing it. At one point I said "yes I know. You HAVE to say that, don't you?" She went on as if I was mute or she was deaf.

She said "I will use the back of my thumbs when I have to touch sensitive areas, such as your breasts". I am certain she is the first person to ever mention my breasts, live and in person.

She asked if I was wearing any metal and I said that the stays in my shaper were probably the problem. She eventually confirmed that, touching the spots where the wand buzzzzzed. I told her there was a row of hook-and-eyes up the front and that was definitely a problem. The wand did confirm that I had metal stays in the cinch anyway. I thought maybe they were plastic.

As I was getting my stuff together a man walked over to me and said "what do I have to do to get her to do that?" I said "Come to the airport dressed like a woman. Wear a corset. This is why I do it."

No I didn't. I just grabbed his shirt and gave him a big kiss right on the lips.

No I didn't do that either. I gave him a big smile ~ he didn't stick around to hear an answer anyway. But I was smiling for myself too. Maybe I wasn't fooling all of the people all of the time, but to the security guys, to the woman who scanned me, to the guy who made the comment, I was Meg.

And to me I was Meg. And I was having the time of my life.

[ a little postscript: everything in this blog is as it happened. I'm not embellishing things, I'm not making things up. I took copious notes in the airport, on the plane, when I got to my room. I do try to make my audience laugh. I know I'm no Dave Barry. But maybe I'm a Gene Weingarten (local reference). ]

Monday, July 19, 2010

Part Three ~ Happy Hour at the Mall

No drinking was involved ~ I was just happy. I knew what I was about to do, and all of the tension and anxiety was gone. I no longer cared if I passed (yes I did), or if people who give me a hard time (yes I did), or if I was about to make a huge fool of myself (YES I DID). Well, I was of two minds, but I was committed. All I needed was the commitment papers. :)

Meg's first stop was Angel Nails at the other side of the mall. I was the invisible woman as I walked there. I always have mixed feelings about that ~ I don't want to be noticed in a bad way, but I do want to be noticed in a good way. Generally, I get neither. If I really wanted some attention, I could have walked into any of the small shops in the mall and some nice woman would have greeted me and asked if she could help. But not today: I had a mission so I didn't stop. (Later, I got a bit of a good reaction and a bit of a bad reaction ~ from the same guy!)

I don't really like them, but my nail colour would have to come off in the evening so I went with French nails. This was a new experience. All of the other times (three, I think) I had my nails polished with a reddish shade. But the memory of my spending an hour with q-tips removing my polish after the clothing swap manicure convinced me that French would be better. All I really would have to remove is the white tips. I thought the whole nail was coloured with a natural polish, but it's just the tips. She kind of slopped the white on, then cleaned it up with remover. It was, like all of my femme experiences, interesting.

The women in the shop were Vietnamese. A maybe 25 year old started the manicure, then an older woman took over. I'm not sure why, since the pass was done in a language I didn't understand. I chatted a bit with each of the women, mostly answering questions. I did ask the older woman if she gets many "people like me" there, once we exchanged signals that she knew, and that I knew that she knew. Someday, I'll say "do you get many people like me here?" and she'll say "Oh yes. We get lots of older women here." And I can't figure out if I'll feel stupid for assuming she knew and she didn't, or I'll feel fantastic that I passed at close quarters. I think I'll feel fantastic. I also don't see that happening. I spend way too much time planning how I'll react to things that will never happen.

I made sure I took out my money first, so I wouldn't mess up my nails afterwards. I asked the woman to help with my bracelet (it has a difficult catch) and I had a "spa" manicure. She asked me if I wanted one, at the start, and since she didn't offer an alternative, that's what I agreed to.

I tell a consistent little fib when I do something like this. I say "I've never had a manicure before." Or "I've never had a makeover before." Or whatever I'm doing for the first few times. It encourages conversation, and I learn more about life as a woman.

So she explained to her newbie that it involved hand massage, lotion, oil ~ I wasn't taking notes so I don't remember exactly what she said. But it did involve hand massage, lotions, and oil. This was all done by the older woman. For the record, I think manicures, pedicures, makeovers are nicer for gurls like me than other women. It's all very sensual, even when it's offered clinically. It's hard for it to be otherwise, for us, I think. So going back a few sentences, it was nice that the older woman did this ~ she was probably more experienced at it, but it's also nice to have your hand held by a younger woman for a half-hour, y'know?

I found out later that the top coat is the hard part: hard in, well, hardness and hard as in hard-to-remove. At the hotel, I filled the cap with nail polish remover (the nasty acetone stuff) and I had to soak each nail in it before I could remove the polish. But at least I didn't have to scrub away at my cuticles (q-tickles?) with a q-tip!

After the manicure, I walked over to Macy's and stopped at Estee Lauder to ask the woman there if she could maybe improve on my makeup job. She thought the foundation blended perfectly and asked if I bought it there (it was Clinique). She said my eyes and lips looked great, and spent her time trying to sell me skin care products. I wasn't interested, so I left ~ sales people would do better if they tried to sell you what you already want and not have an agenda. But if she wasn't genuinely impressed with my makeup she was an excellent actress. This boosted my confidence 1000 percent.

