Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving - half the fun is getting there

We spent our Thanksgiving at our son's place in Tennessee...and had a fabulous time.  His fiance (with a bit of help from her mom) cooked up a delicious meal for the first big crowd in their new home.  It was a great trip!

Needless to say, my wife wouldn't allow me much sartorial freedom this trip, beyond my normal everyday androgynous outfits.  And there were no "miss-identifications" while in the kids' presence. 
Regardless, there was still plenty of femininity to be experienced, 
wearing stirrup pants, pantyhose, a polo top, womens' sweater, and flats, with purse and my two suitcases...   The assistant conductor (female) addressed me as "Ma'am."  Twice, at different times.

When we arrived in DC, a gentleman held the door for both my wife and me, addressing us as "ladies."  We both thanked him, as our hands were full.  Likewise, the gate attendant "miss-identified" me.   As we boarded the sleeping car on the southern train, the car attendant took over my luggage - "Let me help you, Ma'am."   And he hoisted my heavy bags up on to the train.   "Thank you, sir!"  And then he helped my wife as well.

I casually commented to the wife that in a way, it's nice to be seen as two ladies.   I don't have to horse our heavy bags around, and people hold the door for us all the time.  And I actually wasn't rebuffed.  She agreed that it's not a such a bad thing - someone else handles doors for us, and helps us with our luggage.   And she knows how heavy it is, particularly on this trip, with the things we're taking to our son's.

One of the already-boarded passengers watched our sleeping car attendant pile the bags in our room (we booked the largest room this trip, knowing how much luggage we would have) and said to us afterward:  "Ladies, I couldn't believe how much he put into your room - I didn't think it would all fit."  But it wife showed him the overhead storage, which held the pieces we didn't need.  (But despite that, the room was still cramped.)

Then the attendant came by.  "Ladies, let me show you the room features."  We let him, since it was our first time in this style of accommodation.   Then he asked what time we want to go for dinner.  Since it was already past our mealtime, my wife asked,  can we go now?  "Sure, they have a seating right now.  When do you ladies want the beds ready?"  I said "how about making them up when we're at dinner?"  "No problem, ma'am."

And he did...

When we got back from dinner (rough track didn't throw me out of my seat, and my drink to the floor, in the diner this trip), our beds were ready.  But unfortunately that made the cramped room even more so.   My wife mused that coming back, we will have one almost empty suitcase, and can eliminate one big shopping bag, so we can redistribute our things and better utilize the overhead, which will let the folding seat fold up when I don't need into my suitcase.    Not sure about how that will work...

When the train arrived in Atlanta (our destination) I was dressed once again in yesterday's stirrup pants outfit.  The attendant said "Ladies, let me help you with your bags."   He took them all out to the vestibule and set them on the ground for us....

The rental car place was just a couple miles from the station, but if you've ever been to the Atlanta Amtrak station, you'll know how small and inconvenient the parking lot is.   "Ma'am, do you need a taxi?" (A taxi driver cornered me...)

"Actually, yes sir, for two."  After the driver loaded our luggage and we got in, he ended up having near-fisticuffs with the limo driver who pulled part way in and was honking his horn and swearing, but refused to move to let anyone drive out (which also prevented him from driving further in.)  My wife wasn't as concerned about them beating each other up, as she was about revolvers being drawn, with gunfire ending up in multiple "lead poisoning" fatalities and the whole incident ending up as breaking news on CNN.    Fortunately, the issue was de-fused by several bystanders and neither happened.   We arrived at the rental car dealer reasonably quickly, given all the traffic and issues.  And since our reservation was in my name, I went to the desk.

"How can I help you, Ma'am?"  So we proceeded through the rental paperwork, with the lady clerk presuming I was female.  License and credit card time came quickly, but despite having access to my license, the clerk continued to use female forms of address for me and us.  While my wife was in the restroom, I asked the clerk if she could drive the car, and got an interesting answer.   "As long as you're both legally married in some state, yes, she can, Ma'am."  Hmmm....curious comment.

My response was easy:  "OK thanks, we are, so that's good."   I guess she didn't pay attention to the little M on my license or the "Jr." after my name.  Or perhaps she was just trained to be very politically correct!

