A short week ago I met someone who I think will have a profound influence on my approach to life. We chatted online for a bit and then decided to meet in person at a local restaurant. My friend whom I shall call Lola turned out to be a lovely 61 year old gay man. And I am a 53 year old CD learning to experience life outside of the closet. As a friend once explained me, “It’s brighter out here!” and I have been trying to take that to heart. Lola and I met for dinner and spent a couple of hours getting to know each other. She told me of her journey to come to grips with discovering her sexual preference and sharing that with her friends and family. I’m sure there were many heartfelt conversations. I told her of my struggle to get out of the closet and how that was complicated by my former work life. It was hard to describe the fear that I had of being recognized by my union brothers. I don’t think that I have left that fear completely behind.
As I drove home, I was elated. I had met someone online and then actually met them in person! I know we all have different and varied life experiences, but this to me was extraordinary. Lola and I talked more during the week and we decided it would be fun to go out en-femme to a local club for Halloween. A week later we met on a Saturday for a light lunch. We shared a pizza at a busy bistro on 124 st. We then walked down the street and shopped for shoes at Nightshade Corsets. Nightshade is a local manufacturer of corsets and is very CD/TG friendly. They also have an online store. There was a couple that came into shop and the gentleman excitedly told me that this was so cool as he had never been in a corset shop before. I smiled and told him to enjoy their shopping. Lola tried on shoes and I tried on a flared faux leather skirt with a pink and black crinoline. I picked out some false eyelashes and some clip on earrings. I still haven had my ears pierced, I’m such a bad girl. Lola tried on a pair of of strappy black heels and then purchased those. Our shopping successfully completed, we met a few hours later at my apartment. Before leaving for the club, Lola showed me her Halloween outfit and we spent some time trying different pieces with her outfit. It made me feel warm inside that this girl that I barely knew was willing to trust me with this intimacy. It was just so much fun to have dress-up time with someone else besides me.
I have to say that this situation was counter to everything that I knew about Gay culture. I had previously thought that femme males and Gay culture simply didn’t go together, clearly I have much to learn about LGBTQ lifestyle. Lola decided to wear some of her Halloween outfit for the evening. She wore a shiny stretch silver blouse under a black corset. Over her blouse she wore a blue bolero style suede jacket along with her jeans. A lovely pair of silver earrings completed the outfit. I have to say as I was quite proud of my friend’s willingness to put herself out there with her outfit. I think that it is important to note that there is a place between presenting as a male and presenting as a female. Some think of presenting this way as being androgynous or even gender queer. We often hear of that phrase applied to women, but I think it can be applied to men as well. Lola drove us downtown and we parked near the club. We walked to Evolution Wonder Lounge arriving around 10:00PM. At the door we were asked for photo ID and we weren’t admitted as my friend had left her ID in the car. This process struck us as odd as we were given the excuse that the Liquor Control Board would be inspecting that evening. We are both clearly of age.
As we walked back to the car we passed by a Dad in a sharp suit and his young daughter dressed in a purple fairy princess outfit. I think we all had a look at each other standing there on the street corner. Once we were back to the club, my friend remarked that she felt very comfortable in her outfit as we entered. We toured the club, ordered drinks and sat down. Our conversation soon turned back to the father and daughter that we had seen on the way back to the club. Lola commented that little girls get to wear costumes all the time and as men we are denied that opportunity. I mentioned that both Dad and his daughter were in costumes of their own choosing. As we sipped our drinks we noted many interesting people who expressed unique gender qualities in their personal style.
We continued to talk about the idea of being gender queer. I explained that I thought that it was how you described a person who was a particular gender but adopted various traits of the opposite gender in their self expression. My friend asked me what a photo of the various shades of people we had seen in the bar would look like. And as if to answer the question a group of amazing young ladies appeared around the pool table. Of course they were all quite beautiful in their own way and were all very close to each other. But one of these girls stood out from the rest of her peers. She was slim, fit and attractive. She was wearing skinny jeans with a sleeveless teeshirt with a black leather vest over that. Her right arm was covered in some great monochrome ink and she had a military looking brush cut. She was a striking vision of a strong independent young woman and I wished I had taken a photo of her and her friends with my iPhone. These ladies were arranged around the pool table in a way that was so natural and perfect that I could not believe I was witnessing the image. They looked like they were posing for an magazine cover shot. The light from the lamps above the pool table lit the scene perfectly as well. I hope I never pass up on a photo opportunity like that again.
I have to say that we were well treated by the staff of the bar. There was great music, many areas to dance, smoke effects and laser lights. The drinks were well priced and there were lots of interesting people. After having spent some dancing and talking to people at the bar, I turned to Lola and said to her that “this is a safe place”. Safe enough for me to get dressed and come back to. So we left the club around 1:00 am. Our mission was complete. My friend and I had over the space of a week gotten to a place where we felt comfortable shopping together and planned a Halloween night out. We had gone to the club we had chosen and done our recon trip and now we both felt comfortable with going there dressed. This night out covered a lot of firsts for me, and I think that we should all have a chance to get out with friends and enjoy some firsts of our own.