The hem on the skirt I was wearing is pretty substantial. I could feel it move as I walked, and if I walked right, I could feel it swing quite a bit. I was enjoying that but not dragging a suitcase, laptop bag, and purse. It was time to call the cab. I tried my best Meg voice and was rewarded by being sir'd at every opportunity. I was ma'am'd at Macy's and the nail shop, which was nice.

I noticed there are two types of people who address me in person: one's who say "ma'am" and one's who say nothing. I guess that makes sense. I don't think I'll ever get "miss'd". I'm not sure what I'd do with a "sweetie" or a "honey" but that's another experience I don't expect to have.

The taxi driver didn't seem to figure me out immediately, but I'm sure when I spoke he did and just went with it. I was told it would be 10-20 minutes before the cab would arrive so I went back to the family restroom to change into my flats and do what needed to be done to avoid using the ladies' room later, and the cab was there when I got to the meeting place. He said "I was about to leave. I thought you weren't coming." I wasn't sure if I should say "aren't you glad you waited?" or "aren't you sorry you waited?" so I said "thank you for waiting. You came fast." Then I wondered if I still said the wrong thing!

One more hurdle has been overcome: I was talking to a man. I avoided that in the past, and I knew he would be the first of many.

On my way to the airport, I noticed a big mistake: I didn't check my legs eariler. I thought they were good, but there was hair clearly visible above both my knees. Lots of hair, although not thick or particularly dark. It wouldn't be a problem from a distance, but to a seatmate, it might be. I started thinking of what I had that could cover the problem: newspaper, seat tray, and tug on that hem whenever I sit!

A Brief Diversion

Q: What kind of bee makes milk?
A: A boo-bee.

More travelling Meg tonight. Honest.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Part Two ~ From Man to Meg

There was a small cubby opposite the mirror and sink in the restroom. I put all of my makeup in the cubby so I could get what I needed easily. There was no real rim around the sink to work from. The lighting was less than stellar, but I had to work with what I had.

I already had my contacts in (part of my pre-mall preparation). I put on my foundation, eye shadow, eye liner, and as I was putting on my mascara a family came to the family restroom area (who would have expected that?!?). I could hear a mom and little girl outside the room. Someone tried the door and I said in my best Meg voice (which is to say, not feminine at all) "a few minutes please". I went back to my mascara a tiny bit shaken but glad I had actually locked the door. I had removed my shirt before starting, and the sight of a shirtless guy putting on makeup might have caused a bit of a commotion.

A few seconds later, there was a rap rap rap at the door. It was most likely the little girl. I ignored it. Unfortunately, so did the mom. The rapping was repeated two or three times and "Meg" said loudly "please stop that" and it stopped. I was thinking of pulling the door open before speaking, but... well, see above. :)

Mascara, lash curler, eye brow brush, blush, lip liner and lipstick, and powder and I was done with the tricky part. I pulled out my wig, shook it out, brushed it a bit and put it on.

Whenever I finish my makeup and put on my wig, I try to take a critical look in the mirror. I figure there are three possibilities:

- a girl is looking back
- a guy in makeup is looking back, or
- a particular guy is looking back.

I don't think I've ever looked and said "yes, that's me. Anyone can tell. I am doomed". I have looked and said "that's a guy. No question". When that happens at home, I usually stay at home. Today, if that happened, I planned to it all off and try again; it only took 30 minutes to get to this point and I still had time and I really wanted to do this. Maybe I'd have to skip my planned manicure, but not the flight.

When I looked in the mirror, I didn't see a babe looking back, but was that a woman? Yes, I think so. Yes, I'm pretty sure that's a woman. Good enough.

Good enough.

I put on my bra, forms, cinch, skirt, heels, and top. I put on my earrings, necklace, bracelet, watch, and a couple of rings. I looked again, smiled ~ that always makes me look more girl ~ and said to myself "Meg is flying to Kansas".

I packed everything else except my purse. I left out lipstick, lip liner, and lip brush. I also left out my powder, and cel phones. I put all of that in my purse. Already in there (pre-mall) was my cash, credit cards, driver's license, insurance cards, tissues, and a couple of other essential bits of plastic. All I had carried in my pockets was enough cash for the taxi.

I looked at my (girl) watch. Forty minutes from me to Meg. Is that a lot of time to add a "g" to "Me"?

I had plenty of time to get my nails done, maybe shop a tiny bit, and still get to the airport without breaking a sweat. And I wasn't breaking a sweat ~ I felt good, I felt calm, and I felt right. I shook my head, to feel my hair move and my earrings swing. That always reminds me how I'm dressed. Sometimes I forget.

I grabbed the handle on the rolling suitcase, took my laptop bag, put my purse over my shoulder, took a deep breathe and opened the door.

Meg is flying to Kansas.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Part One ~ To the Mall!

But first....

I was going to preface each post with a "rating" of how I felt on the calm-nervous-anxious-terrified scale, but with a few brief exceptions I was fine. I'll mention those.

I was also going to add a "comfort zone" rating, but, again, with a few exceptions I didn't feel like I was going outside my comfort zone. Starting a conversation with a random stranger is more uncomfortable for me than anything I did on this trip (again, with a few exceptions, and I didn't cross that comfort zone line in those cases).

So no ratings. I'll write about my comfort zone after I write about the trip. And I'll let y'all know when I was feeling less than my cool, calm, collected normal (hah!) self.

And I started with anxious.