Before we left, I asked about the restroom, and she directed me to the ladies' room around the corner.  When invited, I use it...  Especially since my wife had finished up and was out by the car.

There's more to talk about, in part 2, to follow.  Eventually.  Meanwhile, I'll leave you with the following pictures from Tennessee:

 One of the cute kitties at our son's house - catching a "catnap"

A quiet view to the west at sunset...from our son's front porch.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Oh my.. The "dry time" is here...

We're into my annual "dry time," or "dressing desert."  That's the period of time each year, when opportunities for Mandy to peer out of the closet and into the real world are few and far between.  This dry time often lasts till April or May and the car show season gets under way.   During this period, I simply get to enjoy all your adventures, while maintaining my androgynous mode.

This coming year, however, may provide a brief respite - in January I'm planning to a conference out west.  There, I'll be with folks who know me, and will be my own androgynous self.  However, on the way home, I'm planning a detour which will allow a short layover in California, and provide a chance to kick the door off the closet for some skirt time - a "girlcation," as it were.  We'll see how well those plans develop...anything can happen at this point.

Since the Director at the nursing home saw my pictures last week, I've seen her twice in passing...  Both times she was very friendly, and addressed me by my first name.  It's a nice touch, and if it continues, I'll be fine with it, happy even.  And the female staff is now addressing me by my first name.   Seems like perhaps, in their eyes, I've moved over to their side of the aisle...and it's OK by me...that's where I prefer to be!

One of the ladies who eats lunch with Mom hadn't seen my outfit, so last week I took out the computer and showed her...she told me "that's a pretty girl."  She was surprised that it was me...and said I looked very nice.

Strangely enough, all these interactions with people are helping me feel more comfortable being myself.  I believe they'll be a big assistance,  during  my "girlcation" in January!

And, as I was exiting the post office recently, a man held the door for me.  No issues, no strange looks.  "There you go, Ma'am."  "Thank you, sir!"

We're visiting our son in Tennessee for the there will be lots more later.  Meanwhile, I leave you with this beautiful  sunset...once again, from the Chesapeake Bay region...

Happy Turkey Day!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It's been a "bad hair two weeks."

Since Halloween, there have been a few fun incidents, but also things "not so much fun..."   Occasionally, people have "bad hair days."  We've just finished a "bad hair two weeks."

After my wonderful Halloween weekend, the memory of which remains strong, I had the pleasure (if you can call it that) of preparing myself for - and enduring - a medical procedure.  Just thinking about it gives me the chills, even now.  That alone was enough to ruin the week after Halloween.  However, the end result was satisfactory...I picked up the report Friday, and there are no issues requiring further medical intervention at this time. That's a huge blessing! 

Fortunately, there were several "smile" moments during my procedure.  The receptionist, and two different nurses, all addressed me as "Miss," and one even reminded to take off my bra.  (The one I wasn't wearing.) The doctor in the procedure room initially called me "Ma'am," though I finally heard the dreaded "S" word from the doctor in the recovery room.  (Wonder why the change in opinion?)  Interesting, right?  Or, maybe they were mostly being politically correct?   But I'm not complaining about those"miss-identifications."  It's what I want to hear.  I'm just surprised, because my medical records clearly state "M."   And fortunately, my wife ignored it the one time she was within earshot...

When we got back home, about noon, I was still groggy from the anesthetic which I didn't want (and for which I had to sign liability waivers relieving them of all responsibility in the event I died from it - or any other thing.).  Not a happy camper about that, but they wouldn't do the procedure without the signed forms and anesthetic...and the procedure needed done.  No matter that I was awake last time they did one of these on me, about 7 years wasn't particularly painful.  And I've been through a root canal without novocaine...   At least the IV site they put in, didn't leave the back of my hand bruised!

"Life after procedure" was destined to go on:  the antique still had to be taken to the shop for an antifreeze leak which developed on the outing in October.  Turned out the problem wasn't nearly as bad - or expensive - as the mechanic originally believed.  The fact that parts were not frozen in place from 47 years of use helped a lot - those things had been worked on 10 years ago, during its repaint.

