Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Second Soiree, Part II

First a correction.  Tuesday I wrote:

I've been here for five months and, other than Charity, I've never had a visitor. 

I should have written

Charity and I have been here for four months and, we've never had a visitor.

Star, Charity, Sharon, Andrea and I squeeeezed into my Prius and we drove the eight or so miles to Christine's.  Driving in heels is different, not difficult.  I was more concerned about where to put my purse in that overpacked car than where to put my toes!

We arrived near the starting time, but the house was fairly full already.  I saw and spoke to some old friends.  I was thrilled to have a couple of ladies come up to me and reference my blog!  I spoke to ladies I had never met before.  I know I sometimes can't tell the difference, but one tall beauty said she had never been out before.  So definitely someone new.  One woman was wearing outrageous (in a good way) earrings ~ one popped off her ear and she spilled a bit of her drink on my leg trying to catch it.  It wasn't until later that I realised that was Cindy, queen of the Classy DC Sisters, and I said hi.  To be fair to me, she had changed her hair colour since I last saw her.  To be honest to my readers, I didn't remember what her hair colour was last time I saw her.

I saw some ladies and then didn't have a chance to speak with them (looking at you, Rhonda!), but I expect to have a chance next time.

There's something special about the soirees.  I'm not sure what it is that makes it difference from other get-togethers.  There's that lack of cliques I referred to the other day, but there's more.  I think there's a lack of awkwardness that we might encounter at other (civilian) events.

Christine and Pamela, our lovely hostesses
Most people are composed enough to treat us as ladies when they meet us.  We're a small part of the population but people in general behave as if we're nothing unique.  Sometimes, I get the feeling that the person I'm talking to wants to ask questions ~ but she never does.  I'd be happy to explain and enlighten, but I think the person I'm speaking to thinks any question would be taken as if she'd asked "so what's it like having only one arm?"  And I think they take a bit of pride in thinking "I was so well behaved!  I didn't start at his deformity or anything!"

Conjecture on my part, of course.  I can't ask "do you have any questions?" because there's the unwritten undercurrent: she, of course, doesn't know I'm not a she, so I can't say anything.

In the past, I've said things like "can I ask you a question?  When did you know?" but I get "know what?" or something similar ~ they probably think they're being nice, but I'd really like to know.  The superpower I want is to be able to read the minds of people observing me, just until I'm "made".

And I'm not off-topic.  What did we talk about?  Mostly about Things We Don't Speak About With Civilians (see above paragraph).  We speak of our experiences, our current status.  We speak about our partners and where they are on the accept/don't accept scale.  We speak of what we're going to do next, the next female barrier we plan to break.

Imagine your second-strongest passion (I probably know what the first one is).  Your favourite sports team, your love of cars, boats, Magic: The Gathering, spelunking, shopping, the Grateful Dead, whatever.  If you're in a group of people with similar passions, there's a competition.  Who went into the deeper cave, drove the faster car, knows more about the Packers, who saw the most shows, and so on.

At the soiree, there's a lack of competition.  There's a bit of jealousy on my part ~ some of the ladies are stunning ~ but there's no "my dress is more expensive than yours" or "I go to work dressed" or "these boobs are REAL!"  It's more like comparing notes and learning.  I'm thrilled to meet women I can look up to.  A chess master I know pointed out that you don't learn by winning.  You learn by losing.  There's no winning or losing here, but there sure is learning.

We sometimes think our way is THE way, but at the soiree you can see that there are dozens of different ways.  I say "dozens" and not "hundreds" or "thousands" because there were dozens of women there.  If I made a list of trans milestones and said "write down the ones you've reached and the date" they'd not only come back in different orders with different first-to-last times, there'd be items I never thought of thrown in there as well.

It's fascinating.  I had a wonderful time.  I look forward to the next one.

So now, Cindy changed everything, and the "DC TransLadies Soiree" group is no more.  I'll write about that Monday.  Tomorrow, some pictures from the soiree.


  1. There is a need in our community for casual gatherings. I have been to a few support meetings and they tend to be nice but somewhat formulaic. I have also been to some big party style T events. I share your problem of being able to follow conversations in large settings. It is compounded when the music volume surpasses that of the NYC subway system. I hope that the DC TL Soiree finds a way to continue.

    I also share your observation that there is a different sense of calm acceptance when we are in a group of TG people and non-TGs who understand that we are all different. I sense that pure civilians, even GLB civilians simply do not grasp the diversity that exists in the TG range. There is a tendency to want to lump all 'men in dresses' into one group. There are as many different ways to be TG as there are TG people. We understand that "One size fits all" just does not apply. For civilians, however, it may be easier for them to put us all into one catagory.

    Likewise, at least in my experience, there is a general acceptance of aother TGs. I have not had too much exposure to what some writers have described as "I am more T than you". I will almost always pass a nice comment to another dresser about her clothes or shoes or whatever. It seems natural to be able to find at least one genuine sounding compliment you can make. At the same time it rarely happens that someone does not pass a nice comment about my looks or attire. I am always nicely surprised when that happens.

    There tends to be a refreshing lack of competitiveness among us. GGs may feel a need to compete with other GGs. Most of us are just plain happy to be out and about. We know that we may not be beautiful in many ways but we are happy to achieve whatever level of beauty we can reach.

    You do raise good points for discussion.


  2. I rejoice that my local group is a small informal gathering at a local Pub. This gives us all the chance to share, and spend time together in a social setting.

  3. Meg -

    If you're around when I visit DC, I'll visit both you and Charity - and you'll be able to say you've had a visitor from out of town!

    You comment that most people are conditioned to treat us as ladies. I've found this to be true in my travels as well. And this means most people will not ask us about being trans when we go about our daily business. The other day, I saw someone on my commuter train who I thought was trans, but who had a perfect presentation and excellent voice. It was a time I wish I could have broken the politeness barrier I subscribe to, just to have a friendly conversation and to compare notes. Alas, that's the price we pay for being treated the way we want.

    You commented on the lack of competition in your soiree. This is much like a natal woman's soiree - there is rarely the one upmanship that is found in masculine communication. Instead, feminine conversation establishes rapport and helps further knit together a social network that benefits women.

    Do GG's compete? They sure do! But they compete differently than Males, and in ways most men do not notice. We may be privileged enough to see life from both sides, and to have a better understanding on what it is to be human.



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