I had another mostly sleepless night before going out. I slept for less than two hours, was up for at least two more, and then dozed for the next two or three until it was time to get up. And that was the pattern for at least the previous week or two.

Anyone who's met Meg close-up knows she needs her beauty sleep.

My first morning thought was, should I not do this? I'll be tired and it will be a long day, ending with a long drive. But the day will be the same length, with the same long drive no matter how I'm dressed.

The first step was to shave VERY closely, put on what I could (panties, hose, cinch) and have a cab come by around 9:30. This would get me to the mall around 10, when it opened.

Everyone left around 8:30 so I used the time from 8:30 to 9:00 or so to do the above. I think I did a pretty good job of cleaning off my face: I couldn't feel any whiskers no matter which way I rubbed my hand on my face. My arms looked good; I had shaved them the day before. Shaving arms always leaves little dots of dark hair, but it's not noticeable unless my hand/arm is pretty close to someone's face, which is unlikely. I didn't expect anyone to be kissing my hand, for example (just to remove the suspense, no-one did). I decided, in an effort to minimise my time in the family restroom, I should moisturise at home. I considered maybe putting on foundation since that would be invisible if a neighbor saw me (I didn't care about the cabbie or people in the mall) but remember, there was no alternate plan if there was no family restroom and I didn't want to have to take it off in the men's room.

Everything was packed the night before, with the exception of my top and skirt (I wanted to avoid wrinkles) and breast pads (because I was worried about damaging them in the luggage). I got out those items and opened my suitcase. My makeup was in two baggies. I found the one with the moisturiser in it and wanted to find the other, just to make sure it was all there. Well it wasn't.

I had only one baggie of makeup. I found my purse, jewelry, wig, wig brush, slip, both pairs of shoes, but I was missing one baggie of makeup. I opened the other bag and took inventory. I didn't have my cover stick, eye shadow, brushes, blush, and some other essentials.

It was now after 9. It was still early, but I also had something unexpected to do.

I went back to the closet, and looked in the shopping bag where I keep the rest of my makeup, largely organised by type ~ face, lips, eyes. No extra baggie for the trip. I looked in other places in the closet where I might have put it. It wasn't in the box with my jewelry, or the one with lingerie. It wasn't in my "drag bag", where I keep a complete outfit so I can change quickly if I'm given the chance. I ripped apart the closet, and then had to put everything back. I couldn't leave it all out while I flew off.

It was close to 9:30 now. I hadn't called a cab yet, but I as long as I knew what I was missing I could get them at the mall, at the CVS or Macy's or MAC or Sephora or somewhere. Shopping while dragging a suitcase and laptop bag was not part of the plan but doable. I called the cab.

Then I remembered: to make everything fit in the bag I put the makeup baggie in my purse. Sure enough, that's where it was.

After my shower I was a bit sweaty (even though the house was cool) but not truly nervous or anxious. That was over. I felt good, I felt ready. I felt like I had planned this well enough, I had enough time, I had enough points where I could pull out that I wasn't worried anymore.

The plane didn't leave until after 3pm.

On my first time out, I had a woman come over to do my makeup, and then we went for a brief shopping trip. I had never met this woman before and was nervous both about that and about going out. I tried on several outfits for her and she picked the one I wore out. When we left, she wanted to stop and get cigarettes. She suggested we drive a bit first, so I wouldn't run into anyone I knew. I just went down the street to the 7-11. She got out to get her smokes and I thought "what the heck" and followed her in. She said "you could wait in the car" but I had to get out sooner or later, and that was as good a time as any. There were a few customers in the store, and the people behind the counter. I looked at everyone and noticed no-one noticing me. I felt calm and relaxed when I got out of the car, and even better when I saw that no-one cared.

The photo here is from my first time out ever, in October 2004.

I went to the mall, and headed towards where I remember the family restroom was. The mall website used to mention the family restrooms. It no longer did, and I was worried that it was gone. As I said ~ no alternate plan.

It was right where I left it. :)

There are two adjacent family restrooms; one was unoccupied and that's where I parked myself for the next forty minutes. It looked like Meg was going to Kansas after all!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Flying ~ Introduction

I always wanted to write fiction. Lacking talent, I write software instead. I don't know a lot about writing fiction, but I do know that, before the author puts a murder victim in a locked room she should know how he died.

I have a story without an exciting climax, without plot twists, and without odd characters (self excluded).

I'm left with a chronicle. I have about eight pages of prose that I'll try to put on the computer over the next several days, telling what happened Monday, when Meg went to Kansas.

Already, it's Thursday and I'm not even ready to write chapter one of this thing. I have a diversion.

Well, Not So Much

Yesterday, when I went out to eat, the elevator door opened and standing there was a tall woman with a border-collie-size dog. I did not expect to see a dog waiting for the elevator, but I didn't say "HOLY S%#T! A DOG"! Nor did I stare at the dog with my mouth agape. I was caught off-guard enough that it was a moment later when I thought of something to say. (The first thing was to look at the dog and say "didn't we go to school together?" which probably would have lead to a whole one-sided conversation with the pup during which the woman who was attached to the dog would either be Very Amused or Very Afraid.)

Maybe if dogs never came into hotels I would've been more surprised. Maybe guide dogs took the edge off, or maybe just being accustomed to dogs in general did that. If she had one, I might have said "HOLY S%#T! A WALLABY!"