He agreed that bringing it home for repair was the best plan...a shop on the highway probably would have replaced everything he didn't have to - and that would have also solved the problem.  Or if they were unethical, they could have done what he did, but charged for replacing everything - they were so far away they'd never have had to live up to the alleged "warranty."  In any event, that would have added multiple hundreds of dollars to the repair bill.

A major trauma this week was that the photo program on my laptop crashed.  No, it wasn't a virus.  But up to now, I didn't realize that could happen - found that out on the internet.  After quite a few hours of time, it's almost completely restored now (only a couple dozen loose albums floating around), with very little loss of content.  But I'll need our son's computer expertise over the holidays to finish the job.

And the fact that the allergy/sinus issues I'd been having, blossomed into a full-fledged problem the night I got home from the procedure.  Heavy coughing fits and all...the next morning I had no choice but to be seen by the doctor.  I've been on antibiotics and for several nights,  I needed a strong prescription cough syrup at night, so I could sleep.   And during all this turmoil, we had to go over to the mainland for my wife to get some emergency dental surgery.  Definitely not fun...

There were a few bright spots, however...   At the medical office where I picked up the hard copy of the report from my procedure, I was addressed as "Ma'am."  And I was in androgynous makeup.

A couple of the aides at the nursing home hadn't seen my outfit from Halloween...and I was certainly willing to show them pictures!  They loved both the black skirt and blue blouse I wore there, as well as the pink blouse I wore that evening.

And when I went in to the Director's office to discuss a matter, I casually asked if she had seen my costume.   She hadn't.  Once again, out came the computer...and she thought I looked great.   I showed her the pix from both evenings as well, and her comments were very complimentary.  She asked if I had any other pictures I could show her (maybe a "fishing trip" to see how often I dress?)   So, I clicked into my makeover pictures from last August and explained it to her.  She was completely amazed, and said while all my pix were good, these two were definitely her favorites:

From the Director:  "Elizabeth Taylor is a talented photographer...first she puts you into a sexy outfit, then into a very seductive pose. Look at those legs!   And your shoes - I couldn't begin to wear them!   This is perfect - I love it!   You're a very attractive woman,  (and she inserted my now-feminine first name here, instead of her usual Mr. & last name)."

The Director said: "Looking this feminine and pretty, you can go anywhere with confidence."   I hope she's right.  We'll find out in January...

She wants me to be sure to dress again next year - and I said I definitely plan to do it.  If our paths don't cross in the halls, she wants me to stop by the office to see her...she wants to meet me in person.   Sounds like a plan!

She's hoping for Halloween activities on two days next year.  But since Halloween is on a Saturday and staffing levels are lower on Saturday, many things, including the party, probably will be on Friday.  That would let me repeat this year's procedure and show up dressed Friday!  YAY!  With both the Director and staffers encouraging me to do it,  how can I disappoint them?  Now I have to find something pretty to wear!

One of my pictures from Halloween is on my laptop screen, and Mom smiles when ever it comes on...I'm further "out" to her than I ever thought I would be.  She's seemingly fine with my dressing on Halloween, but still not comfortable with any other times.  Nor does she seem to be OK with the concept that I'm "what her daughter might have looked like if she had one."  And she keeps reiterating that she didn't want a daughter, only a son.  Since she has trouble remembering time frames, these issues are not a problem.

But she's actually made some good comments.

One of them is related to my "passability" - there's that awful word again.  She pointed out I have male shoulders - and she's right.  I love sleeveless things, but in the future, I'll probably soft-pedal them as a possible obstacle.  But she tells me that I have good legs for skirts - "fortunately you took after me, not your dad."  When she wore skirts back in the day, she really DID have good legs.   So we at least have a dialogue going.  And I plan to have her tell me what she thinks I should wear to minimize my shoulders...

Trouble is, she forgets what she said today.  No problem, we just go over it again the next Groundhog Day!  But at least it's exercising her mind...and it's an improvement over  the topic of "wondering when (insert long-dead relatives' names here) are coming to visit her."  This is something she's been mentioning recently.   I'm going to try to keep her busy for a while, perhaps with girly topics - such as looking at dresses and skirts on-line when I'm there...

