After my latest episode with very difficult issues (which I may or may not go into eventually), it was time to get away and get my head on straight. SO, with my sister begging me to come down and see her for some time now, I decided to use my savings to go down and spend a couple weeks with her in Los Angeles.
It was seriously the best idea I’ve had in a long while. First of all, my sister didn’t even recognise me at the bus stop when she came to meet me, so I’ve obviously been changing. She was thinking at first, “who’s that random guy waving at me? Oh my GOD!” It was the first sign of a couple of good weeks ahead.
She hasn’t had any trouble with pronouns since I’ve gotten here. I think it’s been my voice. It’s finally been dropping a little due to the voice lowering exercises, not so much that it sounds unnatural, but enough that I at least sound like a guy going through puberty, so nobody questions it when she introduces me as her little brother. It was the coolest thing last week-
We had a cosplay picnic to go to on Saturday, and I wanted to help make her a cosplay that looked good on her. It was a little hard to find a dress that could accomodate her figure, so we decided to go and make one. Ironically, I was the one inborn with that particular artistic skill. So, gritting my teeth, we went to a fabrics shop that she knew had sewing machines. I was prepared to be among another group of people who would be calling me by the wrong pronouns all over again, but when my sister introduced me as Tommy, her brother, the ladies fawned over me and said how neat it was to have another guy who knew how to sew! The manager of the place named several men she knew who sewed as a hobby, including her husband, and many guys who had to take community service classes who wound up becoming interested and kept coming back for more lessons! Not only was it cool that I learned how common it is for men to do this traditionally female task, but that they never even did any double-takes on whether I was a guy or not. It seems like I’m in that androgynous place where all it takes is to have one person say “he’s my brother/friend/whatever” to tip the “male scale” and have people seeing me as the right gender. And I’m pretty happy about that- not to say I don’t want more, because without introduction, I’m getting about a 60/40 ratio of people seeing me as female/male down here, so I’m almost perfectly androgynous, but I’d like there to be no question in people’s minds that I’m male.
What I’d frankly like would be to wake up, first thing in the morning, and look and sound like a guy without having to spend an hour trying to make myself look that way. It would be neat actually to have to spend an hour trying to make myself look like a girl rather than the way it is now, because I want to look female so ridiculously rarely.
I think the best thing that’s happened this week has been the cosplay picnic. My brother-in-law Jeremy, who is totally supportive and cool with me, really helped me out with something, in that he was my bathroom wingman.
I had decided that this event would be my first attempt to use a public, multi-stall men’s room, because frankly, even though I looked basically 100% male in my cosplay, and even though my voice isn’t 100% there yet, I didn’t feel comfortable even thinking about using the ladies’ room. Plus, there’s a lot of “crossplay” at anime events, so even if I were questioned or outed in the men’s room, it seemed like this was a generally safer group to find my feet with.
BUT, I was still extremely nervous. So, we came up with a plan. He would go in, then come out and tell me how many people there were, and if there were too many, the deal was off, but if not, I’d go for it. Plus, I felt safer having someone inside who could vouch for me as a dude in case someone called me out.
So, I waited… he came out and told me there was nobody. Unfortunately, just at that moment someone went in who’d thought I was a chick from earlier, so I didn’t feel like having a confrontation. I waited out a few more minutes, and Jeremy went in. Then, when I saw the guy leave and I felt safe, I made a dash for it.
I have to admit, at least for posterity’s sake, that I was a little weirded out when I saw Jeremy using the urinal. I kept my eyes on the floor and went straight to the stall, keeping to men’s room ettiquite, but it was a little jarring to have my brother-in-law as my first image ever of a real guy standing and peeing in public. But then I just shook myself and thought: “Dammit, if I’m a guy and he’s a guy, then we’re probably going to use the same bathroom a lot more times in the future so I can’t let it weird me out now!”
I’ve been using the men’s room ever since. After that first time, all the mystique was broken, and I’ve realized- it’s just a room. There’s nothing all that special about it. If anything, it’s dirtier and smellier, not any more sacred, than the women’s room.
Just this afternoon, in fact, I had a girl friend of mine confide that she uses the men’s room all the time- for no other reason than if it happens to be closer and she has to go, dammit, there’s a toilet and she’s going to use it! She says this gets her some stares and even some catcalls once in a while, especially with her short skirts and high heels, but nobody’s ever harassed her about it. This gives me confidence about the whole bathroom thing- if she can get away with it in her girly demeanor, then why should I worry when I’m getting read male most of the time anyway?
I’ll be using an STP when I can get together the confidence in the mechanics of it, but for now, I’m using the stall. I’ve had a lot of guy friends tell me they mainly piss sitting down anyway, so I don’t think I’ll get any weird looks or anything, but I’ll feel a lot better when I know I at least have that choice.