I think that's how people reacted to Meg. They're used to seeing women in the airport, in the mall, in a restaurant ~ so they ignored me. Even if they noticed there was something not quite right (and some did), they still probably weren't as surprised as if, say, I was dressed as a lion. Or I had a real lion with me. But they were surprised enough to not think of anything clever or idiotic until it was too late.

If my transreaders are thinking "I could never go out! People will point and laugh and taunt me" I really don't think that is going to happen. Most people are wrapped up in themselves and unless something really out of the ordinary is happening, they won't notice. I look at people more than they look at me. And the people I look at are rarely looking at other people. If you dress as a woman and go where women are unexpected (model airplane show?), maybe you'll be noticed. If you wear a top hat to the beach, you'll be noticed too. If you walk down that beach holding a kite you won't be noticed. If you're carrying a harpoon, you will be.

I have a lot more confidence since my flight ~ not just in Meg, but in general. I've been talking to strangers more, having a bit more fun with other people instead of hiding in a corner. (I am a classic introvert. This is different from your shy cousin Jimmy.) Meg is not coming out this trip, but I bought those bracelets I passed by before and two belts at the local Burlington. I chatted with the checkout girl about her name and, well, we just chatted.

Tomorrow, I have to fly back to Virginia after working all day and I'll be in late. If I get some time at the airport, I'll write part one and if I get a connection, I'll upload it. If not, it'll be Saturday before I start. But I'll write a part a day, and probably be done by the end of the week.

Thank you all for sticking with me. I hope you consider it time well spent, when all is said and done.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

All The Guys Are Doing It!

I found one Off the Mark cartoon in print. I'm saving it, but I found some others I'd like to share. Click on the pic to make it big. Work (the reason I'm in Topeka, remember?) is taking too much time. Writing will come! Please enjoy and bear with me!

I Don't Get It Either

In spite of yesterday's "cautious" post, If I see the woman who checked me in at the desk, I am considering telling her I forgot my key and asking for it to see if she makes the connection.

(repeat title here)

I plan to start writing about the trip this evening.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

You Can Call Me Cautious

If you're not up to reading a long boring post at least skip down to the line of ~~~~~~~~~~~ near the bottom.

I'd like to start by saying I am not paranoid. I don't see conspiracies lurking everywhere and people are not out to get me (except for the ones that are, and I'm keeping a close eye on them. And a journal. One copy will go to the newspapers if anything happens to me; the other goes to the police). OK, that last part was an attempt at humour.

In advance, I'm going to beg pardon for my generalisations.

Like most of us (crossdressers, not paranoiacs), I keep my girl-self hidden from most people. Like the child who sleeps with the light on, we have a variety of reasons. Like the child, they're pretty much all fear-based. I'm guessing most common is fear of rejection of those around us. Fear of hostility is probably high on the list, as is fear of humiliation or being laughed at. We don't want our children teased because "your daddy is a sissy".

Whatever the reason, most gurls who are out regularly still separate their two identities. Their neighbors probably don't know, their extended family probably don't know, their immediate family may not know.

So the flying bit raised my paranoia level (can I just call it caution level?) from it's usual low Meg 3 to about 9.

When Meg is shopping, she can pay cash ~ anonymous. She hopes the neighbors don't see a woman driving away or home, and she hopes no-one recognises her vanity plate and comes over to see, um, non-Meg.

See, some of you know both Meg and her male self; the vast majority do not. This is the only thing I have in common with Superman. :)

The fact that someone may figure out that "that was no lady that was...." is what keeps the level up to 3. That, and the fact that someone might look right through Meg and not just see a guy in a dress but a particular guy in a dress. When I'm not dressed, my level is a healthy 2.7.

So what kept me up to a 9? I took a cab to the mall in drab. Walking through the mall with a suitcase and laptop bag was odd, but not a problem. Walking through the mall or the airport dressed was no different than shopping.

In the past, that was it. Not this time.

The taxi dispatcher has my phone number. The cabbie knows and can make a connection.
The airline knows everything about me ~ name, address, phone, everything.
Ditto the TSA. Ditto the rental car place. The flight crew could find out who the "lady" in 6c was.

The hotel is the worst ~ I'm still here.

Dinner was cash and anonymous.

I didn't tell anyone who knew Meg is flying where I was going.

There might be some Glenn-Beck-type clod who could pick up the details and (paranoia alert!) be waiting at the airport with signs and a bullhorn denouncing what he considers a pervert.

The odds? About 0.001%.

Or the readers from or the Classy DC Sisters group or Stana's blog might say "hey, we're local. Let's put on our best and give Meg a fantastic sendoff!"

The odds? About 0.001%.

Although one would be horrid (but not trip-ending) and one would be fantastic (but embarrassing), both are above my paranoia level of a probability of 0.0009%. So here's what I didn't say (note the marker I mentioned earlier):

I flew from Washington Dulles airport, about 30 miles from DC, to Kansas City. From there, I drove to Topeka where I'm working right across the street from the capitol building. I'm staying in the hotel close to the West Ridge Mall. I won't say what agency not because of my caution but because I'm not supposed to. I'll be flying back (not as Meg) Friday evening.

