So last night, after much hemming and hawing, I put on an outfit, and left my apartment with a friend. Out in public. Oh god.
The wine in my system seemed to calm my nerves, and the fact that there was a friendly face with me helped too. My expectations were mostly to be, you know, beaten with sticks, set-upon by a bloodthirsty pack of homophobes, each kitted out with a gut-spilling spear, a sign saying “KILL ALL TRANNYS” (because clearly, they wouldn’t be able to spell ‘Trannies’) and a loudspeaker to announce to anyone outside the nearby vicinity that, oh look, there’s someone different from us towards whom we should direct our collective mockery and disgust.
That diiiiiiiidn’t really happen. We rode the Bart into SF, went to a few bars in the Castro, and then crashed on her couch. There were maybe one or two looks that came in my direction, but I was feeling pretty good and didn’t worry too much about them.
I’d packed boy clothes with me so I could beat a hasty, and above-all, incognito retreat back to the safety of my apartment in broad daylight. But then, as often happens at inopportune moments, I began to think.
“Last night went pretty well. It’s still early. There probably won’t be too many people around. I know it’s daylight, but it’s early on a sunday morning! What kind of maniac would be up at 8am on a sunday?! My make-up’s probably still intact.” (A brief mirror check confirmed this, albeit a tiny bit of stubble was beginning to show through). “I’m here. Why not try it? What’s the worst that could happen?” which is never a question that should be asked if you think it’ll dissuade you from doing something.
“Be brave. You can do this.”
And so I stuck the boobs back in my bra, put the heeled-boots back on my aching feet, and head outside.
“Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap. What am I doing?”
Realistically though… it was fine. A bit of a long walk to the Bart station, twenty minute wait for the train. An hour sitting on the train while it was stopped and delayed and then changed its final destination so that I had to get off, wait on the platform occupied by angry people who just wanted to get where they were going, get back on the train, out of the station and up to my apartment. Safe and sound.
I did get a few askance views. I occupied myself mostly tweeting like an insane person so that I had something to focus on. I tried putting the phone away for a while, and then I realized I didn’t know what to do with my hands, so out came the phone again. The looks I got from people were difficult to gauge. At some points I felt as if they were the looks that girls generally get when they’re out and about. I think at least a few of them were of that nature. And there were most certainly others where people were looking, trying to figure me out. These bothered me at first, but instead of allowing myself to be victimized, I took a different approach. If they wanted to look at me, I would look right back at them. Return their gaze. It sounds like a bit of a battle, and maybe I’m being overly dramatic, but in 90% of those cases, the other person looked away almost immediately.
I feel…. good. Accomplished. I think I passed pretty well at times. I guess I’ll let you see for yourselves. Now, I think it’s time for a bit of a sleep :)
(Another post from the series Being Out.)