Happy Valentines Day to everyone!
When I walked into the nail salon the other day, feeling more than a little bit self-conscious with my shaving problem and complete lack of suitable makeup, there were two techs and one customer. "Hi Miss Mandy..." And the customer looked up and said hi as well. My tech had me sit down one seat away from the customer. She was almost finished, and we both watched the telly intently as the tech started on my hands. Nothing outstanding occurred while the customer was there.
A few minutes after that customer left, a sixtysomething lady came in and they sat her down next to me. And right away, she started chatting with me about the weather. I used some semblance of a femme voice at that point, and got the feeling as we talked, that she was fully accepting me as a woman. The nail tech addressed me as "Miss Mandy"several times, which added to the aura of femininity.
It seems the lady's daughter and son-in-law live in Boston. So I got to hear about how bad it it there...and I was able to share a danger story from the morning news about the possibilities of roof collapse. Since her kids have a house, she was going to make sure to relay that to them after her manicure was done. And she confided that she was surprised a woman would know about such things. I said "Thanks to the morning TV" and then let it drop...
When my nails were done, I held out my fingers to show her. Without any hesitation whatsoever, she asked the tech about "her pretty nails." Which got her the tech's official description, Then she asked me questions directly, such as how I like them, how long I've worn them, and how long they last. So there was no doubt in her mind as to my gender. I was a girl. And the lady seemed perfectly comfortable around me.
I guess I sufficiently exhibited "the image of a girl." However, I didn't "feel" at all girly, and hadn't even planned on a femme experience...I was just at the salon to get my nails done, wearing one of my everyday outfits. I find that I'm very comfortable in my feminine appearance, since my wardrobe is 100% women's... For now I'm in pants, but perhaps someday skirts will be included. Time will tell.
However, at this point, with me in pants and a top, my wife is fine with my appearance wherever we go.
Here's the outfit I wore at the nail salon:
My entire salon visit was so surreal...to be recognized as a woman, in spite of the major flaw I was unable to avoid that day. What Marian and several other of my readers have previously mentioned - namely, that if a few good cues are present, even substantial issues are often overlooked, is obviously correct. And it was very affirming.
On the way home, I stopped in to get gas at the self-service pumps. Unfortunately the pump I chose ate my receipt, so I had to dash inside to get it from a clerk. I wasn't even carrying my purse. A pair of guys stopped and held the doors for me on the way in. "Thank you, guys!" "You're most welcome, Ma'am." Once inside, the clerk said "May I help you, Ma'am?" "The receipt for pump 9 please." "Here you go. Have a nice day, Ma'am." And a twentysomething guy darted ahead of me on the way out, to hold the door for me. I guess chivalry is not dead...and I obviously didn't need a purse to be seen as a woman.
But little did everyone know...that with their help, I certainly was having a nice (no, truly wonderful) day! (And when I got up that morning, it hadn't even been a figment of my imagination!)
I leave you with this picture of the rehabilitated historic Harpers Ferry, WV railroad station (still in use), taken from the rear window of the last car of Amtrak's Capitol LTD, train 30 as it starts across the Potomac River bridge, enroute eastbound toward Washington, DC. Notice the little shed on the right? That's a stairwell and tunnel, to access the station from the westbound tracks without the danger of being hit by a train (notice the limited sight distance beyond the station to the west...)