Let me leave you with a peaceful sunset scene, taken a quarter mile from our house...out in the recently-harvested cornfields of the Delmarva...



Friday, November 14, 2014

Out & about...Part 4, the way home.

It's inevitable that this wonderful vacation with other old cars would come to an end.  And it did.  However, the drive home yielded a couple of architectural gems.

First is at the intersection of US 40 and NJ Route 581, out in the middle of nowhere.   A lonely and very disused railroad station sits forlornly on a corner, looking disheveled and distressed, beside a commercial building...

At first glance, one might think that it was a long time since trains called here.   But then, you look closer, and find that the station is sitting on a (relatively) new foundation...and one end has been opened up, to form an oversized (but with no door, certainly not weathertight) garage for an unknown type of equipment - which was absent at that time. Where did this station come from?  There was no evidence of a railbed in the area, so why is it here?

From various sources, I found that the station is the former Woodstown, NJ train station, which opened around 1883 and quickly became the center of business activity in that portion of Salem County. Manufactured goods were received from Philadelphia and produce from the surrounding farmlands was shipped to the major cities. In addition, passengers were able to travel on the train from Woodstown to Philadelphia, Atlantic City and New York.

Following World War II and the emergence of the automobile as the most popular mode of transportation in America, the number of passengers transported by trains began to decline. On December 30, 1950 the last passenger train left Salem County.  In December of 1970 the Woodstown Station was moved to its current location at the intersection of Route 40 and Commissioners Pike, for a use that apparently never developed.

Above is how the station looks today.  

There are no panes in any of the windows, and the far end has been opened up, to make a storage shed for some large piece of equipment.

A rather dismal appearance for the completely stripped interior, as seen through glass-less window frames, badly weathered, and with a broken mullion.

So,  what's the skinny on the big fellow below?   He towers over Harding Highway (US Rt. 40) just a bit east of Pittsgrove in Woodstown,  New Jersey.  He advertises the Cowtown Rodeo, which is the oldest weekly rodeo in the U.S.  (Bet you didn't know that little factoid!)  And it was quite well attended, judging from the lack of available parking places!

Various sources indicate that he, a re-purposed "Muffler Man" from commercial use, was "bought at an auction in 1975 and outfitted with a cowboy hat and gun."   However he came to be, it's good that this piece of Americana still exists, even if he no longer advertises a muffler shop - in fact, there's no muffler shop in sight.

Thanks for reading my travelogue...hope you enjoyed it!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Out and about, Part 3 "Under the Boardwalk"

"Under the Boardwalk..."

After spending some time touring Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ a few of our antique car group went on to other destinations, while we stuck around town for a while, and took a walk on the Boardwalk.  It was a fabulous day - those who stayed got to enjoy the sun...salt air...and the lack of crowds!

One thing that surprised us about the scenery, and had changed since our last visit there, was that there are now dunes between the ocean and the boardwalk.   Most likely they're man-made, to act as a protective barrier against storms.  In any case, we missed the chance to see the ocean from the boardwalk, not really wanting to cross the dunes to reach the beach.  (Getting sand out of my pantyhose without removing them, would be too big a challenge!)   Lastly, from where we stood at least, you couldn't go "under the boardwalk..." as in the song.

Following is what's left of the Trump Plaza.  They were taking down the signs as we drove much for the unemployment rate in Atlantic City.  I wish the best for anyone affected by these casino closings...

And then there was Lucy, the Margate Elephant.  From Wikipedia,
Lucy the Elephant is a six-story elephant-shaped example of novelty architecture, constructed of wood and tin sheeting in 1881  in Margate, NJ, two miles (3.2 km) south of Atlantic City, in an effort to sell real estate and attract tourists.

Today, Lucy is a tourist attraction. Guided tours take visitors into the building through the spiral staircase in the left rear leg up into the interior, then up again into the howdah to see views of Margate, the Atlantic City skyline, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Lucy's front view.  Maybe she's TG?  Only male elephants have tusks!

Inside Lucy's restored body...

My car (the one with hood scoops) from the Howdah...

