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Theresa Part 22 By Hebe Dotson

| Mar 3, 2008
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Theresa graphicThe Story So Far (TGF subscribers can read earlier installments): Alan has assumed the almost full-time identity of Theresa “Terri” Sayers, single mother. Terri has found a day job in a department store and has begun to take female hormones. At last, her luck takes a turn for the better as her agent sends her to a new actor-owned theater company, Avon West. They have an urgent need for an Ophelia for their upcoming production of Hamlet. She’s offered the role and accepts it, and greatly enjoys being back on the stage again—but it’s a limited engagement, and it soon comes to an end. More good luck: the insurance company finally offers a reasonable settlement for Sandy’s death, enough for Jessica’s education, and sexual reassignment surgery! Within days, Terri has had an initial appointment with plastic surgeon Ian Sterling, who accepts her as a patient and begins her medically supervised hormone treatments. Her surgery is tentatively scheduled to take place a year later; she argues for an earlier date, but Dr. Sterling makes no promises.

My medical treatment soon became routine. Every two weeks, I went to Dr. Sterling’s office for hormone injections. At the same time, I donated a little blood for lab testing. I saw Dr. Sterling himself about every other visit—he’d take a quick look at my slowly feminizing body, ask me if I were experiencing any unpleasant side effects from my medications, and discuss my previous lab tests with me. He was greatly concerned about keeping abreast (as he liked to put it, accompanied by a self-conscious groan) of changes in my body chemistry. Once these pleasantries had been completed, he’d summon his nurse to impale my backside. Between visits, I took daily doses of prescription hormone tablets.

While my doctor’s office visits were not exactly delightful, they were sheer pleasure in comparison to my other routine—one-hour sessions, every Monday and Thursday, with an electrolygist. Theresa graphicElectrolysis sessions were extended exercises in boredom, too frequently enlivened by pain—wonderful for masochists, perhaps, but not for me. I endured it; it was necessary to eliminate my beard, but I didn’t enjoy it. Fortunately, my facial underbrush was sparse—if it had been heavy, I would undoubtedly have done myself in long before the electrolygist pronounced herself done with me.

There’s more to life than occasional sex changes. Although the insurance settlement had taken much of the pressure off me, I still felt a need to work. I didn’t want to take too much from the Jessie Fund, I needed to work as a woman to meet Dr. Sterling’s preoperative requirements, and work kept me occupied and free of excessive idle time in which to worry about the future. And then there was the little matter of my career.

My day job continued; Sutter and Lansdowne and I remained mutually satisfied. I appreciated the work and the income, but my heart was still set on success on the stage. My good reviews from Hamlet encouraged Sam Llewellyn to make further efforts on my behalf, resulting in several auditions during the summer, one of which earned me the role of the daughter in an off-Broadway revival of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth. Rehearsals took up much of my spare time in September, and performances kept me occupied during the play’s four-week run in October.

Sam called me in mid-October to ask if I could fit another audition into my schedule. I could, with a slight rearrangement of my hours at S&L, and that wouldn’t be difficult, since my supervisor was sympathetic toward my theatrical ambitions.

“The play’s a little weird,” Sam said, “but I think you’ll find it interesting. Why don’t you take a shot at it?”

Oh, that Sam! What a joker! The play turned out to be a new translation of Les Mamelles de Tirésias, an obscure, 55-year-old, surrealist farce by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Sam’s sense of humor had been triggered by the casting call’s disclosure that the play’s central character was Thérèse/Tirésias—neither a hero nor a heroine but a combination of the two. Since I was something of a combination myself and a Theresa as well, he thought it an ideal opportunity for me. My first inclination was to find myself another ideal opportunity, one in which I could spike Sam’s martini with arsenic, but my second reaction was the same as his—it really was a good possibility for me. I auditioned and got the part.

