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Theresa Part 14 by Hebe Dotson

| Jul 3, 2007
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The Story So Far (TGF subscribers can read earlier installments): Putting his acting career on hold, Alan assumes the almost full-time identity of Theresa “Terri” Sayers, single mother. Terri finds a temporary part-time job in a department store and begins taking female hormones. The stage is still calling to Alan, and he auditions as a female impersonator at a seedy drag club—where he bombs! Two weeks later, to prove a point to himself if no one else, he returns to the club in the guise of “Terri Terrific”—and this time, the audience loves him. He accepts an offer to join the La Chevalier troupe and soon goes on a brief tour to another drag club in Boston with Bill/Monique, another female impersonator.
We couldn’t have chosen a nicer day to be tourists—it was bright and sunny, with Theresa graphicthe temperature in the upper sixties and spring seemingly determined to move in and stay. Bill was a good tour guide. He took me through a maze of narrow downtown streets to all manner of antique edifices: the Old North Church, the Paul Revere House, Faneuil Hall. By the time we’d done all this, we were ready for lunch, which became a series of impulse purchases from the stalls in Quincy Market. Then it was back to the streets again, past the Old State House and the Old South Meeting House and the Old City Hall—I began to think there must be a law that every building in Boston had to have “Old” in its name.

Boston Common was green and lovely, with tulips and daffodils everywhere and a pleasant green fuzziness on the trees. As we walked past the Frog Pond, I spotted a vacant bench. Even though I was wearing sensible shoes, my feet were beginning to hurt. “Can we sit down for a few minutes?” I asked.

“Of course we can,” Bill said.

I sat down gratefully, kicked my shoes off, wiggled my toes, and admired the swans swimming on the pond. The grassy banks, drenched in sunlight, were covered with drowsing ducks. I could relate to them; I felt warm and drowsy myself. I stretched contentedly and closed my eyes.

“Are you tired?” Bill asked.

“A little.”

“Do you want to go back and take a nap?”

What did he mean by that? “Maybe… in a little while.”

“I hope I didn’t keep you awake last night. Was I snoring?”

“I don’t think so—not that I noticed anyway.” I soaked up a little more sunlight.

“I never spent the night with a man before,” I said.

“Did I make you nervous, then?”

“A little, I guess. I mean, I don’t know anything about you.”
“There’s nothing to worry about. I don’t go for men.”

I remembered long-forgotten Charley Swift. “Sometimes men convince themselves that people like me are women—or close enough.”

Bill chuckled. “I’m a CPA. I’m trained to tell the difference between truth and fiction—and not to confuse them.”

“So I’m safe with you.”

“You are indeed.” He paused. “The question is, am I safe with you?”

“Did I make you nervous,” I asked.

“Of course you did. I don’t know you, either.”

“Well,” I said, “I do go for men—I mean, I will go for men when I’m really a woman. For now, I just go without.”

“You’re a transsexual?”

“Yes… I think so.”

“Are you being treated by a doctor?”

“No; not yet. I’m treating myself—birth control pills.”

“Are they doing anything for you?”

“A little, but not much yet.”

“You’ll probably have to see a doctor, to get the right medications and dosages.”

“I suppose so,” I said. “I can’t afford it now, but maybe later. How about you—are you being treated?”

“Not me,” Bill said. “I’m no transsexual—I’m just a happy crossdresser.”

“You don’t want to be a woman?”

“Not at all. I’m fine just the way I am.”

“But you like to wear women’s clothes?”

“You bet—that’s fun! I’d do it all the time if I could.”

“Why don’t you, then?”

“Two good reasons. First of all, I couldn’t carry it off.”

“You must be kidding me! Of course you could! You’re great on the stage; absolutely beautiful.”

“That’s on stage,” he said. “From a distance, with a lot of makeup. Offstage, I wouldn’t fool anyone. I’m almost six feet tall—not unheard of, but unusual. A six-foot woman draws attention. Look at me closely and you’ll see big hands, big feet, a large Adam’s apple, and a pretty heavy beard. It takes a ton of pancake to hide it on stage, and I couldn’t hide it on the street without looking like a big plastic Barbie doll. All in all, I’d be a strange looking woman, and if I were found out—if some suspicious cop decided to ask me a few questions and then arrested me—I’d be ruined professionally. You’re lucky—you actually look like a woman, and you have a very light beard.” He touched my cheek. “It’s still just peach fuzz. God , you’re lucky.”

I guessed I was. “What’s your other reason?”

Bill chuckled. “My wife wouldn’t stand for it.”

“You’re married?”

“I sure am—a wife, three kids, and a house in Teaneck.”

“Wow! Does your wife know?”

“She does now. She didn’t when we got married. I was crazy not to have told her, but hell, I’d never told anyone. I was too much in love; I wanted marriage and a home and kids, and I was afraid she wouldn’t have me if I told her. Besides, I’d convinced myself that it was just something I did to amuse myself and I wouldn’t do it any more after I got married. I was so sure I could quit, I threw away all my women’s stuff before the wedding.”

A duck waddled up to our bench, hoping for a late lunch, and marched off indignantly when she decided we had nothing to offer her. She seemed to become even more indignant when we laughed at her.

“So how did your wife find out?”