From there we headed "back to the barn" for a nice dinner with some of our friends...and look forward to next year!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Comparison: "Asker" vs. "Askee" on presentation

This was originally written as a post-script to Part 4.  But it probably should have its own presentation and title, to be findable later.   As for the question oft-asked on blogs here:  What about bringing up the issue to a person who, for reasons of clothing, mannerisms or makeup, etc., might be trans? 

This past weekend, I had the extremely good fortune to be in the position of being on both sides of that the "asker" to the "witch," and as the "askee" by the observant lady at the show. 

The "witch" seemed very comfortable talking about her outfit and the fact that she wears women's outfits often (including some time in hoop skirts!)  But from our limited discussions, she seems to be more of a cross-gender "re-enactor" and "good-will ambassador", than a trans person (it's a question I didn't specifically ask.)

She was very happy to discuss her outfit and presentation.  And she was already in conversation about it with a female vendor when I approached her, so there were no timing problems with my asking.  It worked very smoothly.  And under these circumstances, it was the appropriate thing to do.

As for approaching trans people in other circumstances...perhaps not so much.  It really all depends on the people involved and the situation.  I still would recommend being extremely cautious if considering approaching someone "cold turkey." 

From the viewpoint of the "askee:"  I'm still relatively new to discussion of trans issues (my own or of others), and I experienced a definite shock factor.  (Read my previous post.) That probably will decrease as I gain experience and exposure.  But the lady had done her job of observation (of me) over a long period of time, and did not bring up the topic with civilians nearby.  She was able to say things to keep me comfortable, and had a wonderful way of talking about the topic, including her own situation.  I did not feel at all threatened or offended, and was thrilled to have her initiate the topic.  It's nice to make new friends, particularly those with similar interests...

But that is my take on it, only in these circumstances.  It may not work well under other circumstances.  So Your Mileage May Vary.

The way I see it:  whatever you do, always be careful, consider the circumstances, and if in doubt, don't bring up the topic...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Part 4...last day & main event!

When I was at Red Lobster Friday evening, in my skirt and heels,  I noticed that a woman with two older kids, sitting in a booth across the aisle and two rows down from me, kept glancing my way.  I kept checking to see if my napkin had slid off my lap, or my legs had automatically drifted apart at the knees.  Both negative.  She looked vaguely familiar.

Segue to Sunday afternoon (immediately after being addressed as "Ma'am" in the presence of my booth-partner by several of my customers).   I made a run to my car with a couple of purchases.  A few minutes later, I'm walking back to my booth,  saying hi to some of the attendees and dealers in that row.  As I smiled and said hi to the lady sitting in her booth, she smiled back, motioned me over, and asked me how I liked the shrimp at Red Lobster Friday night.  Say what????  At that moment it struck me...this was the lady who kept "checking me out" in Red Lobster! 

Before I had a chance to say anything, she said "You're like me, aren't you, dear?  Remember, your secret is totally safe with us"  (meaning her and her two kids - both were sitting there.)   I went absolutely speechless as this unfolded - both her conversation and my speechlessness were something I've never experienced before.  "OMG, OMG, OMG..." doesn't adequately cover the thoughts racing through my mind at "warp speed"...

"I've been observing you here at the show, for the last 3 years.  But nothing helped me to feel comfortable talking with you - I didn't want to invade your private space.  At least not until Red Lobster Friday night.  I'm so happy that we both chose to eat there at the same time,  Now we can finally meet and talk!"

My brain started processing data again.  Slowly...   I said "But I was dressed a bit differently than I am now."  "You were dressed the way you really want to be.   I noticed what you were wearing when you arrived here Friday - you walked past my table several times.  And you looked very nice - you should dress that way more often."

"But I..."  Before I finished my sentence, she started: "Sweetie, maybe you don't realize that you looked like a casual woman when you arrived Friday.  You didn't have a stitch of men's clothing on - those stirrup leggings with pantyhose and your girly flats were cute, and perfectly feminine.  (In retrospect, I was surprised she didn't mention my heavy makeup job, with the faded remains of lipstick from visiting Mom that morning - it took 2 makeup remover sheets to remove it all, when I went to bed!)  Again today, you look like you aren't wearing anything from the men's department, except perhaps your coat.   Remember, I notice these things."  (She was precisely right...everything except my coat was womenswear.)