By the way, I slept like a baby last night ~ I woke up wet and crying every couple of hours. No, I slept through the night for the first time in a few weeks. But every sleepless minute and elevated heartbeat was worth it.

Tomorrow, work permitting, I'll start writing about the trip. I feel like it's anti-climactic though.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Meg Has Landed!

I wrote six pages of notes in the airport. I have more to add.

I just don't know where to begin.

As I said, I barely slept last night. Heck, I've barely slept for the past two weeks! Once I went out, I thought I'd feel fine. I didn't.

I felt fantastic. I'm still dressed ~ it's been 12 hours now, which may be a new record for Meg.

Longer story to follow. Short story:
Taxi to mall in drab. Change in family restroom in about 40 minutes. Now its Meg all the way! French nails done. Shopped a tiny bit. Taxi to airport. Serious patdown routine (it turns out Flexees cinches have metal stays). TWO people said I had the wrong ID! Not a lot of interaction, and the woman next to me had a problem of some sort. Her ?daughter and grandson? sat across the aisle and she did nothing the entire flight except look straight ahead and once gesture and make a noise to get something from the woman across the aisle. Got rental car. Got dinner (takeaway). Registered.

Life is better than good. This is a day I do not want to end.

And remember ~ this is the short story. :)


OK Panic

After my shower, I decided to repack Meg's stuff into a separate bag. I pulled everything out and noticed I don't have my second bag of makeup ~ I had two baggies. I tore apart the luggage, the closet, and everything else I could think of. Then I remembered ~ to make it fit better, I put one inside my purse.

It's almost 10, and that's when the cab will take me to the mall.

I'm wearing as much Meg as I can ~ panties, hose, cinch (I tried without it and I need it).

I've shaved as good as I can and I have my contacts in.

I need an antiperspirant! Badly! I'm not badly panicked right now, but I'm not great.

I have enough time ~ I should get to the mall at 1030 which gives me 2 hours to get ready. I expect I'll need one, but I don't want to be squatting in a family restroom through lunch. I'll wander over to Macys or something and see if some nice lady will improve my makeup a bit. :)

Plan C, although I don't like it: if I can't use the restroom for some reason, I'll go to one of the salons and explain the situation and ask if I can use a back room in exchange for future consideration (a gift card).

Another alternative: there's a hotel very near the mall. BUT I just checked and they're full.

My cab is here and there is no Plan D.


I woke after an hour and a half of sleep. Then I was up for four more hours before I finally dozed for a bit. Maybe I slept for 3 hours.

I have an hour or more drive after landing. It's going to be a very long day.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm Packed

Mostly. I think. I left my top + skirt in the closet so they wouldn't get wrinkled. Watch me forget them.

Spending My Hotel Money

I upgraded to "economy plus". More room for my purty li'l legs and it's mostly empty and I can get an aisle seat. $29. I'll try to expense it ~ the worst they can say is no. The worst they can do is make me talk to the head of inhuman resources about expenses. He's deathly dull.

Thinking Chinese

I'm looking ahead to dinner after I get off the plane (and drive for an hour to my final destination). I may have had enough of Meg by then, or she may just look worn down by then, and I may change first. But if I don't, I'm trying to find a decent place for dinner where Meg will be relatively safe.

Right by the hotel there are a bunch of steakhouses, plus Hooters. I think I'll pass on those. There's an Olive Garden which is a possibility. But there are also a couple of Chinese restaurants. I'm guessing there's less of a chance to run into hostile guys at one of the latter. Guys at OG are likely to be there with spouses/dates. Chinese restaurants are less macho hangouts than steakhouses, bars, pubs.

Outback will wait until Tuesday. :)

Plan C ~ Too Risky

The family will be gone by 9 tomorrow. I can change here and head straight to the airport. Except my neighbors might see Meg leave with luggage in a taxi. That would be impossible to explain.

I'll just hope plan B (changing at the mall) works out.

I Packed My mp3 Player

Go-gos, B-52s, Bangles, Blondie (my recent ringtone was the opening of Rapture), and some Sandy Denny just for a change of pace.

Roam where you want to!


I just checked the shopping mall map. They deleted all references to family restrooms. I know I used one there once or twice!

I may have to head on over later today, because I do not have a plan C. Or I'll just taxi to the mall and figure it out when I arrive. If it doesn't work, it's for a reason. I'll shop for a couple of hours, enjoy lunch, and head to the airport. There will be more trips. The company is talking about Austin or El Paso in the next few weeks.

I also checked the airline ~ I can now finally select my seat. The map shows every seat taken except for a window seat over the wing. I guess that's mine.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I Cancelled the Hotel.

As I said, the hotel would not guarantee me arrival at 10am. They said 1pm would work, but that's roughly when I have to be heading to the airport. The airport is six miles from the hotel and they have a free shuttle.

My carefully-crafted plan was to taxi to hotel (18 mi) then take the hotel shuttle to airport. The taxi is on expense; the hotel (about $100 with tax), of course, is not.

This meant leaving my key in the room and not officially checking out, which worried me a tiny bit. I'm sure people do that all the time. It's not as bad as the time I kept the rental car key and got on a plane. :)

Also it means more local people who know my real name and what's going on (the shuttle people). Since there will be about 1000 people at the airport who know, that doesn't bother me. I wonder if they put a note in your TSA file so next time they're not surprised.

