Up at 6:00 am, shaved, showered, dressed, put on my makeup, and excited, I head down to breakfast in the Dog and Pony. While waiting to be seated, I wondered if I would again eat alone. But, in walks a very tall CD.. I knew who she was after reading her nametag: Robyn Drake of CDH! She coordinates and manages the Local Chapters at CDH. We’d previously communicated in the past when my chapter, the Bayou Belles, first chartered and it needed an Admin.
Anyway, Robyn and I had some interesting conversations about the inner workings of CDH, the Local Chapters, etc. I felt proud to be privy to the discussion. We were joined shortly by Carole Corbett, also of CDH. I felt honored to be among such distinguished company.
My first seminar was at 10:30 am. The “Feminine Dining Deportment” workshop presented by Cassandra Storm of the podcast “My Feminine Heart.” Beverly and I had both signed up for this one, but she chose to do something else. I went to this one again, by myself. We were all ushered to several dining tables, set for dinner according to some arcane etiquette rules. It was a pleasant surprise when Carole Corbett joined our table.
They taught us how to eat and use flatware in a ladylike manner. How to sit, how to drink. Don’t eat too fast! Take time out to make conversation with the other girls! There are femme tricks to munching salad and sipping soup, and how to cut with knife and fork. It turns out that most of those femme rules flew in the face of 65+ years of ingrained male habits—eating like a barbarian. I never got the hang of it, and at every meal thereafter, I continued eating like the old man in a dress that I was.
From there, I went to the first free luncheon of Keystone, held in the huge Commonwealth Ballroom—more food and I was still full breakfast and the workshop. The keynote speaker was Col Bree Fram, the highest-ranking TG officer in the US military (now with Space Force). I got caught up with Beverly, who sat to my left. She was the only CD I knew at the table. Of course, I put into practice NONE of what they taught in the femme dining deportment seminar! But from what I could see, the other CDs at our table didn’t, either!
After the luncheon, Beverly went off to the TG voice feminization class, and I went to the 2:00 pm “Makeup Basics” presentation. Much of what was discussed in “Makeup Basics” went right over my head. Turns out, I’m doing so much wrong. I had hoped that I would have the chance to have a makeover (to go along with my beautiful nails), but it had to be scheduled separately. I just could not find a time slot to have it done. I was looking for a professional to sell foundation to match my skin tone, and to give me some insight on how to do eyes, something I’m not good at doing. I should’ve somehow FOUND the time. I don’t know if I’ll have another opportunity to have a pro makeover.
My next event was the 4:00 pm “Beach Party” at the Sheraton pool. My intention was to sit at the bar (which really wasn’t much of a bar) and sip a Mojito and watch the other girls cavort in their bathing suits. The pool was swimming with CDs, all in their bathing suits and showing various amounts of skin. I felt really out of place dressed in a skirt and top, full makeup, and a wig. I left. The days of pool parties and femme bathing suits are over for this 75 y/o, whose body, on her best day, brings to mind the Wreck of the Hesperus!
After my great escape from the Pool Party, I headed back to the room to change into a dress, put on my heels, freshen my makeup, and get ready for dinner that night at the Rubicon restaurant. Busses left promptly at 6:15 pm! Don’t forget your meal tickets!
Making it to the Front Lobby just in time to catch the bus, it was one of the longer bus rides we had. It seemed forever getting to the restaurant. But, no matter, I was enjoying the experience of riding with all CDs and trans-girls. The bus driver was the only cis male. On the way, it was fun listening to the male voices in conversation coming from tall, dressed-to-the-nines, crossdressers. Plenty of long hair and a cornucopia of exquisite scents and perfumes. I was wearing my “favorite” that night, White Diamonds, actually the ONLY scent I had. The need for perfume came to me very late in my prep for Keystone, so I didn’t have the time to experiment with any others.
They dropped us off across the street from the Rubicon entrance. So, we all had to pile out and walk across the street in the cold. So, here’s me, going across uneven terrain, in my heels, for the first time in my life! But I did it! I was so proud of myself. What a feat for a closeted CD whose only practice in heels comprised pacing up and down like a caged lioness in the small rooms of my apartment!
Dinner at the Rubicon was nicer than the previous night at the Longhorn. There were CDHers at our table. We met the ever-ebullient Roberta Mank for the first time; and Brielle Ross was sitting to my left (if memory serves, though not yet introduced.) We dined in the upper loft of the restaurant, which was filled with CDs at every long table. Downstairs became filled with conference attendees before we could get seated there. Thankfully, my apartment is a townhouse, so I’d practiced going up and down stairs in heels. My meal was enhanced with lively conversation.
After dinner, I needed a restroom before getting on the bus for the long ride back to the Sheraton. But this time, the restrooms were dual-gender, one-person-only accommodations, and just a few feet from our table. Several CDs, and ONLY CDs, were clustered just outside the restrooms waiting their turn. Not a cis-man or cis-woman to be seen.
Back at the Sheraton, we headed to the 10th floor to the “Pink Party” hosted by Cassandra Storm of “My Feminine Heart”. Beverly had just recently joined “My Feminine Heart” and was eager to join in and meet some of the sisters of MFH. Unfortunately, we arrived late, and the joint was jumpin’ and we couldn’t even get in the door. The 10th-floor lounge is not a big place. It is enough space, however, for our wonderful CDH meetup.
So ended our Thursday night at Keystone.
On Friday, I slept in until about seven. It was too late for breakfast. After just two days at Keystone, this ol’ lady was tired and feeling her age.
In our first seminar on Friday morning, Bev and I went to hear Col. Bree Fram and her wife discuss their ups and downs in their 22-year marriage. Col. Fram’s wife, Peg, became emotional, describing some of the rough patches the couple experienced during Bree’s transitioning. As a simple, closeted crossdresser myself who has lived alone since 1996, I can only imagine the emotional roller coaster the two of them rode during Bree’s journey from crossdresser, thru the decision to transition, to living 24/7 as a woman, with the USAF lurking in the wings, ready to deep-six Bree’s career at every juncture.
To be continued…