Friday, September 25, 2015

"The elephant in the room."

Sorry for the delay in getting this posted, and unfortunately, no pictures today.  

While we were out of town, I'd been noticing that men with our group (particularly those who didn't know me) were holding the door for me (or both of us) on occasion.   I'm not sure if my wife noticed, but she didn't say anything.  And women were more friendly than usual...   That's become more frequent, so I didn't give it much thought!

Little did I know what was brewing.

One evening, about 40 folks (mostly couples) were sitting around on the motel patio after dinner, talking.  Since there were folks present who were not known to everyone, it was decided that we'd all introduce ourselves.   Our turn came and I introduced us (including my wife, by both name and her wifely status. )  So far, so good, no issue. 

After I finished and we sat back down, I noticed several folks glancing my way.   For the record, at the get-together I was wearing fisherman sandals with women's shorts, a men's logo touring shirt, and Mom's necklace, with my purse.   Anyone looking at me could plainly see my hairless legs and arms, long hair and long, shiny fingernails (my sandals mostly covered my pink toe nails), and arched makeup, though.

When the get-together concluded, one of the ladies who had spoken with us both several times in the preceding days came over as we were getting ready to leave, and put one arm around each of us.  I wasn't sure what was going on, and I'm guessing neither was my wife...though she refused to talk about the event afterward.  The woman guided us away from other attendees, and said something to me (us) in a low voice, to the effect of "You can tell me to go away if you want, once you hear what I have to ask, but a few of us, myself included, would like to know how you prefer to be addressed - as a boy or girl??  We've noticed your feminine name on your name tag, your outfits, necklace, hairstyle, and that pretty necklace,  and we want to make sure we address you properly." 

That hit like an earthquake of 9.9 on the Richter scale, and was good for a flashback to the trans lady at the antique show last fall.  The big difference this time was that my wife was with me - it was bound to happen eventually.  After thinking about it for a split-second, I quickly realized I had to reply, and there was no way my wife could - or would - say anything to her.  The floor was mine, and mine alone. 

Now, I'm not prepared (either emotionally or financially) to transition and deal with its many oft-dire consequences at this ripe old age (65+).   So, I knew how to respond.  "Oh, that name issue's not the first time, you know.   Actually, you'd have no way to know, but it was my father's and grandfather's name...and women have sort of stolen it over the last 30 years.   As for my outfits, I wear whatever's comfortable for me, regardless of it's "gender" or the label inside.  Feel free to tell anyone who needs to know that I'll respond to Mr., as well as Ms., Miss or Ma'am.  However, male pronouns are the correct ones."   She seemed satisfied with that, and thanked us for our kindness and understanding.  We all hugged, and everyone went their own way. 

Needless to say, there was an "elephant in the hotel room" that night - this issue.  My wife wouldn't talk about the issue, even when I inquired  "You don't want my comments" was all I heard.   And then she changed the subject.   Come morning, the topic had evaporated because of our activities.   It simply never came up again, even on the ride home.  (Or even afterward.)

The next day, when I ran into the nosy lady I asked if she had been able to "set any of the other wonderers" straight about my gender.  Much to my surprise, she said there were only three who were wondering, herself and two other ladies, but they had left the event while we were talking and she hadn't run into them again.  (Attendees were staying in two hotels...)   So, I guess it really wasn't that big of a deal for anyone.   Well,  except perhaps for my wife.

For the rest of our stay, men occasionally held the door, and women were friendly with me (and my wife when we were together.)  In the elevator next morning (fortunately I was alone) a woman from the group put her pretty hand right next to mine and gave me compliments on my fingernails!  Her nails were pink-and-white acrylics, and she thought they'd also look good on me.  I agreed...and confided that I used to wear them that way.  We reached the ground floor and the door opened, ending that discussion. :-(

None of the folks apparently asked the right person (our nosy lady friend) about me/us.   And, even though our "new acquaintance" approached the issue to me directly, in a non-offensive, appropriate manner, the end result fell a bit flat, particularly with her admission of how few women were involved.  I guess the rest of the folks were accepting me as female???

In the future, I'll take anything she says "with a grain of salt."

Happy Friday!



  1. This must have been really uncomfortable facing this with your wife right there with you.

    Your response to the lady asking about what gender people should use to refer to you seems about as perfect as it could be given the rock and a hard place you were put in.

    Mandy, how did you feel when you said "However, male pronouns are the correct ones"? I kinda felt sad that you had to say that, but you did have to say something to preserve "domestic tranquility"...

    I'm sorry to hear your wife did not want to talk about it later on. But I'm sure that was the right thing to try to do!

    But, yet again, even though you were asked about your gender, everything else sounds like it went really good, doors being held open, and especially getting complimented on your nails! That always feels so good, and so friendly to hear, doesn't it?

    1. Jen,

      Thanks, hon. Yes, it was a very awkward thing. Especially when I had to give my "male pronouns" comment. But it had to be done.

      What could have improved this difficult situation? Most importantly, had the lady asked when I was alone, it would have been less of an issue. Though I haven't concluded whether I would have given a different answer.

      Most likely, probably not. It would have simply "kicked the can down the road," to be addressed at another time. We'll undoubtedly see many of these folks again...and it wouldn't be good for people to be able to say to my wife or others: "What happened to her? Last year she said she wanted to be addressed as a female." That would definitely be a bad thing.

      As I've said previously: for me, transitioning is not imminent. So, telling someone to use "female pronouns" would simply invite a bigger case of "domestic non-tranquility" at some future point. And those issues NEVER come at a convenient time.

      I'm not surprised at wifely non-discussion of the issue. It's happened before. To date, the topic still has not arisen, and she knows I'm going to get a pedicure and manicure soon. That hasn't brought the issue up for discussion. I'm holding my breath...LOL!

      But we've been out again together recently, with me presenting androgynously as usual. My next post will describe it, and provide a picture. Yes, it's always been a good feeling to be seen and addressed correctly (without having to tell people how to address me.)

      I hope it continues...



    2. Yes we must keep the peace :-)

      It sounds like it was probably best that this happened in the presence of your wife, as you said you'll be seeing these folks again and it seems like you answered in the best way possible.

      I read your post about the dentist and shopping trip and I'm glad that seemed to go really well!

      My best wishes to you both!


    3. Sorry about the delay in responding - we're preparing for a possible hurricane here. So far, with only 2" of rain, we've escaped any major flooding, but the weekend looks wet, and who knows what the wind and power situation will be.

      It was only a matter of time till something like "the incident" happened in my wife's presence. At least it's over now, and there was apparently no major issue. My pedicure was yesterday and my toe nails are still pink. A manicure will be next week, so we'll see what happens with that.

      And the folks we were with on our car event, well, they know about me now, don't they? We'll see what happens next time! But the best news was from the shopping trip...that folks just seem to take the cues given, and translate them to "she's a girl." That's fine by me.

      Thanks for the good wishes...same to you and Miss! (I'd love to meet her someday...)


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    5. I hope that hurricane passes you by - water is an element that is hard to keep at bay.

      Are you filling sandbags? :-(

    6. Not at this point... We're inland, not on a flood plain, so hopefully they won't be needed. And with the rain we had, the ground could be better able to absorb some of the water instead of 100 percent runoff. Californians get fires, earthquakes and flash floods. We get hurricanes, snow, coastal and other flooding, and occasional tornadoes.

      It's a standoff...they're all bad! Say a prayer or two for us all out here...


    7. Oh absolutely my prayers are with you and everyone in it's path!