Saturday, 21 December 2013

Why the fuss? - part one

The title of which may rightly lead you to the conclusion that I did it!   Well...I did.  Firstly, I need to stop and say a huge thank you to the absolutely fantastic group of ladies who commented on my last blog.  At the time of writing I was about 25% in favour of doing it and, to be honest, more likely not to.  Your words of encouragement really buoyed me into action. 

Buoyed for what?  Short digression for the newcomers.  I was given the opportunity to go to my work’s Christmas night out in Rhiannon mode.  I have been out during the day a lot and in the evening in trans-friendly environments, but never to a busy civilian restaurant.  We went for dinner, then onto a bar for more drinks.  There were 7 of us ladies there - I was the trans woman in the middle. 

Your comments, together with the green light from the final member of my work who I was waiting to ‘agree’, propelled me over the line.  A big shout out to Becca too who encouraged me so much with daily texts, but also didn’t mind the final night phone call with me pathetically saying, “I’m really scared, I’m not sure I can do it.” 

So what happened?  Overall, I really enjoyed it.  I had gone to Trans-Femme to have some photos done in the afternoon (blog with photos to follow in a few days).  The very lovely Tracey also then did my make up, I got dressed as per the picture.  You can’t see my feet, but I had on my 3.5 inch black patent leather heels :o).  I felt great.  

Once ready, I drove to the hotel where everyone was meeting and where we were staying.   Everyone had already gathered before I got there, so I arrived to many compliments and smiles from my co-workers.  They made space for me and got me a glass of wine and I started to relax.   I could see some of the other patrons looking in our direction and of course I was assuming that they were looking at me, but actually seven loud ladies wearing very nice clothes (some with cleavage out), its not surprising we got looked at.  My co-workers are hot and scrub up well!  We are at different age ranges and each one would be considered attractive.

After a mix up with the taxis, we procured some lifts to the restaurant and after a 5 minute walk, which I admirably did in heels I might add, we arrived.  It is one of my favourites in terms of food: an Indian restaurant who focus on quality and inventiveness and they really deliver.  We ordered, and amazing food kept coming out.  

It was interesting, as there were three things about the night that were notable.  

The first is that I thought, what was the fuss about?  It felt so natural to be there dressed.  My co-workers were absolutely awesome and never broke a stride.  There were of course some hilarious moments of mixed up names and pronouns, but I was completely forgiving. I know for some that's an annoyance and if I had been full-time, I would have been more so.  But the reality is that for now, these people see me switching between Bob and Rhiannon so often, that it's unsurprising.  

I did feel somewhat overwhelmed to be honest.  I’d never been out as a woman, with other women.  The tone of conversation, how relaxed they are with other, the topic of conversation.  Everything is completely different.  Changing clothes and putting on make up, really doesn’t prepare you for that.  I realised that I am going to need to learn to speak woman too in order to move this thing forward.  The lovely take away from that is that they behaved not as if there was a man in their midst, but another woman.

The only blot on the landscape was that some people can be mean in little ways that spoil things somewhat.  I was a little quiet during dinner because when my order was being taken, my waiter said, “what can I get you sir?”  Which I thought was unkind. Especially as he was looking down my top at the time. :o)  I let it pass, but it did get to me.  I made a huge effort that night and was saddened.  During the course of the night, it happened two further times and they made sure that each time new dishes arrived, that the ladies got served first and that I was last.  I guess, I need to develop a thicker skin, but its not thick enough right now.  My guess is that they were busy, they’ve probably never been trained, that person may have felt uncomfortable etc.  But it just was unnecessary - a blot on an otherwise great night. 

After that we paid up and went back to our hotel.  After a few uneventful drinks we returned to our rooms.  I was buzzing.  Bed, I really don’t think so!  I stayed up a while just reflecting on the experience.  My worst fear was that I ended up with it going well and that I would want to be Rhiannon even more.  My worst fear was realised.

Anyway, the story doesn’t finish there and this is a long blog, so I’ll finish tomorrow...


  1. You looked lovely, hon! Kudos to your officemates too!

    Please, do *not* let some ignorant ass (sorry, but that is what he is) ruin a wonderful evening. There is no excuse whatsoever for his behavior. None. On the bright side, though, stupidity is not contagious. :D

    Can't wait to hear about the rest of the evening, sweetie! Off to bed for this girl now, though...


  2. Context is everything, we know this but you might be the only lady he has met and he really might not know what to say. Strange, maybe but it appears that despite our rising visibility most have no experience. You know it happened to me when we were together and I said nothing but next time if it happens I will say something and you should do. I prefer Madam with a stare will do the trick - or 'poke off you fool' - but perhaps this only when you have got your food :).

    Well done you - and despite the suggestions of encouragement - it was 100% you that did this. Way to go !

  3. By the way Mrs B thinks you should write and complain!

  4. Well done, well done!

    All you experienced has happened to me, and if we ever meet we'll be swapping stories just like this for hours. Including the sirring from a waiter in an Indian restaurant, which I agree is undermining. But I offer the same advice as the other girls: try your best to put it behind you. If waiters and other people want to be silly, intentionally or not, give them the finger. You were the paying customer, entitled to respect no matter what, and they should have been very careful about customer goodwill. Besides, I honestly think you looked great, and you should now have increased faith and confidence.

    Yes, it's a shame that you can't yet be Rhiannon all the time (is that really true? Why can't you be, on this showing?) and that will be an ongoing strain, but regular outings like this will enrich your female experience, and make it less and less likely that anyone will think you are in any way different from your carefree and fun-loving female companions.

    I'm looking forward to the next post!


  5. What does not kill you makes you stronger.

    You should have not given a tip and made it clear why your table had made that decision...

    As confidence grows and you start to talk woman they will only see woman. So glad you have broken the ice.

  6. Wonderful blog, and you look fabulous! You had a great experience (despite those few rough edges.) Trust me, hearing the dreaded S-word happens at times to me as well. So let it pass and move on...unless you're feeling feisty enough about it to write to management about it!

    Meanwhile, I can't wait to see your next posts!


  7. You were so brave and - can I say? - I'm proud of you for doing this. You certainly looked the part and I think it's a shame the waiter had to take the shine off. Perhaps a polite word with the manager wouldn't be out of order - there's no need for that behavior (I think a big restaurant chain would have made him walk - which is too extreme IMO).

    Lovely to read that you had such a good time and enjoyed the conversation & company. I hope this helps make up your mind. :-)

    Yay. A little bit of Xmas magic. <3

  8. In awe of your bravery and happy that it all went so well, despite the waiter (though, in his defence, he probably didn't know any better). I am giving you massive props, ma'am!

    Looking forward to the follow-up!

  9. Well done, Rhiannon; like everyone else here, I'm proud of you. I too have been called 'sir' by smart-ass waiters and, yes, it hurt at the time. But you've got some fantastic friends from work supporting you and, believe me, from here on in it just gets better and better.

  10. Thank you so so much for your kind words and your empathy. I didn't know so many other of you had had the same experience. I am really tempted to drop a note to the management of the restaurant, but suspect it will have little impact.

    For me, the priority was getting a bit further out of my comfort zone and pushing that little bit further. I'm a little shocked that I managed it, but made me realise I do want more and that bit by bit it will get easier.

    You girls really do rock and all day yesterday, as your words of encouragement came in, I felt taller and taller and more and more moved. I can't really voice just how fabulous you have made me feel - thank you x