Wow...her trans-dar was functioning at 100%! 

"You probably don't realize this, but I've transitioned.  I've been through it all,  many years ago.  I used to be (insert her former male name here).  And now and forevermore I'm (insert her female name here) and she pointed to her name tag.  My gender markers have been changed to female.  I'm on HRT and my breasts are real. And I'm happier than I've ever been.  The way I see you, you've transitioned too.  You're the perfect everyday lady here at the show."

Thankfully the selling day was just about over...   I stood there, riveted to the floor, talking with her for about 15 minutes.  It was like two old friends finally meeting in person, after not seeing each other in 30 years.  She asked what my male name had real name is now female, and she thought I'd transitioned.   When I pointed to my name badge...she was the one surprised.  I told her "I hated my name as a kid.  But now...I love it.  If I ever manage to transition, I'm hoping to keep my name and perhaps just legally eliminate the 'Junior' which you don't see.  Since Dad (whom I'm named after) passed away 17 years ago, I don't go by the Jr. designation any more, except on legal documents.  But it's there, and as a girl - I wish it weren't."

I told her that I'm married and not planning to alter that. However my wife is not accepting of my wearing dresses or skirts in public, which is not likely to change any time soon.  So I wear them when I'm traveling alone.  "What you see of me 'is what it is.'"

We talked some more. I learned that she and her wife stayed together through transition, and they are still together.  That's rare and refreshing. Their kids (both male) are OK with having two moms...and are well-versed in things transgender. (They sure didn't look at me like I had eight eyes or something.)

Since it was near day's end, and time to start packing, we said our farewells and I returned to my table, still somewhat dazzled by the turn of events.  Twice I wrote down my email address on a scrap of paper, and twice I threw it away.  Finally I wrote it down again, walked back to her table and handed it to her.  She beamed...and immediately sent me a test email from her smart phone.  I said I'd reply when I got home.

Back at my table, I started packing...absent-mindedly as my mind was wandering.  I went past her table on the next to last trip out, we hugged tightly...and both said "let's keep in touch."  They live a distance from DC - takes them 5 or 6 hours to get home.   So it's unlikely that we'll be able to meet up anywhere.  But we now have a new common interest to talk about...and both have a new friendship to develop for next year!

When I got home...everything was fine, until I started to relate plans to my wife, for me to dress up with several others at the show.  Guess what appeared?  "NMH" syndrome.  Yes, a serious case of "Not My Husband!"  So, discretion being the better part of valor, and not being sure how much of it was a reflection of a bad toothache I found that she had, I dropped the topic for now, and will revisit it later.   Tantalizingly near, yet so far away!

But, if I were a betting girl, I'd say that most likely, the witch idea is dead on arrival...there are too many folks at the show who know us both. Reports about proceeding with those plans in a venue that public would find their way back home at some point, in some unforeseen manner, if I proceed without her assistance.  There are too many smart phones and vidcams around.  Showing up on the telly, or as a cover photo in a news publication, in a witch's dress and hat is not something I'd want to risk.

Instead, I'll probably settle for Friday's outfit - stirrup pants, blouse and flats, but going out to dinner completely dressed with heels, afterward.  They're both female outfits, and I'd be undeniably public.  Just not spectacular enough to be newsworthy, thus relatively private.  No 6PM news exposure! 

No matter how I dress, it's such a joy to be a girl!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

And yes, there is...OMG...a part 3 be followed by a part 4 - it was a very eventful weekend.

Saturday dawned dreary, but at least it didn't rain.  I got to the show early, and obtained a close-in parking place, away from the oak trees, which at this time of year are helping feed the squirrels by dropping acorns.  You can hear them raining down on the cars unfortunate enough to arrive later and parked under them.

The lady vendor at the outside booth was there, and since a lot of customers hadn't arrived there (yet), we began to chat - naturally about dressing.  She thought I should go ahead and plan to dress for Halloween next year...whether it's a period costume or not.   And she has seen "the witch" at this show before, dressed, with nobody having a problem with it.   She "passes" (I hate that term, but it's quick and easy), but unfortunately wears a name tag with "his" male name. (BTW, that issue could be overcome...)  The lady vendor pointed out that in my own case, that won't be a problem, since my real first name is a girl's name.

