Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Halloween 2003 ~ First Time Out

In 2003, I worked in a small office, part of a Very Large Company, one most people outside of the Wonderful World of Contractors never heard of (SAIC).

There were about a dozen people altogether in our office. The only important things to know about the staff:

* all were men except for Pat, our security person. Her title was security director, and she handled clearances and visit passes and such but she was also the Staff Female. So she'd arrange celebrations, order supplies, keep things neat, etc etc etc. Women's work.

* there were three levels of people: us drones, head cheese (Gary), assistant head cheese.

In 2003, I had never been out dressed before. I had planned to go out dressed on previous Halloweens, but there was always some reason I couldn't. OK, it was the same reason. I chickened out.

Like every year, I planned to do a full costume. Like every year, I went out to buy The Outfit for Halloween, which would then be worn around the house only. This year was no different.

And this year, I had an opening. I had been joking with the Pat about her being the lone woman in the meetings (she actually brought it up) and I said I'd wear a skirt one day in solidarity.

Halloween was on Friday. Casual Friday. I considered that cancelled when it comes to dressup possibilities.

So I went shopping for appropriate business attire. I got two two-piece outfits. One was a tank dress that came almost to my knees, with a matching long-sleeve jacket that was almost as long ~ a light, patterned pink. I still have the suit.

The other was a more normal business jacket/skirt. The skirt came past my knees. I really didn't like that length, but thought it was probably better than wearing something short. It had a suit-type jacket with it, with an oversize black collar. The collar was removeable, giving me more options. It needed a blouse underneath, I thought. I didn't know about camis at the time, so that seemed to be the option. I had a very nice white blouse with a kind of ruffle down the front that I considered wearing with it. The suit was red, but not really like crimson. But red. My red shoes were pretty uncomfortable, so I thought I'd probably wear the collar and black shoes with it. I have since deemed this suit hideous and clothing swapped it to someone who has even less fashion sense than I have.

The pictures here are of me wearing those outfits about three weeks later. I looked pretty horrid, right? I do think the ankle bracelet was a nice touch though.

In the office, they had a monthly pizza lunch, arranged by Pat, of course. I cannot eat pizza, but it was a staff meeting/guest speaker/lunch so I was obliged to be there. Generally the staff is there, plus a couple of representatives from the customer or other guests.

I brought an entire outfit (I don't remember which now) with makeup, jewelry, and so on. And I brought a separate bag with my long denim skirt, black hose, and black heels.

Pat sometimes wore a similar denim skirt. She was partial to coloured hose (tights?), usually black or white. She also only wore flats. She's a few inches taller than me.

Before the meeting, I asked Gary if a costume would be acceptable. He asked what I had in mind; I said I couldn't say. I also said I may not, since I'd be the only one in costume, and I hadn't decided yet. But I wanted to clear the possibility. He said it was OK, but sounded reluctant.

His reluctant-sounding-reply plus my natural urge to not humiliate myself convinced me to just do the skirt. As a bonus, Pat was wearing her denim skirt! She wore white hose (or tights) and I had black, but that was OK. She wore black flats; I had black heels.

I wore my tights under my pants so it didn't take long to change. I changed in my office shortly before the meeting. Then I phoned Pat and asked her to drop by my office, so she saw me first. She said "I knew you were doing something like this" and she probably did when I called her to come over. I NEVER did that.

I worked at my desk for the next ten or fifteen minutes until the meeting was called. Then I waited a bit longer.

When I walked into the conference room, there were probably close to 30 people. There were maybe four women there today. The table sits twelve or maybe sixteen. Most of the people were getting pizza or drinks. I grabbed a can of soda and sat down at one of the few remaining seats at the table, across from Gary. I slid my chair in. I did not want to sit in a chair by the wall, where I usually sat. Normally, I didn't want to take a table seat from someone who was eating. Today I wanted my legs tucked neatly away.

No-one noticed.

I think people expected to see jeans and that's what they saw. Or I'm just mostly invisible. I'm not very gregarious; I didn't greet anyone and no-one greeted me.

I wasn't sure what to expect. Although I considered this possibility, I didn't really expect it.

There were pizza boxes on either side of me. People kept getting up to get pizza, and still on-one noticed. I glanced at Pat and shrugged.

As the meeting wore on, I started getting nervous. How would it look if I got up and people started noticing? Very weird, I thought. I ran through scenario after scenario and didn't have a response and my nervousness began to turn to panic.

At the very end of the meeting, Gary leaned across the table and said, "no costume?"

I was saved.

I said, "well, in sympathy with Pat who often laments that she's the only woman in the office..." and I pushed away from the table. I got some big laughs. And Pat appreciated my efforts. Someone asked why I wore heels when Pat never did. I said it was to get up to her height.

I stayed "in costume" for about another hour. I got up to get something from the printer and three or four guys were milling about. They commented on the skirt (and my not changing yet) and as I was walking back someone made a comment about the skirt so I wiggled my butt at them as I walked back. I heard a "whoa" and wondered if I had overdone it.

I went up to see Pat before I changed. One of the women from lunch, who I had never met before, was there. She commented on my "bravery" at doing that. I said I'd do anything for Pat.

I thought, to keep this from getting out of hand, I had better change back (plus I had to go to the little crossdressers room).

If someone bet me that I'd be flying dressed less than seven years later, I would have taken that bet and I'd be broke now.


  1. Dear Meg,

    Very happy to see that the blogging habit has taken hold of you. I really loved your original idea of creating a single event blog around your maiden flight, but having been through that with you am very much enjoying all the back story.

    Please continue. You clearly have come a long way, and tell the tale nicely.

    Fondly, Petra

  2. Very interesting, as Petra says. I must admit, it bothered me to think you were just going to write for a month or so to chronicle your flight then quit. Whew! You are still here and long may you blog.

    Hugs, Halle

  3. wow. you are such a great story-teller!And brave!
    It's so interesting to compare how comfortable,relaxed and natural you look in your profile picture with how uncomfortable you appear in the older photos. You've come a long way baby! Gives me hope!

  4. Meg
    Another great post. Both in terms of appearance and in terms of the courage to get out and about "You've come a long way baby".

  5. You have become a great inspiration to me. The Fairly Recently photo is so good I can only hope, some day to look as exceptional as you do. I can just imagine being lucky enough to be able to walk with you thru the airport.
    As a closet cross dresser it’s encouraged me to go public and with Halloween coming could be a good opportunity. I’ve read you blog and realized that I need go as subtle as possible. No overly fancy, frilly, showy stuff. Also to be aware of certain location that will not work. As my email to before I always thought that cross dresser meant I'd have to go all the way to “gay” and I"ve found there are different “shades of gray”.

    P.S. when comparing the photos with your
    "Fairly Recently”, I almost think it’s somebody else!
    And as I said to you before: Enjoy Meg as much as possible it’s time have FUN!

  6. Nice outfits and story... wow! :)


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