Hello my precious and adored readers! I am writing today because I have had a fabulous week so far and really want to share it with everyone. Now, I might have mentioned this previously but during my session with my therapist last week she essentially gave me some homework to complete before our next session. Sadly that session probably won’t be until next week, as she called today’s session off do to feeling ill, but regardless I am happy to say I’ve completed her homework, and I believe I’ve done so with flying colors. What was this homework?
Well, she essentially told me that she wanted me to try to spend more time out in the world presenting as Emma instead of Robert. One of the specific things she mentioned was that she wanted me to go to Torrid (essentially the big and tall of the women’s clothing stores) and at the very least just shop around for clothes. She said I didn’t have to buy anything, but she just wanted me to at least go, look and maybe even try some stuff on. Well, my lovelies, I did even better than that! I bought not one, but essentially three outfits from Torrid on Sunday!!! I got two skirts and two tops, so with mix/match possibilities I have a total of three different outfits (one of the tops would be truly horrific with one of the skirts, otherwise it would be four outfits, but I digress).
Not only was the experience of actually obtaining women’s clothing exciting and fun, but the process of shopping was awesome! This is how it went down:
My wife and I both went to the store Sunday evening, and upon walking in we were immediately greeted by one of the two employees working. The store was completely deserted because it was close to closing time (which we were unaware of, actually), so my wife and I were the only customers. The girl who greeted us was a younger woman, probably around 21, and she had bright teal/blue hair, which I though was a good sign. As she approached she asked if there was anything we were looking for. As she got closer to us she started to give my wife a rather worried look and was likely thinking that there would be no clothes that would actually fit her skinny ass (okay, I’ll admit that I’m a bit jealous that she’s already at her goal weight and I still have like 38 pounds to go, but anyways…). As this look of worry spread across her face and I could tell she was about to warn my wife about their clothing’s plus-size nature, I decided to be brave and said, “Actually, we are looking for clothes for me.”
You should have seen the shocked look this teal-haired twenty-something gave me after my bold declaration that I was the one who was shopping. I just have to laugh as I write about the experience because I really don’t think she was at all prepared for an assumed-to-be-male person to so boldly declare their intentions to cross dress. She, however, recovered quickly and stammered, “Oh, okay, sure! Did you have anything in particular in mind, or were you just wanting to look around?”
I told her I just wanted to look around because I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. She said okay, gave the typical, “let us know if you have any questions” line that every sales person ever has said a thousand times (I know I did when I worked at best buy), and quickly retreated back to the counter where she’d been toiling away a moment earlier. The second sales clerk was at the counter too and although I didn’t hear the conversation that ensued, I can only assume they were discussing the fact that the alleged male customer who’d just walked in with a female companion was the person who was looking for clothes. I tried to ignore what was being said and started browsing through some of the tops with my wife’s assistance. I found one or two items I was interested in before I was introduced to sales clerk number 2.
Whatever was said in the aforementioned hushed conversation seemed to prompt the second clerk to jump into excited action. She was a similar aged woman who was quite tall with long brown hair tied up in a knot and was rather… robust. I suspect that she is one who probably benefits quite a bit from her store discount, if I had to guess, and just so we are clear, I’m not saying that in a catty or shaming way, I know all too well what it’s like to be the large person of the group, I simply want you to get an accurate picture of who I was dealing with. Instead of taking the more timid and slightly caught-off-guard approach to interacting with me, she was eager to set me up with some great deals.
She approached after a few moments of me looking around and excitedly asked if she could help me. Her demeanor was so friendly and eager to be of assistance that I caved and admitted that I had no idea what I was looking for as this was my first visit there (not completely true, the infamous Halloween costume that had me mistaken for a female several times was purchased at Torrid, but she didn’t need to know that).
She quickly pointed me to the clearance section where they had a special going on that if you bought one item at a discounted rate, you got the second one half off (or something similar, I forget now). From there she started asking me what kinds of things I thought I’d be interested in trying on, and I suggested skirts (which is what I really wanted) and boy did she go to town helping me. After that we picked out a few interesting pieces and she happily escorted me to the nearest dressing stall and opened it up for me. As I was about to close the door she asked me what my name was (I’m guessing for anti-theft purposes) and I decided to just tell her my true name, Emma. She smiled knowingly and told me to let her know how everything fit and that she would be happy to grab a different size if needed.
I closed the door, feeling quite happy that I was being treated with such kindness and without any form of visible judgment, and began to try on the items I’d picked out. Long story short, I tried on about a dozen tops and four or five skirts/dresses until I’d narrowed my selection down to the four items I eventually bought. The second clerk was super kind and helpful as I looked for different sizes in some of the items I liked and even helped me check out. When I paid she offered me the obligatory sales pitch to join Torrid’s rewards program but actually seemed to believe I’d really want to come back to buy more clothes. I can’t explain it, and perhaps it is silly, but it felt welcoming to me that she seemed so willing to have me be a return customer. She could just have easily thought I was strange or weird and not offered me anything with the hopes that I wouldn’t return, but that’s not how her demeanor was at all. She was even kind enough to ask me if I wanted my name to be Emma on the membership (yes I signed up, because let’s face it, I’m definitely going to go back and buy big-lady clothes. HRT won’t cure me of my 6’1” height or broad shoulders/chest). I make that remark because it was obvious that she knew, or at least suspected, that I was an early transition transwoman.
