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...