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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

It's a Journey, Not a Destination

I have been known to refer to my local Hair Cuttery as "The Geisha House" as means of shorthand explanation to my family why I (to them, an obvious and normal male) would prefer to go to a salon to get my hair cut rather than a barber shop. Simply saying "I can get cute girls to wash, comb and generally play with my hair for about $20, and besides they know what looks good on me" is more culturally accessible to them than saying "I don't feel comfortable in traditional barber shops because I don't dig the whole 'to be austere and uncomfortable is manly' machismo bullshit."

So anyway, I'm at the Geisha House getting my hair tousled by my favorite cute little pixie*, and she asks me if I have any plans for the summer. I reply in the negative, stating that the past month had been busy with a blogmeet and a convention and that I was tapped out until the fall.

* I hasten to point out that while I think she's adorable, there's no sexual attraction that I can discern. She's engaged, and so I don't even think of her as available. I just like her because she's fun and happy and cute and basically a hair-cutting Pinkie Pie.

Cute little pixie then asks me, "Oh, what kind of convention?"  I wince at this, and consider my options. Finally I choose option Screw it and be honest and say "The NRA convention in Kentucky."

"The which convention?" she asks, clearly unfamiliar with the term.

"National Rifle Association," I answer, expecting her to bristle at the revelation. Instead, she just smiles and says "Oh, that sounds fun."

Relieved that she's doesn't hate me for enjoying guns, I talk about some of the neat stuff I saw there, and how I met R. Lee Ermey, and stuff like that. Our conversation wanders from how I'm a member of the press because I blog to what kind of blog I have and so forth.

Since Florida has just started its hurricane season and we just had a Tropical Storm roll through, I ask her if she's ready. She says "Sorta. Are you?"  I explain how I run a blog dedicated to being prepared on a budget, so of course I'm ready for extreme weather.

As she's brushing the hair off my neck she says "What blog do you have? I feel like I ought to be following you because you talk about such interesting things."

And this is where I feel immediately awkward, because this entire time I've been in "boy camouflage" mode with her and I really don't feel like having the whole "Well, y'see, I'm trans..." conversation with her. Not because I think she'd have a problem with it, necessarily, but because:
  1. This is public. This is VERY public. 
  2. I have this specific interaction with her where I go "Hello, I am clueless male who can barely put on clothing. I do not know how to be attractive. Please, heterosexual female, cut my hair so that I am not disgusting to other heterosexual females" and she says "Yeah, absolutely!" and is completely adorable and makes me feel better about myself. I really don't know if introducing new information about me will change that interaction. 
  3. On the off-chance that she's uncomfortable about it, I really don't want to see it in her face. 
So I stammer something like "Ah, I don't have my business cards with me. I'll bring one the next time I'm in the area," and I pray that she buys it. 

Well, either she buys it or she picks up on my discomfort and plays along, because she says "Yeah, totally!"** as I pay my bill, wonder if I've tipped her enough, and scurry out. 

**  I promise she's not a valley girl. I know I make her sound like one but she's not. She's just really earnestly positive about things. 

I really don't know how to handle this situation. I feel like I need to have cards made just for this kind of situation which say
I am transgender and I am happy to entrust you with that secret, but I am also currently disguised as a normal person so that I do not freak out the mundanes when I run my errands. I will be happy to discuss this with you at a later date and answer any questions you may have, but for the love of God, please not here and please not right now.

Just smile and nod and put this card in your pocket, and if you are uncomfortable with what I've told you, just pretend I didn't give it to you and we'll never speak of this again.
This wouldn't solve issue #2, but it would fix #1 and partially address #3.

So why am I sharing this? Because for some reason I've developed a reputation as someone who has her head on straight and knows what she's doing. While I am absolutely more than happy to give advice and direction to other transgender, genderqueer or questioning folk, I want to point out that I don't know of anyone on the TS/TG/GQ spectrum who has it so together that they are completely unflapped by things like this.

Just like the rest of life, my lovelies, it's a process. You stumble, I stumble, I expect even RuPaul stumbles (though she undoubtedly stumbles in a fabulously graceful and stylish manner). So don't beat yourself up for not "being there"... just try to learn from the experience, adapt it to your live, and drive on.

And now I need to figure out how to come out to my cute little pixie geisha without making things all weird.

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