So here's plan B:

Instead of shaving/showering/shaving closest at the hotel, I'll do that at home. One plus: I can put on my panties and hose (and maybe other underclothes) at home so I get a jump on dressing. If no-one's home, I will wear my girl flats. I could drive myself to the airport, but my car will be at the airport for a week. Oh ~ I'm also returning to a different airport. :) So I'll take a taxi to the mall (10 mi away; there is no mall near the airport). I'll bring my suitcase and laptop to a family restroom. I know they have them; I've changed there before (but not put on makeup). I'll change. I'll get my nails done (I should have time! I'll figure out the schedule soon). When I'm done, I'll call for a taxi to the airport (about 12 miles from the mall). Since the two cab rides will cost more than my usual ride, I'll pay the difference. But that's cheaper than a hotel room!

One odd thing. Last time I was dressed at that mall, I went into a salon and they said their manicurist wouldn't be in until the afternoon. Maybe they didn't want my business; maybe she works part-time or by appointment. It doesn't matter. There are at least four nail places in this mall!

From there, I carry on as planned. I see three problems with this, as opposed to the hotel. First, my facial hair will be a bit longer when I get to my destination. It shouldn't be a problem. It's less comfortable to change in the family restroom. I've done it a couple of times. I've never put makeup on there. Also, I have to get a cab dressed (instead of the airport shuttle ~ not a big minus, I guess) and I may have to wait around at the mall for a bit. The big plus: I have busted my budget big time in the past month. So much so that I was in Burlington looking for a black bracelet to match my black necklace. I found one! Then I decided to not spend the $5. And it was with a few other black/mostly black bracelets. And it was a perfect match for the necklace. So I save $100 or so and I'm happier about that.

I just called and cancelled the hotel.

By the way, since I'll be in a mall, I was thinking of having someone there do my makeup. I've had it done twice in that mall, at different salons. Plus they have department stores, a MAC store, Sephora.... A world of riches. But I've found that salon makeovers use a lighter touch than I need to be convincing. I look good, but not as female as I'd like. So I'll do it myself.

Plan B it is.

A Snag

I just called the local hotel. They cannot guarantee arrival before 1pm, which is too late.

Not Being Lazy, But....

I have been getting about 3 hours of sleep a night this week. I wake up and start thinking/planning/worrying and that's it for the night.

BUT I am NOT being lazy ~ I just want to point y'all at the comments for my recent Trading Falsehoods post. Pat and Joannie wrote insightful follow-ups. I'll probably address this again, because I think it's universal ~ hopefully not always for everyone, but at some time, for everyone.

Right now, in addition to figuring out packing and logistics and all, I've been trying to figure out how to answer the potential rude comment (or worse). I think I have the universal response, although it will be difficult.

Ignore the offender. Understand that they are living an unhappy life and anything I do or say will make that worse.

Oh and if anyone wants to take my picture, I have a universal response for that too.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Packing for Two, Part Two

When Meg is staying home:

(shirt, undies, socks) x number of days
little bag with toothbrush, toothpaste, nail clippers, tweezer. Shaver
shoes I'm wearing. An extra pair of pants for each few days I'll be away.

Sometimes, easy isn't always better. In this case it's certainly less fun.

The Monday prediction is for 90 at my local airport, 81 and thunderstorms where I land. I hope the flight isn't delayed or re-routed!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Trading Falsehoods

In the classic Laurel and Hardy movie, Sons of the Desert, the boys want to go to a convention in Chicago but their wives won't let them. Instead they say they're going on a ship to Hawaii for their health, which is OK. They come home and start to talk about the great trip, not knowing that their ship sank on the way and they are kinda caught in their lie.

I am uncomfortable with lying. I avoid it whenever possible.

So I had a problem with leaving at 9am and flying at 330pm. I could say I had an early flight, but what if that ship sinks?

Instead I said "If I need to do some last-minute work for the customer, I may take a cab to the office on Monday morning, then a cab to the airport from there."

So I'm on the right plane. I'm just not where I say I'll be in the morning. I'm trading a lie for a little fib, but I still don't like it.

I'd feel better saying "I don't want the neighbors to see, so I'll be taking a cab to a hotel where I'll change to Meg for my flight" but that's not gonna happen.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sometimes, It's Hard

I was at a customer today. My main contact wore a grey skirt exactly like the one I plan to wear for flying (except mine's black).

Do you know how hard it was to not say "I love that skirt! I have a black one in the same style and I'll be wearing it to fly this Monday?" (answer: my tongue hurts from biting it so much)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Packing for Two

I had a little time this evening so I started to get everything I'll need for the hotel transformation ready. It's a big, heavy bag and it doesn't even include clothes!

Purse: empty for now, but it'll get my driver's license, credit cards, cash, health and auto insurance cards (with that important 24 hour service number), tissues, glasses, contact case, some makeup, and my camera with extra batteries.
makeup: blush, eyeliner pencil, pencil sharpener, several eye shadow shades, foundation, powder, cover stick, lipstick, lip liner, lipstick brush, makeup brushes, eyebrow pencil, eyelash curler, eyelash comb, eyebrow brush.
hair: wig, wig brush. I loathe wig caps. The wig is airing out right now. I bought some wig shampoo but it was nasty.
bling: my lapus bracelets/necklace, but I think I'll wear a gold bracelet and black necklace. The earrings are gold + black so that might work. Plus, a couple of rings. And sunglasses.
can't forget: nail polish remover, eye makeup remover, contact lens solution + extra case

Not yet in the bag: razor, blades, shaving cream, tweezer, contact lens. I noticed one has a black smudge that won't go away. If it insists on not going away, I'll replace it. I hope I have another pair! And my watch, but I have to get a battery first.

