Last night, Saturday, was my first event out as Christen. It seemed difficult for me to believe that I had waited for so long to actually do this but I needed to be ready and comfortable in my own mind as much as I needed for my wife, Joanne, to be as well. The day itself, and what we later did afterward that evening, were a momentous and defining series of events for us both.
The main and only event
we were initially considering attending was a Tri-ESS chapter meeting in
New Hampshire. We both had talked about this impending event with some
trepidation and anxiety. There were numerous potential problems we
feared we would encounter. The list was wide ranging with some of the
fears bordering on ludicrous as we built up complex scenarios that we
might potentially incur.
Saturday morning was busy enough
however to put many of those fears at bay as we scrambled to put
together our contribution to a pot-luck dinner for the Tri-ESS meeting
that afternoon. After that, it was time to both get ready ourselves. We
both decided to take a middle road and to wear some stylish tops paired
with slacks and heels. With makeup and hair complete, we loaded the car
and headed out. Other than the one hour drive to the meeting itself,
this certainly was not an event that we felt would be unsafe in any way.
The drive down on the interstate was without incident and Joanne
decided she would drive just as a precautionary measure.
arrival to the place of meeting, we quickly fixed our makeup and hair
which was needed partially due to the rainy and humid weather we faced
that day. Grabbing our pocketbooks and our trays of Italian stuffed
shells, we sauntered across the parking lot to the main entrance. Joanne
certainly could not believe how confident I appeared as I walked across
the rain soaked parking lot in 3 inch heels balancing trays of Italian
Entering the building was quite momentous for me as it
placed me for the first time enfemme in front of the eyes of others.
There was quite a large gathering already assembled inside and so I
placed my food down and was immediately welcomed by all. It was so
exciting to be able to be myself and to talk so freely among such a
diverse range of individuals. Joanne was able to spend some time as well
getting to know the two other SO's who were also at the meeting and to
share her thoughts with them within the context a discussion group.
It was curious to me that several of the members at the meeting were
somewhat impressed when I mentioned to them I had never been out of the
house before, that I did my own makeup and that I could handle myself
extremely well in 3 inch heels. I was also asked multiple times if I
felt nervous or uncomfortable in any way. Really, I felt quite at ease
and comfortable in a warm environment. I mentioned that I had been
dressing for nearly three decades and certainly felt very comfortable
with myself at this point to not be nervous. I assured to all, that the
day I stepped out of the house would be the day I would also be ready to
be myself as well – and without trepidation or fear.
and I enjoyed a nice dinner and conversation with those at the meeting.
It was toward the end of the meeting that we found out that some of the
others were intending to go out afterwards to an alternative club.
Although Joanne and I had originally only intended to attend the
meeting, we did look to one another and I asked her if she might be
alright with this next step. I knew I might be pushing the envelope just
a bit fast going from closet to a safe club and then to the outdoor
world in just our first night out but I was like the little kid in the
candy store at that moment. She did say this would be fine since we were
going to be in a group situation with three others.
headed out to our respective cars, we learned that there was going to be
an intermediate stop at a local Fashion Bug clothing store for some
quick browsing. This caused a moment of panic for both of us as we
arrived at the shopping center parking lot. Joanne did not feel
comfortable with going in to a public store just at that point but urged
that it would be alright for me to do so. As I felt this would be a
great socialization and learning experience for me, I jumped at the
opportunity to do so while Joanne remained for the few moments I would
be gone to reapply her makeup in the car for our intended destination at
We all sauntered into the store where I took my own
direction to wander the racks, partly browsing, but more so observing
the reactions of customers and sales staff to us in general. I was quite
pleasantly surprised to observe that there were no real reactions or
leering stares made to us and in fact, a sales woman did come by and
politely ask me if I needed help in finding anything. It was certainly
very reassuring and affirming in the uneventfulness of this experience. I
was also quite surprised how comfortable I felt with all of this and
just how calm and relaxed I was in this situation.
back to the car, we headed off to the club – this time with me driving.
The club, located in Manchester, NH, was a gathering place for all types
of alternative life-styles. We parked and walked in where we had our
ID’s checked at the door. Joanne noticed that when I presented my ID,
the security attendant did at least two double takes between the picture
on my license and then of me, to which I simply told him "I look a lot
different in person".
We had quite a nice evening chatting on
some comfortable sofas just downstream of the bar and dance floor where
some karaoke was going on. Joanne prodded me to go up to the bar for
some drinks, which I did. Surprisingly, I received some very nice
complements on my attire from the bartender as we chatted briefly. As we
sat and chatted, the club began to fill in with other patrons as well
as some amateur drag performers. One performer, during her act did seem
to find her way to where we were sitting while prancing the floor and
lip syncing. She did make it a point to stop directly and specifically
where I was sitting for quite a close up and personal moment during her
Joanne did find some concern for me when it became
a pressing need for me to utilize the restroom. As I felt much less
comfortable entering the men's room enfemme, I opted for the women's
bathroom. Joanne did accompany me just to keep a protective watch
though! Again, there were no surprises to be had. The one other genetic
woman touching up her makeup at the vanity mirror didn't even bat an
eyelash at my presence.
All in all it was a fantastic evening
out. We encountered absolutely no negativity whatsoever and instead made
some new acquaintances, discussed a number of gender and non-gender
related topics, enjoyed a delicious dinner, a trip to a clothing store,
and a night out at a club which welcomes all diversities in life. We
learned more about how others perceived us and how we each felt together
between ourselves in sharing this. It was all a positive and inspiring
experience. Our only remaining worry on the hour ride north toward home
that night was the thought of hitting a moose on the empty interstate
highway. Again, this improbable potentiality also did not come to pass. I
had a great time and Joanne, too, was so much more comfortable as well
with all of this which meant even more to me.
It was a
fantastic first night out - one that will remain as a key moment in our
life's memoirs - and we will certainly be doing it again!