Ah, Chicago

| Oct 20, 2008
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Blogger Renee KnipeLast weekend was my friend Angela’s bachelorette party. Despite some misgivings, I attended because 1) I didn’t want to hurt my friend’s feelings, and 2) I had never been invited to one before. Sadly, though, my concerns largely proved well-founded when, halfway through the night, I found myself sitting alone at a table in a rocking club while the rest of our group was mingling, dancing, and having fun.

Some of that was certainly my own fault. I’m a bit of a wallflower and my natural inclination when surrounded by vast numbers of strange people is to retreat as much as possible. Having made a poor footwear decision didn’t help matters; I couldn’t have danced if I wanted to (which I didn’t).

Some of it wasn’t my fault though. The women in our group – complete strangers with the exception of the bride and one other – were nice enough to me. If one of them was getting a drink, they’d be sure to ask if I needed another. Sometimes, if we were within earshot, they’d chat idly with me. But generally speaking, I don’t think they knew what to think of or how to engage me, and for most of the night I remained at arm’s length. Isolated. The iconoclast. Alone among many.

Then something unexpected happen.

A young man of perhaps 25 caught my attention from the bar. He was talking to another woman, but made deliberate eye contact with me and smiled. A few minutes later he approached my table, introduced himself, and asked if he could buy me a drink. I tried to explain that I was already drinking for free, but he was insistent. Who am I to argue? So I let him buy me a shot and we toasted each other.

We chatted for about half-an-hour. He confessed he had an abiding interest in trans-women, but did so respectfully, so I encouraged the conversation. He invited me to lunch the next day, but I had to catch the bus back to Michigan, so it was a no-go. He feigned disappointment well. And after a while, he retired back to the bar and his friends, who appeared to chide him a bit. Not long after he was gone completely.

Was he sincere? If I had been in town one more day, would we have had that lunch? I don’t know the answer to either question, but I wouldn’t have minded finding out. However, that’s not where this story is heading…

No sooner had he bid me his adieu than I was flanked by three of the women from the bachelorette party. Turns out they had been watching the event unfold from not far away. Now they wanted the juicy details. There wasn’t even a story to tell really, but they hung on every word. “We didn’t want to barge in and blow it for you,” one of them blurted. Another ordered shots for all of us. Then one of the girls hugged me so hard we knocked the drinks off the table and had to order anew.

Word had already spread too, as not long after, others in our party appeared, wanting to hear the story. And hug. And drink. “Was he cute,” one of the newcomers asked. “Oh yeah,” someone answered before I could speak a word.

Suddenly, we were all best friends, and for the remainder of the evening there was none of the tell-tale distance between us that I had felt so pointedly just a half-hour before. Even my friend Stephanie – who has known me for years and has, in many ways, been the most accepting of my acquaintances when it comes to my transition – seemed a little more enthusiastic about my company.

What changed? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe having a guy chat you up in bar is a rite of passage I didn’t know about, but I don’t think so. Rather, I liken him to an ice-breaker. Before his arrival, none of us quite knew what to talk about. Afterwards, it was clear we had one thing in common…at the very least.

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  1. Steve Harris says:

    I would like to meet a trans woman for a relationship

  2. Renee_K Renee_K says:

    You bring up an interesting point Cassie, although I’m not sure I would have couched it in the same terms.

    It was the man who made me feel validated. I mean, I dig guys, and I hope to someday be with one. But it was definitely the women and their overwhelming sort of enthusiasm for my flirtations that made me feel included finally. But clearly, the man played a role…as you’ve noted in your own tale.

    What role was that exactly? I’m not sure. Like I said above, he seemed to act like an ice-breaker. But did he also, perhaps, shred a wall of (unseen to me) sexual menace between me and the other women in my group…somehow rendering me “safe” because now they could tell I was “just like them”? Or maybe it’s the other way around; maybe they sensed an sort of unfulfilled need in me – a desire to be appreciated by a man – and they were just super-happy that I finally got what I wanted? Who the hell knows…maybe I’ll ask my psychiatrist about it. 🙂

    At any rate, anticipate a slightly more controversial blog sometime in the future, where I float the question: Does identifying as a lesbian present a barrier to inclusion in the general female population?

  3. says:

    Dear Renee—

    That was a telling incident. I’ve had similar. It seems to me that “relationships” are so very important to women’s lives that even that slight flirtation would immediately validate you to them as “a member of the clan.”

    It happened to me during a weekend I spent as a woman in New York city with a man. And actually, as I think about it, that little “vagina dialogue” I had with another woman (a woman who didn’t “know”); her immediate, volunteered encouragement about my developing romance with this man, just that intimate little conversations, was one of the most purely feminine experiences I have ever had. (If you don’t remember it, it happens near the end of this memoir that I have published here about that weekend. https://tgforum.com/?p=1522.)

    Generally, I think, there is nothing quite like a man to make you feel like a woman; and that is true at the extremes: if all he is a “prop” on your arm walking down the sidewalk all the way to when you’re waiting in bed in a pretty nightgown as he gets under the covers with you.


  4. cddon cddon says:

    I just returned from LA.. I had a girls nite out with some Ts & genetic girls. We had a ball!! We had a limo stocked with DOM . Really fun! My friends introduced me as thier girlfriend Doris from Florid . We went to some really cool clubs in HOLLYWOODD & LA. These girls knew everyone . I wish I could party like that all the time! Everyone be safe!