Next, I have to make a bag with essentials: panties, cinch, hose (2-3 pair, just in case), slip, 2 pair shoes (my flats and my 9-to-5s ~ I'm still not sure which I'll wear), bra, forms, top, and skirt.

I know I'm forgetting something! Other than to calm down. I keep forgetting that. And to sleep. I've been getting four hours a night, then I wake and think and plan and forget to sleep.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Book 'Em

My flight for next Monday is booked. Also my destination hotel and car rental.

And I booked a room at my local hotel. My flight is at 3.30. I requested arrival at 10am.

That's the only foreseeable hitch ~ check-in time is 3pm. Check-out is 11. I will call them tomorrow and if I can't get a 10am check-in.... I'll have to figure something else out.

I think even with a 10:00 check-in will be a problem.

This is a really tight schedule, with no room for error or problems:

10:30 shave, shower, shave closest. A serious cut ends the trip
11:15 makeup. Really lousy makeup ends the trip.
12:00 get dressed
12:15 get nails done. If I'm too late, I may have to skip this!
1:15 back at hotel, get shuttle to airport
1:45 arrive airport. At this point, it all depends on lines, TSA, etc.
2:15 ticket in hand. This airport is large and a pain to navigate
2:45 through security
3:15 at gate
*oops* I need to be at the gate by 3, I'm sure.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

I know I am as anxious as I have ever been. I have a week to calm down.

You Look Familiar

Every so often, I go back to a site called myheritage. It's mostly for genealogy, but it has a cool face recognition tool. You upload a photo and it tells you who you most closely resemble. It's far from perfect. I've uploaded different pictures and gotten wildly different results, but there are always a few "core" people I get. Some are male, some are female. Some, I look at and just think "I wish!" and others I think "I hope not!"

The "celebrity morph" is new and I haven't tried it yet. The last time I uploaded a picture I tried their (then new) celebrity collage.

If some artiste could make me look like any one of these ladies, I'd go 24/7! Click on the picture for a larger image.

Try it ~ let me know who you look like.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Mixed Fourth

Good news: my family was away from 8 until 4
Bad news: I was with them. About a dozen kids run a lemonade stand for 4-H at a local fair.
Good news: I wore my girl denim shorts and girl sandals. No comments on my sparse arm/leg hair.
Good news: although I'm appalled at the hair that's grown back on my hands and arms, I noticed that it's pretty invisible from even a foot or two away. I'm more confident that limb hair will not give me away.

Good news: This is a big fundraiser. they took in about $1100.
Bad news: the back of my legs and the tops of my feet are quite sunburned
Good news: this is definitely NOT a showstopper. I have one week to heal and peel.

Good news: lots of people selling lots of interesting jewelry
Bad news: I've spent a lot on Meg recently, and the hotel room where I'll change is now $20 higher, so I was reluctant to buy anything.
Good news: I did find a nice bracelet and necklace set that would go well with my flying clothes
Bad news: I've spent a lot on Meg recently... I didn't buy.
Good news: I still have my lapus. And if I can find a black bracelet to go with my black necklace and earrings while I'm getting my watch battery, I'll be really happy.

So more good than bad. One week from tomorrow, I'll be flying pretty as the gurls on call it. I'm not quite the trailblazer I thought I was, but I'm still sort of unusual. If anyone tells me I've inspired them, I'll be a happier passenger.

The Clock Is Running

My new schedule has me leaving next Monday, July 12. Forecasts for both cities is for temperatures in the upper 80s, with scattered thunderstorms.

I should have been back by now, but postponement is better than cancellation.

Now, I'm trying to figure out what to do on the flight and while waiting in the airport. I'm open to suggestions. I won't have my netbook with me, just my work computer which I prefer to not pull out when I'm travelling. I sometimes do puzzles, or read the newspaper, or some other newsy/political stuff. When I read, I lean towards humour (I'm way behind on the Funny Times) which means possibly runny makeup and non-feminine laughter. I'll skip the funny stuff.

I'm thinking of getting one of the fashion magazines, but I'm not sure which or even if that will keep my attention for almost three hours of flight and an indeterminate amount of airport time.

Any suggestions?

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Tops are harder than skirts or dresses, for me. Not having hips means I can wear a smaller size skirt (8 or sometimes even 6), and I look for dresses that might disguise my lack of hips (I usually wear a 12 dress).

I do not shave completely. My wife dislikes the fact that I shave at all.

A typical entire discussion follows:
wife: I like hairy guys
me: it doesn't fit my self-image

What she'd really like is for Meg to disappear.

When I'm preparing to go out, I shave my arms to about cap sleeve length, my upper chest, and
the back of my neck. I may trim my armpit hair, but I don't shave there. That means shoulders, back, and tummy are all VERY un-feminine. Basically, when I am not Meg, I am a gorilla.

So tank tops are out. Cap sleeves are mostly out, because movement can kill the illusion. Low backs are out. Low fronts are coverable with a camisole. See-through is out.

