After getting home from the antique show, one of my first appointments was with the eye doctor. The office was located in the mall where some aggressive peddlers have their kiosks, so I arranged to arrive early, before the mall officially opened, and do my walking there at the mall instead of the basement. Perhaps getting to the office just as they open and avoiding the peddlers.
In the process of walking that morning, I explored some of the other passages of shops, and discovered that by walking a bit out of my way, there was a combination of hallways which would indeed avoid walking past the peddlers. So, now I have a choice...pass them, or avoid them, whichever I'm in the mood for at the moment. When I'm in the mood to be flattered about my appearance, I can route myself by them.... Choices are always good!
I was dressed like many other women at the mall...capris, tunic top and flats. Close shave but no makeup. The biggest difference from other women was that I wore pantyhose, as is still my preference, though I've gone without on occasion. When I showed up at the desk in the doctor's office, there were new assistants there. And I was addressed as "Ma'am." Which is always my preference, even in androgynous mode.
Then the tech came in. I've known her for many years. We greeted each other, joked around a bit, and then she took me into the lens room, so I could remove my contact lenses, which were the topic du jour. As I did, this time she watched me intently...to see how I moved my fingers with my now-very-long nails. (That's been a topic of discussion before.) But Success! They came right out. My question back at her was: "other women have longer nails than I do - how do they get their lenses out?" "The same way you did..." was her answer.
Then it was off to the exam room. While she operated the machines to measure my eyes, she complimented my outfit and asked "did you mind that the girls out front addressed you as "Ma'am?" I told her that part of the reason for it may be my feminine given name. But I told her that I respond to "Ma'am" or "Miss" and much prefer female forms of address. So she can relax, it's never a problem. I also mentioned that I do respond to Mr. or Sir, when appropriate. She asked if I wore feminine things every day, and I said "I dress like you see me, absolutely. One of these days don't be shocked if I show up in a skirt." And she smiled broadly. "No problem...you'll look fabulous in a skirt. What does your wife think?" "She tolerates my sartorial style as you see it, but wishes it weren't so."
Then the tech got serious again, regarding the results of the election and things that were said about women and various minority groups during the campaign (anyone who followed our election knows which ones, I don't need to recite them.) "A lot of things were said about various groups, and now you're part of two groups in the center of the administration's crosshairs: Women and LGBT. If things get bad for LGBT folks, is it possible for you to cut your hair, remove the nails and buy menswear as your ticket back to the male side for safety?" "To answer your question, yes I probably could, but I don't know if I would - I'll make that decision later. Hopefully MUCH later - or preferably never!"
"Well, I'm a woman and always will be, but I'm also (insert one of the new-administration-hated ethnic groups here - I've left specifics out for her privacy.) So I'm doubly at risk, as are you at the moment. But you do have one advantage: to most people, you're an American woman. Sweetie, whatever you do, and wherever you go, PLEASE BE SAFE. It's dangerous out there. As a woman, you follow the rules for female safety. When you go out at night, beware of nearby men...and go with other girls or get an escort if necessary." "Don't worry, I do - and I will." Then it was time to see the Doctor, and I went through part of the above again...to another willing, supportive person... Good turn of events!
But there's one thing I'm curious about...if I were in front of her in line at the women's room, would she (as a seemingly-supportive female) feel threatened by me if we entered the women's room at the same time and she and I sat down in adjacent stalls, or if we refreshed our lipstick and powdered our noses at the mirror, side-by-side?
Since I don't know the answer...when the situation presents itself in the future, I'll ask!