My latest foray out en femme was a wonderful experience for both my wife Joanne, and I. It was wonderful because it was affirming and supportive and it disposed of many of the pre-dispositions we held inside of us and paved the way for further exploration.
For Joanne, it was
primarily her fears of how I might be accepted and her worries for my
safety. For me, it was more a concern towards how she felt and in our
ability to blend in with a mainstream crowd.
We started the
night with a repeat visit to a local P.F. Changs Chinese Restaurant. The
last time did not include the wives in the adventure so this was a new
wildcard to add. This particular restaurant is most easily accessible
from within the mall to which it is attached, and so, with this
knowledge in mind, we parked underneath the Nordstrom's anchor store as a
base of entry. Joanne and I along with another couple were ready to
begin our entry into the mall. There were some moments of panic and
distress from both SO's when the full extent of our foray through two
levels of a department store and out across a considerable distance of
the main promenade of the mall was realized.
We alit from the
garage escalator and sauntered out into the store. As it were, we
happened to be in the women's department which allowed for some quick
browsing as we moved through and out into the mall. Dressed stylishly
but subtly, we seemed to blend in quite well. Our SO's were holding back
several paces as I specifically wanted Joanne to monitor what was going
on as we passed by the crowds of people out shopping that evening in
the mall. What was amazing was that not only were we not being clocked,
but rather that no one was paying attention at all - until - we stopped.
We had been to this restaurant before but we were somehow lost in the
myriad of corridors that made up this mall. Fortunately we stopped right
at a crossroads where we were presented with a large, lit store
directory. As we pondered over where we were, we were rifling visually
through the entries to try to discover what corresponding map number the
restaurant was referencing on the large vertical panel presented before
us. We apparently were looking so distraught at the blur of numbers on
the map that a sales woman in an adjacent store came out of her shop,
approached, and asked if she could help. We turned toward her and her
facial expression, to my own amazement, did not change. We asked in a
feminine voice for directions to guide us through the maze and she
directed us politely and succinctly. Again we were on our way and no
Approaching the restaurant, we peered through the glass
windows and realized that the place was packed to capacity. Unlike last
time when it was quiet, the holidays seemed to be materializing hordes
of diners to this one venue. The entrance we happened on was mistakenly
on the side of the restaurant that had the bar and this was like a
cattle car, standing room only, patrons waiting, huddled around the
entry podium with their pagers, awaiting for a table to open. This was
suddenly becoming a concern for Joanne as it meant that we were going to
be rubbing shoulders in a closed and close environment about 11 seconds
"Hold head high, maintain composure and look
assured", I thought to myself. Opening the door, we decidedly commanded
our entrance and worked our way through the crowd to the seating hostess
at the podium. Using a most feminine voice as we could, we requested a
table, half knowing what her reply would be. "About 20 minutes is the
wait", she said. "But you are welcome to sit over at the bar".
This seemed a good option as it got us out of the rush-hour like crowds.
We made our way to the only four contiguous and open stools at the bar.
Sitting down, I took a moment to look around at the clientele. The
diners seated around us were ranged in age from teenage to late middle
age. None were gravitating their attention to us and even the teens were
absorbed in whatever they were discussing at their table.
bartender, whose name we learned was Matt, came over and asked our
orders. I ordered a Blue Hawaiian, which he was not sure how to make. I
explained that it was a drink made with curacao, and with just that
knowledge, he said he could figure the rest out from a reference guide.
We had no problems at all in our chat and he seemed more enthralled to
have us stay at the bar for the evening. "You ladies aren't leaving the
bar for a table are you?", he asked when he saw the pager.
Joanne was feeling comfortable at the bar and didn't want to move at
this point, so when the pager flashed, I opted to take it up to the
hostess to return it. Walking past the teenagers and several other
tables presented no problems what-so-ever. I approached the hostess and
presented her with the pager, letting her know our intents to stay put
at the bar. Her conversation did not break although I did catch the eye
of a waiter from the corner of my own as I spoke. His look was one that I
could only define as confounded amazement - almost a look of "something
does not compute" in his mind and I don't think he blinked once while I
chatted with the hostess for a bit longer. It really felt that I had
some wonderful control of the moment just then and it felt great.
Back at the bar, we ordered an array of appetizers for dinner to go
with our drinks. The first round of drinks consumed, we were beginning
to start in on our second round. Most of the concerns of the SO's were
rapidly sinking into the murky depths of the Mai Tais and Blue Hawaiians
being consumed. The bartender was starting to really enjoy our company
and offered that he would buy us a round of spare ribs for the table. We
had a great time and really made the evening special for him I am sure.
It was equally a success for all and helped both Joanne and I dispel
many of our remaining fears that we had imagined for the evening.
Walking back through the mall later that evening, we passed two guys
who Joanne thought would "make" us. She saw it coming as we apparently
were oblivious to each other's collision course approach being that I
was in a "femmy" chat mode at the time. Joanne said later that she was
amazed that they didn't even turn a head or bat an eye at us as we
crossed paths. I asked her later - "Do I really look that far off to be
made?". Her reply - "I guess its just because I always only see you".
Having been happily married for 16 years, I'll take that as a big
compliment for sure! It's nice to be seen as just "me" - I'll take that