Lots of nice tops either have no sleeves, cap sleeves, or see-through sleeves. [LOTS of blouses have see-through sleeves. At some point I will go that extra inch and shave my arms completely. Then I will bust the budget buying clothes that are suddenly no longer forbidden. I've been down this road before.]

For now, they remain behind for some other lucky woman.

Often I'll find a nice top with sleeves and put my hand behind the sleeve ~ see-through. Or it has a keyhole front, or too-low back. Or it's just plain ugly, or it looks too much like a man's shirt. I want different!

That's another problem: I wear women's shirts as a man, but the ones I find are often close, but not close enough. They have darts for your bust, or the colour is just wrong, or the sleeves are 3/4 or just a bit short, or the cuffs are funky, or the collar ends in a deep cut with no buttons near the top....

If I were to count up my men's shirts and compare that to just the different sleeve types on my women's shirts, the women's would way outnumber the men's. That's part of the joy of women's tops. The rest of the joy is the colours and patterns and cut and feel.

So I have a few tops that I like and can wear out without a jacket. But I'm always searching. On the other hand, maybe I should stop before my closet explodes.

When I did my inventory for the clothing swap, I had roughly 50 tops. And (say it with me) not a thing to wear!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mentioning the Unmentionables

Gurls my age know the term "unmentionable". :)

I like Vanity Fair panties. They seem to be the most comfortable (ie, roomiest). I only wish they had a bigger variety of colours and patterns. I'll make sure I have a clean pair for travel day.

After trying different forms with different bras, I settled on a pink soft cup bra (Bestform, I think it is). I usually wear a Beauty by Bali (soft cup) bra because it gives me a nice curve, but I wanted to tone that down a bit for the trip. You can see what I mean by curve in the picture here. Then as I was getting ready for the clothing swap I came across a Sears bra ~ my very first bra. I tried it on, I liked it, I wore it at the swap, I hand-washed it, and it's going on the airplane with my new forms.

I have four sets of forms. My first are my favourites, but they're starting to show their age. I think packing them in bags in my luggage is not the best idea, even with burying them within my clothes. I need something with a harder side to protect them. So I replaced them with the same type (GL-2000 from GlamourBoutique). They came with tape to keep them in place, but I doubt I'll use it. I've said I doubt I'll do a lot of things as Meg and changed my mind. I certainly won't tape them on this trip. I'm trying to avoid doing anything for the first time on this trip!

The other forms are OK. Both are a harder silicone than the GL-2000. One is from Magic Curves and they slide when I'm sweaty ~ the Magic Moving Boobies is not a very realistic look, I think. The other ones don't have any pedigree and I can't find the order info right now, but the nipples are very prominent with the Sears bra. I don't think the Perpetually Excited look is what I'm going for either.

I'll bring a couple of pairs of hose to the hotel and probably put one in my purse as well. I'm not as gentle with hose as I should be and backup won't hurt. I think I'll go with pantyhose, unless I can find a good not-extremely-sheer pair of stockings tomorrow.

My cinch will come with me, but I'll see how I look with the top out and no cinch. If my tummy is behaving, that's one less thing I need to wear.

And I'll bring a slip, just because I like them. I don't know if I'll wear it yet. The skirt doesn't need it, but it's not lined and a slip just feels nice, you know?

I'm certainly glad we got over that "unmentionable" taboo.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Travel-Ready Meg

I have decided!

This is the outfit (click on the picture to make it larger) I will wear on my trip!

I think.

No, this is it. I'm sure of it. Unless I have a few minutes alone and I find something I like better ~ always a possibility. But it's unlikely I'll have a moment alone before the trip, since school is out and my boys are not camp kids.

The sleeves are long but can be pushed up, as in the photo. The skirt has a pleat on the bottom and is kind of swingy. A woman I worked with had a suit with a skirt like this, and I wanted to say "I have a skirt like that. Don't you love it?" but I never did.

I plan to bring both these heels and the flats I showed earlier.

I'll wear the heels as I walk to the nail salon. If they're not comfortable, I'll switch to the flats.

Although it doesn't quite go, I think I'll wear my lapus necklace and bracelet ~ they have no metal which is probably a good thing. You can see the lapus in my clothing swap picture. If I can find a black bracelet to go with my black necklace, I'll wear that instead. Sunday is the July 4th fair. We sell fresh lemonade to raise money for 4-H and there are always other people selling jewelry. I'll see what I can find (without my wife seeing, of course). You can't see them in the swap picture, but I'll wear my black-and-gold earrings. I have a close-up of one, just to give you an idea. They're from Koko and all of my Koko clip-ons are good for all-day wear.

Stana recently wrote about overdressing. I do the same. I think I'll be the 1-in-100 women in a skirt, and 1-in-1000 in heels as I walk through the airport. I'm not counting people who work there! It is a Monday, and maybe people are travelling from work and maybe I won't be so alone. But since I'll also be the 1-in-10000 obvious crossdressers, I'm not that worried.

I have decided to not bring any other Meg clothes on this trip. I'll be busy with work and I don't need the temptation of another drag (pun) on my time. But I'll still have my basics and there's a mall right next door to the hotel, in case my workload is lighter than expected. ;)

It's time to make my list and check it twice and hope everything goes nice.