The play’s director was also its translator and the holder of a day job as an instructor in French literature at CCNY. His mission in life was to bring neglected glories of the French theater to the American public; in this particular case, his ambitions had been fortified by a sizable grant from a foundation with its own strong affinities for French culture. The play would draw a small but influential audience, he told me, and he had been guaranteed a three-week run in January.

As a method actress , I naturally felt a need to learn as much as I could about the rather unusual character I’d be playing. I asked the director about T/T and learned that Apollinaire had based her/him on a story from Greek mythology. I paid a visit to the library the next day and delved into the legend of Tiresias, the prototype transsexual.

As Tiresias was walking in the woods one day (the story goes), he came upon two serpents in the act of mating. Undoubtedly annoyed by the interruption, they attacked him. Fortunately for Tiresias, he was carrying a heavy walking stick, and he lashed out at his attackers, killing the female. By some mysterious power, he was immediately transformed into a woman and became, in the course of mythical events, a famous and accomplished harlot. After seven years as a woman, she once again witnessed two serpents coupling in the same place in the woods. For incomprehensible reasons, she extrapolated from her earlier experience, killed the male serpent, and regained anatomically correct manhood on the spot.

Some time later, Zeus and his wife Hera were engaged in an argument about whether men or women derived greater pleasure from the sexual act. To settle the quarrel, Zeus sent for Tiresias, who had experienced love both as a man and as a woman and was thus qualified as an expert. When Tiresias responded that a woman’s pleasure was much greater than a man’s, confirming Zeus’s position, Hera—bent completely out of shape—blinded him. To compensate Tiresias for being victimized by Hera’s lack of sportsmanship, Zeus gave him the gifts of prophecy and longevity, enabling Tiresias to pop up again and again in a long series of myths.

I’d seen intertwined snakes many times on the caduceus insignia of the U.S. Army Medical Corps; I hoped this was an omen of a transformation to come for Terri Sayers. I thought I’d probably pass up harlotry and I’ d certainly avoid killing male snakes or doing anything else that might lead to a reversal of my metamorphosis. As for Zeus and Hera—well, I’d give them an honest answer if they asked, but I didn’t yet know what it would be.

As autumn moved toward winter, I began to move toward womanhood. Under the spell of Dr. Sterling’s medications, my body began its transformation, almost imperceptibly at first but soon accelerating. As in my earlier self-treatment, the first effect I noticed (about a month after my first injection) was the greatly enhanced sensitivity of my nipples. As the weeks passed, my breasts began to form little mounds and my nipples and aureolas became more prominent. A week or so before Thanksgiving, I bought myself a bra that actually fit me without padding—only an A cup, but all growing girls have to start somewhere. I hoped I didn’t end up right there where I’d started—it’s difficult to be voluptuous in an A cup bra.

Other changes were occurring too. My muscle tone diminished and my skin texture became softer. My face became more rounded and feminine as its muscles changed. My hair became finer and my pubic hair pattern changed to a womanly inverted triangle. My genitals shrank inexorably (I cheered them on—or off). Fat cells began migrating from somewhere into my hips and bottom. I wondered when I’d begin to address myself as Old Lardbottom, but things never got quite that bad.

For various reasons—primarily, I think, to save myself from a lot of grief—I hadn’t told anyone that I’d begun my medical treatment. The list of those who needed to know stopped after my parents and sisters—and I hadn’t even told them. I would, I assured myself, when the right time came, and the right time was beginning to look like Christmas. It would then be over a year since I became Terri virtually full time and almost ten months since Alan’s last appearance. The family would all be together again and I could take them all on at once.

I knew I looked different because I was a dedicated student of myself. Since Mother saw me daily and wasn’t devoted to Terri-watching, she hadn’t noticed the gradual changes in me—but then, how was she to know that my padding was now being replaced by flesh? I saw Dad less often, but frequently enough for him not to notice changes either. When the twins came home from college a few days before Christmas, I could tell from the way they stared at me that I looked different to them, even if they couldn’t quite put their fingers on the reasons why. I drew the same stares from Barbara when she and Doug and their children, Kimberly and Peter, arrived on the afternoon of Christmas Eve.