I outed myself again by telling her that I dress occasionally, and in fact was out dressed last night, though just for dinner.  She asked which I wore - a skirt or dress.  and I told her my black skirt with blue floral blouse.  She went on to say that it sounds pretty...but she doesn't wear skirts or dresses, because most men have better looking legs than hers.  (I heard that comment before - yesterday at the nursing home.)  "Plus, they're too cold and drafty in the winter."

I told her that with pantyhose on, that hasn't been a problem for me yet.  "Sweetie, just keep wearing skirts - you'll eventually get to experience being half a mile from wherever you need to be, in cold, windy, or snowy weather.   And it will seem like forever, walking with frozen legs, snow on your ankles and calves, and a cold tushy.  I simply eliminate that chance by wearing pants."

Strangely enough, two of her women friends appeared.  I just stayed with them for about ten minutes, instead of going with some guys.  The four of us stood around, talking about knitting, kids, and other girl things.  They made me feel right at home with them...and included me in their conversation.  (All while the guys were gathering nearby in their little groups to talk, with nary a woman in sight.)   It's one indication that I've found where I belong - playing in the girls' sandbox!

From time to time during the day I talked with several of the women near my table, and they all endorsed my plan to dress.  (Maybe they all like the idea of guys in skirts? Or want a leg show?)  I also mentioned it to the guy whose space I share.  After explaining, he said, "Why go through all that bother?"  My response was simple:  "Why not?"  End of discussion.  So at least at this point, from other peoples' viewpoints, it sounds promising.  Of course that could crash and burn if I don't get my host's invite back next year (probably not an issue), or from the "main viewpoint at home", the one which I definitely expect will be an issue.

I didn't see the "guy in a skirt" at all on Saturday - and found out subsequently that he had stayed in Gettysburg over night.  So he didn't get back to the show.  But I managed to obtain his phone number.  That proved to be a very good thing.   And the show management didn't see a problem with two "girls."

After the antique show closed for the evening, I went back to the hotel and changed for dinner.  This time I drove to a nearby Applebee's...where I usually go.  Interestingly, the greeter initially used the dreaded "S-word."  But she immediately corrected herself...when she saw what I was wearing.  "Right this way, Sir - uhhhrrr - Ma'am."

Since I didn't have to deal with her any more, who cares what she thinks?  The female server addressed me properly as "Ma'am"  every time, was VERY attentive, and did her job well.  That attention earned her a 30% tip - in cash, in her hand - fortunately for me, it was on a less-expensive meal.  But little rewards like that may help some pave the way for other TG folks who follows in my footsteps.

On the way back to the car, temperatures had dropped to about 45 degrees, and the wind was blowing at about 20 mph.  It's the first time I've experienced a chill from wearing a skirt, even though I had pantyhose on.  Gee, the girls were right!  Note to self: time to get out the black opaque tights!  Maybe even a pair of leggings for underneath!  And I found myself pushing the remote-start button for the car as I started hiking out to it...yes, that made it toasty warm inside!

Back at the hotel, I recruited the female desk clerk (a different girl from yesterday)  to take more pictures of me....and she was happy to do it...another quiet night.

Anything for a diversion.  

And she liked my skirt.   Though she, too, commented that she never wears them - or dresses.  "They're too cold in the winter, and I feel so exposed when I'm wearing them."  I admitted that I felt very exposed, like I was walking around with my bottom half naked.  But I'm getting used to, and beginning to enjoy, that feeling.  And I confessed that I'd been chilled for the first time after dinner that night, but plan to start wearing tights instead of stockings in the winter.  She told me "Good plan, girlfriend!"

Back to the room I went, and got the courage to call the number I got for the guy in costume at the show.   Fortunately, he was home, remembered me, and we talked about dressing for over half an hour.

Now, here is the amazing part.  Based on my wife's past performances":  I expected a ration of crap about it on the phone tonight and SHOCKINGLY did NOT hear "Not My Husband." 
My gut feeling is that she will just wait till I get home to rain on the parade.  I highly doubt she'll be OK with it.  

I'll find out tomorrow and will certainly let you know! 

More Later...