Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Bit of a Slice of Life

Sorry for the lacuna, ducks--things got busy, there was the Lost season finale, and I've been working on a long piece that is taking a while in editing.

I suppose some of you reading here--if there is anyone reading here--might well wonder, "C. L., you've been nicely theoretical and wonderfully outraged, but can you give us a real sense of what it is like to be a trans woman? Is there any easy anecdote that can sum up your life in a neat, immediately understandable package? Am I wrong to want this?"

Ah! Well, my ducks, answering the last question first: Yes. Yes you are. But that doesn't mean I won't answer! Because while in real life doing Trans 101 can be a nasty chore, this blog isn't real life! That's why I'm writing it.

So, yes, ducks--and by the way, call me Cat, everyone does--as it turns out I do have a fresh-off-the-streets anecdote that can give you insight into what it means to be me! Even though I've chosen anonymity here! Life is wonderful that way, yes?

Yesterday after I got home from work I had to go to the post office to pick up a registered letter, something that always fills me with dread, or at least has every since that day two years ago when I got a registered letter threatening to sue me. Which did not happen! So it turned out okay, but I still get a twinge in my stomach.

I set out to walk down to the post office, first feeding Schwa and the Gray Mouser and changing out of the dress and suit jacket I had worn to the office today. That may be important. You see, as I was walking up the steps to my building, just a few minutes before, a man walking behind me had said, just loud enough for me to hear him, "Good night, pretty lady."

Compliments like that always give me mixed feelings. Like any woman, I really don't care to have my looks publicly commented upon all the time by random men on street corners. But on the other hand, he said it nicely, the sentiment was nice, and--well, let's face facts; I went through a lot of things to be considered a pretty lady. So while I wasn't happy that he felt like he had the absolute right to say such a thing...I did smile a little when I heard it. Just not at him.

So I changed into a tee and a jeans skirt; I only wore the skirt instead of jeans because I had just gotten it a few weeks ago, after looking for a long time for a jeans skirt. Now you know more about my wardrobe than is probably comfortable for either of us, but I will persist.

As I was crossing the street, a car came tearing around the corner, and I heard a guy in the car call out, in what can only be described as a fratboy-douchebaggy tone, "You look like a dude!" As you can guess, that wasn't fun.

But here's the thing, and the reason why this is supposed to be an exemplar in response to your question, ducks: he said, "like." Like a dude.

In other words, he saw me as a mannish woman. Not a man.

It took me 35 years to get that like. But it was exactly what I needed.

And that's what it

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