This year Theresa Sayers was no longer a novelty, and the family was able to place its Christmas morning focus on the children, where it really belonged. Jessie and her cousins were an entertaining amalgam of excitement and confusion and we all had a wonderful time watching them tear into their presents.

We had once again planned a large, ridiculously extended family gathering for Christmas afternoon. Grandma and Grandpa Norris were expected around three, and I was shocked to realize that I hadn’t seen them and they hadn’t seen me for an entire year. They came by fairly often to visit Jessie, and Mother and Jessie visited them about once a month, but they had avoided me, apparently as enthusiastically as I’d avoided them. They must be dreading this visit, I thought, but they were determined to see their granddaughter on Christmas Day.

There would be others as well. Amy and Alice’s boyfriends 24 du mois (they had progressed beyond du jour) were expected, and Dad would drop in sometime during the afternoon. It was essentially the same cast of characters as last year, with the exception of the interchangeable boyfriends. Only they weren’t really interchangeable—last year, Eddie had been one of them. It would have been nice to see him again, but he was far away in Los Angeles.

I had bought myself a Christmas present especially for this occasion—a red sheath dress with a scoop neckline that tried to go right down to my kneecaps and was thwarted only by the hemline’s attempt to rise above my navel. I’d never worn anything like it before, for the simple reason that I’d never been able to. Now I could. Although I wasn’t exactly what one would call well endowed, I’d gone on beyond A to a lightly padded B, and I was amply endowed for the statement I was about to make. To emphasize that statement, I’d bought myself a new bra, too. My old bras were all designed to conceal flesh (or, in my case, foam rubber). The new one was designed to display flesh. I loved it. It was so lacy and pretty, and I was so happy just to be able to wear it.

Jessie expressed no opinion on my bra, but she loved my new dress. She hovered around me while I did my hair and makeup, prattling about “pretty Mommy” while “pretty Mommy” reveled in her praise. Then we got Jessie into her own pretty new red dress and were ready to greet our guests.

The boyfriends had arrived while Jessie and I were getting ready, and their presence bottled up the questions that Mother and my sisters were obviously dying to ask me. My dress and its neckline drew all the adult eyes in the room, and les mamelles de Thérèse became the objects of considerable attention. The eyebrows of those who knew me rose toward the stratosphere; the eyeballs of those who didn’t flickered quickly down the front of my dress as we were introduced and shook hands. I suppose I should have been offended, but why? That neckline was designed to attract eyes, and my womanly charms enjoyed the attention they drew.

Dad arrived a few minutes later. I’m sure he thought he was ready for me, but he wasn’t. Poor Dad! Every time he thought he knew the ground rules, I changed them. I hoped we’d be able to come to terms with each other some day.

At five past three, the doorbell rang and Jessie and I went off to welcome the Norrises. With some apprehension, for them as well as for myself, I opened the door.


“Merry Christmas, Terri!”

“Eddie!” I squealed again. Jessie darted past us into the corridor, looking for Grandma and Grandpa. “What are you doing here?”

“I flew home for Christmas, and I thought I’d surprise you.”

“This is wonderful!” I threw my arms around him and hugged him. That wasn’t good enough. I kissed him with enormous gusto just as I heard a delighted little voice, about twenty feet down the corridor, saying, “Gramma! Grampa!”

I disengaged myself from Eddie. Sure enough, the Norrises were staring at me, at Eddie, at my neckline. “Merry Christmas!” I said brightly. “You remember my friend, Eddie, don’t you? You met him here last Christmas.”

The Norrises grunted. Eddie and I stood back and they swept past us into the apartment with Jessie chattering happily in their wake. Eddie looked at me questioningly. I smiled at him and took his arm, and we brought up the rear, right behind Jessie.

To be continued…

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Category: Transgender Fun & Entertainment


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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