The great thing about the experience was that even though the first clerk had a caught-off-guard reaction to me wanting to buy women’s clothes at first, by the end of the interaction she was just as excited for my purchase and accepting of me as Emma as the second clerk (she was at the desk when I checked out). Needless to say I left the store with a smile on my face and a skip in my step. At long fucking last, I had women’s clothes, and they weren’t for a costume; they were mine, all mine, meant and intended to be worn out in public; not just on Halloween. (don’t worry, there will be pictures soon enough, after some much needed hair removal efforts… damn you back hair! You are a blight upon my body that must be purged!!)
Oh, but wait, the fun doesn’t stop there. Once I got home I realized I had some great outfits but I didn’t have any shoes to wear with them. I wasn’t about to rock the tennies + skirt combo, and as much as I love my adidas soccer slides, they don’t really scream high fashion. So, Monday was spent scouring the internet for shoes large enough to fit my ski feet (seriously, I’m a size 15/16 in women’s shoes) that weren’t hideous, super painful looking, or so-called unisex, which is really a misnomer because unisex shoes are just slightly less boyish guy shoes IMHO. The search was long, and not-so-surprisingly difficult, but I was victorious… at least I hope I was. I waded through the oodles of dominatrix pornstar boots (and there were about a million), clear heeled pumps, and ordered a lovely pair of low heeled black shoes that will hopefully ease me into the heel-wearing realm of ankle-breaking-peril. They might be too small, so we will have to wait to see if I was truly victorious or not. (you can see them here: http://www.shoebuy.com/fabulicious-belle-309/679979/1392217?cm_mmc=googleproductads_pla-_-none-_-none-_-none)
I actually just checked the shipping and they have been sent, so I will have them by the end of next week, but hopefully sooner than that. Again, pictures will be posted, fear not my darlings.
So, new outfits… Check! New shoes to match the outfits… Check! What’s missing? Well, my darlings, the answer to that question leads me to the A+ section of my therapist assigned homework completion. What was missing from this shopping spree and from my life generally was a purse!! I have always, always, always, ALWAYS, wished I could wear a purse around. I even, as a teenager, fell in a deep denial-based love with one those old school mini backpack purses that were so popular with young women in the late 90’s/early 2000’s a la: http://tenbags.com/images/purse/mini-backpack-purse.jpg (oh yes! Just imagine teenage Robert, rocking out his mini backpack swearing to everyone that it’s not a purse while his mother and father are like DAFUQ is wrong with my child??)
So, my lovelies, today Emma put on her brave pants again and strolled as plain as day into Macy’s purse section to find the perfect bag. I won’t lie. I got eyed up and down by the other women who were looking for purses, and they were not welcoming looks. They were definitely, “what the hell are you doing in my purse section, you weirdo!” looks, and were not limited to the other shoppers either. The lady working that section of the store, I swear to god, was convinced I was either lost or about to shoplift a purse, because she was hovering around me like a fly on dog poop. She rather brusquely asked me if I needed help finding anything (AKA a more gender appropriate section of the store) but seemed to chill out a little when I smiled nicely and told her I was just looking for the moment.
I eventually found a lovely purse that was not only exactly what I was envisioning when I went into Macy’s but was even 40% off!! Add to that the fact that I was carrying a $50 gift card on my person and you will be impressed (I hope) to know that I managed to purchase a $100 purse for a meager, $13! You should have seen the look on the clerk’s face too when I walked up to buy the bag. I suspect she just figured it was a gift for someone else, but I refused to be shamed by her or any of the other scowling women I encountered, because I belonged there just as much as they did, even if they couldn’t see it.
So, my lovely readers, your self-proclaimed transwoman extraordinaire Emma now has three gender appropriate outfits, will soon have a pair of darling shoes, and her very own denial-free purse! But more than just the clothes, shoes, and purse, she has found a deeper degree of confidence in who she is. It’s not easy to stand up tall in the purse section and boldly go where no man generally wants to go, nor was it any small task to openly admit to a complete stranger that I was in the market for plus-size women’s clothing, but all of that was necessary for my progress to becoming fulltime Emma. The cherry on the confidence milkshake was that I even told my mother about my shopping endeavors. I felt inclined to spare her the awkwardness initially but decided it would be better for her in the long run if it wasn’t kept a secret. There is nothing to be ashamed about, and I refuse to keep hiding my female gender or desires from her like I did for so many years.
I wish I could say she was excited for me, or enthused with me about the successful adventures, but she wasn’t and didn’t. If anything she was taken aback by the news and didn’t really know how to react or what to say, which was painfully awkward. I wish she could overcome whatever resistances she is harboring to this transition, but I suppose I must still wait for that day to come.
Well, that is all I have for this post. Thanks for stopping by, and remember, if you are an ally or trans, or even confused about your gender, please feel free to email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m finally starting to have some time to check that email again and always enjoy hearing from my readers for any reason. Whether it’s a question, an idea, as a person to vent to/commiserate with, or best of all loving fanfare, my door is always open. (haters need not email because it will just be mocked and/or ignored before being deleted).
Much love to all of you!