“Well, we had this arrangement that every week we’d have one night off from each other—I liked to bowl with some of my old high school buddies and she liked to go see her sister in Paramus. We did this for a year or so almost every Thursday night. Now, even though I’d honestly intended to quit dressing up, I kept thinking about it and wanted to do it, and one Thursday night I called my friends and said I had an awful headache and didn’t want to hear bowling pins banging around. Then I got all dressed up in Margie’s clothes. It was great. God, I felt good, even if everything was too short and too tight. I felt so good that the next Thursday I had another headache. By this time, I’d bought some clothes that would fit me, so it was even better. Well, week after week I canceled out on bowling, and as soon as Margie left for Paramus, I got dressed up. I had a wig and my own makeup and three complete outfits, and I felt like the Queen of Teaneck. Then, one Thursday night I’d just finished dressing and settled down to watch a little television when Margie came charging in. ‘Who the hell are you?’ she yelled at me, ‘And where’s that son of a bitch Bill?’”

<>He paused and grinned at me. “Don’t leave me hanging,” I said. “What happened after that?”

“Something between one hell of a row and a reconciliation,” Bill said. “When she came in, she was convinced she was going to catch me in an affair. First, I’d been careless with the receipt for a dress, and she’d found it. Then she’d noticed I’d withdrawn a couple of hundred dollars from our savings account. Finally, she’d met one of my bowling buddies on the street, and he’d asked how I was doing and said he hadn’t seen me for a couple of months. She put all this together and decided to catch me in the act. She waited outside the house, planning to follow me, and then she thought she saw a woman in the window and decided my lady friend must have sneaked in the back door.

“Well, she had been all set to tell me she was going to leave me and get a divorce, but she was so relieved to find I didn’t have a girlfriend that she almost forgave me. Then she got mad again because I was dressed in women’s clothes, so I must be a homosexual and she’d have to divorce me for that. I was in a stew myself; I loved her and I didn’t want to lose her. It took me several hours to calm her down and convince her that I wasn’t a homo, just a poor frustrated transvestite. That didn’t make her a lot happier, but she agreed to think things over for a few days before making any divorce decisions.

“A few days later, she told me that she’d read all she could find about transvestites at the library, and she’d thought things over and she wasn’t going to divorce me, especially since she was pregnant with our first child—which was news to me! She still didn’t approve of my dressing up, she said, but she realized that it was important to me, so I could do it once in a while, but not behind her back. For the next couple of years, I dressed as a woman about once a month and Margie and I spent those evenings together. She’d read or watch television and not look at me any more than she had to, but that was all right—I was happy just to be wearing a dress.

“About three months after our second child was born—our first was about 18 months old then—Margie decided I shouldn’t dress up at home any more. It would be a bad influence on the children. She didn’t seem worried about the influence on me, but what the hell. About then, I saw a little item in the paper about drag contests at La Chevalier, and I told Margie I was going to enter one. She didn’t care, she said, as long as I was discreet about it—and of course I was, because I knew I’d lose my job if my company heard I was crossdressing and decided I wasn’t a perfectly straight arrow. Well, I entered one of the contests and won it, and Bernie offered me a spot as a paid performer. Margie and I talked it over, and we agreed I could do one or two weekends a month, and that’s how it stands now.”

Bill was a bit of a wimp, I thought, but then I thought again. Sandy had shut me down completely, while Bill got to be Monique quite frequently. And surely I wasn’t a wimp… was I?

“How long have you been dressing up?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” Bill said. “My earliest memory is of looking at myself in a mirror. I was wearing my sister’s dress and I’d smeared my mother’s lipstick all over my face. I must have been about four. My mother says I started putting on my sister’s clothes when I was three. She thought it was a phase that I’d outgrow, and she was partly right, because I stopped dressing up when I started school. I guess I suppressed it for almost twenty years after that. Well, that’s my life—how about yours?”

I gave him a quick summary of my Littlefield year, my Scyros year, my eighteen months as a married man, and my occasional ups and frequent downs since then. By the time I finished, a chilly breeze had sprung up, inspiring us to go back to the hotel to get ready to go to work.

The show that night was unremarkable, a repeat of the night before. Monique had fans in attendance again, and once again she invited me to join them after the show. This time I accepted. She introduced me to the group—five men and two women—and chatted with them for a few minutes before disappearing to change into Bill (they would have been disappointed if Monique hadn’t spent a little time with them, he told me later).

In Monique’s absence, I became the resident crossdresser and center of attention. They had enjoyed my performance almost as much as Monique’s, the group assured me, and they admired my ability to continue impersonating after duty hours. As we talked, I realized that all seven were male transvestites themselves, members of a suburban social club. The men were unwilling to crossdress publicly; the two ostensible women had no such reluctance but didn’t feel up to performing in a drag club and didn’t say much, even among friends, because their voices were strongly masculine. I was delighted to be able to be a role model for everyone.

When Bill rejoined us, we walked a couple of blocks to a late night bar for a drink and a few more minutes of conversation. We didn’t stay long; the fans had to get back to the suburbs and Bill and I wanted to catch an early bus in the morning. I was eager to get back to Jessie, and Bill had a long list of household chores to tackle.

“Margie doesn’t mind you spending your nights with strange women?” I asked as I climbed into my bed.

Bill smiled. “Actually, you’re the first,” he said. “You’re the only one I’ve traveled with who didn’t put on trousers after the show.”

That pleased me. My first husband hadn’t been sleeping around. “Does she worry about the strange men?” I asked.

He smiled again. “She used to,” he said, “and so did I, but I took karate lessons. I’ve earned my black belt, and we don’t worry any more.”

Feeling perfectly safe in our separate beds, we both quickly fell asleep.

To be continued

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About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Association, Inc., the former editor of that organization's newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She wrote the Diva of Dish column for TGF in the late 1990s and was the Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She is currently the Editor of TGF. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows. In her idle hours she keeps busy producing her monthly TG parties, Angela's Laptop Lounge.

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